The Real Deal Miami

Fortune replaces Related at two Icon towers

By Alexander Britell | July 19, 2010 03:30PM

Icon Brickell

HSBC has brought in a new sales team to Icon Brickell, hiring Fortune
International to help sell some of the nearly 1,200 remaining units in
the project, and replacing Related Cervera Realty at Tower 1 and Tower
2 of the three-tower complex on Brickell Avenue.

According
to Fortune, it is designing several new strategies aimed at attracting
foreign buyers, including a financing program for foreign buyers which
allows 30 percent down, compared to an industry standard of 80 percent,
the company says.

The Related Group, which developed Icon,
still owns Tower 3 of the project with a bank syndicate led by Bank of
America, and Related Cervera Real Estate will continue to market it.

HSBC
was deeded back two of the towers from Related as part of a “friendly
settlement” over loan delinquency at the project. The ownership
transfer was the basis for the change, said Alicia Cervera, CEO of
Related Cervera.

Cervera said it did not come as a surprise,
because it was based on the relationship between Related and HSBC. As a
result of the change of ownership, they decided to change the sales
team, she said.

“The challenges in the ownership relationship
were clear, and I was very disappointed,” Cervera said. “I think we did
an amazing job, and I think the ownership would agree with that — or
if you talked to anyone from the bank group or Related they would agree
with that. We really turned around the perception of Icon in the
marketplace.”

Icon has now sold around 33 percent of its 1,800 units, according to Condo Vultures.

Tower
3 has a total of 522 units, including 372 unfinished units, along with
150 hotel condo units that were finished completely as hotel rooms.
Cervera said she didn’t think it would be a challenge to have two
separate leasing teams at one condo complex.

Edgardo
Defortuna, president of Fortune, said his firm’s foreign approach was
important, as 70 percent of Icon owners are currently using their units
as second homes.

“The buyers are predominantly foreign, with an interesting international mix from Europe and South America,” he said.

Defortuna
said the firm will be amping up its marketing efforts by  adding
several new amenities to the project, such as a beach club. He also
said that Fortune, in its other capacity as a developer, had borrowed
and repaid several hundred million dollars in loans to HSBC at the
project, which helped cement the deal.

Of the more than 600
sales so far at Icon, approximately 50 percent have been by
international purchasers, Defortuna said.  

Sales in the
last 18 months have been driven in large part by two building-wide
price cuts, according to a recent report by Condo Vultures, and the
project has just cut prices a third time, dropping the average
per-square-foot price to around $430.

The high-profile development was also the scene of a bulk buy by actress-singer Jennifer Lopez and her singer husband Marc Anthony in the fall, when the singer couple reportedly purchased 10 units at Icon.

Fortune
has recently had success with two other high-end condos, including the
Jade Beach and Jade Ocean in Sunny Isles. Jade Beach is currently 100
percent sold out and closed, and Jade Ocean is 60 percent closed.

Another
lender, Wells Fargo, appointed Fortune to handle sales at Wind in
Downtown Miami, where it sold the remaining unsold 150 units in less
than 120 days.