SoFla is becoming a hotbed of luxury condo projects, hotels, offices, and other mixed-use developments. This is positive growth, but does raise specific challenges for the future, according to developers who presented during the 2nd Annual South Florida Forum and Showcase held by The Real Deal, a real estate publication that monitors the market.
Big names in the real estate development game brought their projects to the forum and participated in panels, discussing the South Florida market at the Moore Building in Miami. The forum and showcase boasted developers like Jeffrey Soffer, Richard LeFrak, Gil Dezer, and Craig Robins, all of whom indicated that they are sticking to their bullish stance on the market. These property hotshots are banking on the popularity of the area, which is a leading tourist and luxury shopping region.
LeFrak, who is in the process of developing a $4 billion complex called SoLē Mia Miami, slated to be situated between Northeast 139th and Northeast 151st, had this to say regarding his push to complete major projects: “There are a lot of people who want to come here. Let’s face it — it’s fun.”
SoLē Mia will not only house 4400 residential units but will also offer a dine-in movie theater, an upscale bowling and entertainment venue, and 37 acres of high-end dining, shopping, community parks and recreation, and commercial offices.
LeFrak is teaming up on the project with Turnberry Associates. Turnberry’s co-chair, Jeffrey Soffer, is involved with several other projects as well as SoLē Mia and compared the complex to a city his own father, Don Soffer, developed in the ‘70s, called Aventura. The two view the project as the building of a lifestyle rather than just a neighborhood.
Forum panelists pointed out that each city has its own identity. Dezer, whose family helped redevelop Sunny Isles, said that the city has been called “the Dubai of Miami”. Dezer is the president of Dezer Development. The family firm teamed up with Donald Trump in the construction of six towers in Sunny Isles (see website here). Dezer is also gearing up to finish work on the city’s Porsche Design Tower. In addition, he is partnered with Related Group in the development of Hyde Midtown, on which construction just began.
A New Kind of Neighborhood
Craig Robins – CEO and president of Dacra – began his career with South Beach revitalization efforts, and is now on a mission to transform Miami’s Design District into a prominent luxury dining, shopping, and arts and culture mecca. Thus far there are 20 completed buildings housing flagship luxury retail stores. Robins jumped right into the development of 20 additional buildings, as well as a boutique hotel. 500-1000 units are yet in store, and Robins has a vision for even more residences and hotels.
Michael Simkins, CEO/president of Innovate Development Group, has equally vibrant aspirations for Miami’s future. In regard to his planned nine-tower combination residential/office/retail space, Simkins had this to say: “Our mixed-use development is live-work-play, you don’t need a car…Miami is going to be one of the great metropolises of this century.”