Daily Archives: May 15, 2007

News Brief

  • Express lanes to be added from the I395 to the I595.
  • County seeks public private partnership for the development of a streetcar system.
  • Science Center of the Americas in Museum Park Miami plans to go green.
  • Despite insurance and property tax increases, Florida properties are reportedly still viewed as good investments for overseas buyers.
  • Miami-based Arquitectonica designs Hong Kong Landmark East Tower.

Arquitectonica is an international architectural firm with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai since 1993. This physical presence, a genuine interest in the region’s culture, and an extensive staff who speaks the languages make Arquitectonica the firm of choice throughout Asia. Arquitectonica has more than 50 projects in its rapidly-expanding Asia Pacific portfolio.

  • Herald reports on an easement in the Rental market as new owners flock to lease out their units.
  • Manny Diaz and Marc Sarnoff reportedly at odds with each other
  • Globe St. addresses FECI $3.5 billion transaction
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Miami Beach Goes Beyond the American Riviera (Part I)

Image: Delano Hotel

There is little doubt that Miami Beach’s waters are among the clearest and warmest in the U.S. It’s set in a cosmopolitan and culturally rich city at the edge of the continent. It has a vibrant history with diverse architecture to match. Miami Beach is a thick blend of life, energy, money, endless ways to spend it, and a strikingly beautiful beach. The City is a Rolling Stone, a shooting star, and just about every major international resort brand is pushing for a presence on the “Billion Dollar Sandbar.”

Image: Ritz Carlton

The Miami Beach area is home to several massive multi-phase luxury resort/residences developments. In any other beach, any one of these major developments would stand as the center piece. In Miami Beach each one is just another piece of the puzzle.

Image: Loews Miami Beach

Superstar hotelier Ian Schrager has been highly successful with the Delano and Shore Club, now operated by the Morgan Hotel Group. He is expanding his presence on Miami Beach in 2008 a with a new luxury hotel.

The Setai: This spectacularly opulent Asian inspired resort and residences concept comes from Malaysia with the highly successful Datai. The Datai is considered to be among the world’s most exclusive and exotic retreats. The Setai is the Miami Beach interpretation of Asian luxury. Penthouses go for over $6 million.

The Fontainebleu: Turnberry has billion dollar plans for this historic gem. Already the Fontainebleau II tower has been completed and Fontainebleau III has been topped off. The original hotel structures are undergoing a 40-year recertification and complete modern overhaul. The impressive virtual tour sheds light on the mega-resorts tantalizing future.

Award winning world renown Canyon Ranch Resorts, has transformed the historic Carillon building into the center of a seriously massive resort complex in the heart of Miami Beach.

The trendy W Hotel brand, of course, is not to be left out. This international luxury hotel brand is planning a sleekly designed resort and residence complex with uber-amenities. The site is located north of the Setai, across from the Collins Cultural Park.

Image: Fontainebleau II Tower

The Related Group of Florida plans to demolish the Sheraton Bal Harbour to replace it with a palatial St. Regis resort complex. Directly across from the Bal Harbour shops and by far the most ambitious project in the exclusive beach front enclave, the St. Regis will add a new dimension to luxe living on the Beach.

The historic Dilido hotel on South Beach has become the Ritz-Carlton Resort and Spa. The luxury resort boasts a multi-million dollar art collection, ground breaking pool, and a cruise theme. There are plans to expand the brands presence on the Beach. The historic Seville building is the site of the planed Ritz Carlton Club Residences.

The Regent luxury hotel brand recently completed their first South Beach hotel on Collins Avenue.

Not wishing to be left out Trump has, in addition to his numerous large scale residential developments, built a Sonesta brand Trump International Resort

The South Beach Loews remains one of the Beach’s most impressive luxury resorts and has set the precedent for much of the growth in the luxury hotel market on the island.

Ugo Colombo is bringing Venetian Cipriani tradition, luxurious accommodations, and fine dining to Miami Beach with the Cipriani development. Read more about Cipriani involvement in Miami Beach from CNN Money.

Jorge Perez has brought the Viceroy brand to SoFi.

Image: Canyon Ranch

Miami Beach does not just represent a luxurious retreat for vacationers but a lifestyle destination for the creme de la creme of the world. Miami Beach as a lifestyle destination is what truly cements its role as the premiere getaway for the rich and famous in the Western Hemisphere. Miami Beach as a lifestyle destination will be the focus of a follow up post. (to be continued…)

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Wall Street Journal: Florida is Housing Shakeout Epicenter

The WSJ points out that Florida’s decrease in building permits, construction material sales, and credit quality on residential construction loan portfolios make it the center of the housing “shakeout”:

“Speculators who have held back on selling now bear heavy costs. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the number of vacant homes for sale in Florida doubled last year to 4.3% of the state’s total housing stock. That’s the highest vacancy rate in the country. As more speculators throw in the towel, Florida housing prices may have much farther to fall”

Interestingly, although the article makes reference to Miami, the Magic City is set apart from Florida as a whole. Recent reports have touted Miami as a stabilizing factor in Florida’s overall market while others have singled it out as over-priced. WSJ is looking at some critical indicators of a downward tumble, but two of the three, the decline in permits and construction material sales, are less an indication of a downward market slide and more of a reflection of the leveling off of construction activity; a necessary and expected halt in residential unit production. Credit deterioration, insurance rate and property tax increases, however, paint an ugly picture for Florida in general.

A recent comment posted here by a reader named Brad describes the current situation as a reflection of “the current stalemate between buyers and sellers and sellers’ unwillingness to lower prices.” The ongoing increase in residential unit inventory will likely result in the capitulation of the latter and a property value hiccup, but not a longterm one. Miami’s market still holds significant value potential and rests its laurels on a historic level of construction activity, a substantial rise in tax revenues, a unique and expanding economic position, and a thriving tourism sector.

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