Editor’s note: To infinity and beyond

Looking way ahead as we break down The Real Deal's March 2024 issue

When it comes to moonshot ideas in real estate, some of the most ambitious are now actually focused on the moon. 

NASA has partnered with construction firms and architects to plan housing on the lunar surface using 3D printing (with moon dust as the raw material). Bjarke Ingels, whose twisting condo project One High Line is finishing up in Chelsea, is among the architects the space agency is working with.  

It’s kind of mind-blowing, but that’s the future. Before long, developers will be fighting with local space councils about zoning.

And maybe climate change will force us to become global nomads at some point. With modular housing taking root, who knows? Maybe you’ll just ship your home inland from the coast if the water gets too high.

The future is approaching so quickly that these once far-out scenarios seem like a reality we might actually live in, especially with the recent advances in AI.  

A bunch of these ideas minus the interplanetary talk were discussed at The Real Deal’s Future City event last month in the Bahamas.

The off-the-record C-level retreat explored the opportunities in AI, smart urbanism, modular construction and much more, with talks by leaders from Harvard to Amazon. Attendees included top industry players like Ben Ashkenazy, Douglas Eisenberg, Isaac Toledano, Bob Knakal, Camilo Miguel Jr., Ari Rastegar, Michael Hershman and Russell Galbut.

One much-discussed topic was which city has the most promising future.  

No city’s status as a top dog is assured. The biggest ones of today might not be the biggest of tomorrow. If you look back nearly 100 years, the list was: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit.

Is anyone betting big on Philly or Detroit right now? 

Is that where the next AI hub or Tesla Gigafactory is going to be? 

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Probably not. 

Fast forward to today, and the biggest metro areas in the country are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston, with the last two growing fastest. Miami is ninth.

While Texas increases at a whirlwind pace (and does have a Tesla Gigafactory), many big players at the event singled out South Florida as the hottest market in the country, and where they’d place their chips.  

Miami exploded during Covid and still seems to be going strong. But how much longer can the good times roll? That’s what our cover package in this issue explores.

Miami-Dade is the county most exposed to climate change, according to one study (a place where you might need to ship your house inland a century from now), and has a looming affordable housing crisis. Some developers are now putting development sites up for sale because of rising construction costs and a lack of financing, but the overall prognosis is… 

I’ll leave you with a cliffhanger, and you can check out the stories.  

Elsewhere, in our annual ranking of top NYC residential brokerages, we look at how firms made the best of a bad year. There were some shake-ups among last year’s top three highest-grossing firms, Corcoran, Elliman and Compass. Read the story to see who finished where. 

We also continue our coverage of the distress wreaking havoc in the multifamily space, looking at another top player that bought tons of properties with floating-rate debt and got hit by rising interest rates. GVA, one of the Sun Belt’s largest multifamily syndicators and with a longer track record than many other aggressive buyers like Tides Equities scaled up to 30,000 rental units even as interest rates spiked.

“Tides was the kid who had never drunk before,” said one observer who tracks syndicators. “GVA, I think they went to the party and just drank too much.”

Finally, check out stories on one of the first office-to-residential conversions of the Covid era hitting the market (do the layouts work?); how developers in some of Texas’ major markets are slamming on the brakes; and the battle over what types of homes billionaires can build on Chicago’s tony North Shore, the area’s most expensive market. 

Enjoy the issue!