South Florida Real Estate News and Stories – August 2016

Here’s a look at some recent news of note in South Florida real estate. Jorge Perez – Miami’s “Condo King” – is stepping aside to make way for his two sons. Perez, who enjoyed a decades-long career as a top real estate developer is preparing the way for Jon Paul and Nicholas Perez to take control of the Related Group as reported in The Real Deal. Within a few years, the 66 year old Perez expects to hand over the reins of the company he founded to Jon Paul and Nicholas. Perez will remain as company chairman. Jon Paul Perez, Related’s vice president, took the helm of his first condo project earlier this year – the exclusive Auberge Residences and Spa Miami. His younger brother, Nicholas, is currently an associate with Steve Ross’ Related Companies in New York.

Boulevard 57, a planned mixed-use project on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard, has called off condo sales. This is another sign of the market slowdown this summer. Hector Torres, chief operating officer of Unitas Development Group, told The Real Deal that he is revising the project’s initial plans from developing condos to building only a retail portion of the proposed eight-story tower at Northeast 57th and 58th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Torres further stated that they “have suspended the sales program until we understand where the condo market is going.”

Boulevard 57, which launched sales last fall offering condos at $500 to $600 per square foot, is the latest South Florida development to reverse course in response to a softening market. Reports show slumping sales in a market that has cooled in recent months. This may be due to the strengthening U.S. dollar and international turmoil in foreign markets.

Douglas Elliman’s second quarter reports seem to indicate that the Miami housing market may be facing a giant reality check. Along Miami’s coastal mainland, sales have dropped by 12.5% year over year. On Miami Beach, sales have dropped by a staggering 24.7% during the same time period. Jonathan Miller, whose firm authored the report maintained that the market was “transitioning from this hyperbolic, irrational period that was unsustainable to a market with a more moderate pace.”

Further north, in Fort Lauderdale, the downtown area appears to be flourishing. Vacant lots, old warehouses and dilapidated housing are quickly disappearing. Revitalization of the area known as Flagler Village, started a few years ago with FAT Village, a strip of warehouses that have been converted into art galleries, performance spaces, and hip businesses.

The roughly 300 acre neighborhood now has upwards of 40 projects, either under development or in the pipeline. Most are rentals aimed at millennials and young professionals. In addition, there are condo projects like Flagler 626, which is expected to have 97 units at an average price of $350 per square foot. TIAA, the financial services giant, recently purchased a 332 unit apartment complex for $114.4 million.

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