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In its 890 feet of height, the Okan Tower is still planned to include three pools, one outside on the 70th floor, a spa, an outdoor lounge, a fitness center, a gastro kitchen, a children’s play center, a wine cellar, a rooftop restaurant, a movie theater and a cigar room. 

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

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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

With many heavyweights sitting on their hands until the next cycle, the top condo developers of 2017 are outliers daring to build amid a market facing oversupply.

A line of eager real estate agents, architects, attorneys and industry insiders snaked out the double doors at the Pérez Art Museum Miami on a balmy Friday night in May.

In a scene reminiscent of the launch parties of 2014 and 2015, about 800 guests made their way through the museum and up to the crowded third-floor terrace of the museum that bears the name of Miami’s biggest condo developer, Related Group founder Jorge Pérez.

The event? Okan Development Group, a Turkish development firm making its debut in the Miami market, was launching its Okan Tower, a $300 million, 70-story hotel and condo project planned for Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District.

Not everyone on the long line made it inside, but the soiree — which included a Turkish jazz band and speeches from billionaire developer Bekir Okan, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and One Sotheby’s International Realty President Daniel de la Vega — showed how hungry the real estate community was for a brand-new project, one that was free of the baggage of previous site plans, delayed timelines or lackluster sales.

Kasim Badak, CEO of Okan Development Group, acknowledged there is a clear slowdown in Miami’s condo market, but said he believes Okan Tower will be timed perfectly for the next cycle.

“The project will take about 40 to 45 months to build. By then, we will be in a great position to have a new project in the market,” Badak said.

If Okan breaks ground in the fourth quarter of this year, it would be delivered at some point in 2022, in time for what insiders say could be the start of the next cycle.

Okan is one of only a handful of developers to submit new permit applications for ground-up condo construction in Miami, Miami Beach, Aventura and Sunny Isles Beach over the past 12 months. The Real Deal analyzed applications filed in those cities between May 2017 and April 2018 and found that the developers forging ahead on condo projects included Aria Development, which ranked first, Okan Development Group which came in second, and third-place firm Multiplan Real Estate Asset Management, led by Brazilian billionaire José Isaac Peres.

The developers who’ve built some of the biggest Miami condo projects of this cycle — Related, JDS Development Group, Swire Properties and others — are keeping mum about future condo projects, focusing instead on selling out their current buildings and ramping up multifamily, mixed-use and other types of projects.

Swire, for example, recently hired ISG to take over the remaining sales at Brickell City Centre’s Reach and Rise condos, and it won’t release a timeline or details about phase two until it sells out those 198 remaining units, said Maile Aguila, Swire’s senior vice president of residential sales. Aguila doesn’t expect a sellout for another year and a half or two years — sometime between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

Others are proceeding boldly. Aria Development, for example, is working with Kuwait real estate company AQARAT to build YotelPad Miami, a 31-story tower planned for 227 Northeast Second Street in downtown Miami. Aria developer David Arditi joked that his firm likes to be different.

“Perhaps we’re a little contrarian in terms of market timing,” Arditi said.

But with YotelPad, Arditi and AQARAT are targeting a much lower price point than many developers sitting on unsold inventory. The building, a $150 million development, will have 208 condos and 250 Yotel “cabins,” or small hotel rooms.

“Sales launched about two months ago, with prices starting in the $300,000s,” Arditi said. “Condos range in size from about 417 square feet to 708 square feet. We saw an opportunity in the market that we felt was not being adequately addressed for branded residential product.”

YotelPad, which is 70 percent owned by the Al-Bahar family — the controlling shareholders of AQARAT — will manage the property. Aria and AQARAT are working to secure a construction loan for about half of the project cost, which comes to about $75 million. They’ll break ground in the fourth quarter of this year and complete the project in approximately two years.

Sales skipped the reservation phase and went straight to contracts, Arditi said.

He declined to state how many units are under contract, but said he’s “very pleased” with the number.

Buyers so far are from South America, Europe and China, as well as from the U.S.,” Arditi said. “I would not have launched this project if it required selling million-dollar branded residences right now.”

Located just north of downtown Miami, Okan Tower will also be targeting non-luxury buyers, with units there starting at $318,500. In addition to a 294-room Hilton Hotel & Resorts-branded property, the tower will feature office space and a restaurant and bar on the 66th floor.

Badak of Okan said that the company launched sales in Istanbul in May, and has secured about 45 reservations from buyers in Turkey and in the U.S. Okan is self-financing the $300 million project.

Although it’s rare, there are some developers who will be putting more luxury condos on the market.

Multiplan Real Estate Asset Management is demolishing the Marlborough House property in Miami Beach, where it will build 5775 Collins Avenue, a boutique luxury condo building.

The Brazilian developer is building an on-site sales center. Marcelo Kingston of Multiplan declined to provide specific numbers, but said the 17-story, 89-unit project will be priced similarly to Eighty Seven Park, the Four Seasons Residences at the Surf Club and L’Atelier. Units in those properties generally range in price from at least $1.6 to $31 million.

The approval process wasn’t an easy one for Multiplan, which faced a delay from the city of Miami Beach, thereby pushing the project’s timeline back.

“But sales won’t dictate when the building gets completed,” Kingston said. “The December approval was a major trigger for the project to move forward.”

Now, the development team, which includes Arquitectonica, is pushing toward what they see as the next most optimal time to launch: Art Basel this December, the unofficial kickoff to Miami’s selling season.

And after launching last fall, Element Development plans to break ground on the first phase of Glasshaus in the Grove in June, then launch sales for phase two by the end of this year. The developer ranked fourth in TRD’s analysis of the biggest condo project developers of the past 12 months.

Element, led by Javier Lluch, has sold about half of the units in the first phase, a 23-unit condo development at 3161 Center Street. Element is building the project with G.D8, and Fortune International Group is handling sales and marketing.

“Sales are doing very well. We’re selling at about a third of the price of our competitors,” Lluch said.

Prices at Glasshaus start at $595,000.

Meanwhile, sales have not yet launched for 1414 West Avenue in Miami Beach. The development group, tied to Spencer Blank of Boca Raton firm Redcliff Builders and Belgian investors Axel Knauf and Bernard Petit, secured design approvals from the city of Miami Beach in October 2017.

UrvanX, a Miami-based architecture firm, is designing the five-story, 14-unit boutique condo building. The previous owner of the site won approvals for the building in 2015, but it didn’t obtain building permits within the allotted time frame. Units at 1414 West Avenue will range from 672-square-foot one-bedrooms to 1,315-square-foot two-bedrooms.

The development site is about two blocks north of Monad Terrace, a luxury condo building that JDS Development Group and partners are building.

“At Monad, units are under contract for more than $1,800 a foot,” developer Michael Stern said.

JDS, one of Miami’s largest condo developers in terms of number of units this cycle, has sites across South Florida, including some along the Miami River.

Stern declined to comment on future condo plans, but said that while he’s always watching the market, he’s careful not be too cautious.

“If you overreact to the specifics of the cycles in Florida, you can get caught with bad timing,” Stern said.


Source: The Real Deal

Billionaire Turkish developer Bekir Okan is launching plans for a $300 million, 70-story hotel and condo tower in downtown Miami.

Okan Tower will have a 294-room Hilton-branded hotel, 236 condo-hotel units, 153 condos, 64,000 square feet of Class A office space and a restaurant on the 67th floor. Okan Group just unveiled the project at an event at its 3,000-square-foot sales gallery in Istanbul.

“We felt it would be most strategic to start there,” said Daniel de la Vega of One Sotheby’s International Realty.

The developer will officially launch sales in Miami when the sales gallery opens Thursday at 542 North Miami Avenue.

“Construction is expected to begin later this year,” de la Vega said.

One Sotheby’s will handle residential sales of the building planned for 555 North Miami Avenue. Prices will start at $318,500 and range from 447 square feet to 1,245 square feet. Jerry Sanchez is the director of sales.

“The four duplex penthouses will range from 1,872 square feet to 2,142 square feet and from $1.9 million to $2.4 million,” de la Vega said.

Okan is targeting foreign investors for the residential units, and will build the tower with its own equity.

“Despite the slowdown in luxury condo sales, I am confident the units are priced competitively,” de la Vega said

And the developer is hoping that the tower will appeal to international investors “looking for value opportunities” who are out-priced by the glut of luxury condos on the market in Miami, founder Bekir Okan wrote in an email.

Competing projects downtown include YotelPad and Smart Brickell. Aria Development is developing the Yotel-branded tower, a 31-story building planned for 227 Northeast Second Avenue with prices ranging from $260,000 to $450,000 and units averaging 580 square feet. Smart Brickell will have condos priced from the low $300,000s to about $600,000, and sizes from 558 square feet to 1,117 square feet.

Amenities at Okan Tower will include a sky pool on the 70th floor, a Hammam spa, health and fitness center, outdoor lounge, a kids’ playroom, gourmet kitchen, movie theater, wine cellar and a cigar room, according to a press release. Behar Font & Partners designed the tower.

Okan Group was founded in 1972 by Bekir Okan, who has a home in Miami, where two of his children attended college, he said. His firm owns the Istanbul-based Okan University, which opened a campus in Dania Beach in 2015, and has invested in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Okan Tower will be the first real estate development in the United States for the company.

Property records show Miami 6th Street LLC, an Okan affiliate paid $18.1 million for the 36,000-square-foot development site in Miami, near the historic Central Baptist Church in 2017.


Source: The Real Deal