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South Florida News

  • Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach gets TCO, starts closings
    From left: Manuel Grosskopf, Edgardo Defortuna and Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach

    From left: Manuel Grosskopf, Edgardo Defortuna and Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach

    Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach secured its temporary certificate of occupancy and can now start closings at the 52-story luxury oceanfront condo development.

    Developed by Fortune International Group and Château Group, the 212-unit tower at 15800 Collins Avenue is nearly sold out and has recorded more than $150 million in pre-construction sales, according to a release. It broke ground in 2016.

    Designed by architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, the tower boasts 250 feet of beachfront and over 365,000 square feet of glass. Features include a private club level on the 33rd floor, a beachfront restaurant, pool deck, kids club, full-service spa, fitness center and wellness center.

    Condo units start at $2.6 million. The project secured $212 million in construction financing for the Ritz-Carlton Residences, from Little Rock-based Bank of the Ozarks (now known as Bank OZK), one of the most active condo construction lenders in Miami.

    The development group has sold out all four penthouses, totaling more than $82 million, according to the release. The penthouses feature garden terraces spanning 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet, private pools and summer kitchens, custom-designed Italian cabinetry and service quarters.

    Fortune International Group is one of South Florida’s most prominent luxury developers. Led by Edgardo Defortuna, the group’s development projects include Jade Signature, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach, Auberge Beach Residences and Spa Fort Lauderdale, and Jade Residences Brickell.

    The Ritz-Carlton Residences launched sales at the height of the pre-construction condo market in 2015, taking advantage of wealthy foreign buyers looking to put their money in South Florida’s luxury market. Since then, the supply of high-end condos in the wealthy city has greatly increased with projects such as the Trump Group’s Estates at Acqualina, The Regalia and PMG’s Muse Residences.

    Some projects are showing signs of distress due to this excess supply, such The Regalia, whose developers were forced to turn over the two most expensive penthouses after failing to pay a judgment to a former attorney.

    The post Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach gets TCO, starts closings appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • The latest real estate billionaire? Zillow’s Rich Barton
    Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

    Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

    Zillow founder Rich Barton has become a billionaire.

    The listings giant CEO hit the milestone after strong results from Zillow’s risky new instant home-buying strategy caused shares to increase by 17 percent on Thursday, according to Forbes. The share price closed at higher than $64 for the first time since June 2018, putting the value of Barton’s 15.8 million shares at just over $1 billion.

    Barton owns the largest individual stake in Zillow, which he started with four colleagues from his prior company, Expedia.

    He stepped down from his CEO position in 2010 and stayed on as executive chairman but returned to his CEO role last February to lead Zillow’s iBuying charge through its service Zillow Offers.

    The company’s stock still struggled throughout 2019, but Zillow released the year’s full earnings report Wednesday and showed enough momentum to raise its stock price significantly. [Forbes] – Eddie Small

    The post The latest real estate billionaire? Zillow’s Rich Barton appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • South Florida by the numbers: Super Bowl LIV Impact
    Miami skyline (Credit: iStock and Wikipedia)

    Miami skyline (Credit: iStock and Wikipedia)

    “South Florida by the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

    The Kansas City Chiefs may have scored the most points, but one could argue that Miami was the real winner of Super Bowl LIV earlier this month. A series of anecdotal and data-driven reports have confirmed the dramatic economic impact of the game and associated events on the entire region, specific industries, and individual businesses. While South Florida is no stranger to the business boom generated by Super Bowls, having now hosted the affair 11 times, there was something extra special in the air this year. (And we don’t just mean Jennifer Lopez’s halftime performance). Join us in running up the score as we present this month’s edition of South Florida by the numbers.

    135: Number of condominiums that sold during Super Bowl week, an increase of 53 (or 65 percent) from the prior week. [TheRealDeal]

    200: Percentage increase in Miami area condominium tour bookings during Super Bowl week, according to eight real estate professionals. Local projects hosted a variety of special soirees and events during the week to increase their exposure to area visitors, including game-watching parties, exclusive dinners with NFL legends, and panel discussions. [MiamiHerald]

    $26.4 million: Anticipated total short-term rental income generated by Airbnb hosts during Super Bowl week, according to a company spokesman. Nearly 84 percent of all local Airbnb listings were booked during the weekend of the game, even with hosts charging exorbitant rate increases. [TheRealDeal]

    $175.20: According to data analysis firm STR, Miami hotels’ revenue per available room (RevPAR) value during Super Bowl weekend. In addition to the average daily rate (ADR) increase of 148.5 percent, year-over-year, these figures represented the highest-performing metric levels of any Super Bowl weekend, with occupancy in the market rising 11.3 percent to 92.8 percent. [STR]

    More than $200 million: Estimated value of free publicity generated via media coverage of the game and its ancillary events, according to Miami Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto. Local companies also benefited through the event’s Business Connect program, which coupled nearly 300 local minority-owned businesses with vendor contracts to provide goods and services to the game and its related events. [SFBJ]

    This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.

    The post South Florida by the numbers: Super Bowl LIV Impact appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • Little Havana apartments score $34M construction loan
    First - Little Havana rendering

    First – Little Havana rendering

    The developer of a planned apartment project in Miami’s Little Havana scored a $34 million loan to begin construction, as the area sees growing interest from investors.

    An affiliate of the Vienna, Austria-based Premium Group secured the construction loan from Man Global Private Markets for the 194-unit apartment project at 736-760 Southwest First Street, according to a press release.

    The project, called First- Little Havana, will total nearly 160,000 square feet of residential space with 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 231 garage parking spaces. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

    JLL’s Brian Gaswirth and Michael DiCosimo helped arrange the financing.

    The development will feature a resort-style pool, fitness center, yoga studio and dog park.

    The Premium Group affiliate purchased the property in 2018 for $3.7 million.

    Founded in 1995, the Premium Group has a total investment value of more than €1.4 billion and has built 280 projects, according to its website.

    Sitting just west of Brickell and near the Miami International Airport, Little Havana is becoming one of the next targets for investors. Unlike Brickell, most of Little Havana is zoned for medium-density development – either T4 or T5. That means that development is capped at five stories and 65 residential units per acre.

    In September, Bar Invest Group sold an apartment building it built in Little Havana for $7.1 million to Beraja Investments.

    Last year, Key International sold Havana Palms II, a 79-unit multifamily complex at 931 Southwest Third Street, for $10.1 million, or about $128,000 per unit.

    The post Little Havana apartments score $34M construction loan appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • So Flo Real Estate Group sued over spam text messages
    Maria Penaloza

    Maria Penaloza

    The owner of a Weston-based brokerage allegedly sent unsolicited spam text messages directing consumers to read home buying articles on her firm’s website, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

    It’s the latest case brought by a pair of local attorneys targeting brokers and agents who are allegedly breaking federal law that prohibits abusing mass text messaging for unsolicited advertisements.

    In the lawsuit filed in Miami federal court, seeking class action status, Palm Beach County resident Ryan Millward accuses So Flo Real Estate Group of sending him telemarketing messages without his permission in the fall and winter of last year. Millward is represented by Garrett Berg and Scott Edelsberg, both of whom have filed at least three similar complaints on behalf of plaintiffs suing brokerages in Pembroke Pines, Celebration and Naples.

    In October, two clients of Berg and Edelsberg settled lawsuits they had filed against Pembroke Pines-based RE/Max Presidential and Celebration-based La Rosa Realty. Terms were not disclosed.

    Edelsberg and Maria E. Penaloza, CEO of So Flo Real Estate Group, declined comment on the latest suit. Berg did not respond to requests for comment.

    Millward’s lawsuit alleges that So Flo Real Estate Group violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using an automated dialing system to send him a telemarketing text message without his prior consent. The complaint contains an alleged screenshot of two texts Millward received from a telephone number registered to Penaloza.

    The first message, sent on Oct. 9, reads: “Hi Ryan, I found this article and I want to share it with you. Let me know what you think.” It includes a link to a blog post on So Flo Real Estate Group’s website about obtaining pre-approval for a loan as the first step in buying a home.

    The second message, sent on Dec. 11, said: “Hi Ryan, guess what most Americans are saying about home ownership and check out the entire South and Central Florida housing inventory for free at www.soflorealestategroup.com.”

    The post So Flo Real Estate Group sued over spam text messages appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • The best real estate markets on earth over the last decade
    Clockwise from right: Hong Kong; Columbo, Sri Lanka; and Zagreb, Croatia (Credit: Wikipedia, iStock)

    Clockwise from right: Hong Kong; Columbo, Sri Lanka; and Zagreb, Croatia (Credit: Wikipedia, iStock)

    It’s been quite the decade economically in many parts of the world, and it shows in the values of homes.

    Home values have more than doubled over the last 10 years in eight countries and territories across the world, according to a New York Times analysis. The analysis ranked places by the percentage increase in home values over the last 10 years, five years, and one year.

    Nowhere have estimated home values increased by more than in Hong Kong. A house there is likely worth 193 percent more today than it was in 2010, according to the Times. In Brazil over that period, home values have shot up 152 percent.

    The other countries where values increased by more than 100 percent are Peru, Chile, Estonia, Colombia, Malaysia, and Iceland. The U.S. didn’t make the top 15 list, but its neighbor to the north has experienced a 74 percent increase in home values.

    Home price growth in the U.S. slowed last year as developers continued to deliver new inventory across the country.

    Homes Sri Lanka have appreciated by 66 percent over the last five years. China, Turkey, Malta, and Iceland weren’t far behind —all saw average annual increases of more than 10 percent over that period.

    Many countries that saw outsized long-term gains did not rank high in appreciation over the last year. Poland, Croatia, Germany, and Puerto Rico topped that category with 11 percent increases.

    Value growth seems to be most consistent in Germany, Chile, and New Zealand — they were the only three countries that were top 15 for growth for each time period. [NYT] – Dennis Lynch

    The post The best real estate markets on earth over the last decade appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • Vatican police raid another Holy See official over botched London property deal
    Vatican police have been raiding church officials’ offices (Credit: iStock)

    Vatican police have been raiding church officials’ offices (Credit: iStock)

    Dan Brown wishes he wrote this one: All the Pope’s men are descending on London over an expensive and failed real estate deal.

    Vatican police raided the home and offices of Vatican state official Alberto Perlasca, who oversaw the Holy See’s European asset portfolio and was involved in the property botched deal, according to the Associated Press.

    The raid comes five months after Vatican police raided several other Vatican offices. No one has been charged.

    It appears the Vatican grossly overpaid for the London property at 60 Sloane Avenue in Chelsea and incurred costly fees in the process. In 2014, the Vatican Secretariat bought a 45 percent stake in the property for roughly $200 million through a fund managed by Raffaele Mincione.

    Mincione had bought the office property just two years earlier for £129 million, but a few months before the Vatican’s investment, the value of the fund’s equity stake in the office building was tripled after an appraisal by CBRE.

    The Vatican deal allowed Mincione to cash out more than his entire initial investment in the property, according to Financial Times. The structure of the deal meant the Vatican paid Mincione millions of dollars in fees after that point as well. Mincione said the deal was transparent and the fees were normal.

    At some point, Mincione began planning to convert the office building into a residential building. He secured permits in 2016, but had to take out expensive debt following the U.K.’s vote on Brexit.

    Two years later, the Vatican bought out Mincione’s share for roughly £168 million. They also took on £100 million in debt owed to a London hedge fund. Still, work hadn’t started on the conversion.

    The Vatican police’s investigation in the deal was triggered when the Secretariat went to the Vatican bank to refinance the debt on the property. [Associated Press, Financial Times]Dennis Lynch

    The post Vatican police raid another Holy See official over botched London property deal appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • Real estate’s micro-investing moment
    Compound CEO Janine Yorio and a Clinton Hill property available to users on Compound

    Compound CEO Janine Yorio and a Clinton Hill property available to users on Compound

    So-called micro-investing in private real estate is an increasingly accessible option for investors looking to diversify their portfolios with small dollar value investments.

    Micro-investing allows investors to buy shares of properties and real estate portfolios with buy-ins as little as $5 in some cases, according to Yahoo Finance. The investments work much like real estate investment trusts, but don’t allow investors to buy in specific properties and do not require the high dollar commitments needed to participate in most REITs.

    “The best portfolios are diversified, and real estate performs very uniquely, in a way that is uncorrelated to the stock market and bonds… We want to offer the same asset class at a lower price point,” said Janine Yorio, founder and CEO of the micro-investment app Compound.

    Compound buys and flips properties and shares those profits with investors. The startup also brings in cash acting as a buy-side broker for purchases and charges a fee to the seller. The New York-based company offers investors the option to invest in four properties in Brooklyn, Austin, and Miami.

    Portland-based CrowdStreet has a similar model — the startup allows investors to buy shares in commercial real estate in the United States. Co-founder Darren Powderly says it’s better for diversification than REITs because those investments are tied to property performance whereas REITs are subject to stock market volatility. The firm recently said it hit a milestone, with $1 billion raised through its platform.

    The micro-investing model is being applied in the private equity sector as well. Startup RealBlocks, which allows investors to buy micro-shares in private equity funds using government-backed currency and cryptocurrency, raised $3.1 million in a fundraising round last year. [Crunchbase, Yahoo Finance] – Dennis Lynch

    The post Real estate’s micro-investing moment appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • Rising waters are wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes’ real estate
    High water levels in Lake Michigan erode a walkway and seawall (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    High water levels in Lake Michigan erode a walkway and seawall (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    Unusually high water levels and waves on the five Great Lakes are ravaging lakeside homes, infrastructure, and businesses. Some are literally washing away.

    Erosion on the shores of the Great Lakes has caused tens of millions of dollars in damage across states from Minnesota to New York, according to the Wall Street Journal. Water levels are linked to above-average rain and snowfall over the last several years caused by warmer temperatures.

    The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers forecasts that lake levels could remain elevated through July. If a bad enough storm hits, some shorelines can see 10- to 20-foot waves.

    Locals worried their properties are spending big bucks to protect their homes. Some are literally lifting them up and moving them from the shoreline. Others are hiring contractors like Randy Vassh to build sea walls and other barriers.

    “I’m just getting call after call after call,” Vassh told the Journal, who added that he’s in the market for more equipment to take on more jobs.

    Michigan’s environmental agency has issued 468 permits for shoreline protection from October through December, compared to 557 for the prior 12-month fiscal year.

    States and municipalities also have work on their plates. Officials in the city of Duluth, Minnesota expect it will cost $30 million to fix the shoreline, a boardwalk, and other public infrastructure that runs along Lake Superior. They’ve brought in 76,000 tons of stones for protective barriers.

    Wisconsin officials estimate $30 million in damages, while Illinois officials estimate $25 million in damages. The governors of both states have declared emergencies that could bring in federal dollars. [WSJ]

    The post Rising waters are wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes’ real estate appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.

  • Fredrik Eklund talks LA condos, the mega-luxury market and patience
    Fredrik Eklund (Credit: Getty Images)

    Fredrik Eklund (Credit: Getty Images)

    “Million Dollar Listings” star broker and recent Los Angeles transplant Fredrik Eklund says condominiums are the new wave in his new West Coast home, where mansions in the hills have been the default in the luxury stratosphere.

    The Douglas Elliman broker told Mansion Global that new projects in L.A.’s tony neighborhoods like Beverly Hills are presenting new options for buyers. Eklund is selling units at the recently built 8899 Beverly building.

    8899 Beverly

    8899 Beverly

    “Vertical living didn’t used to be something people understood there,” Eklund said. “The whole idea of making a decision before a building was done, and having sales galleries before the home could be seen, that’s new.”

    He also thinks L.A. can outdo New York for “mega-luxury homes,” pointing to the big-ticket sales that have closed in the L.A. area recently.

    Earlier this month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos broke a national record with the $165 million purchase of David Geffen’s Beverly Hills estate (he also bought a $90 million plot of dirt). Between July and December of 2019, three mansions in L.A. County sold for at least $100 million.

    The ultra high-end market ($70 million-plus) is doing well, as are homes in the low $3 million range, he said. “But the more difficult market—not that it’s bad, just tricker—is the $6 million to -$15 million market,” he told Mansion Global.

    Eklund also weighed in on the proliferation of high-end amenities being offered in condos and apartments. Wellness-style amenities are becoming more popular, like IV drips and cryotherapy sessions available to residents at 40 Bleecker in New York.

    As far as advice to buyers, he suggested buyers and sellers be patient and “give it some time.”

    “Brokers, myself included, can be pushy, but you need to take time,” he said. “We’re in a market where you have time to come back a few times and look at a place in different lights and at different times.” [Mansion Global] — Dennis Lynch

    The post Fredrik Eklund talks LA condos, the mega-luxury market and patience appeared first on The Real Deal Miami.