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Habitat moves forward with West Brickell condo, hotel project


Habitat Group is moving forward with the construction of a large condo and hotel project in Brickell after scoring a $24 million loan.

Habitat secured the construction loan from Miami-based Ocean Bank to build Smart Brickell’s Tower 1 at 239 Southwest 9th Street in Miami’s West Brickell neighborhood. The tower will have 50 hotel rooms and 50 condos and is planned for completion in 2021.

Smart Brickell is a three-building condo and hotel project that will offer owners the ability to rent their units out 50 times a year. In all, the project will have nearly 300 units and about 12,000 square feet of commercial space for a cafe, restaurant and retail. Tower 2 is expected to break ground in early 2020.

Santiago Vanegas, CEO and president of Habitat Group, said Smart Brickell Tower 1 is already sold out, while Smart Brickell Tower 2 is about 80 percent sold.

Miami-based Cervera Real Estate is handling sales for Smart Brickell. Hernando Carrillo is the architect. Condo prices range from $300,000 to $600,000.

Habitat Group is focusing on West Brickell. The company recently paid $6.1 million for a site at 1200 Southwest Second Avenue where it’s planning to build Brickell 12, a 96-key hotel project. The company’s other projects include the Brickell Lux and Millux Hotel, according to its website.

With just over $4 billion in assets, Ocean Bank is an active construction lender in South Florida. Last year, the community bank provided an $85 million construction for Melo Group’s Art Plaza Apartment. This comes at a time when many banks in South Florida are backing away from construction lending due to heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Habitat Group buys Land for New West Brickell Project


Habitat Group paid $6.1 million for a site in west Brickell where it’s planning to build a hotel project.

Habitat Group, led by Santiago Vanegas, closed on the 10,500-square-foot lot at 1200 Southwest Second Avenue, according to property records. A spokesperson for the developer said Habitat is planning to build Brickell 12, a 96-key hotel project, on the site.

Fatima Investments Inc., led by Steven M. Lee, sold the corner parcel, which includes a 2,556-square-foot building. It last sold for $825,000 in 2003.

The property is across the street from Maizon, a 24-story, mixed-use apartment building at 1142 Southwest Second Avenue, as well as Soma at Brickell Apartments at 145 Southwest 13th Street.

Habitat Group is active in west Brickell. The company’s projects include Smart Brickell, Brickell Lux and Millux Hotel, according to its website.

Last month, Habitat Group announced that the second tower at Smart Brickell was converting to contracts with over 94 percent sold. Smart Brickell, a three-building condo-hotel complex, will offer owners the ability to rent their units out 24 times a year, or about twice a month. In all, the project will have nearly 300 units and about 12,000 square feet of commercial space for a cafe, restaurant and retail.

Brickell Lux, at 143 Southwest Ninth Street, will have 108 residential units, 60 hotel rooms and retail space.

Habitat Group launches second phase of Brickell condo project


Habitat Group is launching sales of the second tower at Smart Brickell, a condo-hotel complex with flexible short-term rental options.

The three-building project sold out the first tower, with 50 hotel rooms and 50 condos, and is planning on breaking ground on the 25-story building in March, developer Santiago Vanegas said. The condo sellout is about $19 million for the first tower and the estimated sellout for the second building, also with 50 hotel rooms and 50 condo units, is $19.5 million.

Smart Brickell is priced lower than most new developments in the neighborhood, with units ranging in price from $300,000 to $600,000. Vanegas said about 70 percent of the buyers in the first building are investors and 30 percent are end users.

The project offers owners the ability to rent their units out 24 times a year, or about twice a month. “We are seeing that the rental restrictions in most condos are limiting for a lot buyers that want to have more options,” Alicia Cervera Lamadrid of Cervera Real Estate said in a release. Cervera is handling sales of the condos, which range from 558 square feet to 1,117 square feet.

Buyers can also participate in a two-year, fixed annual leaseback program. Other developments are also beginning to offer looser rental restrictions, like YotelPad in downtown Miami.

Habitat Group expects to break ground on the second building later next year, between six and nine months of beginning construction on the first tower. The 1.23-acre project will also include a third building, similar to the first two.

Smart Brickell will feature an amenity deck with a terrace, resort-style pools, a fitness center, cafe on the ground floor, rooftop lounge bar and business center. Architect Hernando Carrillo and Gensler are designing the project, and Arquitectonica is designing the fully finished units. The apartments will include smart home features, Bosch appliances and more.

Habitat Group announces new East River Living project


Picking up on the momentum of the Miami River District, Habitat Group recently announced a new 34-unit apartment building, East River Living.

The building at 39 Northwest Seventh Avenue in Little Havana will sit along the west side of the Miami River. It is designed by Hernando Carrillo of HAC Architects & Urbanists and features a pool surrounded by greenery and a private gym.

The building is expected to be completed at the end of 2019.

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Habitat Group plans another mixed-use project in West Brickell

The firm’s latest development will include 108 luxury condos, a hotel and retail space
By Ina Cordle | September 21, 2018 05:35PM

Habitat Group, which is developing the mixed-use complex Smart Brickell, just bought another development site in West Brickell where it plans to build a hotel and condo project, The Real Deal has learned.

The firm, led by president and CEO Santiago Vanegas, paid $14.5 million for an apartment building at 143 Southwest Ninth Street in Miami. Vanegas said plans are to replace the existing building with a 36-story development that will include 108 luxury condos, 60 hotel rooms and 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Construction would begin in two years.

Constantino Heredia, broker and owner of CE Realty, represented the seller in the off-market deal. Records show the seller is W.G.R. Investment Inc., led by Evelio Garcia. The entity paid $1.2 million for the property in 1997.

The sale price for the 30,000-square-foot development site translates to $483 per square foot. The property now houses a five-story, 39-unit apartment building from 1968, records show. It is zoned for commercial, hotel and multifamily development, which allows 24 stories by right and 48 stories with a bonus, Heredia said.

Vanegas said the total cost of the development will be $59.6 million with a $48.7 million sell-out of the condos. There will be a $26.4 million valuation of the hotel and $6.6 million for the commercial space, for a total sellout of $81.7 million, and expected profit of $22.1 million.

The site is about a block away from Habitat’s planned Smart Brickell development. Last year, the firm completed assembling land for the project, paying a combined $21.6 million for the 1.23-acre development site on Southwest Ninth Street, between Second and Third avenues. Vanegas said construction will begin next month.

Smart Brickell will be a mixed-use hotel and residential project with three towers — each with a 50-room hotel, two with 50 condos and one tower with 70 condos. The eighth floor will have an amenity deck with a pool to be shared by all three towers. The first, 50-unit condo tower is already sold out, Vanegas said.

Habitat is also planning to develop a hotel, called Millux, with 114 rooms in West Brickell, between Second and Third streets and 11th and 12th streets. Arquitectonica is designing the project, and construction is expected to begin within eight months, he said.

Other developers are also targeting West Brickell for redevelopment. Zom is building Maizon at Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest 12th Street. The 24-story mixed-use apartment project will have 262 apartments and nearly 15,300 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

Habitat is also midway through construction of East River Living, a 34-unit apartment building at Northwest First Street and Northwest Seventh Avenue in Little Havana. The building is expected to be completed at the end of 2019, Vanegas said.

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Henley USA buys Jefferson Hotel Miami


Henley paid about $260k per unit for the Jefferson Hotel and South Beach hostel

The U.S. arm of United Kingdom-based private equity firm Henley paid $15.4 million for two hotels in Miami and Miami Beach, property records show.

Husa LH JZ LLC, a company controlled by Garrett Solomon, paid $8.6 million for the Jefferson Hotel at 528 and 534 Southwest Ninth Avenue and $6.8 million for the Jazz on South Beach, a hostel at 321 Collins Avenue. The Henley affiliate financed the deals with an $11.6 million mortgage from MOIF Credit I LLC.

Solomon, who founded the development and management firm Corbelis, heads Henley’s U.S. team. In addition to offices in the U.S. and the U.K., the private equity real estate firm also has offices in the Netherlands.

One Sotheby’s International Realty’s Alex Miranda and Ramon Rodriguez, along with One Commercial’s Leslie Cooper, brokered the deals.

Santiago Vanegas’ Habitat Group sold the Miami property, a 33-key, three-story limited service hotel on Ninth Avenue. Habitat is developing Smart Brickell, a mixed-use condo project planned for the west Brickell neighborhood. The Habitat affiliate paid $1 million for the Jefferson in 2014, and invested $3.8 million into a full renovation of the property, according to its website.

Henley paid about $261,000 per key for the Jefferson.

Jazz on South Beach LLC, which is controlled by Moshe Ziv and John C. Reilly of Pine Plains, New York, sold the South Beach Hostel to Henley. The 26-unit, nearly 8,800-square-foot property hit the market last year for $7.15 million. It sold for about $262,000 per unit.

The hostel has 196 beds in the 26 units, with zoning for up to 218 beds, and each unit has an in-suite bathroom. It also features laundry and kitchen facilities. The owners recently invested about $500,000 in renovations and completed the property’s 40-year re-certification. Records show the LLC paid $3.75 million, or about $144,000 per unit, for the hostel in 2007.

By Katherine Kallergis

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Developers take luxe to the next level


Developers take luxe to the next level
Lifestyle curators, smart technology and Airbnb programs are just a few of the sweeteners condo developers are throwing in to tempt buyers, but are they working?

To give prospective buyers a taste of what life will be like at the luxury high-rise One River Point in downtown Miami, developer KAR Properties brought in Mariela Dobreva, a specialist in creating lavish vacation itineraries for A-listers such as Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. She’s also worked with global royalty, coordinating amenity packages at five-star hotels for Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar; Felipe VI, king of Spain; and Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.
Hired as the 60-story project’s “lifestyle curator,” the Bulgarian native is part of the sales pitch that highlights her role in making sure future One River Point residents don’t ever have to worry about planning their social calendars and vacation getaways. She’ll do it all for them, Dobreva said in a recent interview.
“Our aim is to create a boutique luxury lifestyle and a five-star hotel culture in a residential building,” Dobreva said. “We will even provide these services before a reservation is converted to a sales contract, so they can experience what we are aiming to create here.”
Just don’t call her a glorified concierge. “It is totally different from what they do,” Dobreva said. “We are not just assisting with restaurant and theater bookings. We take it to the next level.”
In the ever-competitive chase for buyers in Miami’s oversupplied luxury condo market, developers are resorting to all manner of tricks to create an opulent, tech-savvy lifestyle that will give them an edge in landing sales contracts. Other firms are trying out programs similar to the one Dobreva runs. Property Markets Group, which recently finished the 180-unit Echo Brickell, has an in-house “brand and human experiences” director whose job is to oversee technology, amenity programming and social-event planning.
The company also teamed up with Deepak Chopra for an experimental concept in which the New Age guru will design seven out of 68 units at the proposed Sunny Isles Beach high-rise Muse with holistic elements including circadian lighting and water filtration systems.

Other builders, like Habitat Development, are banking on their offerings of fully furnished units with built-in state-of-the-art technology, which buyers are permitted to rent out via Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms. This is a shift in approach — at the height of the current cycle, developers usually wrote up condo documents that severely restricted buyers’ ability to rent units for less than 12 months. Now, as the demand for home-sharing rentals has skyrocketed and condos languish on the market, some builders see the value in working with Airbnb and similar companies in order to entice buyers with
the promise of a rental income.
“There is a demand for this type of product that is being fulfilled by some developers,” said John Reza Parsiani, Cervera Real Estate’s vice president for business development. “Before, that wasn’t the case. It was hard to even find projects that would allow rentals on a month-to-month or bimonthly basis.”
Parsiani and other brokers interviewed said lifestyle curators, tech and health gurus and others of that ilk help close deals in the fickle luxury market. “Most affluent and well-traveled clients now want these services at their fingertips,” Parsiani said. “If a developer can include them in the purchase of a unit, it makes it that much more desirable.”
In particular, developers who add holistic elements to a building are doing very well, Parsiani added. “Buildings focusing on that kind of a lifestyle make a huge difference,” he said. “Instead of having to get in their car to drive 30 minutes to get to their meditation or yoga studio, the buyer can have it brought to their doorstep.”
Darin Tansey, sales director for the Tansey Group at Douglas Elliman, agreed that buyers are looking at a building’s lifestyle components when shopping for condos. In a market with an abundance of inventory, being able to offer over-the-top concierge services and state-of-the-art technology is critical, Tansey said. “A strong number of buyers with capital to disperse want the luxurious South Florida lifestyle,” he said. “People want all these bells and whistles to go along with a beautiful residence.”

Mariela Dobreva
For instance, the Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach doesn’t have a lifestyle curator on staff, but the property will have the five-star brand’s elite concierge services combined with access to modes of local transportation tailored for the jet set, Tansey said. His group is handling sales for the 111-unit project being built by Lionheart Capital.
“We have a helicopter that lands on a floating helipad, and then a unit owner can get on a boat that whisks them to their building,” Tansey said.
The project will also have a Frauscher, an Austrian luxury motor yacht, in its 36-slip dock for residents to charter. “It’s like a Ferrari on water,” Tansey said. “The Frauscher comes with a butler, and residents can take it out for half a day on Biscayne Bay.”
To enhance the living experience at Property Markets Group properties, Brian Koles, the company’s brand and human experiences director, manages a team that is responsible for creating social activities for unit owners and tenants. “Our residents want the most ‘Instagrammable’ life possible,” Koles said. “We get the VIP access to the best events like the SoBe Food and Wine Festival. We can set up a massage on the beach rather than inside their unit. We can get them inside the cockpit of a race car.”
PMG also looks to get a leg up on competitors by incorporating smart technology with trendy activities. A part of that initiative is the partnership formed in early 2017 with Chopra and the company Delos to equip health and wellness features into a handful of unsold condos at Muse, a luxury tower in Sunny Isles Beach that PMG is co-developing with S2 Development.
And at PMG’s Echo Brickell, a 57-story building at 1451 Brickell Avenue that opened in November, the company is testing out a mobile application that “pretty much gives residents control of their units and concierge services in the palm of their hands,” said Koles. Using the mobile app, they can order flowers for their residence, schedule a handyman to fix things, and order food and beverages from the onsite pantry as well as from a wine bar and cafe, Koles said.
“We believe it is what gives us a strategic advantage,” he added. “Our technology is a tangible differentiator in a world where everyone is trying to out-luxury each other.”
Others are also leveraging tech to offer an additional buyer benefit. Santiago Vanegas, president of Habitat Development, said his company’s project Smart Brickell is being engineered specifically for tech-savvy investors who may want to lease units through home-sharing platforms. The three-tower, mixed-use project comprises 170 fully furnished condo residences and 150 hotel rooms that will have features such as Bosch appliances, Lifx smart lighting that can respond to voice commands, a mobile concierge and Google and Amazon’s smart-home technologies, Nest and Alexa, preinstalled in the units.
Units at Smart Brickell, which is being built in three phases, will be easily available for short-term rentals through a leaseback program that carries an option to rent out condos up to 24 times a year on home-sharing sites. Owners also have the option of allowing the hotel’s management company to handle the renting out to visitors, Vanegas said. Prices at Smart Brickell range between $299,000 and $495,000.
“In downtown Miami and Brickell, 80 percent of preconstruction buyers are investors from Latin America and Europe,” he said. “We are trying to solve a problem for those investors who want to rent their units by offering them a turnkey solution.”
The ability to do short-term rentals is incorporated into the condo documents, Vanegas explained. “It is helping us sell units,” Vanegas said. “About 60 percent of our buyers are interested in choosing the leaseback option.”
Parsiani, who is a sales associate for the Melo Group’s Aria on the Bay, said developers of projects with units priced at $500,000 and above are still placing stiff restrictions on rentals. “At Aria, it’s a six-month minimum and a two-year max for rental agreements,” Parsiani said. “For projects like Aria, developers want the building to maintain a certain level of luxury, so they tend to restrict rentals more.”
Gerard Yetming, a Colliers International executive vice president, said the short-term rental option appeals only to buyers who are looking to purchase units for up to $600,000.“But investors buying at the ultraluxury level are typically purchasing a third or fourth home and have no interest in renting,” he said.

Publication: The Real Deal Magazine
Date: March 2018
Author: Francisco Alvarado
Link: The Real Deal – Developers take luxe to the next level – March 20, 2018

Avra Jain buys Miami River Inn for $8.6M Miami’s longest running inn last sold for $4.2M in July 2013

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Katherine Kallergis
The Real Deal
The Vagabond Group, led by developer Avra Jain, picked up an historic 58-room inn near the Miami River for more than double its last sale, Aztec Group told The Real Deal.
Miami River Inn Holdings sold the Miami River Inn’s 1.5-acre site for $8.6 million. Jason Katz, Aztec Group vice president, represented Vagabond Group in the purchase of the three-story inn, considered Miami’s longest operating hotel, at 437 Southwest Second Street, on the south side of the Miami River. Alfonso Jaramillo of Fortune International Realty represented the seller.
The sellers brought the hotel out of disrepair when they bought it for $4.2 million in July 2013, Katz said.
“It’s been operating, but not at its full potential. Generally speaking, it could be something like the Vagabond with a food and beverage component,” Katz told TRD. “[Jain] is looking to take it to another level.”
Jain obtained a $5.5 million loan from Eastern National Bank for the Miami River Inn.
The hotel was built in 1906, and portions of it are part of the South River Drive Historic District. “Over 50 years ago it was a boarding house, and 100 years ago it was a hostel,” he said.
The neighborhood, which is across the street from the riverfront, is East Little Havana, which is up for rezoning.
“It’s such a unique property that it is invaluable,” Katz said. “It’s really an emblem of the growth in the area.”
The Miami River is increasingly drawing new development. Andy Hellinger is building River Landing, a massive nine-acre development that will include apartments, retail and a linear park along the riverwalk.
All-in-all, more than 4,000 residential units and more than half a million square feet of retail establishments, including restaurants and bars, are under construction or planned for the Miami River area.
“There are a lot of things going: Chetrit, Related (Brickell Heights) and KAR Properties. At least three major mixed-use high-rises are happening on the riverfront,” Katz said.
Jain recently redeveloped the 45-room boutique Vagabond Hotel, formerly the Vagabond Motel, at 7301 Biscayne Boulevard.


A Smart Car for a smart home

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The Real Deal
Miami developer Santiago Vanegas is planning an eco-friendly condo building in West Brickell that will come complete with an optional smart car for every buyer, Miami Today reported.
The building, to be built at 1775 Southwest Third Avenue within a year, should include 190 LEED Gold-certified units which will also feature iPods, innovative appliances and “smart” gadgets to control heat, air conditioning and electrical systems, Vanegas told Miami Today.
By providing smart cars, as the microcars manufactured by Daimler Chrysler are known, the developers also hope to limit the amount of parking space needed. They will propose the city allow only 20 normal size parking spaces at the development, which would fit 40 Smart Cars. Alternately, they might consider installing a lift system that can stack cars vertically. [Miami Today] –Sanna Chu