WATCH: Shahab Karmely on his $100M in SoFla purchases

He is developing one of the Miami River's most ambitious condo projects

Shahab Karmely is developing arguably one of the Miami River’s most ambitious condo projects, a pair of 60-story luxury residential towers connected at the top by a ritzy “Sky Club.” But the New York developer didn’t get here all on his own: he took his cues from Swire Properties.

Karmely stopped to catch up with The Real Deal Managing Web Editor Hiten Samtani at TRD‘s Miami Showcase and Forum, and explained how he ended up in Miami after spending years living abroad, and why he chose the river instead of the beach for his project.

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It was 2013 when Karmely, who had read about Swire’s flagship Brickell City Centre project starting construction, decided to check out the real estate scene in Miami. He brought his wife and children down for a weekend stay at the Mandarin Oriential on Brickell Key, but the family vacation ended once he saw the new developments sprouting up in the city. Karmely said he sent his wife and kids home, and started ringing up local brokers to scope out development sites.

He’s since bought more than $100 million worth of properties in South Florida and said he plans on launching a new multifamily project within the next six months.

Despite assembling land on the river three years ago, his October 2015 launch of One River Point makes it a relative latecomer in Miami’s winding down development boom. Even so, the developer said his team won’t pull any financing until it’s time to break ground, citing the $30 million he has already sunk into predevelopment costs.

Karmely was one of more than a dozen expert panelists at TRD’s biggest ever South Florida Showcase & Forum last week at Wynwood’s Soho Studios.