Q&A with Mast Capital’s Camilo Miguel Jr.

Miami /
Jun.June 05, 2015 04:30 PM

South-of-Fifth, once a forgotten neighborhood for development, has emerged as a live-work-play destination in South Beach, stretching from Fifth Street to South Pointe Park.

Louver House, at 311 Meridian Avenue, is a 12-unit boutique development, led by Miami Beach-based Mast Capital, that joins existing and planned high-end developments such as the Continuum Miami Beach and Terra Group’s Glass.

Louver House launched sales in January and is planning to start construction this summer.

The Real Deal sat down with Mast Capital’s Founder and CEO Camilo Miguel Jr. to discuss the neighborhood, upcoming projects and who Louver House is targeting.

How did you get into real estate?

I started in real estate in 2004. I’ve pretty much touched every asset class and most product types in the real estate space. I’ve done everything from structure bridge loans to buy distressed debt to develop and renovate hotels, to multifamily, office, retail. I think it’s helped shape me into a better investor. I may look at a property and say, ‘a hotel is going to work here,’ but then multifamily is a better play.

Who’s buying at Louver House?

We have five out of 12 sold. We’ll be averaging just north of $1,300 per square foot, maybe better. We have a mixed group of buyers including a couple of New Yorkers looking to make it a permanent residence.  There’s an owner from South America who bought here, an individual from the Apogee.

They’re not investors, really. They’re end-users.

New York buyers are typically attracted to waterfront properties, so what is the appeal here?

I live at the Continuum, which is a great lifestyle, but there’s no privacy because you live with 500 other residents. We have our two kids, you go to the pool, you see a lot of people. What’s different from Louver House, it’s the privacy. At any given time, you may be in the gym and it’s just you and your wife. In my opinion, it’s more about a single-family home feeling, high luxury, design, privacy. We have deep balconies connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces. We have a great fitness center, a yoga garden.

It makes it feel like this is all yours. This is all for you. We’ll have a Tesla parking station. I think it’s nice to provide that intimate setting in that South-of-Fifth neighborhood. You’re going to be able to go to all the restaurants that exist today and the ones opening in the near future.

If you look at 321 Ocean and you look at Marea from a pricing perspective, we really become a value proposition to a lot of those projects. There is no compromise on quality or product. It’s a project that’s different in nature. Our sliding glass doors in the unit slide all the way to one side, so you get to combine the indoor and outdoor. The idea is to make this a homey feel in a very modern and contemporary way.

How does Louver House compare to other projects in your portfolio?

We’ve done other development projects. I own a hotel in Georgetown [Washington, D.C.] that we renovated. This is different because of its exclusivity and focus on high design. If I was buying here, what would I want? With two kids and my wife, I said to myself, ‘What are the things that I would want to enjoy living here?’

We own a project on 40th and Alton Road. I own 1.87 acres there and we have the right to build about 125,000 square feet of sellable condos — 70 or 80 units, but we haven’t decided yet.

1500 Brickell is a historic French château, so I can’t tear it down. We got the city to do a code amendment to allow us to do a retail unit on the site. We’re talking to certain restaurateurs to come in and operate a restaurant there. What I think works there with the high ceilings is the idea of a high-end upstairs private club lounge and a downstairs restaurant. [It] is something that would be a phenomenal concept there. It was a relatively small transaction, but it’s a pretty interesting site. We paid around $2.6 million for the property and we have a bunch of TDRs (transfer of development rights).

Favorite spot in South-of-Fifth?

What I love about the lifestyle here is my ability to walk everywhere. Living at the Continuum, I can walk to Milos and have dinner. The beauty of this neighborhood goes beyond that. South Pointe Park is great. I can walk to the Miami Beach Marina. It’s really evolved more so in the last five or six years.

What’s next?

We’re looking at hospitality, multifamily, some additional condo sites, some retail opportunities. Some are existing and some are new development sites.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.


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