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Miami Today

Millennials Lead Population Boom in Miami


Visionaries area taking advantage of a booming population, thriving services and comprehensive code while the opportunity lasts. Santiago Vanegas, partner at Habitat Group, predicts his upcoming three-part project Smart Brickell will be one of the few upcoming condo, hotel and commercial projects to rise. Smart Brickell is to break ground this winter, with completion set for 2020. Mr. Vanegas says supply for newly completed buildings such as the SLS Lux Brickell and Brickell Heights is running relatively dry, leaving his project and the Brickell Flatiron development to absorb remaining demand.
He said, “It’s a fantastic opportunity to make an investment on Brickell because the land is gone. There is not going to be more cycles in the future. Compared to downtown, you have land for more than 50,000 units. You have a lot of potential supply in downtown. Same thing in Edgewater. But not in Brickell.”
The lack of new options and competition works to his advantage, he says: “In the next cycle, Brickell is going to be very difficult to generate more supply. That means the price should go up.”


Miami condo price reductions in sales just 1.1% from list

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Miami has seen a recent boom in not only condominium construction and sales but also resales.
While many buildings are still in the pre-construction or construction stages, there is always a demand for units in existing buildings, observers say. Of the 50 most expensive, prices range from $13.9 million for a 6,120-square-foot unit on Fisher Island to $55 million for a penthouse at Faena at 3315 Collins Ave. on Miami Beach. The five-bedroom, five-bath unit features 8,273 square feet of living space.
Though sellers of single-family homes priced at more than $1.5 million have had to drop their prices an average of 3.8%, condo prices were reduced by only 1.1%, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
“The top of the market is stable,” said Alicia Cervera, managing partner and principal of Cervera Real Estate. “It’s not a raging market – which everybody prefers – but it’s not in freefall, either.”
There’s no shortage of buyers, but different factors motivate them to buy, she said. “The reality is, you’re selling to a very small pond, maybe 5% of the population. People at this level have the cash; it just depends on when they want to pull the trigger.”
Cervera Real Estate advertises both locally and in targeted luxury publications. “The big shift is that you don’t market geographically, but to other demographic factors: where they go, what luxury items they consume. What appeals to them? Is it the boat show, is it Art Basel, is it the Miami 500 races? We advertise in our own backyard, too, because we know wealthy people from around the world come here.”
In Miami, luxury condo buyers want to be on the water, near upscale restaurants and luxury shopping, Ms. Cervera said. Edgewater, where Cervera Real Estate is marketing Elysee Miami and Biscayne Beach, is near the Design District, as is Aria on the Bay; Aston Martin Residences is downtown, close to Zuma and DB Moderne restaurants, she added.
Other properties the group represents are The Grove at Grand Bay and The Markers in Coconut Grove and The Bond and Smart Brickell in Brickell.
Demand for the buildings is driven by high occupancy overall (97%) and “rents going through the roof,” Ms. Cervera said. “It takes two or three years for a building to deliver, so it’s good that we have all of these units coming on the market. Otherwise, it would have stifled the city.”
It’s also fortunate that the buildings are proceeding at different schedules, to accommodate those who want to move in right away, as well as those who can wait, she added.
“It’s good to have some that are close to finishing; Aria on the Bay will be finished in January. We sold it out, and people want to move in. Biscayne Beach is finished. Life changes quickly, and it’s hard to know where you’ll be in four years.”
A major change in this building boom is that more people will occupy their units, even if on a part-time basis, she said. “Someone has to call it home, even if it’s one week or one month a year, so it’s not idle. In Miami, that hasn’t been an issue. In fact, we have buildings being occupied very quickly.”
“It’s the definition of luxury,” said Chad Carroll of Douglas Elliman, describing the $39 million penthouse on which the company has an exclusive listing in the Regalia in Sunny Isles Beach. With nearly 17,000 square feet, it is the second most expensive condominium unit for sale in Miami-Dade County.
The two-story penthouse at Regalia comprises 10,700 square feet (at $3,600 per square foot) with a 7,000-square-foot rooftop terrace and private pool reached by glass elevator, dual master bedrooms, a great room, movie theater, game and family rooms, private spa, wine cellar and guest room with its own living space.
Finishes include Nikzad wood and Blanco Sevilla stone flooring, Kreon designer lighting, custom speakers and millwork, Falma Italian closets, and programmable controls for lighting, shades, temperature and music. “No expense was spared,” Mr. Carroll said.
Designed by Arquitectonica’s Bernardo Fort-Brescia, the building itself offers only 39 units, he said, with unit prices starting from $8 million. They have 360-degree wrap-around terraces that offer unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean, Golden Beach, the Intracoastal Waterway and the skylines of Miami, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
Another listing in the Regalia is a six-bedroom, six-bath “beach house” comprising 10,515 square feet, with a private pool, sauna, steam room and spa. It is listed for $29 million, he said.
“We have had interest from hedge fund managers, European families, Brazilians. It’s a very diverse group,” Mr. Carroll said. “The ultra-wealthy just love the building because it makes them feel at home. We’ve been very active.”


Smart Car May Come With Every Condo

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Catherine Lackner
Miami Today
Building on the concept of the new urbanism, Miami developer Santiago Vanegas is planning a condo building that not only satisfies owners’ need for shelter, but also for transportation.
“It will be an intelligent building involving Smart Cars,” said Mr. Vanegas, a principal in Habitat Development LLC. The ROA Group and Santianto Cordovez are also partners in the project. “We spoke with Mercedes and they looked like they were interested,” Mr. Vanegas said.
The as-yet-unnamed building will rise at 1775 SW Third Ave. in West Brickell in about a year, Mr. Vanegas said. The developers have applied for a domain name for the project, which will comprise about 190 units and will be LEED Gold certified, he added.
In addition to giving buyers an option of having a Smart Car wrapped into their purchase, the developers will include iPods, innovative appliances and “smart” gadgets that control the heating, cooling and electrical systems, he said.
The building will target local workers in the Brickell office district, the Mary Brickell Village retail complex and in Swire’s massive Brickell Citycentre development, he said.
Even if owners decide against getting a Smart Car, the property is within walking distance of a Publix supermarket, three blocks from Metrorail and across from a City of Miami trolley station, Mr. Vanegas said.
By incorporating parking for Smart Cars, the developers hope to limit the parking they will be required to provide.
“That is not in the code right now, but we are talking to the city about it,” he said. “We will propose to the city 20 parking spaces of normal size, which will fit 40 Smart Cars. Not all of the people will have the cars.”
If that doesn’t work, the developers will consider installing a lift system to be able to stack cars vertically. They also might incorporate a station for car sharing, allowing a franchise like Zipcar or Car2Go to operate there, Mr. Vanegas said.
“The idea is that we can include one car in the sales price of $200,000 to $250,000, install intelligent fixtures and give them a smart kitchen,” Mr. Vanegas said. “The Smart Car comes in five colors, and the kitchen counters will be offered in those five colors. It’s very attractive for the price, and I think it could succeed.”To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.


Developer seeks green certification for Brickell hotel project

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A Miami developer is working on five sustainable buildings on three parcels in Brickell— includ­ing one that could be the first certified green hotel in Miami. Developer Santiago Vanegas, manager of Habitat Development in Miami, is planning a 150-unit hotel, Habitat at Broadway, at Southwest 15th Road and Sec­ond Avenue. Mr. Vanegas said he began the process last week of obtaining Leadership in En­ergy and Environmental Design certification. The company plans to register the project on the US Green Building Council’s Web site this week, he said.
The hotel, planned for a March 2011 opening, is one of three Habitat projects up for permit­ting and LEED certification. The company broke ground last year on a pair of nine-story residen­tial towers at 1700 and 1701 SW Second Ave. that are not certified but are being built with sustainable elements, he said. “We hired a consultant, Aina Pujol from PGI Group, to help coordinate the LEED process,” Mr. Vanegas said. “I hope this will be the long-term standard for all projects. We are creating a neighborhood of green buildings.” According to the US Green Building Council Web site, once a project is registered, it must meet several performance benchmarks through design, construction and operation to receive formal LEED certifica­tion. There are four levels of certification, with Platinum be­ing the highest.
A city zoning inspector is scheduled to conduct a stan­dard review of the project site in the next few weeks, Mr. Vanegas said. Because the hotel will have fewer than 200 units, the devel­oper can apply for a Class Two permit instead of a major use special permit, which would require the approval of city com­missioners, he said.
The development team is con­sidering two options for the hotel — hiring an operator to run it as a short-stay hotel or selling condo-hotel units, Mr. Vanegas said. The company is negotiat­ing with an operator, he said. If it opts for a condo-hotel, prices would begin in the $250,000s at an average $500 per square foot, Mr. Vanegas said.
“A lot of brokers are saying it would be easy to sell the units at that price and location,” Mr. Vanegas said. “With the green-building elements, the project would bring something new to the area. We prefer that op­tion.”
With hotels elsewhere in downtown Miami being re­placed with residential projects, the Habitat could satisfy a growing demand for hotel rooms when it hits the market, said German Osorio, broker for Miami Elite International. “There is definitely a need, and the timing is very good,” Mr. Osorio said. “I think the loca­tion is better for a condo-hotel, but in either case, they would need an operator.”
The hotel’s proximity to sev­eral downtown residential projects in the pipeline is not a concern for the development team, Mr. Vanegas said. The moderate prices and small num­ber of units should help the hotel and other Habitat projects avoid market fluctuations, he said.
“Our projects are not in South Beach,” Mr. Vanegas said. “We are not afraid of the setting. We have a different product and offer the best price compared to the $600-per-square-foot de­velopments in the [Brickell] area.”

Eric Kalb
Miami Today