Steel magnate pays $15M for two units at GLASS

October 30, 2015   |   The Real Deal

Units are full-floor residences stacked on top of each other

The founder of a major steel corporation in Ohio is linked to the $15 million purchase of two condos at the newly built GLASS condo tower in Miami Beach.

Units 1100 and 1200 at the just-completed building were sold for $7.3 million and $7.9 million, respectively, to a company called Majestic Steel Properties on Monday, Miami-Dade property records show. The company is based in Ohio and shares an address with Majestic Steel U.S.A, a wholesale supplier of steel.

Ohio corporate records show that the company, first incorporated in 1991 for the express purpose of owning real estate, is headed by Majestic Steel founder Dennis Leebow.

The family-owned company was founded in the 1970s to capitalize on that decade’s steel shortages, according to a 2009 article from Crain’s Cleveland Business. It typically has a stock of more than 200 million pounds of steel products at any given time.

 In 2007, Dennis Leebow began to step back so that his sons Todd and Jonathan could take over. Todd Leebow is currently the company’s president, and Jonathan is the executive vice president.

 A Wall Street Journal article from 2005 said Dennis actually imported palm trees from Florida to his sprawling mansion in Ohio to give it a “Miami Beach air,” so maybe he wanted more of the real thing.

Todd Leebow and his bride Shelly Sheldon just married in Miami on Oct. 3, according to their wedding website. Among the guests: Lebron James, who posted on Instagram from the event.

Because GLASS is so new, property records don’t yet reflect the square footage of the condos, so the sizes of these two units are unavailable. Their unit numbers indicate that they’re stacked on top of each other, though.

A press release from Terra Group, the developer, said the 18-story building has sold all 10 of its full-floor residences, including a massive three-story penthouse that closed for $20 million earlier this week.

New GLASS South Beach condo tower tops $70M in sales

November 3, 2015   |   The Real Deal

Eight units have sold so far, at an average price of nearly $2,700psf

A fourth new condo project in the high-end South-of-Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach has been completed during this South Florida real estate cycle that began in 2011.

To date, eight transactions in the newly completed 10-unit GLASS project — formally called the Glass120 condominium — in the 100 block of Ocean Drive have been recorded at an average price of nearly $2,700 per square foot for a combined $70.5 million as of Monday, according to Miami-Dade County records.

Individual unit transactions in GLASS have ranged in price from $3.4 million to as much as $20 million each. On a price per square foot basis, individual unit transactions have been recorded between less than $2,100 to more than $3,000 each, according to government records.

 

As of Monday, one condo — unit 600 — in GLASS was listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service at an asking price of more than $3,015 per square foot based on “unit area,” according to a combination of data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange and the project’s amended Declaration Of Condominium.

This same unit 600 in GLASS was purchased on Oct. 26 at a price of about $2,094 per square foot, according to government records.

Developed by the Terra Group with the father-and-son team of Pedro and David Martin, GLASS is an 18-story condo project located on the west side of Ocean Drive next to the popular Prime 112 steak restaurant at the southern tip of the barrier island in Miami-Dade County, according to government records.

The completion of the GLASS project occurred on the same day as the nearby Marea South Beach complex that consists of three buildings and a combined 30 units located on South Pointe Drive.

The Marea South Beach recorded its first transaction about four hours before the initial deed was recorded at the Glass tower on Oct. 15, according to government records.

The first new condo project to be completed during this South Florida real estate cycle in the South of Fifth neighborhood was the 321 Ocean project that consists of a pair of buildings with a total of 22 units on the east side of Ocean Drive. Transactions for that project began to be recorded in May.

A month later, in June, the 350 Meridian boutique condo with four units was completed.

In total, developers have announced plans to build 11 new condo buildings with nearly 150 units in the South-of-Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach. Overall in Miami Beach, developers have announced plans to build 46 new condo buildings with nearly 1,950 units in the barrier island city, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure, my firm operates the website.)

Overall, South Florida developers have announced plans to build a total of 387 new condo buildings with more than 46,250 units east of I-95 east in the tri-county region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach during this cycle.

In completing the GLASS project, developers have now constructed 48 new condo buildings with more than 3,715 units east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region since 2011.

An additional 121 new condo buildings with about 11,650 units are currently under construction in South Florida, according to the data.

The new condo projects that are under construction or recently completed account for more than 33 percent of the total units announced for South Florida during this latest boom.

An additional 30,900 new units — nearly 67 percent of the South Florida preconstruction total — are currently in the planning or presale phase of development.

The unanswered question going forward is whether buyers in the market for a condo today are as bullish on the South-of-Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach as those developers and unit owners who are attempting to sell at increasingly higher prices.

Neighborhood evolution

October 31, 2015   |   The Real Deal

Overtown, North Beach in Miami Beach, the Arts & Entertainment District and Coconut Grove are among several areas that have emerged as the hottest real estate submarkets in greater Miami as the fourth quarter gets under way, according to recent interviews with real estate analysts and developers.

“These emerging areas are seeing a renaissance of activity,” said Alex Zylberglait, a senior vice president for brokerage firm Marcus & Milichap. “Pricing is going up as land is becoming [scarcer].”

 

North Beach

A quiet community with single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings, North Beach is about to undergo a significant transformation once developer Terra Group breaks ground on its 20-story, 64-unit luxury condominium at 8701 Collins Avenue, Zylbergait said. “In the next few years, you are going to see more higher-density, mixed-use projects in North Beach,” he said. “You will also see the development push westward to the Intracoastal side.”

New York real estate investor Guy Smilovich is quite bullish on North Beach. He said in an interview that he bought in the neighborhood because the area has “long-term value.”

Smilovich is moving forward with renovating his Art Deco building at 8200 Harding Avenue. It will connect via a courtyard to a new 13-unit luxury apartment building going up on a vacant lot at 8204 Harding Avenue, with a mechanical-lift parking system.

The two properties, approved by Miami Beach officials earlier this year, are located one block west and three blocks north of Terra’s 8701 Collins project.

Smilovich also owns a four-unit building at 8144 Harding Avenue, which he might convert into a hotel.

 

The Arts & Entertainment District

Three years after NR Investments pitched its tent in the Arts & Entertainment District, which connects Wynwood and the Design District, the neighborhood is well-positioned for major growth, said company principal Nir Shoshani.

In 2012, NR acquired the Filling Station Lofts at 1657 North Miami Avenue and transformed the 81-unit mid-rise tower into a rental building. Since unveiling plans last year for the 37–story condo tower Canvas, NR has sold more than 200 of the 513 units, Shoshani said. His company also owns a 1-acre parcel on North Miami Avenue between Northeast 14th and Northeast 15th streets, where NR hopes to build a mixed-use project with hotel, office and residential components.

Other major developers are also banking on the Arts & Entertainment District. The Related Group is planning a three-tower mixed-use site on 2.7 acres at 1400 Biscayne Boulevard that it purchased for $57.7 million last year. The residential element will be managed by luxury hospitality company Auberge Resorts.

Shoshani said the neighborhood has all the key attributes for creating an urban village, such as being close to public transportation and high-density zoning. “In four to five years, you will have a neighborhood that has an entirely new identity.”

Midtown

Nearly a decade after developers Joe and Jack Cayre set about transforming a 29-acre former rail yard into Midtown Miami — a self-contained neighborhood with four residential towers and a shopping center anchored by big-box retailers — some new developments are on track to enter the picture in the coming months. In September, the Related Group and Dezer Properties broke ground on the Hyde Midtown Suites & Residences after selling 70 percent of the 410 residential units.

Just east of the abandoned Florida East Coast railroad tracks near Midtown Miami, developer Alex Vadia has submitted plans to the City of Miami for a massive residential, retail and restaurant complex.

“There hasn’t been much new development coming to the Midtown market for about eight years,” said Tony Cho, CEO of Metro 1 Realtors. “With all the activity taking place in Wynwood and the Design District, Midtown is poised to benefit from the spillover effect.”

 

Overtown

In the historically African-American neighborhood of Overtown, a pair of massive mixed-used projects near downtown Miami could serve as catalysts for more redevelopment projects.

The construction of All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral complex near the Miami-Dade government center is well under way. In June, crews began pouring the foundations for a five-block project stretching along Northwest First Avenue. MiamiCentral is where All Aboard Florida’s commuter rail line from Orlando to Miami will make its last stop. The site will include five rail tracks, a train depot, four towers, a garage, almost 1 million square feet of office and retail space and more than 1,300 apartments, condos and hotel rooms.

Developers for the $1.7 billion Miami Worldcenter are preparing the 27-acre site for construction, which is scheduled to begin by the year’s end. The project includes a 500-unit Paramount Miami World-center condo tower that will be constructed atop a 765,000-square-foot retail and entertainment center anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and developed by Forbes and Taubman. A 1,800-room Marriott Marquis hotel and convention center, as well as a tower by Orlando-based developer ZOM, with 429 luxury rental apartments, are also part of the project.

Despite a Goldman Sachs report that Taubman has “the potential to not go forward with (sic) World Center,” a Forbes executive said the national shopping center developer remains committed to the project, the Miami Herald reported in June.

Miami Worldcenter is receiving $88 million in tax rebates over 12 years for creating jobs for local residents of Overtown and other Miami neighborhoods.

Overtown’s potential is generating significant investor excitement, Paramount developer Daniel Kodsi said during a September real estate forum about Asian buyers, noting that 40 percent of the 60-story tower’s 513 units have been sold and 13 percent of the buyers are from China, an emerging market for Miami condo developers.

Affordable housing developers are also breaking ground on projects catering to middle–class working professionals.

Atlantic Pacific Communities and Palmetto Homes are constructing Island Living, an eight-story building with 70 units and 5,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 1201 Northwest Third Avenue. At least 50 percent of the units will be set aside for buyers with incomes not exceeding 60 percent of the area’s median level. The project is financed with bonds issued by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency

In June, former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s AM Affordable Housing and partner Housing Trust Group broke ground for Courtside Family Apartments, an 84-unit mid-rise at 1700 Northwest Fourth Avenue. The $22.8 million project is being financed with $9 million in Florida Housing Finance Corp. low-income housing tax credits, $3.31 million in construction debt from Citi Community Capital, $7.5 million from Miami’s Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency and a $1.75 million Miami-Dade County surtax loan.

 

Little Havana

The July sale of a Little Havana super-market shows how hot properties in the historic Miami neighborhood have become. Last year the commercial building’s market value was about $605,000, according to Miami-Dade County property appraisal records. The property flipped for almost double the price and was sold to Calle Ocho Marketplace for $1.06 million. The market value for several neighboring properties has also ballooned by $200,000 to about the $500,000 mark.

Further east, closer to neighboring Brickell, Megacenter Brickell, a company that lists Pablo Wichmann and Patricio Ureta as managers, purchased almost three-quarters of an acre on both Southwest Seventh and Eighth Street at Fourth Avenue for $7.93 million, or about $253 per square foot. The previous owner, Key Biscayne-based London Real Estate Co., had paid $1.2 million for both lots in 2011.

Scott C. Sandelin, a national retail specialist for Marcus & Millichap who co–brokered the Calle Ocho Marketplace deal, said the supermarket was the fifth property in nine months that his firm had handled in Little Havana.

“Investors are taking notice of the opportunities to capitalize on the urban renewal in eastern Dade County,” Sandelin said in a statement. “We expect that the demand for properties will continue to escalate with new developments.”

Realtors have also begun marketing Little Havana as Miami’s next frontier. In April, downtown Miami real estate agency Fausto Commercial Realty took a group of real estate professionals, from bank loan officers to developers, on a promotional tour of Little Havana as part of an effort to illustrate that the historic neighborhood, home to many Spanish–speaking immigrants from Latin America, is primed for redevelopment.

One developer already making headway is the Astor Cos., which recently received $46.7 million in bank financing for its InTown mixed-use project now under construction at 1940 Southwest Eighth Street. The site, which includes a 312-unit condo tower, eight townhouses and 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail, is expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

In June, Astor founder Henry Torres said he is marketing the condo as “affordable luxury” units, adding, “I truly believe in Little Havana.”

Other developers targeting Little Havana include the Chetrit Group, with plans to build four 60-story towers along the Miami River.

Historic preservationists, however, have been running interference with the city of Miami to halt efforts to rezone the area for higher density and thus entice new development. They claim the proliferation of high-rises in Little Havana would destroy the neighborhood’s character. Earlier this year, their activism led to the creation of the River-view Historic District, which protects a few square blocks of east Little Havana that housed Latin American refugees and immigrants who arrived in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

 

Coral Gables

For many years, tony Coral Gables had avoided the type of heavy development that has swept through Miami and Miami Beach. Not anymore, said Masoud Shojaee, chairman of development firm Shoma Group, which joined forces with developer Ugo Colombo’s CMC Group to build the Collection Residences, a 128-unit, 10-story luxury condominium, in the heart of Coral Gables. The Collection joins a slew of high-density projects that are under construction or in the planning stages.

In July, the Coral Gables city commission greenlit the Mediterranean Village at Ponce Circle, billed as the largest development in the city’s history with more than 1 million square feet of hotel, condos and shopping on 6.7 acres. Other projects include an Aloft Hotel being built on Le Jeune Road and 33 Alhambra, a proposed 16-story residential tower that would take up most of a city block.

“When I started purchasing land in Coral Gables four years ago, there was nothing moving in the city,” Shojaee said. “There was no new construction. Today, it is very difficult to find a property. We got in early.”

 

Coconut Grove

With developers Terra Group and the Related Group partnering to create Park Grove, a three-tower luxury condo project, and Terra also building the 90-unit Grove at Grand Bay, Coconut Grove is poised for a “wonderful comeback,” said W. Allen Morris, head of Allen Morris Co.

“What Terra is doing is going to take the Grove into a whole new paradigm shift,” Morris said in an interview. “It is only going to get better and better.”

Investors certainly seem to think so. In March, an entity controlled by famed Miami architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia renovated the Engle Building at the corner of McFarlane Road and Main Highway and announced a roster of new tenants including Harry’s Pizzeria, Panther Coffee and Clyde Butcher gallery. A month later, a group of Latin American buyers plunked down $2 million (10 times the last sales price) for a 10,502-square-foot commercial property in the West Grove.

And in May, a partnership between Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and the Comras Co. bought the Cocowalk shopping complex in a deal valued at $87.5 million and unveiled plans to redevelop the center and include a new tenant mix.

Global by design

May 4, 2016   |   The Real Deal

Miami-Dade is an international hotspot. About 55 percent of the county’s population is foreign-born and it was foreign investors who reenergized Miami’s real estate market following the fall of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing financial crisis.

Yet despite the area’s global appeal, most developers have been content until recently with retaining local architects to design their buildings.

Not anymore.

An increasing number of private developers are looking all over the world for architectural superstars to design their products. Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture, said local developers are casting a “wide net” for acclaimed architects. The hunt is also a “recent phenomenon,” which started taking place in earnest within the last three years, he added.

“A lot of developers now see a value in having one of those big name architects designing their building,” el-Khoury told The Real Deal.

A lot of that value is promotional. But not all of it.  “You can say that this is just a fad and it’s all about marketing and branding,” el-Khoury said, “but that is a limited, cynical view. It is really about delivering a better product.”

David Martin, president of the development firm Terra Group, said he appreciates the knowledge that renowned foreign-born architects bring to a project. “I learned how to be a better developer,” Martin said. “That’s why we work with some of these amazing people and why we want to bring them to Miami to learn our city and our ecosystem.”

Below, meet some of the architects from abroad who have recently entered Miami’s market.

 

Renzo Piano

In the course of his 51-year career in architecture, Italian architect Renzo Piano has won several accolades for his work, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is basically the Pulitzer Prize for architecture.

Piano’s firm, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, has designed more than 120 projects across the planet, including the Menil Collection in Houston, the Tjibaou Cultural Center in New Caledonia, the Kansai International Airport Terminal in Osaka, London Bridge Tower (the Shard) in London and the new Whitney Museum in New York.

Now Piano, 78, has finished plans for his first condo project in Miami.

“He is just an amazing gentleman,” said Martin. “He’s someone who has accomplished so much.”

Martin said Piano was the perfect man to design Eighty Seven Park, a future 233-foot-tall oceanfront luxury condominium tower in Miami Beach at 8701 Collins Avenue, where units are being marketed for as high as $20 million.

“Renzo has worked all over Europe building these amazing museums and structures,” Martin said. “And what I found in every project he did is that it’s connected to nature.”

That was one of the reasons Martin sought Piano to build a “simple and elegant” building that would match the green natural surroundings that can be found in nearby North Shore Open Space Park, as well as the development’s own two-acre private park. “It was truly an honor to work with him.” Martin said.

 

Thomas Juul-Hansen

Thomas Juul-Hansen, 46, was born in Copenhagen and journeyed to Miami at the age of 18, soon after graduating high school in Denmark.

“It was supposed to be a short period of time,” Juul-Hansen, who ended up staying for nearly six years, told TRD. “I ended up liking this country a lot more than Denmark,” he said.

It was at the University of Miami where Juul-Hansen got his undergraduate degree in architecture. He went on to get his master’s degree in architecture at Harvard and wandered the States for a while, before landing a job at Richard Meier and Partners in New York. He later set up his own practice in the Big Apple, designing condos for billionaires.

His first design project in South Florida is Three Hundred Collins, a 19-unit South Beach boutique condo that’s being developed by Jason Halpern, the founder and managing partner of JMH Development.

“It’s always interesting to try and decipher what the DNA is for the site you’re working at,” Juul-Hansen said. “We were trying to figure out what Miami Beach is all about, what the architecture of Miami Beach is all about, and then find our own interpretation.”

What he came up with was a building with deep balconies that are big enough to create an outdoor living room and a 75-foot long private rooftop pool. Juul-Hansen plans to collaborate with Halpern again for a future condo project in Surfside.

“Miami is all about the outdoors” he said. “We would like to do more projects here, especially in the winter time.”

 

Ricardo Bofill

Ricardo Bofill, a Spanish architect who founded Taller de Arquitectura in 1963, has designed government buildings, theaters, airports, train stations, retail centers, hotels, apartment complexes, condominiums and office towers.

Those projects can be seen all over the world, including in Spain, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, China and Japan and in countries in South America and states in the U.S., too.

But in South Florida, Bofill’s contribution to date has been limited to designing a waterfront mansion for Mexican singer Paulina Rubio.

That’s about to change. Camilo Miguel, Jr., the chief executive officer of Mast Capital, retained Bofill to create 3900 Alton Road, an eight-story luxury condo development in Miami Beach set to break ground in 2017.

Miguel told TRD in an email exchange that he obtained Bofill’s architectural services because “it was important to have someone whose talents aligned with our vision of elegant simplicity while also integrating the highest quality.”

The 76-year-old architect’s reputation doesn’t hurt either. “The arrival of an architect like Ricardo Bofill signifies how dynamic and exciting the South Florida market has become,” Miguel noted.

Bofill said his design for 3900 Alton Road was inspired by water.

“When first visiting the site, I immediately thought of the surrounding water and I imagined a transparent building, a fluid floating weightless object,” the architect told TRD. “The challenge was to make a contemporary yet classical design.”

The result is a layer L-shaped building with a “glass-skin, connecting streams where energy and space flow,” Bofill said. “Gardens are introduced to create an ecological scheme that not only makes the building more sustainable but allows the building to become alive.”

 

Piero Lissoni

Piero Lissoni always wanted to work in metropolitan Miami. He just never had the chance until recently. According to the 60-year-old Italian architect, as recently as 10 years ago most private projects were restricted to South Florida-based architects.

“Now a lot of architects are starting to work in Miami,” Lissoni told TRD. “They’re designing new museums, new theaters, new public spaces, new schools and, of course, new homes.”

For the last 30 years, Lissoni and his Milan-based firm, Lissoni Associati, has designed hotels, apartments, offices, showrooms, houses and even yachts all over the globe. Lissoni’s entry into South Florida’s real estate market was via Lionheart Capital. In 2012, the Miami-based real estate development firm hired him to design the Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach by Surprise Lake. His task: help convert the former Miami Heart Institute into a 111-unit luxury condo complex.

It was a long process, one that is scheduled to finally end in late 2016. The challenging job earned Lissoni several admirers and, more importantly, additional assignments. Among those jobs is the 28-story Oceana Bal Harbour and the 53-story ONE Paraiso in Miami’s Edgewater. Both projects are due for completion in 2017.

 

Isay Weinfeld

Isay Weinfeld, 64, knows how to create aesthetic hideouts in dense urban environments, according to Josh Weissenstein, a director at New York-based HFZ Capital Group. That is one of the main reasons HFZ hired the Brazilian architect to design the transformation of South Beach’s Shore Club into the first Fasano-branded project in the U.S. and, incidentally, Weinfeld’s first project in South Florida.

“His appreciation for the harmonious relationship between indoor and outdoor living pairs perfectly with our vision for Fasano Miami Beach,” Weissenstein told TRD by email.  That vision, as described by Weissenstein, was the creation of a three-acre “oasis” for 67 condo units and 85 hotel rooms.

It helped that Weinfeld’s extensive portfolio includes designing the flagship Fasano Hotel in São Paulo, the Fasano Las Piedras “hospitality complex” in Uruguay and the Fasano-branded Fazenda Boa Vista residential resort in Porto Feliz, Brazil.

“Isay’s rich history with the Fasano brand fuels his excitement for bringing the brand to the U.S. with us in Miami Beach,” Weissenstein noted.

 

Brandon Haw

When you build new projects along the historic Collins Avenue in Miami Beach’s Mid-Beach neighborhood, you have to make sure they fit within the corridor’s dynamic architectural tapestry, Brandon Haw said.

The 55-year-old architect from London compared such a task to arranging a chess board with black and white pieces. While the pieces have different shapes and functions, Haw noted, you can’t just place a red chess piece in the middle of the board.

Haw spent the last 26 years at Foster + Partners, an innovative architecture firm led by the renowned British architect Norman Foster. As a senior partner, Haw supervised the designing of Hearst Tower in New York, HSBC’s United Kingdom headquarters in London and the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt.

In 2013, Foster put Haw in charge of designing the 18-story Faena House in Miami Beach, where residences were reportedly fetching an average price of $3,130 a square foot as of February.

In 2014, Haw left Foster + Partners to form his own New York-based firm, Brandon Haw Architecture. Soon afterward, Argentine developer Alan Faena retained Haw to build Faena Versailles Contemporary, a 16-story condo tower just a block away from Faena House in Miami Beach, with views of the ocean from aerodynamic balconies designed to generate less wind pressure.

Haw said he’s talking to “a small number of people” to build additional projects elsewhere in South Florida and that he’s particularly interested in boutique offices or institutional buildings.

“It’s not all about high-end residential,” he said. “A city environment is made up of many different components.”