Okan Tower is one step closer to beginning construction.

On September 1, contractors filed a dry run permit to begin building a 70-story tower, city records show.

Next week, a phased Class II foundation permit will be filed, along with a master building permit, a consultant working for the developer said.

The filing last week included:

  • 500 sheets for review by city officials
  • $457,707.60 upfront permit fee
  • $163,466,625 total cost of construction
  • 318,090 square feet of hotel, with 294 rooms on 19 floors
  • 512,080 square feet of condo, with 398 rooms on 33 floors
  • 66,920 square feet of office, on 4 floors
  • 37,005 square feet of retail on 1 floor
  • 934,095 total square feet to be built

The hotel will be known as the Hilton Bayfront.

Okan representatives previously told The Next Miami that the tower will top of at 890 feet.

 

Source: The Next Miami

The CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has a worry that many civic leaders in smaller and less prosperous areas would like to share: development is plunging ahead at breakneck speeds.

“There’s been so much commercial development in Miami and Dade County, that’s one reason why we made the top 20 list for Amazon,” Alfred Sanchez tells Globe.St. com.

He was referring to Miami earlier this year being named in the final 20 cities for Amazon’s new second headquarters in North America, what they’ve dubbed HQ2. The online giant started out with more than 320 locations and whittled it down dramatically.

“What I really worry about is that development is happening so quickly with such a large volume of stuff that’s going to happen that we get ahead of planned development,” Sanchez says.

Traffic is Growing Issue

One particular concern: congested traffic.

“That’s our number one issue, so that when you live here, you’re not stuck in traffic all day long in the downtown area,” Sanchez says.

He cites promising new commercial developments moving the area forward such as the Chinatown project in North Miami. It was recently in the news as requests were made for proposals from architectural firms.

The Chinatown Cultural Arts & Innovation District is to be comprised of 16 blocks of commercially zoned land along Northwest Seventh Avenue between 119th and 135th streets. The area is to be complete with parks, green space, bike lanes and rooftop gardens, along with pagodas, canals and an entrance inspired by the Ming Dynasty.

Many Major Projects Planned

Another promising project he mentioned: Developer Moishe Mana recently secured a $20.13 million construction loan to build Mana Wynwood Americas-Asia Trade Center & International Financial Center. Mana plans to build a center which will feature 10 million SF of commercial space as a trade hub to encourage and facilitate trade between China, Asia, Latin America, North America and the Caribbean. The project will be built in multiple phases with phase 1 including the development of 8.5 acres of Wynwood with 4.68 million SF of Class A office space, showrooms, retail, hotels and other development.

As for infrastructure keeping up with development, Sanchez cites work by the New World Center committee originally formed by the chamber in 1976. Their goal is to “have a catalytic influence on downtown projects in respect of the public and private sectors.”

An area the chamber is looking at as a priority is traffic.

“You need a master plan and the chamber plays a big part in it. We’re trying to develop transit solutions,” Sanchez says.

 

Source: GlobeSt.

Construction of Solitair Brickell, a 50-story apartment building, has been completed, adding a new high-rise with an unusual façade to Miami’s skyline.

Global architecture and design firm Stantec created the angular, basket-weave design of Solitair Brickell’s exterior. According to Stantec, the design of the building’s zigzag, serrated balconies was inspired by the texture of the Medjool date palm tree, which many South Florida property owners have included in their landscaping.

Interior marble walls in the building’s lobby incorporate wood elements and concrete panels. The tenth-floor Great Room at Solitair Brickell has similar wood finishes with floor-to-ceiling millwork shelving for décor items and artwork. The Resident Entertainment Lounge across from the Great Room has a communal kitchen and dining area where white brick walls are paired with dark cabinets and counter tops.

Developed by ZOM Living, Solitair Brickell has 438 units including studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and two-bedroom penthouse suites. An amenity deck on the 50th floor features a rooftop swimming pool and cabanas, a billiard lounge, wet bar and sectional sofas, plus a business center with conference rooms and catering facilities. Tenants also share a gym, outdoor yoga space, and a spa and sauna room.

Solitair Brickell has 6,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 463 parking spaces. Monthly rent starts at $2,193 for available apartments at Solitair Brickell, according to ApartmentList.com.

The new 50-story building is located at 86 Southwest Eighth Street across from the Brickell City Centre shopping, dining and entertainment complex.

 

Source: The Real Deal

Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for a massive mixed-use development that is elevated into the air on thin stilts.

Located in the central Miami neighborhood of Allapattah, an industrial, working-class district mainly comprised of produce suppliers, the major complex will serve as a new landmark destination in the city.

Dubbed Miami Produce, the project will activate the site with urban farming, restaurants, storefronts, co-working offices, co-living apartments and educational programming.

Click here to view inhabitat‘s rendering slideshow of BIG’s Miami Produce project

 

Source: inhabitat

Miami residents will soon vote on three major deals to redevelop city-owned property:

Miami Riverside Center

Lancelot Miami River, an affiliate of Adler Group, wants to demolish and replace the city’s Riverside Center administrative building.

If the deal is approved, four new towers could be built.

Two would be 50 to 60 story condo towers, one of which will be luxury and the other mid-range. A third will be a 30-story rental tower, and the fourth would be a replacement administrative building for the city, valued at $140 million.

Voting is scheduled for November.

Miami Freedom Park

A partnership that includes David Beckham and Jorge Mas want to develop the Melreese golf course into a project valued at up to $1 billion.

The project could include a stadium, retail, hotel, office and parking garages.

Voting is scheduled for November.

Jungle Island Hotel

A 13-story, 300-room hotel is proposed at Jungle Island by owner ESJ Capital.

Voting is scheduled for the August 28 primary election.

Source: The Next Miami

okan tower_miami_downtown-miami_okan-tower_image_100148755_acad_

In downtown Miami, where commuters dash to make trains, college students study for degrees and accused criminals are brought to justice, a developer from Istanbul is gearing up to break ground on a 70-story, 890-foot tower that will stake a claim as the state’s highest skyscraper.

Billionaire businessman Bekir Okan envisions a mixed-use high-rise whose residents and visitors can swim in a pool on the 70th floor, relax in a Turkish bath, and stay overnight in a Hilton-branded hotel. Located at 555 North Miami Ave., west of Biscayne Boulevard and northwest of Miami-Dade College, the project carries a $300 million price tag — fully financed by Okan himself, his company says.

The project is designed to contain 153 residential condo units, 236 condo-hotel units, a 294-room full service hotel and 90,000 square feet of office and meeting room space. The entire 66th floor will be devoted to a restaurant.

In a nod to Miami’s reputation as a place for experimental architectural design, the building’s silhouette will take the shape of a tulip, the national flower of Turkey. The proposed structure would rise slightly north of the main federal courthouse — which takes the shape of a cruise ship.

“We are going to be the tallest in Miami,” said architect Robert Behar, whose firm, Behar Font & Partners, designed the building. “We are going to be among the tallest south of New York. In Miami for certain.”

The building would slightly edge out the recently opened 868-foot Panorama Tower on Brickell Avenue in Miami, which eclipsed the nearby Four Seasons Tower, which stands at 789 feet.

Behar, who said he has grandparents who immigrated from Turkey to the U.S. in 1910, said he wanted to create a design that would reflect his client’s cultural roots.

“I started looking for a traditional symbolic reference I could incorporate into the building without being so literal,” Behar said. “The tulip was the most powerful graphic I could use … leaving a lasting impression on the skyline.”

As with Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, the new Brightline commuter rail service entered the conversation as a partial inspiration for planting a project of this size in Miami’s downtown, once known as a moribund area plagued by false starts and failed projects. The site of the now demolished Miami Arena, original home of the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers, is a short walking distance from the Okan Tower construction site.

“To be able to get to Orlando and Tampa from here is fantastic,” Behar said of Brightline’s future expansion plans. “I didn’t think it was going to happen in my lifetime.”

Kasim Badak, who heads Okan’s business operations in the U.S., said Okan’s interest in developing a project grew as he periodically visited Miami over the last 20 years. His youngest son attended the University of Miami.

“He loves Miami and the diversity of the people,” Badak said.

Okan was out of the country and unavailable for comment for this article. But Badak said Okan has decades of experience operating businesses in Turkey and two Central Asian states — Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The tower is his first U.S. real estate project. He founded his Okan Group of companies in 1972 and operates a university bearing his name in Istanbul. Three years ago, he opened a campus in Dania Beach that caters to business students.

During Okan’s visits to Miami, Badak said, he took stock of the city’s surging growth and “wanted to be part of the investment community in South Florida.”

“He told me to look for land in downtown Miami,” Badak recalled, “and last year, the company paid more than $18 million for a development site near Central Baptist Church. He said he is going to do a magnificent building. He wants it to be one of the trademarks of the city of Miami. Last week, the company was in the process of selecting a general contractor and negotiating a franchise agreement with Hilton.”

Okan wants to break ground in the late fall of this year and aims to complete the project in 2022. Badak said “close to 25 people” have put down deposits on units. The company operates a sales gallery on North Miami Avenue as well as one in Istanbul. In May, the company introduced the project at a launch party that drew more than 1,000 people at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

“Miami is a good place,” Badak said. “People come from South America and Europe, Africa and the Far East. There is a great potential here for everybody.”

 

Source: SunSentinel

North Beach’s new main street might include tiny apartments, 200-foot towers and homes that double as businesses.

This vision for the “Town Center” area along 71st Street, developed by city planners, is designed to turn a stretch of the island that has seen little development into a hub where residents can live, work, shop and eat without ever getting into a car.

“We think that there’s an opportunity to make Town Center more walkable and more liveable and we want to see Town Center thrive,” said Thomas Mooney, Miami Beach’s planning director. “We wanted to have more of a 24-hour feel.”

Mooney and his team have proposed allowing developers to build up to 200 feet if they provide a public benefit, such as affordable housing or a contribution to a fund that could be used for a variety of neighborhood projects. He said limiting the height to 12 stories (125 feet), which was recommended in the master plan for North Beach, would generate “static” buildings and wouldn’t leave much room for creativity.

“We wanted to build in the ability for a good architect to be able to creatively redistribute” the allowed density in a taller structure, Mooney said.

In addition to allowing micro-units — tiny, furnished apartments in buildings with shared amenities — city planners have recommended permitting artisanal retail where goods like artwork, food and beer are produced and sold on-site and neighborhood fulfillment centers where shoppers can pick up goods they order online. Units where residents can live and work in the same space would also be allowed.

But not everyone agrees with this vision for Town Center.

The redevelopment of the area between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive/Dickens Avenue from 69th Street to 72nd Street was approved by voters last November when they authorized an increase in density. Voters approved an increase in the overall size of buildings in the area, but the referendum didn’t get into specifics. That was left up to the city’s planning department.

Some residents object to allowing 200-foot towers and are skeptical about the micro-units, which they say will only attract tourists. (Short-term rentals are legal in the Town Center area.)

North Beach activist Kirk Paskal said 200-foot towers weren’t what voters envisioned when they cast their ballots because the height increase hadn’t been included in the master plan or agreed to by residents.

“Now suddenly, this new urgency for more height could severely damage the character of North Beach in a drastic and permanent way,” Paskal said in an email. “Any public benefits that may be proposed by way of this last minute effort to stray from the plan, could not justly recompense the harm that would be inflicted on the alluring human scale and cohesive character of North Beach by the incompatible and oppressive height of 200 feet.”

Paula King, a longtime North Beach resident, also has concerns about the maximum height.

“What they’re looking for is to build these high needles that are higher than any other building in North Beach so they can have the view and charge more for it,” King said. “Miami Beach is not New York. We don’t have the infrastructure to support this.”

Tiny Living

Micro-units are a trend in urban areas among residents who are willing to trade space for the opportunity to live in a neighborhood they couldn’t otherwise afford. Projects have sprouted up in Wynwood and downtown Miami, as well as in Miami Beach. A new micro-unit project at 6080 Collins Ave. offers apartments as small as 350 square feet, about the size of two parking spaces. Other micro-unit projects are in the works on South Beach’s Washington Avenue.

Mooney and his team have proposed allowing micro-units in hotels and apartment buildings in Town Center as long as the building includes plenty of shared amenities like community kitchens, business centers and gyms.

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is skeptical the micro-units will appeal to North Beach residents, however.

“What you have right there is a massive amount of transient tourism,” Rosen Gonzalez said. “It really is not reflective of what the community wanted,” she added, referring to the micro-units and the proposed height limits. “We can’t turn North Beach into South Beach.”

Others disagree. In order to attract young people and plan for the future, the regulations forTown Center need to leave room for new housing trends, said Commissioner Ricky Arriola.

“I think we need to be open minded and flexible,” Arriola said. “We can’t be rigid and just stick to the way we’ve always done things. The facts are that we are losing our millennial generation across the bay.”

North Beach residents have mixed views on the proposals.

Miguel Gonzalez, 36, said he wasn’t sure there is a market for micro-units right now due to a lack of job opportunities and public transportation. But Gonzalez, a lawyer who lives within walking distance of Town Center, said that could change.

“If you could work and live in the same place, like in downtown Miami, if they can convert this into that kind of area, more young people might be interested,” Gonzalez said.

Judith Acame, 77, lives in the Town Center area and said she thought the micro-units would appeal to young people, but not to low-income retirees like her.

“People my age will have to move to cheaper areas,” Acame said in Spanish.

Acame said she loves living in the neighborhood because she can walk to her yoga and Tai chi classes and to a nearby senior center. If the area gets more expensive and fills with buildings catering to young people.

“I guess I’d have to go to Hialeah, where my brother lives,” Acame said.

Ultimately, the city will have to be flexible in order to attract economic development to North Beach, said Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.

“North Beach’s Town Center District has seen little new development since the concept originated in 2003,”Alemán said in an email. “This time around, it is imperative that the Commission err on the side of growth and progress. The North Beach community craves results.”

The planning department’s proposal, included in the draft of an ordinance that will regulate area development, will be evaluated by the city’s planning board on July 24 and by the Land Use and Development committee on July 31. The City Commission will have final say.

The draft ordinance includes a number of other proposals, including provisions to ensure ample space between towers so that air and light filter down, limits on the numbers of hotel rooms and apartments, and noise reduction requirements for businesses that provide entertainment.

Source: Miami Herald

The developers and builders of some of Miami’s tallest towers are being sued for damage allegedly caused to two neighboring Brickell condo buildings.

Everest National Insurance Company, on behalf of the 1060 Brickell Condo Association, filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court against Florida East Coast Realty, Tutor Perini Building Corp., Key International, Moss & Associates, Rilea Group Realty and Coastal Construction Group of South Florida for significant damage to 1060 and 1050 Brickell due to the construction of Panorama Tower, 1010 Brickell and the Bond.

In all, construction of FECR’s Panorama and Rilea Group’s the Bond, which both began in early 2014, and of Key International’s 1010 Brickell, which broke ground in September of that year, allegedly damaged the facade, balconies, railings and building components, a portion of the trellis near the pool deck, the roof and cooling tower of the property at 1050 and 1060 Brickell Avenue, according to the suit.

The condo association’s policy with Everest ran from March 1, 2015 to May 1, 2016, the suit said.

Everest claims that the condo association received complaints from residents about debris, and cement and paint splatter, and that residents lost the use of their balconies. The association had to replace the roof of one of the buildings due to damage from debris impact. The association also alleges that about 45 pounds of dust and cement debris collected in one of the building’s cooling towers, clogging the filter.

On April 24, Everest made an undisclosed payment to the 1060 Brickell condo association to perform remediation to the properties caused by the loss, according to the suit.

Panorama, an 85-story mixed-use tower with apartments, a hotel and commercial space, opened at 1100 Brickell Bay Drive earlier this year. Tutor Perini handled construction.

The Bond, a 44-story, 328-unit condo tower at 1080 Brickell Avenue,opened in April 2017 and was built by Coastal Construction. And Key International and 13th Floor Investments opened 1010 Brickell, a 50-story, 389-unit condo tower at 1010 Brickell Avenue, in August. Moss & Associates was the general contractor.

The lawsuit claims that the developers and general contractors “owed a duty to adjacent property owners and residents … to ensure the development and construction” of the buildings “was within the standard of care for real estate developers under the same or similar circumstances.”

In a statement provided to The Real Deal, Bruce Moldow, executive vice president and chief legal officer of Moss, said, “We believe Moss has no liability in this situation and we will defend the case vigorously.”

Coastal vice president Dan Whiteman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

FECR, Tutor Perini, Key International and Rilea Group did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A number of developers have been sued this cycle by neighboring condo associations alleging damage from construction, including Biscayne Beach and Porsche Design Tower.

 

Source: The Real Deal

For nearly five decades, Master Brokers Forum board member Donna Bloom, an agent with Douglas Elliman, had the privilege of helping people buy and sell their homes all over Miami; particularly in Miami Beach.

She witnessed extraordinary changes to the real estate market and industry during that time, often in step with the transformations of the community itself.  She describes it as a wild and fun ride.

The following are her thoughts on the five most remarkable changes she experienced along the way.

1. More Technology (But Fewer Personal Connections)

It is simply impossible to understate the impact technology has had on real estate — in ways both positive, and negative, in my opinion. When I began my career, there were no smart phones, no tablets, no fax machines, and no computers. What we did have were phones, cars, and plenty of hustle! At the time, we had to personally present offers, which meant a lot of literal “back and forth” between buyer and seller — often late at night.

Today, contracts can be completed and signed over smartphones, any time of day or night — a big change from when I made my very first sale of a house on North Bay Road, for the price of $35,000. (Really!) We didn’t have preprinted contracts, only a form that had to be filled in by a typewriter, and you had to insert all the terms yourself. I showed that house, the buyers wanted it and I completed the form — by hand — on the trunk of my car.

Back then, the mantra was “work hard!” Now, it’s “work smart!”, which technology certainly allows one to do. (This does not mean that today’s agents don’t work hard; we all definitely do, in ways that are far different than before.) But very often, that involves dealing more with machines and screens than with real, live human beings.

2. Luxury Condos… Everywhere!

It really is fascinating to see “before” and “after” photos of downtown Miami’s skyline over the past 20 years. When I got started, the only luxury condominiums could be found along a stretch of Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, and it was aptly named the “Condo Canyon.” At the time, the prevailing logic was that condo buyers would only trade square footage for beautiful waterfront views. While that is largely still the case, and Miami Beach remains the epicenter of luxury condo development, the landscape for that development has extended considerably. Today, amazing new luxury condos can be found in Sunny Isles Beach, Coconut Grove, Surfside, Edgewater, Coral Gables and everywhere in between.

All these new condos have truly altered the way any successful Miami agent does their business. We have to keep up to speed on all the new projects, which developers make the best buildings, amenities, emerging neighborhoods, and especially where to find the best value for our clients. The “muscles” we agents use for buying and selling condos are very different than the ones used for selling single family homes, and they certainly get stretched and worked like never before.

3. Power Shift: From Agents To Customers

I’ll admit it: Before the internet became mainstream, real estate agents held all the cards. We had access to all the data and information, and the only means by which anyone could buy or sell their home. Good luck trying to sell your home yourself in those days — how could you possibly know how to find comparative pricing, get access to other agents and their customers, or handle the mountain of rules and paperwork involved in the process?

It all seems quaint now as today’s buyers and sellers have a world of listings, data, advice and marketing tools at their fingertips. It has become common to meet with prospective clients who are well-versed on recent “comps” and have good, strong opinions on how and where I should market their home.

Rather than resist this increase in customer savvy, veteran agents like me highlight specialized services that only we can provide: our local experience and expertise. It still means something to sellers when an agent can tell them, “I’ve already sold this house — and ten of your neighbors’ houses — over the years.”

4. More Competition

As Miami has evolved into a true world class-city since the turn of the century, more people earn their real estate license and take their shots at “the game” with each passing year. While real estate is a fantastic and rewarding career choice, the majority of new Miami agents enter the market with (and I choose my words carefully here) vastly unrealistic expectations for what it takes to do the job well, and earn a living doing so. This can make it challenging for customers to filter through the inexperienced or unqualified members of our industry, but it also emphasizes the need for the rest of us to market ourselves well and maintain good reputations. We also face increasing competition from online sources such as Zillow and for-sale-by-owner (or “FSBO”) entities.

5. Dramatic Population Swings

Political and environmental events have significantly shaped and altered Miami’s demographic identity over the past 50 years. From the mass exodus of Cuban exiles to Hurricane Andrew’s wrath to today’s surge of new residents from South America and Russia, agents like me have learned to roll with these changes accordingly. Very often, it has meant working with customers and colleagues whose first language may be different from mine, seeing the identity of an entire neighborhood change in months, and advising clients on the critical importance of insurance and shutters. Without even realizing it, experienced agents can simply get used to the idea of change itself being a constant.

With that in mind, I close with the question of what changes Miami real estate will experience over the next 50 years? What will the job of a Miami real estate agent look like in 2068? I’m really not sure, but I’ll be happy to write a follow-up column at that time.

 

Source: Miami Herald

It’s time America steps up its sustainability measures around the country, and a new report shows which cities are leading the way.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network released its second annual report on U.S. city sustainability, which looked at 100 of the most populated metro areas and cities around the nation to record how each city meets the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

According to Fast Company, Senior Adviser for Sustainable Development Solutions Jessica Espey noted that the data from this year’s report cannot be directly compared to last year’s. Instead, she said, this year’s data should be seen as evolving data.

“We did change quite a few indicators either due to data quality concerns, or because we found better data. To the extent that we can, we will use replicable data every year so that we can look at comparisons over time,” said Espey to Fast Company.

The report found that 62 cities are less than 50 percent of the way toward making good on 15 of the 17 SDGs that are applicable to urban areas. The No. 1 metro area, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, was only 68 percent of the way toward meeting those SDGs.

While each city varied on good and bad performances for certain indicators, there were common SDG barriers throughout the nation: poverty, racial inequality, climate interaction and failure to provide residents with healthy food.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area ranked 58 with an index score of 46.44. The only indicator where Miami metro area had a good performance was responsible consumption and production.

The Miami metro area category did see moderate performance indicators on hunger, life on land and sustainability. The area also saw a moderate performance in gender equality, which they ranked No. 2 in overall.

However, similar to every other city on the list, the Miami metro area had poor performance on climate action. The area also needs improvement on affordable and clean energy and clean water and sanitation. By highlighting a common problem across the country, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network hopes that officials will begin to make changes to improve.

“It is hoped that the report will also enable cities to identify peers struggling with similar challenges, and help facilitate a national dialogue on how to accelerate progress,” the report states. “It also offers hope by highlighting cities that are tackling these challenges and can offer inspiration to others across the country.”

 

Source: Miami Agent Magazine