Real estate developers, brokers court Art Basel Miami Beach attendees

Industry leaders expect a rush of international travelers absent since Art Basel 2019

Inset: Jay Philip Parker, Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, Edgardo Defortuna
Inset: Jay Philip Parker, Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, Edgardo Defortuna

UPDATED, Dec. 2, 12 p.m.: Art Basel Miami Beach, the art fair of art fairs that has grown into a weeklong affair with ancillary shows and events, is back for the first time since 2019. And the real estate industry expects to take advantage of the influx of high net worth individuals in town to buy pricey art.

Developers and brokers are hosting pop-up art exhibits at their sales centers, launching sales for new projects, sponsoring fairs, and hosting cocktail parties for potential buyers and real estate agents. But many say they are being selective about the events they plan to host.

“What we really focused on this year is putting our agents and projects in front of the discerning clientele at Art Basel,” said Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida. “It seems like people are anxious to travel, to be around others, to buy everything, including art. I’m thinking it’s going to be a really, really powerful year.”

Delfin Finley Photos by Joshua White

Miami Art Week, which includes Basel, Art Miami, Red Dot, Spectrum and many other shows, is returning weeks after the U.S. travel ban on 33 countries was lifted, resulting in a boost in interest in South Florida, where restrictions have been scarce throughout the pandemic. Even the advent of the omicron variant is not expected to be a deterrent.

Public art displays and exhibits abound throughout Miami Beach and Miami. In the Miami Design District, outdoor installations include two oversized sculptures wearing Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer collection within an oversized chess game designed by the late Virgil Abloh. Nearby, Chanel commissioned a sculptural labyrinth designed by artist Es Devlin with light and audio recordings, as well as more than 1,000 plants, shrubs and trees that will be replanted in Miami-Dade County.

To boost exposure to the growing pipeline of new condo projects, developers and other industry leaders are hosting invitation-only events.

On Tuesday, developer Carlos Rosso and Standard International Executive Chairman Amar Lalvani hosted a preview of their recently launched Standard Residences at the Standard hotel in Miami Beach.

Douglas Elliman is again sponsoring Art Basel Miami Beach, with a showcase of properties in the Collector’s Lounge where VIP attendees of the fair can gather.

Zandile Tshabalala, Naila and I, 2021 Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nagel Draxler

Zandile Tshabalala, Naila and I, 2021
Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nagel Draxler

Elliman also moved its annual champagne toast to the newly completed Canopy Park at David Martin and Russell Galbut’s Five Park project, and will host a small event at a listing at the Zaha Hadid-designed One Thousand Museum, Parker said.

Galbut, Martin and Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber will have at least one other event at Canopy Park: a cocktail party and three-course dinner by a Los Angeles-based chef to launch Cultured Magazine’s December issue.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty is a sponsor of Art Miami, which is being held in a temporary structure on the former Miami Herald site, just north of the Perez Art Museum Miami. The brokerage, previously a Christie’s affiliate, has long sponsored the art fair on the Miami mainland.

William Kentridge, Goat, 2021

One Sotheby’s International Realty is hosting an exhibit at its Miami Beach office along with the Women Photographers International Archive, as well as other events where its agents, their clients and more than 50 Sotheby’s affiliates can attend.

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Property Markets Group will have a private cocktail party at the 11,000-square-foot sales gallery in downtown Miami for the Waldorf Astoria Residences Miami on Friday evening. The invitation-only event will host three wealth management family offices alongside PMG’s partners, according to a spokesperson for the project.

EDDIE MARTINEZ, Untitled 2006, Acrylic on canvas 30 by 40 in. 76.2 by 101.6 cm (MI&N 17456)
© Eddie Martinez Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NewYork

Bel Invest, the developer of the Diesel-branded condo building in Wynwood that recently launched sales, will have an art exhibit by rapper and art collector Westside Gunn, with artwork by Mariella Angela and Isaac Pelayo, kicking off with an invite-only on Thursday evening event at the project’s sales center, followed by public viewing through Sunday.

Moishe Mana, one of the largest private landowners in downtown Miami and Wynwood, is hosting his annual birthday party. This year, Mana’s birthday bash is at the old RC Cola Plant at 550 Northwest 24th Street in Wynwood on Saturday night.

Rodrigo Pimenta, Broken Whisper

The return of Art Week comes as the spotlight on Miami has intensified during the pandemic. South Florida has seen a huge boost in real estate purchases by out-of-state buyers, with companies relocating from high-tax markets such as California and New York. On top of that, major restaurant groups have also expanded to Miami.

“In my experience Art Basel and Art Week are times of great celebration in our city,” said Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner of Cervera Real Estate. “The [real estate] business is usually done in the weeks after.”


Tech firms, many of which have moved or opened Miami outposts, are joining in on the Art Week action, adding to an already action-packed week.

“You’re competing with so many other events,” said Christine Martinez de Castro, who oversees sales and marketing for Ugo Colombo’s CMC Group. “People are having to choose between four, five, six events. If you do too much it gets lost in the shuffle.”

Jaume Plensa
Sophia in White, 2016

CMC, which is developing Onda Residences in Bay Harbor Islands, is opting to forgo hosting any major events. Instead, the sales team will focus on networking at art fairs and other events. Sales have been brisk at a number of new developments, which is likely one reason some firms are being more discerning. At Onda, presales have exceeded 60 percent since launching earlier this year.

“Obviously, we all want to capture the attention of the people coming for Art Basel,” said Fortune International Group CEO Edgardo Defortuna, whose firm is handling sales of Onda, among other projects. “It’s a tug of war, in a sense.”

Fortune is expected to soon launch sales of the Ritz-Carlton-branded towers in Pompano Beach, where it is partnering with Oak Capital to develop the site. A number of other launches are in the works, sources say, as Miami’s new development condo market continues to see high demand.

“Our agents have candidly been so busy,” Parker of Elliman said. “I don’t think this week is any busier than any other week, except it’s an opportunity to engage with new prospective clients, and we use this as a showcase to do that.”