Emilio Palomo (the past chair of the Master Brokers Forum, an elite network of the top real estate professionals in Miami, and the owner/broker of Riteway Properties III) recently went to a party for the opening of a Miami Beach hotel.

He was not familiar with this particular hotel or the people behind it, and attended on the invitation of a colleague. After a few minutes, it became clear to him that most of the guests were from Argentina (or of Argentine descent), and he was not surprised to learn that the owners are themselves native Argentines who have been — somewhat quietly — buying and upgrading Miami Beach hotels for many years.

Emilio worked with buyers and sellers from around the world over the course of his 47-plus years in Miami real estate. He feels fortunate to live in a city that draws so much global interest, with buyers coming from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada, and (of course) the U.S. Many find our real estate prices to still be reasonably low compared to their home nations.

Some foreign buyers come here because of political instability and lack of security in their countries, others because of our weather, beaches and everything else Miami has to offer. Whatever the reason, Miami has become one of the most desired international destinations in today’s market for a permanent or second (or third!) home.

And while buyers from Russia, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela have drawn the biggest headlines for their respective impacts, he believes that Miami’s Argentines have not received nearly enough attention for their significant contribution to the economy and real estate market.

Some of this may be due to the nature of Argentines themselves, who in Emilio‘s opinion and experience tend to be quite modest and discreet. Thanks to referrals from friends in the banking community, over the years he has built a solid base of Argentine clients, and become friendly with many of them. (His Cuban-American family has become close with one particular group for whom he sold and managed units, and recently joined them to make some amazing wine in Mendoza, Argentina.)

But it would seem that the days of Argentines flying under Miami’s “real estate radar” are in the past. Some of the city’s most visible and exciting new projects are being created by developers with deep roots in Argentina, including:

  • Mid-Miami Beach’s acclaimed Faena District, a six-block project that features luxury hotels, bars, condominiums, a cultural center and a retail complex, from the visionary mind of Argentine developer/artist Alan Faena.
  • The Aston Martin Residences, the car maker’s first branded condominium project, which recently broke ground. The 66-story building located at the mouth of the Miami River is being developed by G&G Business Developments, a Miami-based firm owned by Argentine supermarket magnate German Coto and his mother Gloria.
  • The Oceana-branded condominiums in Key Biscayne and Bal Harbour, created by Buenos Aires native (and international art collector) Eduardo Costantini.

In addition to these high-profile projects, observers may have noticed a quiet explosion of Argentine restaurants and other businesses in Miami over the past few years, reflecting the growing population of residents and visitors. From what Emilio has noticed, many of the wealthiest Argentines make their homes in Key Biscayne, but there are also many to be found in Aventura, Miami Beach, Brickell, Downtown, Midtown and Edgewater.

Unfortunately, not all news involving Argentine interest in Miami real estate have been positive.

Last month, The Miami Herald reported that former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was accused by the nation’s top anti-corruption official of secretly owning more than 60 Miami properties bought with “dirty money.”

While this item is concerning, Emilio believes that Argentina’s recent change in government, and the stability being demonstrated by its new reform-minded leadership, will put the country on a path toward sustained economic growth. This would obviously allow even more Argentine investment in Miami — the “clean” kind we very much prefer.

Emilio is looking forward to many more years of welcoming Argentines and others who continue to make Miami a dynamic, evolving, and truly international city.


Source: Miami Herald

Four developers will seek to rezone property in Miami for major projects, including a 43-story apartment tower by the Melo Group.

The city’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board will consider all four applications on March 15. If approved there, the applications would need to pass two readings before the City Commission. These rezoning applications deal with the allowable height and density on the sites, not the specific building designs, which would go through a different approval process.

1. Apartment Building Proposed By Meo Group In Arts & Entertainment District

Miami-based Melo Group, one of the largest residential developers in Miami with its condo and apartment towers, wants to rezone the 1.22-acre site it owns through affiliate Art Plaza LLC in the Arts & Entertainment District. It paid $16 million in 2014 for the property at 1336, 1348 and 1366 N.E. 1st Ave., 50 and 58 N.E. 14th Street, plus 1335 N.E. Miami Court. It’s near where Melo Group is currently building the Square Station apartments.

The area is zoned for 500 units per acre. Attorney Iris Escarra, who represents Melo Group in the application, said it’s not feasible to build to that density level under the site’s current zoning because it doesn’t allow enough square footage. Melo Group intends to build an apartment building with ground-floor commercial space, she said. That location is ideal for Miami workers because it’s near the School Board Station Metro Mover and Melo Group would but a public entrance to encourage mass transit and walking, she added.

The property’s current zoning of T6-24-A would permit a 22-story building of 518,000 square feet with 304 units. Rezoning Art Plaza LLC’s land to T6-24B would allow a 43-story building of 1.28 million square feet with 630 units, according to Escarra’s estimate.

“Square Station has the same zoning,” Escarra said. “This area is really in need of that particular zoning change. It’s important to get people to take the School Board Stop.”

2. Apartment Tower Proposed In Omni

Developers Damian Narvaez and Alex Karakhanian plan to build an apartment building in the Omni neighborhood.

Their co-owned company 2247 N.W. 17th Avenue LLC paid $6.6 million in May 2016 for the 43,262-square-foot site at 1900 N.E. Miami Court. It currently has a 50,317-square-foot building from 1923 that recently housed Aspira Charter School.

The developer seeks to rezone the property from T6-8 to T6-12, which would increase the permitted height from eight stories to 12 stories. The density would remain at 500 units per acre. Attorney Steven Wernick, who represents the developers, said rezoning the property would allow his clients to propose a building closer to the area’s permitted density. If approved, it will design an apartment building with ground floor retail, he said.

“The site is in need of redevelopment to bring more housing into the area,” Wernick said.

Based on an average unit size of 700 square feet, the current zoning would permit a 266,963-square-foot building with 220 units. The new zoning would allow a 444,226-square-foot building with 358 units. Wernick said the final number of units would depend on the design of the building and the size of each unit.

3. MiMo Site Could Be Rezoned

The owner of a 1.33-acre site in MiMo wants to rezone the property for more density.

Todd Leoni manages the three companies 7000 Biscayne LLC, 7100 Biscayne LLC, and 7120 Biscayne that own the property. It covers 7000, 7010, 7020, 7030, 7100, and 7120 Biscayne Blvd. plus 565 N.E. 71st Street. The property currently has a three-story office building, two restaurants and a car wash.

The property is currently zoned T4 and T5. The proposed zoning of T6-8 would allow 85 units. There would be no change in the permitted height, as buildings in the MiMo historic district are limited to 35 feet.

It’s not clear exactly what the developer plans to build. Attorney Gilberto Pastoriza, who represents 7000 Biscayne LLC, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

4. Mixed-Use Proposed In Allapattah

A mixed-use multifamily project is planned for the emerging neighborhood of Allapattah.

Luar Investments LLC, owned by Raul Rodriguez, owns the 44,442-square-foot site at 2950 N.W. 7th Ave., 720, 730, and 744 N.W. 30th Street, and 735 N.W. 29th Street. It currently has an 8,956-square-foot building that’s used by an ambulance company and the parking lot is utilized for ambulance parking to serve the nearby hospitals.

It’s currently zoned T4 with 36 units per acre. The developer wants it rezoned to T5 with 65 units per acre. This would allow about 48 units on the site.

Miami attorney Ben Fernandez wrote in the application that Luar Investments intends to build a mixed-use multifamily development with ground floor commercial space. He couldn’t be reached for comment.


Source: SFBJ

The Little Haiti area will be South Florida’s hottest residential neighborhood in 2017, even as the wider region cools down, according to a recent report released by real estate website Zillow.

The company predicts home values in the gentrifying area north of downtown Miami will rise 4.6 percent this year. (Zillow included Little River, Buena Vista and the area around the Design District — together once known as Lemon City — in its analysis.) That’s the fastest rate in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. But South Florida as a whole will grow at a 1.6 percent clip, Zillow said. Miami’s growth rate puts it at number 90 of the country’s 96 largest metro areas, according to Zillow projections.

Little Haiti, ‘The Next Wynwood’

With Brickell and the Beach overbuilt, developers are now zeroing in on under-valued neighborhoods close to the urban core.

“This could be the next Wynwood” is the mantra of many investors and home flippers crowding into Little Haiti. The average home there is valued at $191,500, up 19.6 percent over the last year, according to Zillow.

Just south of the booming neighborhood, the Archdiocese of Miami wants to sell the 15-acre campus of Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School in Buena Vista. Developers have also unveiled plans for large, mixed-use projects. And restaurants and commercial business are moving in, too, most recently Entercom Communications, one of the country’s biggest radio broadcasters, which signed a lease in Little River.

Some business owners and residents are worried they could be forced out by the wave of cash, and that Little Haiti’s unique cultural heritage is under siege. In March, with the support of many Haitian Americans, the city of Miami officially recognized the area roughly between 54th Street and 79th Street, and Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue, as Little Haiti.

Zillow predicts the other top neighborhoods in South Florida in 2017 will be the 441 corridor in Hollywood (the residential area south of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino); South Middle River in Fort Lauderdale; Highland Garden in Hollywood; and Liberty City in Miami.

South Florida Slowdown

The overall slowdown in South Florida might come as a surprise after years of big gains. Fueled by foreign investment, real estate in Miami Beach, Brickell and other high-rise havens recovered quickly after the housing bubble burst, leaving less fashionable. But now that a strong dollar has cooled the condo market, overall growth is plummeting compared to other major metro areas.

“We’re expecting a drastic slowdown,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Miami was the one market where I was starting to get concerned about a bubble because of the foreign investment flowing in and prices becoming so unaffordable. … A slowdown is actually a good thing because it could allow incomes to catch up.”

The volume of home sales in Miami-Dade fell by double digits in three of the four months leading up to November’s presidential election. Zillow also found that Miami has a higher unemployment rate and slower projected wage growth than other big cities. Recession in Latin America prevented Miami’s economy from booming at the rapid clip experienced in other parts of Florida and the Southeast in 2016.

The metro areas projected to experience the biggest increases in home values this year are Nashville, Tennessee; Seattle; Provo, Utah; Orlando; and Salt Lake City.


Source: Miami Herald

An affiliate of Codina Partners obtained two big loans from Regions Bank to build its 2020 Salzedo mixed-use project in Coral Gables.

The bank (NYSE: RF) made a $53.54 million mortgage to Codina CG for the residential portion and a $15.35 million loan to Salzedo Office for the office portion. The site covers 1.6 acres at 2020 Salzedo Street.

Codina assembled the property with purchases of $5.2 million in 2010 and $977,500 in 2013 and then paid the owners of historical properties to transfer development rights to the property.

The project will have 213 apartments in 16 stories, 46,000 square feet of office in four stories, 5,000 square feet of retail and 559 parking spaces. The parking garage will have a rooftop amenity deck with a pool.


Source: SFBJ

A new strategic vision, competitive pricing and a less hectic lifestyle are three reasons North Miami Beach is emerging as an attractive location for new residential and commercial investment.

Both the scenic Biscayne Boulevard corridor and the 163rd Street commercial district are in the early stages of an exciting transformation that will bring many positive benefits and developments to the city.

NorthMiamiBeachHiddenGem-ChartLed by Mayor George Vallejo, the city of North Miami Beach adopted a strategic plan in September that sets guidelines for real-estate development, design and zoning for the next 15 years. The “visioning” framework, which was guided by two consulting firms, encourages new mixed-use projects and high-end residential towers in appropriate locations. It also includes funds for a comprehensive parks master plan, which will make the city an even more appealing place to live.

Already, a new wave of commercial development is under way, including plans for new high-end restaurants and a hotel along West Dixie Highway south of the roadway congestion in Aventura. Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Developers in Sunny Isles Beach, purchased the Intracoastal Mall for $63.5 million last year and plans to open a luxury iPic theater in the mall this summer.

On the residential side, North Miami Beach is becoming a destination of choice for both domestic and international buyers seeking an alternative to higher-priced properties in more congested areas along the beach, in Aventura or in downtown Miami. Because the redevelopment of North Miami Beach is just in the early stages, pricing for luxury residences is more attractive than other markets that have already experienced a run-up in values.

Marina Palms Yacht Club & Residences

Marina Palms Yacht Club & Residences

For example, the sales prices for the second tower of Marina Palms Yacht Club & Residences, now under development on Biscayne Boulevard, averages $550 per square foot. To the north, a residence in a new Aventura building would be $850 per square foot, and the price for oceanfront units could be double or triple that rate.

Looking back at the last few decades, it’s clear that South Florida communities are at varying stages of the real-estate cycle. For instance, South Beach real estate was a bargain in the 1980s, before a wave of new hospitality, retail and residential investment created one of the world’s most popular (and expensive) urban resort markets.

Downtown languished until the early 2000s, when new residential and mixed-use developments exploded on the scene. After the recession, developers were quick to pick up unfinished projects and market them on an all-cash basis to affluent buyers from Latin America and Europe.

Meanwhile, North Miami Beach has remained a quiet, suburban city with about 40,000 residents and great recreational amenities, such as Greynolds Park and Oleta River State Park. In addition, the Biscayne Bay campus of Florida International University is conveniently located in nearby North Miami.

With its new strategic plan in place and a growing flow of commercial and residential real-estate investment, North Miami Beach is entering a new era, just as other Miami-Dade communities have evolved in the past.

Now the world is about to discover the new “hidden gem” in South Florida’s real-estate market. It’s an exciting time to participate in the transformation process, which will create a bright future for North Miami Beach and its residents.


Source: Miami Herald