The Real Deal Miami

Miami is on fire: TRD’s South Florida roundtable

May 17, 2013 10:00AM

From left, Kevin Maloney, Gil Dezer, Carlos Rosso, Eric Trump and Avra Jain.

South Florida’s top real estate developers looked into crystal balls and swapped war stories Thursday at The Real Deal‘s roundtable event and the launch of the magazine’s spring 2013 South Florida Market Report.

With five South Florida powerhouse developers on stage, all of whom have snagged “starchitects” and competed on unforeseen heights in luxury after experiencing the bust in the Miami-area market, The Real Deal‘s Mel Gray, director of editorial development from TRD‘s New York headquarters, engaged the panel on questions regarding the substance and the sustainability of South Florida’s latest real estate boom, five years after the last crash, which left the region’s economy in tatters and tens of thousands of property owners under water on their mortgages.

Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Development; Carlos Rosso, president of condominium developer for the Related Group; Kevin Maloney, founder and principal of Property Markets Group; developer Avra Jain, who gained notoriety through Miami’s Regalia project; and Eric Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisition at the Trump Organization, spoke about the challenges and opportunities in the heat radiating from Miami, which overseas and all-cash buyers have turned into real estate’s come-back kid.

Following the panel, held at the site of Property Markets Group’s new Echo condo project in Aventura, Fla., guests nibbled and sipped their way through the furnished floor plan, “lavished with exotic marble and granite surfaces,” the project’s web site confirms, during a party to celebrate the grand opening of Echo Aventura’s sales center. Standing at the back of the tented audience, Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott quietly acknowledged a salute from the panel; Ott, who has been constructing buildings for 30 years, is the Echo project’s “conceptual” architect. Yabu and Pushelberg, the Canadian designer duo of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, is contracted to design the high-rise’s residences and shared interior spaces, including a 3,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor “Skybridge” that links the east and west towers. Though the event wrapped up at 9 p.m., a reporter was told revelers danced to the live 1980s cover band while alcohol, appetizers and Journey songs flowed long into the balmy night. –Emily Schmall