Friday, October 9, 2015

Ruble’s decline clips Miami condo market

Written by on October 6, 2015
Ruble’s decline clips Miami condo market
Industry watchers haven’t seen a significant decrease in Russians buying property since the ruble’s decline against the dollar but have noticed that those who were unsure about moving ahead with a purchase in South Florida have decided against doing so for now.
Irina Kim Sang, broker associate for Coldwell Banker Miami Beach who said her specialty is Russian-speaking luxury buyers interested in residential and commercial real estate, is still selling high-end, one-of-a-kind residences to Russians but said she received more inquiries from new-to-market prospective homeowners before the ruble’s decline in value.
“I continue to receive inquires from Russians wanting to rent but am seeing less interest from those who started looking when the ruble decreased considerably,” she said. “These first-time homebuyers in South Florida decided not to move forward, with the main reason being they make their money in rubles and would have doubly high carry costs for a second home.”
So there are definitely Russians who are in a “holding pattern,” Ms. Sang believes, either because of the instability of their currency or political concerns, given the uncertainty about relations between the US and Russia and whether there might be changes in visa issue procedures.
The ruble has decreased dramatically in value against the dollar in the last year, albeit with some fluctuations, due to the price of oil plummeting, one of Russia’s main exports, and Western sanctions put on the country because of its Ukraine policy.
Yet a number of Russians are still buying property, mainly those who have already purchased here and are changing their behaviors, Ms. Sang said. She is seeing several categories of these Russian buyers: those shifting from a condo to single-family home where they appreciate the privacy; families moving to other communities in South Florida because they believe the schools there are better for their children; and affluent buyers able to purchase properties in the price range of $5 million and above. These buyers don’t have particular worries, Ms. Sang said, but want a trophy, unique home.
Previously, she said, these buyers didn’t have as many choices but are now able to look into new, luxury construction properties such as Jade Ocean Condos or the Chateaux, where they can have ocean views and unique layouts.
Yet another group of Russian-speaking buyers, Ms. Sang, are coming from Canada, New York and New Jersey. She sees stable interest among these potential homeowners.
The Miami Association of Realtors reported Russians were the fourth largest group of foreign buyers searching its website for residential properties. In January last year Russia didn’t make it to the top 10 countries for this online traffic.
“If focused solely on the depreciation of the ruble, one would expect that real estate investments in Miami would be less attractive to Russian buyers,” said Robert Cruz, chairman of the business school at Miami Dade College. “But the steady drop in the ruble is more likely to be perceived as a sign of continuing weakness in the Russian economy and additional future depreciation of the ruble.”
Mr. Cruz said investors will be looking for a safe haven to protect their wealth, and Miami real estate continues to be viewed as a very good option.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Redsky, JZ Capital pay $24M for Design District site

It last sold for $107,000 in 1992

September 30, 2015 01:30PM               


45 Northeast 39th Street in Miami
45 Northeast 39th Street in Miami

Redsky Capital and JZ Capital Partners have closed on a retail building in Miami’s Design District, making them the second largest property owners in the area.
Redsky and JZ paid $23.95 million for the property at 45 Northeast 39th Street, RKF announced on Wednesday.
The 8,553-square-foot building, across the street from the Buena Vista Post Office, was developed in 1972 and sits on a 9,400-square-foot lot, according to Miami-Dade County property records.
The seller, Tishman Corp., paid $107,000 for the property in 1992. Tishman was represented in-house, while Benjamin Mandell, Drew Schaul and John Ellis of RKF represented the buyers.
Redsky plans to “re-imagine the property for future use, incorporating similar architecture and design elements as other new developments located in the District,” according to a press release. Nearby tenants include Kartell, Armani/Casa, Tui, Stefano Ricci and Fabrizio Cocchi.
“Domestic and overseas capital has been pouring into Miami’s commercial real estate market and has been rising dramatically every quarter since 2011, making Miami’s retail sector one of the hottest of any of America’s gateway cities,” Mandell said in the release. “And, with the Design District among the most in-demand retail markets in Miami, we are starting to see retailers make the move to the area to fill the remaining availability.”
In July, Redsky and JZ paid $24 million for the retail property at 21 Northeast 39th Street. A group of investors led by commercial real estate broker and developer Michael Comras sold the building.
Also in July, David Edelstein’s New York-based TriStar Capital paid $65 million for the nearby Atlas Plaza, home to Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Rolex, Longchamp, Trend by Sebastien James, and Markowicz Fine Art, among other tenants. – Katherine Kallergis

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Luxury communities, without the golf, on the rise

742-home Seven Bridges is underway in Delray Beach
January 19, 2015 02:15PM

Back in 2010, Sunrise-based builder GL Homes kept hearing from buyers of all ages that they wanted a country club setting  except without golf, and its fees, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 a month.
So GL built The Bridges in Delray Beach, which opened in 2012 —  a 591-home luxury community packed with amenities, minus the golf, and a much more affordable monthly dues of $475.
The popularity of The Bridges prompted GL to build an even larger project across the street. The 742-home Seven Bridges is underway, with the first residents moving in by April or May.
The Sun Sentinel reports that developments focused on golf have been struggling, because of their steep monthly dues and maintenance cost — which can cost upwards of $3 million a year. Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University, told the Sun Sentinel that the popularity of golf is also on the decline. [Sun Sentinel] — Kristina Puga

Monday, January 19, 2015

Miami ranked fourth in most hotel rooms under construction

Miami-Hialeah market had 3,425 rooms under construction in December
January 15, 2015 10:30AM

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South Florida has the fourth most hotel rooms under construction in the country, according to a hotel data provider.
The Miami-Hialeah market, according to STR, had 3,425 rooms under construction in December.
“The continued tailwind of a recovering U.S. economy has supported strong (revenue-per-available-room) growth across the nation,” Jan Freitag, senior VP of strategic development for STR, said in a statement. “As national and regional occupancy has increased, more developers are finding hotel real estate attractive again, and we are seeing a healthy and unabated increase in new development, mostly in the limited-service sectors.”
There was also a national 31.4-percent increase in rooms in the in-construction phase.
New York reported the most with 13,200 rooms, followed by Houston and Washington, D.C.
“A few cities will feel the brunt of the construction, and it will be interesting to note how hoteliers will react in 2016 as these new hotels open,” Freitag said. — Katherine Kallergis

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South Florida Real Estate News

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chinese investors buy Miami site for $74.7 million

12/30/2014 5:45 PM

An affiliate of China Communications Construction Company U.S. International purchased a block-size site in the red-hot Brickell neighborhood for $74.7 million, in its first major bet on Miami.
Plans for what will be built on the 2.4-acre site at 1430 S. Miami Ave. aren’t yet complete, according to Dr. Shan-Jie Li, chief executive officer of American Da Tang Group Co. Ltd. in New York. American Da Tang, he said, is working closely with CCCC as the Chinese firm’s U.S. representative on the venture.
In an interview conducted through an interpreter, Li said the new owners are in the process of researching what type of development to pursue and could end up with a mixed-use project that includes condominiums, hotel and office elements. As their first project in Miami, Li added, he wants the development to be “a landmark.”
The buyer of the land is listed as a newly formed Delaware entity, CCCC International USA LLC.
The seller was Teca Group Investments GP LLC, which controlled 1430 SMA LLLP, the limited liability limited partnership that owned the land. Teca Group is managed by Elias Cababie Daniel, a Mexican.
The Longevity Club has an agreement with Elite Health in Miami Beach, which provides concierge healthcare services, Li said.
“There are 17 towers and 5,300 units going up just in the 12-block stretch,” Zalewski said. “It’s overwhelming.”
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The property is located between 14th Street and 14th Terrace and South Miami Avenue and Southwest First Avenue. The transaction closed on Dec. 26.

In the last development cycle, Cabi Developers had planned to build two towers on the site, but Li said the Chinese group doesn’t intend to pursue those plans and instead is starting with a clean slate.
American Da Tang Group, which caters to wealthy Chinese interested in U.S. real estate investment, healthcare, visa assistance, and the like, made an earlier foray into Miami with its Da Tang Longevity Club.
Li’s translator said Li has a comprehensive plan to make Miami “a hospitable city for Chinese travelers and investors.”
He said the recent U.S.-Chinese reciprocal agreement to issue business and tourist visas valid for 10 years in lieu of visas that expire in one year will foster more Chinese visitors and investors.
With the Brickell acquisition, the Chinese are coming to an area that is Ground Zero for Miami’s latest condo boom, with a host of high-rise condominiums under construction and in the planning stages.
Peter Zalewski, an expert in Miami’s condo market who writes a column for the Miami Herald, said the Chinese are late in the game to consider building during the current cycle.
A few blocks north of the site, Swire Properties, the U.S. real estate arm of a prominent Hong Kong firm that has deep roots in Miami, is well along in the construction of Brickell City Centre. That complex is a mixed-use project that will have more than $1 billion in condominium, hotel, office and retail space that has served as a magnet for other development in the neighborhood, which is evolving into a work-live-play center.

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South Florida tourism promoters courting same-sex wedding business

01/05/2015 6:44 PM

Tourism boosters around Florida are hearing wedding bells — and seeing dollar signs — now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state.
Already major players in the competitive destination wedding industry, some of state’s top tourist draws are promoting their beaches and grand hotels as the perfect spots for gay and lesbian couples to wed.
While tourism bureaus have long courted LGBT visitors, who tend to be affluent and well-traveled, officials say the legalization of weddings will give them new avenues.
For the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, that means the annual wedding-focused “Miami Romance Month” in February will include promotions for same-sex weddings; in Broward, a mass beach wedding in February for straight and gay couples is in the works. And the promotional arm of the Florida Keys will start running banner ads on hundreds of websites that reach LGBT audiences.
Rolando Aedo, chief marketing officer for Miami-Dade’s CVB, said the bureau has already been promoting the Miami area as a destination for commitment ceremonies between same-sex couples as well as a perfect spot for honeymoons.
“But of course with this, we have a tremendous opportunity to elevate that part of the discussion — and the timing is perfect,” he said.
Starting Tuesday, the Miami-Dade bureau will start running a social media promotion asking gay and lesbian couples for their love stories; the winners will get a weekend stay in Miami Beach.
While a spokeswoman for Visit Florida said the state’s official tourism marketing corporation is not planning any immediate marketing or ad blitzes related to LGBT weddings, South Florida tourism offices were rushing to reiterate their history of support for same-sex travelers and their excitement about the court rulings legalizing gay marriage.
“One of the things we really wanted to do is let our friends in the LGBT community around the country know that we have finally gotten the opportunity we have been working for and fighting for, which is to have them legally married in one of their favorite places to vacation,” said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The tourism office on Friday announced a “Love is Love” initiative that will launch with the mass sunrise beach wedding in Fort Lauderdale.
Grossman said the bureau’s wedding point person — called an “Ambassador of Bliss” — will be available to help additional couples plan their events across Broward County. (One couple, Grossman said, has already inquired about the possibility of a Sawgrass Mills wedding.) Grossman said she expects to see as many as 100 same-sex weddings a month over the next year.
A report from the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law, estimates that 24,248 same-sex couples will marry in Florida during the first three years it is legal. Those weddings, according to the report, would generate $182.2 million to the state and local economy and create between 875 and 2,626 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector.
In Broward, 1.3 million LGBT travelers visited the county in 2013, according to the tourism bureau. Richard Gray, the CVB’s managing director for the LGBT market, said he expects the legalization of weddings to drive that figure up even more.
“We can grow the market even more now in my opinion,” he said.
The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables will reintroduce a campaign it ran in 2013 during the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival featuring photos of three couples — straight, gay and lesbian — getting married on its lavish grounds.
“There’s no doubt that this was going to happen, regardless of when it was going to happen,” said Natalia Plasencia, the hotel’s director of catering. “So I wanted to make sure that our position was clear and not that it was something we were jumping on the bandwagon afte the fact.”
Plasencia said the hotel has hosted small, intimate commitment ceremonies in the past for same-sex couples, but she expects more locals to plan huge blowout events now.
In the Florida Keys, where cities from Key Largo to Key West already do a booming destination wedding business, promoters will fold same-sex weddings into marketing campaigns. In addition to digital ads that will start running Tuesday, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council will run print ads in upcoming months.
“The whole destination wedding is a lot of money, not only from all the guests that come down from everywhere and stay in our lodgings and accommodations, but also all the facets around weddings,” said Harold Wheeler, director of the council. “That just puts a lot of money within the community.”
Bobby Kyser, whose Wilton Manors event planning company Panache Style is responsible for decor at next month’s giant beach wedding in Broward, has been anticipating this moment since last year.
In August, he organized a Gay Nuptials expo for same-sex couples preparing to get married. At that point, he said, many were flying to New York to legally exchange vows and then returning home to South Florida for celebrations.
“That’s what they did before,” Kyser said. “But now it’s all going to happen here.”

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