More than 4,000 real estate enthusiasts flocked to the Moore Building in Miami’s Design District on Thursday for The Real Deal’s South Florida Forum and Showcase.
Steady rain did not deter industry heavy-hitters from taking advantage of prime networking opportunities and the chance to check out more than 30 exhibitions of the region’s latest projects next to the Prada and Christian Louboutin stores in the heart of the district.
TRD “brought together the biggest names in Miami real estate,” International Sales Group principal Craig Studnicky said. Studnicky joined power brokers Alicia Cervera, Tony Cho, Jill Eber, Nelson Gonzalez and Jay Parker in a panel discussion about South Florida’s changing buyer pool. He noted that Russian investors are fleeing Sunny Isles Beach, which has been a popular market for Russian condo buyers for many years.
Major developers like Fortune International Group, Key International, the Related Group and Terra Group and brokerages including Douglas Elliman, Cervera Real Estate, One Sotheby’s International Realty, One World Properties and Opulence International Realty occupied booths throughout the four floors of the historic venue, which includes a large installation created by starchitect Zaha Hadid in its atrium.
“It was like a high school reunion,” Fortune International Group executive Andrea Greenberg said about the all-day event. “Every top developer and broker from 20 years ago to now showed up.”
Billionaire real estate mogul Richard LeFrak joked during one of the panel discussions that he couldn’t find parking because of the large turnout but was fortunate to snag an alternate spot at a property he owns a few blocks away. LeFrak joined developer Don Peebles, Fortune International Group president Edgardo Defortuna, Gold Crown Financial CEO Ron Krongold, Miami Worldcenter Associates managing principal Nitin Motwani and Swire Properties president Stephen Owens in a spirited discussion about rising construction costs and recent pricing trends in Miami’s luxury market.
A third panel discussion featured leaders of the architecture and design industries shedding light on the increasing global influence Miami is having. Architect Chad Oppenheim, Yoo co-founder John Hitchcox and interior designers Steven Gurowitz and Karim Rashid chatted about how projects can stand out in a competitive market.
On Thursday night, a select group of VIPs came to the Moore Building for a post-event reception. Guests included One Sotheby’s International Realty sports and entertainment division managing director Ben Moss and tennis star and V Starr Interiors owner Venus Williams.
Stay tuned for slideshows from the event and videos of the panel discussions and interviews with panelists and other real estate players early next week.