Art Basel productive for Miami real estate players

More than 20 industry events highlight busy week

Dec.December 09, 2013 02:15 PM

From Brickell to North Miami, developers, brokers and other real estate players strategically positioned themselves to capture attention from Art Basel Miami Beach patrons.

More than 20 real estate events were held throughout Miami-Dade County during Art Basel week. The annual show brings tens of thousands of wealthy art collectors and other tourists to the county to kick off South Florida’s busy winter season. Those pushing new residential development and existing buildings in the area capitalized on the select marketing opportunity last week.

Signs indicate the efforts will pay off.

Aria Development Group took a big step toward selling out the remaining five units at its luxury 321 Ocean project in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood. Moments before sitting down for an interview with The Real Deal at Aria’s VIP lounge on Friday, Aria principal David Arditi received a verbal offer from an undisclosed buyer for two 321 Ocean units. Aria set up the lounge at Milo’s Restaurant to engage potential buyers during Art Basel and promote the $25 million penthouse at 321 Ocean, which has been under construction since October.

“Art Basel shines a terrific spotlight on the city,” Arditi said. “We are trying to brand ourselves as a company. This is a good opportunity to do that.”

Further north, Argentinian developer Alan Faena used Art Basel week to pull back the curtain on his potentially transformative Faena Miami Beach mixed-use project, planned for several blocks along Collins Avenue. Faena started with an exclusive dinner at the Faena Collaboratory, which includes the sales center for the 47-unit Faena House.

During the A-list dinner, acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann and Academy Award-winning wife Catherine Martin mingled with real estate heavyweights like New York’s Robert Futterman. Luhrmann and Martin are collaborating with Faena to reposition the former Saxony Hotel at 3201 Collins Avenue.

Faena also hosted daily invite-only asados, or Argentinian barbeques, at the development site.

“We use Art Basel to make a big sales push,” Douglas Elliman broker Erik Schneider told The Real Deal. Schneider is handling sales at Faena House.

“We spent months putting together the guest list,” he said. Dinner guests included “people who partnered with us, potential buyers and people in the art world.”

Faena was one of numerous Miami and New York projects promoted by Douglas Elliman during Thursday night’s event at the VIP Collectors Lounge inside the Miami Beach Convention Center. That gave the firm a chance to tout its “penthouse collection” to the ultra-wealthy. Several Russian brokers and potential buyers chatted with Elliman chairman Howard Lorber and other company executives while perusing marketing materials for the developments.

EWM Realty and affiliates at Christie’s International Real Estate also took the VIP event route for Art Basel. The companies sponsored Art Miami 2013 in Midtown Miami and hosted an invite-only reception in the middle of the fair, which featured works from 190 art galleries. Many power brokers showed up for Friday’s reception, including Miami Beach-based Esther Percal and prominent Beverly Hills agent Jeff Hyland, whose artist wife Lori had her work on display nearby.

With the latest Art Basel week concluded, South Florida’s real estate professionals shift focus to converting the leads generated during the event into completed sales.

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