South Florida report

Art Basel presents real estate opportunities, developers weigh in on </br>the condo cycle and more

Art Basel drew investors to Miami’s real estate
Art Basel drew investors to Miami’s real estate

Art Basel = game on

Art Basel presented the perfect opportunity for South Florida real estate professionals to showcase existing high-end properties and debut new projects. 

“Absolutely there is an increase in sales traffic at my projects and my listings,” Chris Leavitt of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing said of last month’s event, which drew art collectors and investors from throughout the world. 

One Sotheby’s Daniel de la Vega, whose firm helped organize the Dec. 5 groundbreaking of the Zaha Hadid-designed 1000 Museum, also saw a positive industry impact from Art Basel.

“These are people who see Miami as an investment opportunity at a good price,” de la Vega told TRD. “They come during Art Basel and realize they can buy a [well-priced] unit that’s on the water.”

Market strength continues

Developers and brokers are optimistic about Miami’s real estate market for the foreseeable future, citing factors including a robust pool of wealthy out-of-town buyers and projects built by experienced, well-financed developers.

Developer Richard LeFrak told The Real Deal he doesn’t see Miami’s current cycle slowing down soon. “I’d be worried if interest rates go up and consumer confidence drops,” LeFrak said. “But the U.S. economy is doing well and the stock market is high.” He cited the dramatic increase in the number of buyers from the northeastern U.S. over the past two years as evidence of a continuing bullish Miami market.

However, Miami condo expert Peter Zalewski questioned whether developers really will be able to attract enough buyers to purchase the surfeit of preconstruction units announced since 2011.

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Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing director at Cervera Real Estate, had a tempered view. “I believe we are close to halfway through the current cycle,” she told TRD.

“Although this cycle, the fundamentals are much stronger than the last one,” she added. “So whenever the wind-down occurs, the landing will be much softer.”

Star buys at Edition

The Miami Beach Edition hotel

The Miami Beach Edition hotel

Poonam Khubani, Bollywood actress, producer and vice president of infomercial giant Telebrands, will be one of the first owners to experience hotelier Ian Schrager’s vision for the über-luxurious residences he built as part of the new Miami Beach Edition hotel.  Only 26 condos — designed by world-renowned architect John Pawson — sit on the top floors of the 294-room hotel.

Her family trust paid $34 million for two units at the Edition, according to public records. The seller was Seville Acquisition, an affiliate of Marriott International.

The residences and hotel have separate doors, with the condos also having an anonymous “celebrity” entrance.  

Compiled by Heather Grossmann