Q&A with Acqualina’s Michael Goldstein

Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein

A Formula 1 simulator, Wall Street trader’s club, a FlowRider, soccer field, ice skating rink, movie theater and six pools.

Like a handful of other developments in South Florida, amenities at the Estates at Acqualina go above and beyond the typical condo tower.

Developers Jules, Eddie and Stephanie Trump will build a $10 million sales center – exceeding the already open Turnberry Ocean Club sales gallery in Sunny Isles Beach and the $2 million Paramount Miami Worldcenter sales gallery in Miami – for the $1.8 billion project, which is slated for completion in 2019.

Michael Goldstein, president of sales, sat down with The Real Deal to discuss the project, who’s buying, and his start in the industry.

How did you get into real estate?

I moved to Florida in 1983. I knew nothing about real estate. We were staying at my mother-in-law’s condo in Deerfield Beach. The washing machine broke, so I went over to the sales office to speak to somebody. To make a long story short, the owner of the company and I got to talking. I got my real estate license. He asked me what I’d done for a living, and I said that I’d done a lot of things. I drove my father’s cab; I did telemarketing selling copier machines.

He asked me, ‘can you do telemarketing for real estate?’ So I set up a telemarketing department for him, which was me, myself and I. I started off working old leads from 12 communities on the east and west coast of Florida. Within three weeks, I did almost $2.5 million in sales. I expanded the department, became president of the department.

We did all these deals with people from New York, and we found out that every 45 to 60 days,  they would make a decision to buy real estate. The sales people back in those days, figured that if someone didn’t buy in the week they came down from New York, they weren’t buyers and they would take those registration sheets and throw them out. I took those sheets and started calling.

I started a marketing company and started doing marketing for a lot of developers back in the ’80s. I was 23 years old. I evolved since then and have gotten into the design of buildings, design of floor plans, hiring architects. I started doing everything. I’ve probably done more than $6 billion in real estate. I came to work for the Trump Group in 1998 as president of sales for Williams Island.

Renderings of the Estates at Acqualina

Renderings of the Estates at Acqualina (Credit: ArX Solutions)

How are sales for the Estates? 

We’ve done in excess of about $360 million in an eight to ten-week period. About 56 units.

Our demographics are 60 percent U.S. and Canada, then Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela. But the markets have been changing. We’ve been getting people from Peru, from Chile, Panama. These are markets that we’ve never had. We’re starting to see people buy bigger units because they’re planning to move here permanently.

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We could have built three towers with 600 units. That’s not us. Instead of that, we’re building two towers with 264 units.

What is your competition?

If you looked at condo hotels, the only ones that are competition would the St. Regis in Bal Harbour, or the Four Seasons in Surfside.

What amenities will the development offer?

We call the first level of the villa Circus Maximus. Downstairs, they’ll be a Formula 1 simulator where you can drive any F1 race track in the world. There’ll be indoor ice skating with a mural of the ocean. So you’ll be skating by the ocean. Next to the ice skating rink, you’ll have four bowling lanes. You’ll have a golf simulator, movie theater, billiard room kids play room, a Wall Street trader’s club room. Our average buyer is in their 40s with families. They’re moving from New York.

On the main floor, there’ll be a 12,000-square-foot five-star restaurant. That’s the only thing that will be open to the general public because we want it to be successful. We’ll have a rooftop pool on the top of the building. We have six pools for 264 families – an adult lap pool with some spas, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, zero-entry kids pool, a kids pool with slides, and a FlowRider. All of the amenities are on the beach level, not on top of a garage. There’ll be a soccer field, Bocce court, art, sculptures, gazebos. There’s a quarter-mile path, a dog park, a basketball court, beach volleyball – everything and anything you could possibly think of. We’re not building a Disney; we’re building something for all ages.

Each building has its own red Rolls-Royce.

All in all, we have 1,100 feet of oceanfront in Sunny Isles. We’ve created a gated community on the ocean with awesome amenities that nobody has.

Why so many amenities?

You have all of what you would have in a single-family home, with no headaches. We have every size unit up to 18,000 square feet. There’s nothing I can’t do for somebody unless they can’t afford it.

When you look at these buyers, they expect it. They can buy anything. It’s not that they need it. It’s because they can do it. How many houses can you have?

What has your role been in shaping and maintaining the Acqualina brand?

I handle the residential side. The main thrust behind everything here is Jules, Eddie and Stephanie Trump. It’s their vision; it’s their attention to detail. They’re going to live in the building. Most developers don’t go into their own buildings.