Condo builders target Miami-Dade’s barrier island

Nearly 60 towers proposed despite rising sea level threats

Dec.December 24, 2013 12:00 PM

Despite a series of recent local and national press reports examining the effects of global warming-induced sea level rise in South Florida, a construction boom of ultra-luxury condos is underway on the barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean from Biscayne Bay and the mainland of Miami-Dade County.

Nearly 60 new condo towers totaling more than 4,065 units are proposed for the barrier island of Miami-Dade that stretches from Miami Beach along Collins Avenue to Sunny Isles Beach, according to preconstruction condo projects website

Presale prices for these newly proposed condo towers average nearly $1,425 per square foot as of Dec. 23, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

On an individual market basis, Sunny Isles Beach has the greatest number of new condos proposed for the barrier island with 12 towers and nearly 1,650 units slated to be developed between Haulover Beach Park and the town of Golden Beach.

The Bal Harbour/Surfside/Bay Harbor Islands market – just south of Sunny Isles Beach – ranks second with nearly 25 condo buildings and more than 1,165 units proposed to be developed from the Haulover Beach Inlet to 87th Street.

Miami Beach has the third-highest concentration of new condo projects proposed with 20 towers and more than 1,125 units slated to be developed from 87th Street to South Pointe Drive at the southern tip of the barrier island.

North Bay Village ranks fourth with one condo tower and 134 units to be developed, although a number of rental towers have been proposed, the data shows.

Any developer can propose a new condo project but it takes a lot of presales with 50 percent deposits from cash buyers in order to begin construction on the Miami-Dade barrier island.

As of Dec. 23, developers have proposed or planned at least 39 condo towers with nearly 2,800 units for the Miami-Dade barrier island. An additional 17 towers with less than 1,300 units are now under construction, according to

By comparison, developers created at least 70 new condo towers with more than 12,000 units on the barrier island during the last South Florida real estate boom-and-bust cycle that spanned from 2003 to 2010, according to the Condo Vultures Official Condo Buyers Guide.

A decade later, nearly 800 new condo units on the barrier island from the last South Florida boom were unsold as of the end of the third quarter of 2013.

An additional 860 condos that were developed on the barrier island during the last boom are currently on the resale market at an average price of nearly $980 per square foot as of Dec. 23, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

The question going forward is whether a series of media reports about future sea level rises will ultimately slow the latest condo construction boom underway on Miami-Dade’s barrier island.

Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

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