Condo marketers get creative in Downtown Miami

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

Splashy marketing campaigns that rely heavily on creative messaging to promote condo presale activity are starting to surface in the increasingly competitive world of residential high-rise development in Greater Downtown Miami.

As developers proceed with plans for nearly 50 new condo towers – some high-rises located across the street from each other – in Greater Downtown Miami, marketing materials suggest preconstruction advertising campaigns are increasingly moving away from promoting projects designed by “star architects” in favor of portraying a desirable “lifestyle” to prospective buyers.

The “lifestyle” sales pitch, which was common during South Florida’s last development cycle, is a favorite among marketers. The strategy provides plenty of room for creative interpretation, especially in a place like Miami that has an extensive multicultural community.

It is against this backdrop that a West Palm Beach-based condo developer proposing a new project in the Edgewater neighborhood has generated headlines with a plan to recreate a beach on the west side of Biscayne Bay that rivals anything on the other side of the water in Miami Beach.

The project’s marketing tagline declares to preconstruction condo buyers: “The Beach Just Got Closer, Dive In,” according to the developer’s website.

Best of all for presale buyers with a budget, this proposed beachfront condo community is notably less expensive than comparable new construction product in Miami Beach.

Based on the marketing literature, a number of scenarios may come to mind for prospective buyers looking for a beach lifestyle, ranging from sunning on the sand in ankle-deep water on a private beach to Boogie Boarding on the soon-to-be-sandy western shores of Biscayne Bay.

At least, this is what presale buyers might assume based on the marketing materials for the proposed 51-story Biscayne Beach condo tower with 399 units slated to go up at Northeast 30th Street and Biscayne Bay.

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The reality is, a newly filed Declaration of Condominium recorded in Miami-Dade County reveals the project’s formal design calls for a distinct separation of the Biscayne Beach condo tower’s amenities from Biscayne Bay.

In fact, a 25-foot-wide “public baywalk easement” is required by the City of Miami to separate the proposed condo tower’s elevated amenities deck from the bay. The only sand for the so-called beach is slated to be located in three designated areas on the amenities deck.

In an attempt to deliver upon the beachgoer theme, the proposed project is to have a swimming pool, volleyball area, 14 cabanas, water sports storage facility and 19,400-square-foot “Beach Club Area” for owners and visitors, according to government records.

It is unclear from the Biscayne Beach Declaration of Condominium whether any watercrafts will be able to dock at the project as some of the renderings suggest.

As for future residents of the proposed condo tower being able to “Dive In” Biscayne Bay like the marketing materials suggest, the planned baywalk will inevitably make that a bit more complicated to do without heading down a flight of stairs from the condo project’s amenities deck.

Going forward, the unanswered question in this latest preconstruction boom is whether condo buyers will be attracted in the future to “lifestyle” projects that are creatively being marketed to achieve presale activity.

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.