Young women in flowing pastel chiffon, Cirque du Soleil acrobats shimming down silken ropes to pour champagne, a violin-and-drum duet, ceviche de Peru, seaweed salad, California rolls, crab cake sliders, ice cream sundaes and cocktails galore —all to entertain the crowd of smartly dressed party-goers who gathered in see-through tent at the site for Echo Aventura, a $160 million luxury condominium going up on Biscayne Bay just outside of Miami.
Echo Aventura is being developed by Property Markets Group and JDS Development Group, both New York-based firms with offices in Miami. Construction is set to start in June and should be wrapped up by 2015, Kevin Maloney, PMG’s chief executive, told The Real Deal.
PMG is the primary stakeholder in Echo Aventura, with 80 percent, and has two other condo projects in South Florida – the 24-home exclusive Sage Beach in Hollywood Beach and 95th on the Ocean, which has seven four-story residences in picturesque Surfside.
Echo Aventura, with its 190 homes ranging in size from 1,510 to 4,020 in square feet, is the biggest development so far for JDS managing partner Stern, who is only 33.
Stern and Maloney also worked together on transforming Walker Tower, at 212 West 18th Street in Chelsea, from an office building into 50 condos. Only a handful of the homes remain, including a three-bedroom with a library and terrace for $14 million.
The two are planning another project in New York that they expect to announce in the next month, Stern told TRD.
Already, Maloney and Stern have contracts on 100 of the homes at the yet-to-be-built Echo Aventura; the prices range from nearly $500 per square foot to roughly $900 per square foot. The amounts please Maloney, who points out prices are steadily climbing as the economy improves. At condominiums in nearby Sunny Isles Beach, for example, developers are charging $1200 per square foot or more, he said.
After the housing market collapse, all the condominiums on the beach, including Miami Beach itself, went for $500 to $600 per square foot, Maloney said. Today, prices are 20 percent higher than at the last peak, though that doesn’t mean another bubble has formed, he said.
“All the developers today are asking for 60 percent deposits,” and no one is flipping their units before they close, Maloney said. Also, there are only a few thousand homes left from the last wave of development, he said.
Since the financial crisis, Maloney noted: “The world has changed substantially.”