Inside the Glass Residences in Miami Beach

November 18, 2015   |   Mansion Global

A new luxury condominium in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth enclave will soon open its doors to residents.

The recently completed tower is called Glass. It could be the last high-rise built in the neighborhood due to zoning restrictions and preservation rules. The building was designed by architect Rene Gonzalez.

“There is a scarcity of quality sites,” said David Martin, president and owner of the Miami-based Terra Group, the developer of the building. “So when you do get one, you want to make it special and unique.”

As its name suggests, the 18-story tower is made of all glass. It consists of only ten full-floor residences. “Our philosophy has been ‘less is more,’” said Martin. He said that luxury buyers are increasingly looking for boutique developments with fewer neighbors. “It’s a thesis our company has,” said Martin. “To do less density, but have a low-impact, high-value building.”

The philosophy appears to resonate with buyers. All ten of the Glass residences were snapped up off the market, including the three-story penthouse, which sold for $20 million in October. The median sales price for the units was between $8 million and $9 million, according to Martin.

Residents will have access to five floors of amenities. There is a swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa and lounge areas, as well as a full-service beach club for residents only.

Terra has several condominium projects in the Miami area, including the forthcoming Eighty Seven Park in North Beach, Park Grove in Coconut Grove, and Modern in Doral.

In Miami, All Eyes Are on North Beach

March 23, 2016   |   Mansion Global

Asked to describe their district, residents of North Beach say dated, depressed and dilapidated. But when asked to describe the future of Miami Beach’s northernmost section, they describe a community that’s revitalized, vibrant and developed.

This informal survey was held last month during a one-week creative work session staged by the North Beach Master Plan Steering Committee, created in December by the Mayor's Office to outline an overdue strategy to revitalize the district.

North Beach, encompassing 63rd to 87th streets between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, has long been one of the city’s least developed neighborhoods. To its north is Surfside, another up-and-coming beachfront community, and Bal Harbour, an already established high-end area with upscale retail.

To the south, Mid-Beach has been receiving the attention of developers, including Lionheart Capital, which this year is completing the Ritz-Carlton Residences and South Beach. It’s also home to the sprawling and posh Faena District.

Depending on whom you ask, NoBe has either been overlooked or neglected. As far back as 2001, the city designated 71st Street as North Beach’s Town Center, a key component of the area’s then-future. But the plan to develop the corridor with retail, cultural and residential projects has yet to come to fruition.

What’s hampering Town Center? “It’s a parking issue,” said Marguerite Ramos, a long-time resident of the area and chairwoman of the North Beach Master Plan Steering Committee. That may soon be remedied: Planning agency Dover, Kohl & Partners is looking at a city-owned lot owned on 72nd Street to address this issue.

It may sound minor, but solving the parking problem is a major step forward. Real estate developers have taken notice.

Here are three things you need to know about Miami Beach’s latest luxury frontier.



In 2006, the median sale price of a condo in North Beach was $260,000. A decade later, in the last quarter of 2015, that price was $239,000, according to the Elliman Report.

The high-end market has fared better. According to One Sotheby’s International Realty, the price per square foot for waterfront units in North Beach grew 7% between 2014 and 2015. The average unit sold for $1.7 million.

“It is an up-and-coming neighborhood,” said Fernando de Núñez y Lugones, executive vice president of the development division at One Sotheby’s. While North Beach hasn’t yet had its “moment,” he added, it may benefit from Miami’s growing land crunch.



Last November, L’Atelier Residences, a 23-unit beachfront residential building, broke ground on Collins Avenue. Units will start at $4 million for the half-floor, three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residences. A penthouse, spanning the 17th and 18th floors connected by a floating glass staircase, will list for $25 million.

The building is slated for late 2017 or early 2018, according to Meir Srebernik, founder of SMG Management, which is developing the property along with W Capital Group. According to Srebernik, 60% of the project is already under contract.

L’Atelier on Collins Avenue consists of 23 residences, including half-floor units with up to 1,171 square feet of exterior space.
Courtesy of L’Atelier Residences

This month also saw the completion of Peloro, a 114-residence condominium on Indian Creek. Units in the sold-out development were priced between $750,000 and $2 million.

Eight more projects are either waiting approval or have been greenlit, including Eighty Seven Park by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. This will be his first residential building in the U.S. and will feature 70 units priced between $3 million to $20 million. The oceanfront building is expected to break ground in the second quarter of this year.



The Normandy Isle Fountain, which sits in Vendome Plaza, was built in the 1920s but sat neglected for decades until late 2014 when, after a four-month restoration, its water finally flowed again. For Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, the fountain’s restoration is symbolic of North Beach’s revitalization.

“North Beach didn’t get the attention it deserved,” he said. “What we are seeing now is a major rebirth of the area.”

According to North Beach Master Plan Steering Committee’s Ramos, proponents of this rebirth hope to create middle ground between the developers who are betting big on luxury properties and the preservationists.

 For example, the city has approved a $6.5 million redesign of the oceanfront North Shore Open Space Park. At 36 acres, it’s one of the largest parks in Miami Beach. The project, led by design firm West 8, calls for an expanded network of paths, lighting and lawns, among other betterments.

Recorra lo próximo en lujo residencial en Miami Beach

May 4, 2016   |   Mansion Global

Bajo el nombre Eighty Seven Park, el primer edificio residencial en Estados Unidos diseñado por el afamado arquitecto italiano Renzo Piano, está un paso más cerca de ser una realidad.

Terra, el desarrollador detrás del proyecto en el vecindario de North Beach en Miami Beach, y sus socios, las empresas inmobiliarias Bizzi & Partners y New Valley, anunciaron que han cerrado un préstamo de construcción por US$91 millones, lo que debería permitirles iniciar las obras en el segundo trimestre de este año.

El edificio frente al Océano Atlántico localizado en el número 8701 de la avenida Collins tendrá 70 residencias e incluirá un parque privado de casi una hectárea. Las unidades, que medirán en promedio 3.000 pies cuadrados (280 metros cuadrados), tendrán entre uno y cinco dormitorios, con precios desde US$3 millones hasta US$20 millones, señalaron los desarrolladores.

Compradores de varias partes de EE.UU. y del mundo, incluyendo Londres, Milán y Mónaco, ya han reservado varias unidades, según los desarrolladores.

Los residentes de Eighty Seven Park disfrutarán de servicio de conserjería y mayordomo las 24 horas del día, un bar de jugos al aire libre, un salón de belleza de servicio completo y un botánico de tiempo completo para que los ayuden con los jardines en sus balcones privados. Las unidades tendrán espacios al aire libre con cocinas. El espacio exterior equivaldrá a aproximadamente 70% del espacio interior de cada residencia.

Piano y su firma, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, trabajarán con la empresa de arquitectura canadiense Stantec y la holandesa West 8. Otros proyectos de Piano, ganador del Premio Pritzker, incluyen el edificio del diario New York Times y el Museo Whitney en Nueva York y la renovación y expansión en progreso en los Museos de Arte de Harvard en Cambridge. La empresa Rena Dumas se hará cargo de los espacios interiores y exteriores del proyecto.

Open Houses Need to ‘Tap Into the Emotion of the Current-Day Family’

March 23, 2018   |   Mansion Global


When shopping new property, people want to picture themselves living in the home above all else

It’s easier than ever to learn about a property from afar, with listings featuring more detail, high-resolution photographs, and three-dimensional floor plans, plus the advent of virtual reality tours. But visiting in person is still the quickest way for buyers to get the full sensory experience of a home, as well as to imagine how they, their families, and their lifestyles might fit within its walls.

Thanks to the ease with which they can access information online about luxury properties, “buyers have become very educated about details: what kind of hardware has been placed in the home, fixtures, appliances, type of counters, finishes,” said Emil Hartoonian, a broker with The Agency in Los Angeles.
Given that education, savvy luxury buyers—and in some cases, their brokers acting on their behalf—are heading to open houses with very specific wants and expectations in mind. Beyond perennially in-demand features like a great location, expansive layout, and thoughtful, stylish design, buyers are focusing, too, on the subtler aspects of a property when they visit open houses, from the sound quality in a home theater to the type of marble used on a kitchen countertop.  

Attention to Detail
Savvy buyers are taking more time to weigh the finer details of a larger number of homes. “Buyers are looking at more properties and becoming professionals at understanding and expecting luxury,” said Daniel Daggers, a partner at Knight Frank in London who focuses on the super-prime market. “They are looking at quality in design, finishes, and services.”  

When he attends open houses on behalf of buyers, though, Mr. Hartoonian said it’s important to go beyond the little details, and have the big picture of what they want in mind.

“The problem is an agent can deliver their exact wish list and the buyer will say they don’t like [the home.] They can’t always put into words what they’re looking for,” he said. “Our job as agents is to go out and personify their style, and put it into a home that fits. It’s all about emotion, and tapping into that is critical.”

At an open house, buyers may be less interested in glitz, and more concerned with the practical aspects of a home, like the use of high-quality materials. Lauren Muss, an agent with Douglas Elliman in New York, cited, for instance, the type of tiles in bathrooms as an element buyers note when visiting a property.

“They’ll notice whether it goes from the floor to the ceiling or just halfway,” she said.

But as Mr. Hartoonian noted, there’s an emotional component to shopping for a home that can’t be captured in a list of desired materials and products. As a buyer’s broker, he said, he tries to also emphasize what isn’t there, but could be: “It’s about painting of picture of how the home you found can be great by tailoring it this way or that way. You have to know who the buyer and their family is.”

For buyers with homes around the world, “branding is very important,” said Mr. Daggers, “especially if they recognize a brand they already have exposure to in their own homes in New York, London, the south of France, any ultra-high-networth destination.”

“They’re looking for appliances from Wolf, Gaggenau, Miele,” said Joseph Pullen, a broker with Corcoran in New York.

The Importance of Lifestyle
No amount of name-brand products in a property will persuade buyers if they can’t picture themselves living there when they visit an open house. From the buyer’s broker’s perspective, having a checklist of a buyer’s needs and wants is not enough, Mr. Hartoonian said. More important is understanding their lifestyle, and finding the home that fits it.

Mr. Pullen said he has found that a home’s outdoor space plays an essential role in helping a buyer to visualize themselves there. “Does the outdoor space extend the living room so there’s a natural flow from indoors to out? If they have to walk through the bedroom to get to the terrace, or if it’s on another level and they have to climb stairs, that’s not as good for entertaining,” he pointed out. “These are things to look for when you visit.”  

There also are personal factors to consider, like whether the property will be a primary or secondary residence, the size of the buyer’s family, and their needs for both work and play.

“The layout is important. Is there a good separation of the entertaining and living quarters? If the buyer has young kids, they won’t want them disturbed while doing homework and at bedtime,” Mr. Pullen said.

In South Florida, the developers behind the new Botaniko Weston, which hosted an open house in January for the project’s first model homes, designed their luxury single-family homes with a seamless indoor/outdoor lifestyle in mind.

Philip Freedman, managing director of Compass Development in South Florida, said a standout at the open house were summer kitchens that come with each unit and let buyers cook outside while their children are swimming. This helped buyers to picture themselves there: “Visually, it makes a difference,” he said. “Buyers feel that this is my home, something I can reside in.”

Amenities That Wow Buyers
Amenities go a long way toward providing that sense of comfort high-net worth buyers are expecting when they attend open houses.

With home theaters, for instance, “automation is important to creating that real theater experience,” Mr. Hartoonian said. “That means the finest equipment in projection quality and soundproofing, making sure music and audio levels are right. It’s about designing with every detail accounted for.”

Today’s buyers also have an eye for of-the-moment smart home technology.

“Smart is the new black,” Mr. Pullen said. “At the high end they often have art collections, so in addition to wall space they’ll also need to have right climate to control that.”

Buyers will also look for technology that enhances security, including alarm systems and cameras that can be monitored from a central point in the home, Mr. Hartoonian said.

Staging to Impress
Although a buyer will of course ultimately put their own stamp on a space, “When someone comes to an open house, you want them to feel like they can just move in and not need to change a lot,” Ms. Muss said.

“Modern and mid-century furnishing is the go-to these days, as is a neutral palette that’s clean and uncluttered,” Mr. Pullen said. “Remove or minimize the personal touch, like family photos, because people that come through need to project and visualize themselves there.”

That doesn’t mean buyers aren’t looking for show-stopping features. Mr. Hartoonian said that one client he worked with added to his home a partial subterranean garage, which contains both a wine cellar and a space to showcase his car collection.

Mr. Hartoonian said that “traditional modern” is a successful staging standpoint nowadays: “The type of staging I’ve seen most successful has been along those modern lines with accents of contemporary that tap into the emotion of the current-day family.”

Apartment Buildings Rush to Improve Air Quality Ahead of a Summer Spent Indoors

May 25, 2020   |   Mansion Global


“At our residential properties, we are looking into installing enhanced air filtration and ultraviolet lights throughout gyms, spas, elevators and other common areas and amenities spaces for sanitation purposes, and to kill any airborne mold, bacteria and viruses,” said David Martin, president of Terra, the Miami-based firm behind new residential developments such as Botaniko, Park Grove and Eighty Seven Park. “We’re also looking to install UV lights in the ductwork of the air conditioning units and exploring options on how to integrate these new technologies with our current systems in place.”


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Not Too Big, Not Too Small: The Sweet Spot for Luxury Home Sellers

March 19, 2021   |   Mansion Global

Sellers of houses between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet are well-positioned to 
make a deal fast in the frenzied U.S. housing market 


As Americans reconsider their home-buying priorities amid the pressures of the pandemic and lockdowns, a sweet spot has emerged when it comes to square footage. At the highest end, midsize homes are selling faster than both larger and smaller ones, according to 

Last year, homes in the top 1% by price nationwide that measured between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet were on the market for an average of 97 days before selling. Homes measuring between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet, by contrast, took 102 days to sell, and homes larger than 10,000 square feet took 126 days. 

This trend has continued in early 2021: Luxury midsize homes take an average of 110 days to sell, while larger ones require 127 days, and smaller ones 113 days. 

It seems that there is a sweet spot for selling a luxury property quickly, as buyers are taking a cue from Goldilocks and seeking homes that are not too big and not too small. The data also drive home a point for affluent buyers and developers that even in the luxury market, bigger is not always better when it comes to securing a quick sale. 

“The data supports our experience,” said Brett Dickinson of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in the San Diego area. “In La Jolla right now, with our 5,000-square foot homes, we can sell one a week. They’re just flying off the market.” 

One factor behind this trend is that many luxury buyers are relocating from major cities to suburbs. Having become accustomed to living in apartments, these buyers are seeking more space but can feel daunted by the idea of managing a large house with ample acreage. 

“Our buyers are largely coming out of Manhattan, but also the West Coast and London, and they definitely want more elbow room,” said Robin Kencel, a broker at Compass in Connecticut. “But when they’re coming out of 3,000-square-foot apartments in the city, and they’re looking at 9,000-square-foot homes, they don’t know what to do with all that space and land.”

Price point is also a major part of buyers’ calculus as they decide what size home is the right fit for them. In South Florida, buyers are relocating from urban areas like Miami to suburban ones where they can have more space, but they don’t want to go too big.

“We’re seeing demand for midsize homes, at 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, which is also a more approachable price point,” said David Martin, CEO of the Miami-based development firm Terra, which is developing a community of luxury homes in Weston. “Most people don’t see a necessity for 10 bedroom homes right now.”

Sellers of midsize luxury homes—particularly ones that are turnkey—are well-positioned now, and buyers should anticipate competition and bidding wars. But even in this hot market, correct pricing is still critical. 

“Whether your home is smaller or larger, it’s definitely an important time to have an experienced Realtor,” said Kim Bancroft of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty on Long Island. “Even though we have an exodus of buyers, being priced correctly is key, because buyers are price sensitive and very educated as to whether something is properly priced.” 

The Appeal of Midsize Homes 

The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a migration from cities to suburbs, with wealthy buyers purchasing primary or vacation properties that offer more space for working, learning and playing at home. 

These buyers want more square footage than urban apartments provide, but it seems that for many, there is such a thing as too large. 

“There is a sweet spot when it comes to square footage,” Ms. Bancroft said. “People are valuing experience over luxury goods, and putting their money toward homes with land and room for kids to play. But they want a manageable space that is not overwhelming.” 

And demand for midsize homes has become so intense in some areas that new buyers are driving up average sales prices substantially. 

“We have a lot of buyers [in San Diego] coming from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and they’ve pushed up prices because they get less house for more money where they’re coming from,” Mr. Dickinson said. “Here, we’re 25% cheaper and we have all this space, plus new homes with incredible views, so everyone’s flocking to San Diego.” 

Ms. Kencel said she has also seen buyers from the city driving up prices on homes. In the Greenwich area, 70 midsize properties have sold so far this year for an average price of $2 million; during the same time frame last year, 57 midsize homes sold for an average of $1.8 million. 

“The story to me is the average price going up, which is a big shift,” she said. 

The relative affordability of larger homes is also driving buyers from the West Coast to Las Vegas, where inventory is now especially tight. 

“You can sell a 2,000 square foot home in California and buy a 5,000 square foot home here,” said Scott Acton, CEO with Forte Specialty Contractors in Las Vegas. “A big driver of demand now is Baby Boomers retiring, and with their liquidity they can buy the home of their dreams.” 

A lighter tax burden is another motivator for buyers moving from high-tax states like New York and California to lower-tax ones like Florida and Nevada. 

Property taxes, too, are a significant factor behind the appeal of midsize properties in suburban areas like Connecticut and Long Island. 

“Taxes affect buyers even at the luxury end,” Ms. Bancroft said. “On a huge, magnificent home, the taxes can be $90,000 a year, and buyers may be able to afford that but don’t want to pay so much. Midrange homes are more manageable not only from a property and acreage perspective but also from a tax perspective.” 

Advice for Buyers and Sellers of Midsize Homes 

The market is hot for midsize homes, particularly those in turnkey condition on sizable lots, and buyers should anticipate competition. 

“All but one of my sales this year have gotten multiple bids, so buyers have to come into the market knowledgeable,” Ms. Kencel said. “Make sure you’ve seen enough with your agent so that you’re ready to bid when you see what you want. The cleaner your bid can be, the better, and if you don’t need financing, that’s great.” 

Having a smaller property doesn’t necessarily mean the home will linger long on the market: 2,000 to 5,000 square foot homes are always appealing to entry-level buyers, agents say. 

And for homes larger than 10,000 square feet, selling quickly depends on local inventory and pricing. 

“In our area, there are not a ton of properties on the market over 10,000 square feet, so as long as the house is in great condition, the seller is still in a strong position,” Mr. Dickinson said. “It’s also very price-driven. If you’re selling a home of that size for $10 million, you’re fine.” 

Sellers of homes in that midsize sweet spot can expect plenty of interest, but it’s still important to make sure the property looks pristine for showings, and above all, that it is priced correctly. Today’s luxury buyers are well-informed about the markets they’re purchasing in, and though they may be eager to make lifestyle changes, they are still price-sensitive. 

“It’s a hot market, so if your house hasn’t sold, it’s probably not priced correctly,” Ms. Bancroft said. “If you take the advice of an experienced Realtor, do whatever you can visually to enhance the buyer’s experience, and price it correctly, that will translate to actual dollars in your pocket.”