Laguna House drops ONE Sotheby’s Michael Martinez for EWM’s Audrey Ross

Renderings of Laguna House, Oscar Roger and Audrey Ross
Renderings of Laguna House, Oscar Roger and Audrey Ross

Laguna House, a planned boutique condominium project in Coral Gables, has dropped ONE Sotheby’s International Realty’s Michael Martinez and tapped Audrey Ross’ team at EWM International Realty to exclusively handle sales and marketing, The Real Deal has learned.

Developer Oscar Roger, president and CEO of Miami-based Roger Development Group, told TRD that he has known Ross for many years and “she is a doer.” Ross’ 11-person team begins Monday at the project’s new sales gallery, which replaces a temporary sales center.

“The change came about because I believe EWM understands the local market and their needs,” Roger said, “and especially Audrey Ross, who is the catalyst of bringing in buyers from large homes.”

The 10-story Laguna House, at the Shops at Merrick Park, will have 13 luxury units ranging from 3,000 square feet to 6,250 square feet. The first two-and-a-half floors of the building will be for parking, then six floors with two units per floor, topped by a full-floor penthouse on the 10th floor. 

Sales for the project at 4220 Laguna Street launched Dec. 20, 2015. To date, seven of the 13 units are under contract, Roger said. One was sold to a Brazilian family, and the rest were all sold to local buyers. Prices range from $1.5 million to $3.2 million for the penthouse, or $575 to $795 per square foot, for an average of $650 per square foot.

“We’re targeting more the empty nester people going out of large homes in Cocoplum, Gables Estates, or anywhere in Coral Gables or Pinecrest,” he said. And while the market for luxury condos in Miami has slowed due largely to foreign economic and currency woes, Coral Gables has not been affected, he said.

Ross, a senior vice president at EWM, lives in Coral Gables and has more than three decades of experience in the market. Her strategy, she told TRD, will be to work her contacts.

“Each of us will be working our own spheres of influence as well as manning their sales center, and we believe that is sufficiently strong to be successful,” she said.

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ONE Sotheby’s Martinez said in a statement that he wishes the best to Roger, his team and Laguna House. “As you know the condo market has taken a turn,” he said. “After selling over 35 percent of the project, I have decided to continue my specialty and focus in the luxury single-family market.”

This summer ONE Sotheby’s was taken off Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, after the development hired Douglas Elliman to handle sales and stopped using ONE Sotheby’s as marketing consultants for the international market. In addition, ONE Sotheby’s had handled sales at Boulevard 57 in Miami, and the proposed project suspended sales in July amid the market slowdown.

Roger Development purchased Laguna House’s site from General Growth Properties, owners of the Shops at Merrick Park. The company paid $2.4 million for the 11,000-square-foot property in June 2015.

The Mediterranean-style building was designed by Boca Raton’s PGAL Architects. Units will feature great rooms, open kitchens with Italian cabinetry and Wolf appliances. Outside, units will have 10-foot terraces with summer kitchens and outdoor grills. The building will also have a heated pool and sundeck.

Laguna House will be across the street from the entrance to Merrick Park, which has more than 100 retailers and restaurants, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Gucci, Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo and Tiffany & Co. Merrick Park also has Equinox Fitness, SoulCycle and Elemis spa, offering nearby amenities to Laguna House residents, Roger said.

In March, Roger Development said it had sold its first two retail spaces to Nic del Mar and Jae’s Sinful Delights.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017.

Laguna House is among several Roger Development has developed in Coral Gables, including One Village Place, Gables Park Tower and Gables on the Green, as well as Le Phare in Key Biscayne. The firm was started by Roger’s father, also named Oscar Roger, 55 years ago.