How Terra Picks Winning Sites

June 23, 2015   |   GlobeSt

MIAMI—Terra Group has been massively successful with its business model and its projects are helping transform South Florida neighborhoods. So how do the company’s principals decide where to place their development bets?

GlobeSt.com caught up with David Martin, president of Terra, to get his thoughts on this question. He also discusses how buyer bases different and the firm’s North Beach condo project in part two of this exclusive interview. You can still read part one: Terra Group Reveals its Secret Sauce.

GlobeSt.com: You have projects underway in both urban and suburban neighborhoods. How do you identify development sites and decide the best use of those sites?

Martin: Terra is extremely conscious of where, how and what we develop. We’re always looking for neighborhoods with high barriers to entry that lend themselves to  uncovering inefficiency, filling a market void or delivering a concept that’s never been executed.

Whether it’s a high-rise residential tower or single-family estate homes, we pick our spots carefully and deliver projects that are appropriate for the community and market dynamics. This strategy is helping to reshape places like Coconut Grove, where Grove at Grand Bay and Park Grove have contributed to the area’s revitalization.

New businesses are opening, more investment is pouring in, and South Floridians are relocating to the area. We expect to have a similar impact with Botaniko in Weston and in North Beach, where our 8701 Collins project will jumpstart an area that has mostly sat untouched for decades.

GlobeSt.com: Terra is building both high-rises and single-family homes. How do the buyer bases for each project type differ?

Martin: There’s a perception that the Miami market is dominated by residential buildings being bought up by foreigners, when the reality is that the bulk of our housing supply is low-density product outside the urban core. International buyers do account for a significant portion of our sales, but we’re seeing a growing number of local and domestic buyers purchasing units as well.

In some cases, such as at Grove at Grand Bay, there’s a migration of South Florida residents looking to downsize their home and relocate to an urban, walk-able environment. Meanwhile, single-family homebuyers are often in the market for more space at a lower price per square foot. Generally speaking, they want to be closer to high quality schools, libraries, parks and other amenities that you find in places like Doral and Weston.

GlobeSt.com: What can you tell us about the North Beach condo project at this point?

Martin: Our boutique residential tower at 8701 Collins is a case study for the Terra development model. We are collaborating with the architects at Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the planners and landscape designers at West 8 and the interior designers at RDA1 to create a project that will be an anchor for the larger North Beach neighborhood.

The site is set directly on the sand and bounded by a 35-acre public park, so it’s a quiet piece of property compared to what many people expect to find in Miami Beach. The project emphasizes the relationship between indoor and outdoor living. We’re creating a 1.5-acre private park for residents and including oversized balconies in all units. We think North Beach is poised for a transformation over the next few years, especially given its location midway between South Beach and Bal Harbour.