From: World Property Channel
By: Michael Gerrity
February 15, 2012
(MIAMI, FL) — Despite a national U.S. housing crisis still in play, the Miami condo boom is back with a vengeance On February 14, 2012, another groundbreaking ceremony was held for the newly announced Oceana, the first U.S. real estate development of Argentina-based developer Consultatio.
Oceana will be an exclusive 142 condominium development with 12 luxury Villas adjacent, located on the last oceanfront site available on Key Biscayne. This will be a state of the art project; Units will range from 1800 SF to 7500 SF, with a very low density (154 units on a 10.3 acres site).
The new twin-tower Key Biscayne condo project is being touted by some local real estate brokers as the most exclusive new residential project in Miami since the condo boom five years prior.
Oceana is going to be built on the site of the former Sonesta Hotel, which was one of the first hotels in Key Biscayne. The 10.3 acre oceanfront site was acquired by Consultatio in September 2009 for $80 million, and the estimated total project cost will be over $250 million USD.
Due to the lack of land availability on Key Biscayne, there has not been any new real state development in the past 12 years.
Consultatio has hired Coastal Construction as their contractor, and continues working with their architectural firm Arquitectonica on finalizing project construction drawings. The developer plans to start selling the 154 condo units in the months ahead and is currently working on setting up their in-house sales team.
Key Biscayne is considered one of the most exclusive areas in Miami and has one of the highest incomes per capita in the United States.
Key Biscayne is also home to many internationally prominent residents, including A-list actor Andy Garcia, Miami Dolphin football great Nick Buoniconti and Latin American television celebrity El Gordo of El Gordo y La Flaca.
Eduardo Costantini, President of Consultatio said, “We are very excited with the excellent reception that Oceana has within the Key Biscayne community. The fact that we have government and community support is a very important reinforcement and also a commitment for the project to have the highest quality standards, respecting Consultatio’s philosophy.”
Consultatio is an experienced real estate developer from Argentina, with 30 years of experience developing large-scale master planned communities, commercial properties, and residential towers in high end international markets like Nordelta, Puertos del Lago, Las Garzas (Uruguay). The company is under the direction of its’ major share holder, president and CEO Eduardo F. Costantini, a prominent Argentinean businessman.
Posted on Fri, Dec. 16, 2011
Brazil’s economy slows
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
Brazil still might be the darling of foreign investors and Miami real-estate agents but as the year draws to a close, its once booming economy is slowing.Fueled by a commodities boom, a growing middle class, and mineral wealth, Brazil’s economy hummed along with a 7.5 percent growth rate in 2010. But now most economists are pegging gross domestic product growth at 3 to 3.5 percent this year — and in its most recent forecast, Fitch Ratings said the Brazilian economy would grow only 2.8 percent.“Brazil is slowing down; it’s been slowing down since the second quarter,’’ said Guilherme Da Nobrega, senior economist at Sao Paulo-based Banco Itaú, during a recent visit to Miami. His estimate has been revised down from 3.6 percent to 3 percent growth.
The Brazilian economy, he said, “was growing too fast at the end of last year.’’ Inflation also was rising.
That economic exuberance — coupled with a strong real and depressed local real-estate prices — drove Brazilians to Miami in 2011 to buy everything from ocean-view condominiums to sports gear, iPads, and fashion.
The Brazilian economy also is closely watched in South Florida because Brazil is the region’s top trading partner, and earlier this year a group of nearly 200 Floridians traveled to Brazil on a trade mission led by Gov. Rick Scott.
To cool things down, the Brazilian government adopted tighter economic policies at the beginning of 2011; its central bank also raised rates. The government also held back on public spending for infrastructure projects, such as bridges, said Da Nobrega, who spoke at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas Latin American Predictors Forum in Coral Gables earlier this month.
“That did the trick,’’ said Da Nobrega.
But Brazilian industrial production began to slump in the third quarter and was down 2.2 percent in October compared to the previous year. Twenty out of 27 sectors contracted during the month, according to Barclays Capital.
Though it is still considered strong, the Brazilian currency also began to bounce around this fall — a change that has affected some Miami real-estate purchases. The real has fallen 8.1 percent against the dollar in the past three months.
With the economy weakening, Brazil’s central bank began cutting rates in August.
And to counteract the potential impact of a widening European financial crisis, it took several measures Dec. 1 to stimulate and strengthen the economy. They included tax cuts on financial operations, tax credits of up to 3 percent on 8,500 manufactured products destined for export sales, and increased home-value eligibilityfor developer tax breaks under the My Home My Life program.
To encourage the inflow of long-term foreign investment capital, for example, the taxes on foreign investment in stocks and venture capital were cut from 2 percent to 0.
The tax on so-called white goods — stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like — also was cut to encourage the consumption of durable goods.
Da Nobrega said he anticipates “another couple of months of negative numbers” before the economy begins to pick up again. With the tax cuts, he said, the Brazilian economy should be growing by the second quarter and he predicts growth of about 3.5 percent in 2012.
“We are happy with that number,’’ he said. With current policies, he said, there’s a little more risk for higher inflation but a bit less risk of slow growth.
But Da Nobrega said Brazil will have to continue to watch the European situation closely.
Meanwhile, with the approach of the 2014 World Cup in several Brazilian cities and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is in the midst of an investment boom. “We don’t run any risk of over-investment in Brazil,’’ Da Nobrega said. “As long as there is financing at all in the world, Brazil is going to take an important chunk of it.’’
Figures released by Brazil’s central bank Thursday showed that the United States wasstill Brazil’s biggest foreign investor with $105 billion in investments, excluding inter-company loans, at the end of 2010. And although China has replaced the United States as Brazil’s top trading partner, Chinese investments totaled just $8 billion, putting it in 16th place among foreign investors in Brazil.
Overall, foreign investment increased from $163 billion in 2005 to $580 billion in 2010, according to the central bank report.
Other analysts also say that 2012 seems to be shaping up as a better year for Latin America’s largest economy.
“The recent depreciation of the Brazilian currency plus the slowdown in inflation and the drop in interest rates will be very helpful for improving the health of the Brazilian economy,” Eugenio J. Aléman, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said in a report released last week.
COUNCIL APPROVES SITE PLAN FOR FORMER SONESTA PROPERTY
Key Biscayne Council members voted unanimously Monday, August 21, to approve developer Consultatio Key Biscayne LLC’s new site plan for the 350 Ocean Drive property. (The former site of The Sonesta Hotel).
As Consultatio Chairman Eduardo Costantini told local leaders, the new site plan significantly downsizes the project the Council approved in 2007 in order to address concerns about mass and impact on neighbors. “If you approve this project, I think it’s going to be a superb project. We’ll look forward to working together as a team,” he said.
Site plan complies
The project’s 646,415 square feet of livable space equals a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1.435; a FAR of 2.0, or 899,863 square feet, is allowed. Maximum lot coverage is 40 percent, or 179,972 square feet; Consultatio’s plan shows 35.7 percent coverage, or a 160,630-square-foot footprint.
The project also eases in below density caps: Projects with this zoning can have 16 residential units per acre, meaning 165 units on the 10.5-acre Sonesta lot; Consultatio proposes 154 units, or 15 per acre.
Elsewhere, the proposed project meets height caps of 150 feet; more importantly, Consultatio vastly exceeds rear setback requirements of 25 feet, meaning the 150-foot buildings are far from neighboring single-family homes. The project’s west rear setback, the one that impacts Holiday Colony (the east rear setback is from the ocean), comes in at 393 feet, 11 inches.
Only 12 freestanding villas would sit within that nearly 394-foot area, Kurlancheek said, and the villas are capped at 35 feet in height, the same as single-family homes. “There’s a 50-foot setback until you get to the villas themselves,” he added.
Consultatio was able to move the bulk of its development further back by eliminating two of the original four towers. The new design features two 14-level towers linked by a shorter structure that features 10 levels worth of condo units atop a three-story high open breezeway.
A key condition states the Village must be in compliance with its Comprehensive Plan standard of 2.5 acres of open space per 1,000 residents before it can issue a Certificate of Occupancy for the 15-story residential tower. Or, the Village and Consultatio can sign a binding contract stating the open space facilities will be completed within a year of the CO being issued.They state Consultatio will grant the Village two 25-foot-wide public beach access paths, one on the north side of the property from Ocean Drive and the other on the south side of the property from East Heather Drive. Both paths will include improvements like paving and landscaping.
Helfman added Consultatio’s plan includes a $7 million voluntary contribution to the Village’s Land Trust, a fund set up for the sole purpose of acquiring public land, plus another $1.5 million toward improvements at the Key Biscayne Community Center or another recreational need.
The sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Miami-Dade County rose by 51 percent in the third quarter, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. It was the 13th consecutive quarter of increasing sales in Miami. The average sales price of single-family homes also rose, jumping 19 percent, and the average sales price of condos jumped by 21 percent. “Strong demand from international buyers is fueling robust sales activity in Miami despite low consumer confidence and high unemployment,” said Jack Levine, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors. “Local sales are expected to set a record this year that should exceed the height of the boom in 2005.” Total housing inventory in Miami-Dade County fell 38 percent from the same period in 2010, with a 65 percent total drop since August 2008. –Alexander Britell