City Centre condo launch could recalibrate pricing

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

Preconstruction condo pricing in Greater Downtown Miami is expected to recalibrate in the next 30 days in response to this month’s soft launch of presales at a minimum of $650 per square foot for the first residential phase of the mixed-use Brickell City Centre project.

Sales representatives for the project’s developer, Hong Kong’s Swire Properties, began making private presentations detailing the first two condo towers with a combined 820 units at Brickell City Centre to prospective qualified buyers and brokerage offices. After this month’s initial marketing presentations conclude, presales for the condo towers are expected to open to the general public in May.

All told, Brickell City Centre is slated to have 1,400 condo units located in four towers situated throughout the more than nine-acre project that stretches from Brickell Avenue west to nearly Southwest First Avenue, and Southeast Eighth Street north along South Miami Avenue to Southeast Fifth Street on the south bank of the Miami River.

Overall, the $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre complex is to be comprised of high-end retail, restaurants, office space, a hotel and a “wellness” center. The first phase of the project is scheduled to open at the end of 2015, according to a Swire Properties fact sheet. The second phase of construction is scheduled to start in 2016 and conclude in 2018.

Now that the long-awaited prices for the Brickell City Centre condo units have been quietly disclosed, nearly everyone behind the 50 new condo towers being developed in Greater Downtown Miami during this latest growth cycle is expected to revise their prices to reflect the new market reality established by Swire Properties.

The greatest price revisions are expected to occur at the 10 proposed towers with more than 3,250 units slated to be developed in a 10-block stretch from Southwest 14th Street north to Southwest Fourth Street around South Miami Avenue.

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Some of the Greater Downtown Miami projects that are priced noticeably below the new Brickell City Centre benchmark could be inclined to raise prices, while other developments could be forced to reduce them given the new competition.

Whatever the case, the launch of presales at the Brickell City Centre is expected to have a major impact on prices in the preconstruction condo market in Greater Downtown Miami.

As of April 7, the median minimum presale price for a condo tower in Greater Downtown Miami is $450 per square foot and the mean price is more than $515 per square foot, according to the latest Developer Pricing Survey conducted by the preconstruction condo projects website (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)

The minimum preconstruction condo pricing for a project in Greater Downtown Miami ranges from less than $325 per square foot at Bay House in Edgewater to about $1,100 per square foot at downtown’s One Thousand Museum tower, according to the survey.

For all South Florida projects proposed east of I-95, the median minimum presale price for a condo tower is $550 per square foot and the mean price is nearly $790 per square foot.

The question going forward is how will developers in Greater Downtown Miami react to the pricing strategies that are being implemented now and in the future at one of the area’s most anticipated projects of this current condo construction boom?

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.