An In Depth Review of Miami

** 1st ** Over 180 new residential condos proposed/planned/actively planned and in construction between Palm Beach down to Coconut Grove. These proposed buildings are spread over a wide territory, but we do have tremendous growth activity.

Miami along both sides of the water is seeing a majority of the proposed new projects.

Here is an extraordinary before (today) and after (2020) rendering of the downtown/financial district of Miami. Sunhattan or the metropolitan area of Miami:

And keep in mind, any improvements in downtown infrastructure is also great for anyone investing on the beach!!

As land values have gone up on the beach, so has the quality of the project. Everything added to the beach is luxury or the new category of Ultra-luxury. Already 22 billionaires have made reservations at the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach. Porsche has three car elevators that will park your car on the same floor of your condo. Each owner has a 2 - 4 car garage next to their palace in the sky.

Every rendering, every concept revealed continues to marvel. The prestige being added to these neighborhoods is excellent for value added to secondary markets (reselling the already existing beautiful homes and condos).

One of my personal favorites in the Ultra-luxury category, an elegant mixed use plan developed to make one neighborhood far more sustainable, the Faena District:  http://faenamiamibeach.com/

They have a video series you need to watch and the renderings are phenomenal. It's a Real Estate junkies dream. They've hired the best engineers, designers, architects..

Here's a good example of how they incorporated water elements to enhance the living experience for all the residents of the incoming Faena House:

Poetry of Water - http://vimeo.com/57961085 (got to love this guy's passion)

** 2nd ** Miami has incoming megastructures!! Extremely significant. Large commercial developments that are adding infrastructure, jobs, density, opportunity at a blistering pace!

Brickell Citicentre : Creating a billion dollar impact to the downtown neighborhood, adding permanent jobs, shopping retail, office space, ad valorem taxes, hotel/tourism, etc.

There is a link below to a popular new segment that has come out, a heatmap which prioritizes and updates the new Mega Projects existing, or coming to Miami, have a look:

Not mentioned in the list above are expansion plans to add 2 or 3 times the amount of business ongoing at the Port of Miami by 2020, and David Beckham's interest to start an MLS franchise, just to name a few more.

All of the new condos and new infrastructure is projected for completion between end of this year 2014 all the way to 2020. Every year between now and 2020 we will see several new openings, new exciting releases. 

Mentioned in the heatmap above, the Miami World Center will soon have its approval, and once the announcement is made, it may become the single largest contribution to making Miami a premiere global city.

Here's a video rendering (jump to 58 seconds if you want to go straight to it):

As of March 13th 2014, an article was released explaining the largest shareholder by 72% is now the CIM Group which is currently building the third tallest building in the US, 432 Park Avenue in New York. Backed by an all star developer this gives me much greater confidence Miami World Center is on it's way. Just a matter of time. 

Already in its transformation is museum park, additions of the Perez Art and Philips Science Museums, and the incoming Thousand Museum Park, Zaha Hadid's first residential design in the Western Hemisphere. It has an exoskeleton frame with no columns in the interior structure!

A few concluding words about Miami: It's all about lifestyle. I've highlighted only a few neighborhoods in Miami, but all of our boroughs benefit from all of this investment. Trust your instincts. Find what makes you happy, whatever you may get the most enjoyment out of. Whether you want the beach, or you want to be in the lively hustle of downtown where all the entertainment/media/fashion/art is exploding, or if you want to move to a quiet Single family residential neighborhood with charm, you're going to make a great investment. Once you identify the neighborhood you like, then you start closely examining your choices.

I hope you find this information helpful to you. Don't hesitate to reach me if you have any questions or feedback.



So I have here below another fascinating article from the Real Deal, the best syndicated real estate news source in South Florida. In this article they reveal the order from highest to lowest of price per square foot in the luxury preconstruction market with some of the most expensive units available for sale breaking at a whopping $2500/foot (lifestyles of the rich and famous baby). Absolutely jaw dropping as just 2 years ago we were astounded when $1300.00/foot was surfacing the luxury market.

Of course this raises questions for me as I'm curious to know what will happen when the existing owners of the most luxurious products want to anti-up and sell what they have for the next best available purchase. Is this when prices begin to regulate? Will we have a secondary market of buyers prepared to sweep up inventory from the 2005 - 2008 era? Some buildings will suffer from being an inferior product with any number of variables impacting their resale potential, views, location, carrying costs, etc.

Rather than focusing on the old, let's remain enthusiastic about the new. Zaha Hadid's One Thousand Museum is enough to keep your head spinning. She has delivered on a concept once unimaginable. The column support and structural frame of the building will be used as an exoskeleton, an element to emphasize the aesthetic of the building. The exterior columns will actually enhance the window/balcony view for each resident in the building as not one view will be alike.

Faena House is another project I've studied closely and their Alero terraces creating a unique outdoor living experience is also expanding the limits to how we occupy residential space.

Just recently reported, 22 billionaires have all invested in the Porsche Design Tower, there is no end.

As you read below you'll see we are now contending with an iconic city like New York. Truly amazing...

From left: Ian Schrager, Residences at Miami Beach Edition, One Thousand Museum

Miami is beginning to look like Manhattan, at least in terms of what buyers are willing to shell out for a square foot of prime real estate. In New York, the average per-square-foot price for a new luxury condo ranges from the high $2,000s to the low $3,000s. The Magic City is still cheaper at the top of the market, but just a little: Units in the two ritziest towers going up — Ian Schrager’s Residences at Miami Beach Edition and Terra Group’s Glass, also in Miami Beach — are averaging more than $2,500. By comparison, the least expensive is Juno Beach’s Bay Colony, at $241. The median listing price: $682, according to research by Condo Vultures and Cranespotters.com, which provide market data.

The reasons fueling Miami’s dizzying prices today are the same ones that launched Manhattan’s meteoric rise so long ago: Growing prestige as a world city, which creates demand, and an influx of international cash, which lifts the price floor.

Right now, in this market run-up, there are 85 condo projects that the region’s cities have signed off on and 45 that developers want to build but don’t have the okay yet. Construction crews are busy at work on 34 towers. And only three are finished so far.

Together, the projects in their various phases represent well over 20,000 new units and more than 170 towers.

The sizes of projects this time around are smaller than the last boom.

Of 46 projects in preconstruction, nearly half — 22 — have fewer than 100 units. And there is a correlation between the number of units and the per-square-foot cost, an analysis byThe Real Deal shows.

Only two of the 11 most expensive towers have more than 100 units: Oceana Key Biscayne, which has 154 condo units, and Oceana Bal Harbour, with 260 units. Asking prices there are $1,700 and $1,500 per square foot, respectively.

The top spot on the list is Schrager’s Edition, which has only 26 condos, selling for $2,640 per square foot on average.

Terra’s Glass is even smaller, more intimate — 10 units, the fewest of all the towers — but is asking slightly less per square foot: $2,592.

The biggest project by far is Paraiso Bay in Downtown Miami. The skyscraper complex will have 1,000 units. Its average per-square-foot price holds the No. 30 slot with $525, a fifth of what Glass costs.

Location — both city and ocean frontage — is influencing cost, of course.

All of the top 10 projects are in monied Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, Key Biscayne and Bal Harbour. Every one also has a bird’s-eye view of the water.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Juno Beach is about 85 miles north of Miami, and its Bay Colony project is at the bottom of the list.

What all the towers share is a core group of amenities. Bay Colony, as well as H3 in Hollywood, the second-cheapest project — will have fitness centers, clubhouses, pools and spas just like the two most expensive — Edition and Glass.

The priciest certainly offer more services, including round-the-clock concierges, beach attendants, personal trainers and valets. And owners of the Edition’s condos, which will sit atop a hotel, are going to be able to order room service just like out-of-towners. On the menu: Champagne and caviar.

Obviously the biggest difference, though, comes from the units themselves: bigger, wider balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, home gyms, media rooms, marble countertops — and the list goes on.

Plus, the ritzy projects are the work of noted architects. Rene Gonzalez, a Cuban native who now calls Miami home, is the inspiration behind Glass and its clean, stacked stories; British minimalist John Pawson had the vision for the tailor-made exclusivity of Edition, with a private entrance and a secret “celebrity” one.

Moolah from everywhere
The flood of South American buyers is well documented, and now more and more are coming from Europe and Asia as well. They have cash and they’re willing to spend it. The proof is the record amounts that have already been ponied up for existing units.

A Russian, for example, paid $1.45 million — a little more than $2,900 per square foot — for a 497-square-foot condo in The Residences at W South Beach, setting a new mark for the most ever paid for a studio or one-bedroom in South Florida. And a foreign buyer, identified only as a well-known European tennis player, ponied up $5.2 million — $1,500 per square foot — for a penthouse in the decade-old Four Seasons Residences, shattering the highest price paid per square foot in Miami’s Brickell corridor. That is, until that benchmark was broken by a penthouse at Echo Brickell that fetched around $2,000 per square foot more recently.

Though the prices are great watercooler fodder, they don’t stun industry insiders, and they’re not considered unreasonable for what they’re buying.

“Given the global demand for Miami, we are priced well below cities like London, Paris and New York,” said Veronica Cervera, president of Cervera Real Estate, which is handling sales at 321 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach’s chic SoFi neighborhood.

The tower, with 30 units over 16 floors, ranks No. 8 in average per-square-foot listing price: $1,609. The oceanfront low-rise — a 1926 Art Deco building undergoing a $24 million renovation, will have a concierge, beach attendants, showers and lockers for bike riders, and an “elite” fitness center, according to its website.

Manhattan-based Schrager, who started out solely as a hotelier, is unabashedly forthright about his decision not to spare any expense on Edition. And it paid off. An anonymous buyer paid $34 million by two side-by-side triplex penthouses, the most ever for a preconstruction condo in South Florida.

The square footage hasn’t been disclosed, but the eight-figure price tag could explain why the developer puts the average per-square-foot price of the Edition at more than $3,000 — even higher than the $2,640 cited by Cranespotters.

“Miami has changed,” said Schrager, whose last project in South Florida was the Delano Hotel, 17 years ago. “Miami has become every bit the world gateway city that New York is, and buyers are not intimidated by high prices.”


Christopher Camerons "Miami's 20,000 new condo units try for Manhattan prices". 10/01/2013. The Real Deal Real Estate News. http://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/top-dollar-for-new-condos/


The Bond in Brickell Reverting to a Vintage 50s Period

Sean Connery photographed by Terry O'Neill

The Bond in Brickell is adding distinct personality to the downtown landscape of high end condominiums. Centrally located off of Brickell avenue, neighboring bulidings such as 1050 - 1060 Brickell and the Plaza, The Bond will be in a perfect position to take advantage of the entertainment in the near walking vicinity.

The Real Deal Miami, has provided us with an interesting update on the projects design and direction:

London is calling at The Bond on Brickell, a 328-unit, 44-story condo tower set to break ground later this year that will be adorned with vintage prints by British celeb photographer Terry O’Neill, “melted” steel and a lit-up Abbey Road. The Bond’s developer, Rilea Group, tapped Mexico City-based Loguer Design to outfit the building’s lobby and other common areas, according to a company release.

"We approached The Bond with the goal of creating an ambiance that would feel like home to London’s legendary jet-setters of the 1950s and 60s, as well as the jet-setters of today,” Ramon Alonso, senior partner of Loguer Design and head designer of The Bond, said in the release. The result: pin-striped granite floors in the car entryway and an illuminated crosswalk-homage to The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover.

The 60s-swinger concept continues into the lobby, where O’Neill’s photographs of Sir Elton John, Bond girl Barbara Bach, and Sean Connery, lounging in Gaetano Pesce’s UP 5 chair, will be prominently displayed against hand-stitched leather and suede walls. A contemporary version of the gray cashmere chair in a photo of Connery will be placed directly beneath the image, as part of The Bond’s permanent collection, the release said. — Emily Schmall


Emily Schmall. "A bit of 1960s London Planned for Brickell" 8/20/2013. The Real Deal Miami. http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2013/08/20/a-bit-of-1960s-london-planned-for-brickell/


Another Roaring Construction Loan since the Bubble Bust: Dacra Affiliates enhancing Miami's Design District

Craig Robins
Craig Robins

In the largest private construction financing since the recession, Dacra obtained a $301.5 million package for its haute couture shopping mall project in Miami’s Design District, the South Florida Business Journal reported.
Once again I'm taken back by the speed at which Miami is developing. This announcement made yesterday will continue to reform and change the landscape of the Midtown / Edgewater / Design District areas. Within 3 years we will be examining Miami in a completely different way. The lifestyle and experience is dramatically being enhanced.


The Miami Herald Site Approved for Demolition: Making Way for Genting's Resorts World Miami

The Genting Group, the Malaysian gaming company that purchased the Miami Herald site, has received a permit to demolish the media company’s former headquarters, the Herald reported.

The demolition of the iconic white-and-yellow structure on Biscayne Bay is set to take place by the end of the year, the Herald reported, citing a statement released by Bill Thompson, senior vice president of development for Resorts World Miami, a Genting Group subsidiary.

Genting’s initial $3.8 billion casino project has been significantly scaled back, according to plans revealed in March. The company now plans a mixed-use complex with a five-star hotel, luxury condos, restaurants, retail and a 800-foot promenade along Biscayne Bay, the Herald said.

Genting paid $236 million for the former Herald site, which includes almost 14 bayfront acres.

The Herald moved from its former downtown location to Doral in May.

Getting to know the Genting Group:


Emily Schmall. "Genting gets go-ahead to wreck former Herald site." http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2013/08/07/genting-gets-go-ahead-to-demolish-former-herald-site/. 08/07/2013.


Oceana Bal Harbour JUST APPROVED by Bal Harbour Village

Below you'll find out about Constantini's second development project, OCEAN Bal Harbour. Although the followers' commentary on Curbed seems to reflect negative opinions on this captivating new project, Oceana Bal Harbour residences may be the next most exquisite condominium coming to Miami, and all located in walking distance to the pristine Bal Harbour Shops.

Oceana Key Biscayne has all but the penthouses left to sell and I imagine this project will capture the same allure.

The renderings show a flow through between the two towers which will remain as a passage between the ocean and bay.

I'm very excited to watch this unfold.

Read more below:

[Via Oceana Bal Harbour]

Bal Harbour Village just approved the construction of this big rectangular glassy thing designed by Arquitectonica, to replace its old school beach club that formerly sat on a large oceanfront site in the middle of town, according to a press release. It's called Oceana Bal Harbour, and the 250 luxury units start at $2 million each. It's nearly identical to Oceana Key Biscayne, which is currently under construction, and not to be confused (yes, we were confused) with two other, older and unrelated, projects called Oceania Sunny Isles Beach and Oceania Island.

                                             Main Entry

                                              Sky View
Siteplan with swimming pools, tennis courts, large manicured grounds and direct access to the beach.


Sean McCaughan's "This was just approved to replace the bal harbor beach club". Posted on 07/02/2013. http://miami.curbed.com/archives/2013/07/02/this-was-just-approved-to-replace-the-bal-harbour-beach-club.php



The SLS Hotel and Residences in Brickell is an exciting new project which will give you an urban amenity rich lifestyle in the highly pursued Brickell financial district and also grant you privileges to the SLS South Beach amenities.

With the best in high end restaurants will be available on the retail floor of this new development:

"SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences is a new project by The Related Group. The project will be located at 1300 South Miami Avenue in Brickell. It will have 450 units, 51 floors, with retail at the ground level featuring 4 on-site restaurants - including world-renowned Katsuya by Stark, Bazaar by Jose Andres, and Michael Schwartz of Michael Genuine . The hotel component of the building will begin at the lobby level and go up to the 9th floor, where there will be an elevated pool, spa deck, and amenities such as the HYDE Bar and Lounge and CIEL Spa. The residential units will be from the 10th to the 51st floors and will have 11 units per floor."


Perceived Growth from the City's Largest Builders

Here's another article from the Real Deal indicating great signs of growth and city development for the city of Miami, and I happen to agree, once the Brickell CityCentre is finished, we will continue to see new demand and interest creating a lot of movement in the downtown market:

In South Florida, behind every star architect is a star builder.

John Leete, the head of Florida operations for John Moriarty & Associates, a Winchester, Mass.-general contracting and construction company, has garnered billions from Miami’s current condo boom, according to an interview with the Miami Herald.

Leete’s company is responsible for the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the $220 million project whose construction is underway at Museum Park designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, and, in a joint venture with Americaribe, Swire Properties’ $500 million BrickellCityCentre. Leete has worked on $2 billion in projects developed by Related Group, co-founded by the museum’s namesake, Jorge Pérez.

Asked whether South Florida is gaining momentum in construction, Leete said “it has been for the last 18 months and is continuing to pick up steam.” “The number of new projects this year alone is staggering. The big question is if and when they all break ground. It will be like turning back the clock to 2006,” he said, adding that labor shortages and the cost of materials continue to be industry challenges.

PAMM, a LEED-certified building that incorporates South Florida’s natural landscape, posed particular construction challenges, Leete said. “The [museum] has some key features such as the largest hurricane-rated glazing panels that also incorporate museum requirements for tinting and color rendering for the artwork. [There are] hanging-garden elements that mimic a Banyan tree; and also large column-free art galleries utilizing cutting-edge concrete-slab systems from Europe,” he said.

Leete predicted BrickellCityCentre will be “the catalyst” to Miami’s economic recovery from the recession. [Miami Herald] –Emily Schmall

Source: The Real Deal "General contractor John Moriarty & Associates sews up billions in high-profile SoFla buildings". http://trdsofla.com/164eD7N. Published June 10, 2013.


After Historic 2008 Crash, Downtown Miami Among Nation's Most Active Residential Markets in 2012

(Miami, FL) -- Based on a new report, Downtown Miami now stands strong as one of the most active residential real estate markets following what was considered to be among the worst real estate market crashes in U.S. history.

An independent Residential Closings & Occupancy study commissioned by the Miami Downtown Development Authority shows that 93% of the 22,785 condo units constructed since 2003 are now occupied with primarily full-time residents, signaling a tightening of the market as a result of limited remaining inventory.

The report, conducted by Lewis Goodkin and Craig Werley of Goodkin Consulting/Focus Real Estate Advisors, finds a strong demand for urban living in Miami. According to the study, 84% of the condo units built during the building boom in the downtown Miami area have been sold, up six percentage points from only one year ago.

"Downtown Miami continues to defy national trends in real estate economics," said Craig Werley of Focus Real Estate Advisors. "Foreign demand for residential product characterized by mostly cash buyers is driving a market rebound not seen anywhere else. This is particularly remarkable considering the foreclosure crisis that continues to grip much of the rest of the region and state."

Other key findings from the Miami DDA's Residential Closings & Occupancy Study include:

  • Sales activity decelerates as inventory shrinks: Diminished inventory saw total condo sales in Downtown Miami down approximately 5% from 2010. Monthly residential sales averaged 307 units per month in 2011 compared to 315 per month in 2010.
  • Prices continue to rise for sales: Average sales prices in 2011 were up in Q4 and on a year-over-year basis. The average unit sales price (new and resales) in 2011 was $370,003, representing a 6.4% increase from the average price of $347,729 in 2010, and a total 22.4% increase from 2009. Average price per square foot in new inventory rose by 12.6% to $365. The average rent per square foot also rose 10% year-over-year to $1.78.
  • Condo surplus all but eliminated: The unsold inventory of new condo units in the downtown Miami area declined more than 25% in the past 12 months. Additionally, 1,559 condo units are currently unoccupied, representing less than four months of supply given current leasing trends.

Taking a look at where some of the projects hardest hit during the real estate crash stand today further demonstrates a tightening in the market. For example, with 342 units, the Epic was 17% occupied in 2009. Today, occupancy stands at 89 percent. Once classified by the New York Times as a "monument to excess," the Icon Brickell had an occupancy rate of only 4.9 percent in 2009. Today, this 714-unit complex is also 89% occupied. And the Infinity at Brickell, which had an occupancy rate of 12% in 2009, is today almost fully absorbed with an occupancy rate of 98 percent.

"Downtown Miami continues to prove itself to be one of the country's most resilient markets," said Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority. "Demand is quickly outpacing supply and as a result, developers are once again coming off the sidelines to build new projects- and nearly a decade earlier than even the most bullish economists predicted."

Werley adds that the renter demand is playing a major role in stimulating commercial activity within Miami's urban core. The majority of renters are full-time residents, many of whom have disposable income that translates to heightened demand for goods and services

A Miami DDA report from September 2011 found that downtown Miami is attracting a younger, more affluent residential base. Since 2000, the number of households in the downtown Miami area has increased by 93%, with the highest percentage (57%) of residents falling within the 24-44 age range. Additionally, the area's per capita income has grown by 39%, far exceeding that of the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. All told, the area's population stands at approximately 72,000 people as of mid-2011, representing a 9% year-over-year increase from 2010 and outpacing the 6.8% growth rate experienced during the previous decade.

Posted by Michael Gerrity 03/13/12 12:01 PM EST - http://www.worldpropertychannel.com/


Water Taxis offer Commuters a New Form of Transportation

Something new is afloat in Miami: water taxis.
Different from the narrated floating tiki bars, pirate ships and other tour boats that bring sightseers to the homes of Miami’s rich and somewhat famous, these vessels have a practical purpose: Get from points A to B with as little fuss as possible.
Before January, that wasn’t an option — and Max Vlessing, an entrepreneur who was born in Holland and moved to Miami about a year ago, thought it was time to resurrect the idea.
“The reason why I started it is because there are no water taxis in Miami,” said Max Vlessing, owner of Water Taxi Miami.
Make that were no water taxis.
After more than a decade without, Biscayne Bay now has two vessels ferrying passengers between downtown and Miami Beach.
Biscayne Xpress Water Taxi, based on the north end of Miamarina at Bayside, started service Jan. 15. It has room for 42 passengers. The 38-passenger Water Taxi Miami had its first sailing Jan. 26, departing Miamarina’s south side near Hard Rock Cafe. Each go to the Miami Beach Marina and downtown’s Riverwalk station; Water Taxi Miami also stops at Sea Isle Marina in downtown just north of the Venetian Causeway.
While neither company sounds all that happy about the other’s existence, they have similar goals: Give people an alternative other than sitting in traffic. Appeal to locals as well as tourists. Make people aware that they are open for business.
“Competition’s good,” said Kevin Pagan, who owns Biscayne Xpress along with a charter fishing boat also based at Bayside. “I’m not knocking anyone. I think there’s enough for everybody.”
Monday afternoon was fairly slow for both, each departing Bayside between 2 and 3 p.m. with just three passengers, all tourists.
At 2:15 p.m., three women vacationing from New York hopped aboard Biscayne Xpress with fruity drinks and plans to take in the views — but not disembark at any stops.
Water Taxi Miami, 35 minutes later, departed for Miami Beach with a 24-year-old Brazilian killing time before her flight and a couple of Australian tourists who wanted an easy route to South Beach.
For Sue Nikolovski, of Melbourne, previous bus trips to Miami Beach proved complicated and long. The water taxi route promised a quicker, easier transit. She learned of Water Taxi Miami from her daughter, who lives in South Florida and spotted a Groupon for the service last week.
“It just is another experience,” Nikolovski said. “The bus took forever.”
The Groupon is one of Vlessing’s efforts to get publicity. He’s also partnered with Bayside sightseeing giant Island Queen Cruises. Pagan is working with Half Price Tour Tickets and DecoBikes, among other local partners.
Bob Christoph, manager of Miami Beach Marina, said he was surprised when two water taxi companies emerged — but thinks there is enough demand for both. He said event-specific scheduling and familiarity with the market over time should help.
“I think we’ve seen a much more vibrant whole urban area here and hopefully their time has come,” Christoph said. Previous water taxi services in Miami-Dade failed more than a decade ago.
With a downtown that now boasts more than 65,000 residents, Miami has more built-in customers than ever before, said Alyce Robertson, executive director of Miami’s Downtown Development Authority.
“Certainly it’s a different downtown that they’re being tried in,” she said. “I think there is a different environment today that will give them a good chance of success.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/27/2664487/water-taxi-transportation.html#storylink=
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/27/2664487/water-taxi-transportation.html#storylink=cpy

Water taxis offer commuters a new form of transportation - Business - MiamiHerald.com


New Science Museum to Break Ground Friday

A groundbreaking ceremony marks the onset of construction for the bayfront science museum in Miami that’s to open in 2015.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/23/2658056/new-science-museum-to-break-ground.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/23/2658056/new-science-museum-to-break-ground.html#storylink=cpy

Miami’s new science museum will let visitors dance on a floor that captures their energy, eat food grown in the on-site hydroponic gardens, gaze at stars in a 3-D planetarium and gape at a tank full of sharks overhead.

In short, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami’s Museum Park will feature much of what it offers today in its decades-old location near Coconut Grove, but on a much larger scale in a much larger, grander, more interesting building.

Except for the sharks. Those will be brand-new.
“People might be frightened of physics, but they’re not frightened of fish,” said Gillian Thomas, the museum’s president and CEO.
She and supporters of the museum designed by the firm of British architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw will celebrate the official groundbreaking at the site, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Friday morning. Work on the foundation is set to start within a week or so, and construction and installation of exhibits will continue through late 2014. The project is expected to generate 400 construction jobs.
If all goes as planned, the museum will open in 2015, more than a year after the Stiltsville-inspired Miami Art Museum that shares the bayfront campus. An estimated 750,000 people are expected to visit in the first year — a number that far exceeds the 233,000 or so that went to the current location in 2011. “It will be another destination to take people to, especially young people, that will leave a lasting impression,” said Alyce Robertson, director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority.
Visitors will find a five-story building that resembles, on one side, the bow of a sleek cruise ship. The structure is being positioned to catch the prevailing winds off Biscayne Bay with the goal of making outdoor areas comfortable even in the summer. At 250,000 square feet, the museum will be several times larger than its current location, which takes up about 75,000 square feet between the building and grounds.
A 600,000-gallon aquarium hosting thousands of creatures that exist in the Gulf Stream is expected to be the showstopper, although the 3-D planetarium with stacked seating, the energy playground and the aviary will likely earn their own fans.
While sustainability — including rainwater collection and photovoltaic cells on the roof — is key to the museum, Thomas said the goal is to appeal to a wide swath of interests.
“One thing doesn’t suit everybody, so we’re offering a very rich mix of learning opportunities,” she said.
That’s been the strategy for science museums for some time, said consultant Alan Friedman, former director of the New York Hall of Science.
He said museums tend to find success when they offer a large exhibit that hundreds of people can enjoy at a time — such as the aquarium and planetarium — as well as individual activities.
“Basically all of the science centers in the last 30 years have tried to have both: the large dramatic multi-user experience along with the very individual, find-your-own thing,” he said.
Science museums all over the country and overseas, especially in India, China or Latin America, are expanding or opening anew. That’s likely due to the increasingly important role that science and technology play in our everyday lives, Friedman said.
“Science centers have proven to be probably the single most effective way of getting people to learn a little in an enjoyable manner — and that, in turn, gives them the confidence to learn a whole lot more, maybe in less fun-filled way,” he said.Friedman is familiar with the new Miami project through Thomas, with whom he once worked in Paris. While he said the Miami Science Museum is already well-regarded, he expects the downtown location to increase its appeal to tourists as well as its visibility in the world of museums.
“It’s a dramatic facility and, of course, the location is pretty spectacular too,” he said.
The waterfront property carries a steep price tag, the bulk of it funded by the public. Of the $275 million total for the building, $165 million will be funded by a Miami-Dade County bond issue.
Private fundraising efforts have raised $70 million of the $110 million goal so far, including the $35 million naming gift from entrepreneur Phillip Frost and his wife Patricia and a $10 million matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. As much as $25 million is needed for transitional costs beyond construction.
Naming opportunities are still plentiful, said Trish and Dan Bell, co-chairs of the museum’s board of trustees.
Said Dan Bell: “As Trish likes to say, no gift is too large.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/ - "new science museum to break ground"


Renderings of MyBrickell & Future Developments

MyBrickell is a bold, new statement about contemporary culture and city living. Designed by the internationally acclaimed Karim Rashid, it is a destination that combines the driving energy of Miami with the intelligence of global business and the excitement of cosmopolitan downtown leisure.

Located in the heart of urban Brickell, alongside the Miami River, MyBrickell opens the door to all that is possible in a connected, innovative and artistic environment. The global business gateway of the Americas lives here. Dozens of cultures from all over the world flock to this unique Miami neighborhood known for style, substance and sophistication. A dramatic city skyline rests right against the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay. All that Miami is, and all it ever will be, begins here in Brickell. Work, play, relax or engage with ease from a sleek modern residence that reflects your individuality and your vision for iconic city living.
Mybrickell marks the beginning of incredibly exciting things to come for Miami urbanites. Just blocks from your front door is the site for the business-meets-pleasure atmosphere of Brickell CitiCentre and less than 2 miles to the north, plans are already underway for Resorts World Miami, a first- of-its-kind waterfront resort, condominium, entertainment complex located between Biscayne Bay and the stunning new Performing At Center. At mybrickell, the future isn't just here and now, it is completely and totally yours.

As one of Miami's most prestigious addresses, Brickell is made up of many upscale, luxury condominium and apartment towers. Often referred to as the "Manhattan of the South," Brickell is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the U.S. It also enjoys a reputation as Miami's top destination for five-star hotels and restaurants. At its center, Mary Brickell Village is a social hub defined by restaurants, nightlife and boutiques. The planned Brickell CitiCentre, our next door neighbor, alongside the river promises more of the same with high-end retail shopping, hotels, conference facilities and more.


New Yorkers abandon Big Apple to buy in the Sunshine State


February 03, 2012 02:15PM
By Alexander Britell

Downtown Miami

Sao Paulo. Caracas. Mexico City. Toronto. Buyers from cities like those have been driving Miami’s residential market since the worst of the condominium bust. And although it was largely overshadowed in the foreign buyer shuffle, New York City residents are heading back to Florida with money in hand.
“[New York buyers] are very, very real and very active,” said Phil Spiegelman, principal of brokerage ISG. “It’s tangible, and it’s happening at properties across the board.”
Spiegelman said part of the drive was coming from the fact that buyers in New York and the northeast are beginning to change their perception of Miami’s real estate market and acknowledge its rapidly shrinking inventory.
“I think it started halfway through 2011,” said Coldwell Banker Realtor Danny Hertzberg. “I saw a pickup from New York, and particularly in the last two or three months.”
Hertzberg said the return has been due to several factors: one, many New York buyers are beginning to realize they may have missed the bottom of the market, and even more are fleeing New York for Florida’s favorable tax environment.
“When things were booming a bit, maybe they were able to stomach the city and state income tax [in New York], but now it seems like more and more people are establishing residency, moving their business to Florida and taking advantage of no income tax and the homestead protection.”
The weather, too, continues to draw New York snowbirds down to Miami, despite an unusually balmy winter up north, Spiegelman said.
They’re also looking to Miami for the same reasons as many of the now-famous foreign buyers: investment.
Nelson Gonzalez, a senior vice president with EWM, said he was working with one New York investor who was interested in Miami Beach.
“He’s seeing a lot of upside in the very near future, in the next year to three years. Originally, the thinking was that it was going to be three to seven years,” he said. “His timeline has now shortened because he’s seeing much greater appreciation.”
It’s not to say that New York buyers haven’t had a presence in Miami during the downturn, however.
“They never went away entirely,” said Beth Butler, president of One Sotheby’s International Realty. “There was a little bit of a slowdown, but certainly in areas like Miami Beach we still had some New York buyers. But it’s certainly picked up this year.”
Indeed, as the Miami market recovered, some New York buyers began to rent homes and condominiums in Miami Beach, with some looking to begin establishing residency.
The foreign contingent remains Miami’s strongest source of buyers, though, and a number of other South American demographics, like Mexicans and Venezuelans, are beginning to picking up steam, Butler said.
“[New Yorkers] are definitely here — especially this time of year,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not necessarily just from New York, they’re really from everywhere.”



Grand Entryways Approved for New Port of Miami Tunnel

Imposing, classically inspired new designs for the Port of Miami tunnel portals, unveiled Friday, won praise and a key endorsement from a Miami-Dade County transportation committee.

This architectural rendering shows the newly unveiled design for the Port of Miami tunnel gateway and accompanying landscaping on Dodge Island.

Image 1 of 5 An architectural rendering shows the design by Miami's Arquitectonica for the Port of Miami tunnel portal on Watson Island. Arquitectonica/Miami Access Tunnel

Image 2 of 5 This architectural rendering shows the location of the Port of Miami tunnel entryway, glowing orange at the top, on Watson Island. Across the road is the Miami Children's Museum. Arquitectonica/Miami Access Tunnel

Image 3 of 5 In this architectural rendering, eastbound evening traffic on the MacArthur Causeway zooms by the Port of Miami tunnel gateway on Watson Island. Arquitectonica/Miami Access Tunnel

Image 4 of 5 This architectural rendering shows the landscaping plan surrounding the Port of Miami tunnel entry on Watson Island. Arquitectonica/Miami Access Tunnel

Image 5 of 5 PhotosGrand entryways approved for Port of Miami tunnel


An evocative and distinctly modern design for the Port of Miami tunnel entryways —reminiscent of an Egyptian temple front — on Friday won the enthusiastic endorsement of a Miami-Dade County review committee that had rejected two previous proposals by the project’s contractors. Praised by committee members as simple yet elegant, the twin, raw-concrete portals unveiled by Miami Access Tunnel, the concessionaire building the project, would each rise as a pair of slender, offset monoliths over Watson and Dodge islands to mark the tunnel entry and exit points. The portals, which would glow at night from internal lighting emerging from crevices at their centers, sides and tops, would have Latin variations of the word “navigate’’ inscribed in patterns on their concrete faces in a classic Century Gothic font. On the MacArthur Causeway approach, the design also calls for vertical strips on the lateral highway retaining walls that would reflect cars headlights in orange and blue, the colors of the city of Miami and the port, respectively.

The portals, by the homegrown multinational design firm Arquitectonica, also include extensive landscaping consisting of clumps of palms and other low-maintenance, hardy native plantings on both the MacArthur Causeway and Port Boulevard. On Watson Island, the project also comprises a low-slung “village’’ of above-ground structures behind the portal to house tunnel administrative offices, maintenance facilities and generator and equipment rooms. The buildings’ roofs would be covered with grass.At its rear, where it rises over the village, the Watson portal monolith would have a sharp fold “like origami,’’ said Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia.“He has transformed an elephant into something beautiful,’’ said Florida Department of Transportation district chief Gus Pego. Port director Bill Johnson was also effusive. MAT brought in Arquitectonica — the firm responsible for the American Airlines Arena, numerous Miami towers and the Miami Children’s Museum located by the tunnel entrance on Watson Island — to completely redraw the portals after the county Transportation Aesthetics Review Committee twice rejected previous designs as drab and unimaginative. MAT vice president Christopher Hodgkins said contractors have not yet come up with cost figures, but said the concessionaire’s deal obligates it to build the portals as part of its roughly $1 billion project budget. The portals are not merely decorative, Fort-Brescia noted. They also enclose massive flood gates that would drop down to seal off the tunnel as a hurricane approaches.

Fort-Brescia said his design team also faced additional constraints: MAT and FDOT wanted an imposing design, but nothing so dramatic as to distract motorists approaching the tunnel entryways. “There was a concern about the building calling too much attention to itself,’’ he told the committee. “We tried to do something with some artistry without being explosive. It’s not a structure where you want people stopping to take pictures.’’The navigation theme ties together not just the “universe of ports’’ to which the Miami port is connected around the world, but also the cars approaching the tunnel and the jets flying over the bay, Fort-Brescia said, and he chose Latin as a sort of international lingua franca.Committee member James Kanter also praised the portals for managing to at once evoke the classically inspired 1920s architecture of Miami, the Art Deco of the 1930s, and the mid-century Miami Modern flair of Fointainebleau Hotel architect Morris Lapidus, in a contemporary design.The controversial tunnel, now being drilled by a massive boring machine, is designed principally to ease truck access to the port. It will consist of two separate tubes running side by side from Watson Island under Government Cut to the port. Each tunnel will have two lanes of one-way traffic. FDOT is now building two new lanes in the middle of the MacArthur Causeway bridge to connect the tunnel entry and exit portals on Watson island to Interstate 395.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/10/2635451/grand-entryways-approved-for-new.html#storylink=cpy


The FIFTH Oceanfront Condo Tower Proposed for Sunny Isles Beach, FL

Saturday, February 4, 2012

MIAMI, FL --A veteran developer with a track record in South America and a growing land portfolio in South Florida plans to build an ultra-luxury condominium tower on an oceanfront site in the barrier island city of Sunny Isles Beach (top left photo) in Northeast Miami-Dade County, according to a new report from CondoVultures.com.

The proposed 35-story Chateau Beach tower - with 84 units and 271,500 square feet on a one-acre site on Collins Avenue - would be the fifth project slated for construction in Sunny Isles Beach in the last six months, according to the CondoVultures.com Preconstruction Condo Projects list.  
Overall, more than 20 new condo tower with 4,300 units are proposed for the coastal area of the tricounty South Florida region despite an estimated 4,200 developer units remaining unsold as of Dec. 31, 2011, according to a preliminary estimate based on the CondoVultures.com Official Condo Buyers Guide™ series.
 The next step for the proposed Chateau Beach condo project is on Feb. 16, 2012 when the project’s developer – a Florida entity controlled by the Grosskopf Group of Argentina - is scheduled to appear before the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission for a public hearing on the proposed tower, according to a City of Sunny Isles Beach Notice of Zoning Hearing.
The Grosskopf Group develops and invests in residential towers and shopping centers in Argentina and Uruguay. The group has reportedly developed several condo towers including the Chateau Libertador Residence and Chateau Puerto Madero Residence.

In South Florida, the Grosskopf Group has acquired five developments sites - and counting - around South Florida ranging from the existing Ocean Palm Motel site on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach to the former Paramount Park condo tower site at 728 Biscayne Blvd. in Greater Downtown Miami, according to Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Office records.
The property was put up for auction on Jan. 9, 2012 whereby the lender of record, Chateau Beach LLC with Manuel Grosskopf, won the bidding, clearing the way to obtain title on Jan. 27, 2012, according to Miami-Dade County records.

Prices are slated to range from $650 to $800 per square foot with a total deposit of 50 percent of the contracted purchase amount.

The proposed Chateau Beach tower is to offer units that range in size from less than 1,500 square feet to more than 9,000 square feet.

Sunny Isles Beach is a 40-block stretch from the town of Golden Beach boundary south to Haulover Beach Park, Biscayne Bay east to the Atlantic Ocean. Sunny Isles Beach is divided up into three neighborhoods separated by causeways: North, Central, and South.

Condo Vultures® LLC is a real estate consultancy and marketing company based at 1005 Kane Concourse, Suite 205, Bal Harbour, Florida, 33154.


New World Symphony - Combining Classical Music with Electronica

Event Info: Friday March 23rd, 9:30 PM
Where: New World Center

Featuring Mercury Soul and the New World Symphon
Let’s get the party started! The New World Center will transform into a hip, nightclub-style setting, where theatrically enhanced classical music is mixed into an evening-long set of DJ-spun electronica. Featuring the artistry of Mercury Soul - conductor Benjamin Shwartz, DJ/composer Mason Bates and designer Anne Patterson - together with that of the New World Symphony.