The price was not officially disclosed but people familiar with the deal stated it was more than $400 million and less than $500 million, with some sources saying the price was roughly $450 million.

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

The Magic City Innovation District Special Area Plan was submitted to the city of Miami for review last month.

According to the documents, the developers are proposing to build:

  • 2,490 residential units
  • 1,763,820 office square feet (net)
  • 432 hotel rooms
  • 313,165 retail square feet (net)
  • 5,547 parking spaces in garages

In total, 17 buildings with the tallest at 27 stories are planned. Completion of the entire conccpt will take 10-15 years, with construction to begin in 2020, according to the project website (although existing buildings will be rehabilitated before then).

In a letter, the developer says they intend to build a Transit Oriented Development, with a stop to be built on the Brightline/Tri-Rail Coastal Link track.

Cirque Du Soleil Billionaire Guy Laliberté is listed as having a stake on an ownership statement submitted with the proposal.

Arquitectonica is the architect.

Source: The Next Miami

Speaking to a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce crowd, an American Dream Miami consultant said construction on the massive theme-park-oriented mall may not begin until 2025, three years after all roads and expressway interchanges into the development have been completed.

In the meantime, fostering more development around public transit hubs is the key ingredient in creating the kind of critical mass that will transform Miami into a true urban center, according to a panel of downtown and Brickell developers.

“Bringing in the Brightline commuter train into downtown is going to be transformative for the city,” said Greg West, president and chief development officer at ZOM. “It not only elevates Miami, but all of South Florida on the global stage. It should bring more population.”

West joined Swire President Kieran Bowers and Henry Pino, managing member Strategic Properties Group and Alta Developers, in a discussion about builders capitalizing on Miami’s continuing evolution. It was the second of two panels during the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce 2017 Real Estate Summit held at Jungle Island on Friday.

Pino said his companies have plans to develop two mixed-use sites near Miami-Dade Metrorail stations south of Miami.

“We are trying to expand our projects to be closer to the train stations,” he said. “We just closed on a property that will be 900 feet from the Dadeland South Station,” Pino said. “We have another one in South Miami that is across from city hall and within walking distance to another Metrorail station.”

Earlier this week, Alta paid $11 million for a 1.45-acre industrial site at 9600 South Dixie Highway to complete an assemblage that also includes a 6,250-square-foot site with a retail building at 9514 South Dixie Highway and a 3,125-square-foot site with an office building at 9516 South Dixie Highway. Alta plans to seek county approval to redevelop the sites into a mixed-use project that includes 420 apartments, roughly 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a pool, a fountain and a fitness center.

Bowers said Brickell is a good example of how residential development close to a Metrorail station creates critical mass and encourages people to use public transit

“My experience with Metrorail is that it is fine once you get on it,” Bowers said. “But getting to the stations is the real problem.”

During the earlier panel, three developers building massive projects in the northwest area of Miami-Dade discussed the challenges they face breaking ground, noting it can take years to cut through the regulatory red tape. The panelists were Jose Gonzalez, vice president of corporate development for Florida East Coast Industries, Stuart Wyllie, CEO of the Graham Companies, and Edgar Jones, president of Edgar Jones & Co., which is part of the development team building American Dream Miami.

Gonzalez talked about the hoops Florida East Coast jumped through simply to prepare a former landfill for development into an industrial park.

“We bought the land in 2004,” Gonzalez said. “We literally just broke ground last year. And it will take 10 years to build out that park.”

Jones said that construction of American Dream cannot begin until the state and county finish building all the roads and expressway interchanges that provide access to the gargantuan entertainment and shopping destination.

“That will be completed in 2022,” Jones said. “Construction of the mall won’t start until three years after that.”

Jones also groused about amount of time the developers have been required to spend on traffic studies to convince county officials that American Dream will create more gridlock in an area already plagued by traffic congestion.

“The development team has widened the scope of the areas that may be impacted by more traffic so much that we now know the traffic impact in Santa Monica, California,” Jones said in jest.

He also claimed that if American Dream opponents succeed in killing the project, the massive assemblage of land would be developed into industrial parks.

“You will have trucks on the road at significant levels,” Jones said. “Those trucks will be out during rush hour.”


Source: The Real Deal

Beth Azor, principal, Azor Advisory Services; Aly-khan Merali, CFO and chief investment officer, Turnberry Associates; Jack Lowell, executive VP, Colliers International South Florida; Avra Jain, principal, Vagabond Group; and Chris Weilminster, executive VP, Federal Realty at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce real estate summit

Beth Azor, principal, Azor Advisory Services; Aly-khan Merali, CFO and chief investment officer, Turnberry Associates; Jack Lowell, executive VP, Colliers International South Florida; Avra Jain, principal, Vagabond Group; and Chris Weilminster, executive VP, Federal Realty at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce real estate summit

The experts gathered for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s South Florida Real Estate Summit stressed that the market is not headed for a downturn, even though growth has slowed.

About 450 people gathered at Miami’s Jungle Island on Thursday for the event, which featured two panels and various speakers. Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez told attendees that 2015 saw the highest volume ever for the city’s building department, with 174 permits issued and $2.4 billion in ongoing construction. “That is why you are waiting so long in the building department,” he said.

Here are five highlights from the panels:

Retail Carries Great Potential, At A Moderate Pace

South Florida has about 6 million square feet of retail proposed or under construction, with a handful of new malls planned and four malls set to expand, said Beth Azor, principal of Azor Advisory Services.

“That is a little crazy,” Beth Azor said. “I am not sure how much will be built. SoLe Mia and American Dream Miami will probably happen, but four or five other projects we hope are not built because limited supply keeps our market healthier.”

Azor is looking to sign tenants at a new retail center at Northwest 79th Street and Northwest 32nd Avenue.

“Retail leasing is going well at SoLe Mia in North Miami, and rents there are better than on nearby Biscayne Boulevard,” said Aly-khan Merali, CFO and chief investment officer of Turnberry Associates, the co-developer of the project. “It’s focused on signing tenants that will be relevant in three or five years,” he said.


Construction crews used a fleet of roughly 100 construction trucks on Saturday to haul concrete to the site of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline train station in downtown Miami, marking the final foundation work at the site.

The pour was expected to complete the foundation at the company’s MiamiCentral station. The company said crews poured 5,500 cubic yards of concrete at the site, which spans six city blocks and is located within walking distance of the American Airlines Arena and a short shuttle ride from PortMiami.

The work was expected to take about 18 hours to complete. Brightline officials said Saturday’s work will mark the largest concrete pour at the site.

After the weekend work, Brightline officials said vertical construction is set begin on the station’s buildings and train platforms.


Source: Palm Beach Post