23,500 condominiums — 5,300 apartments — 6,000 hotel rooms — 3.5 million sq. ft. of office space — 4.0 Million sq. ft. of retail…..All within the Greater Downtown Miami area….
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Brazilians are spending more money in the U.S. than ever…and Miami is benefitting big.
A port of indulgence for Brazil’s elite, Miami has catered to South American investors for decades, helping them funnel huge sums into lavish, coastal condominiums. But now, following the recent reelection of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, a number of the country’s biggest spenders are looking to increase their overseas holdings, and Miami is benefitting in a big way.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, affirmed the impact Roussef’s reelection is having on South Florida.
“After the last election, we were talking to a lot of people concerned about getting their capital out of Brazil,” she said, adding that the exodus was largely a response to politics.
With specific data unavailable, it’s difficult to quantify the recent influx of Brazilian investment. But throughout South Florida, developers, agents, bankers and a slew of other industry insiders are abuzz with talk of Brazil.
They speak of a swelling of Brazilian capital, aimed not just at property investments, but an increase in more prolonged and involved ventures, such as setting up businesses and obtaining residency and later citizenship for themselves and their families.
Genilde Guerra, an attorney at Kravitz & Guerra, told the Journal that Brazilian clients are mainly “concerned about the instability of Brazil’s political environment.
“They don’t want to be the last one’s to leave,” she said.
Not a 1980s/90s Repeat
According to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, in 2013, approximately 3 million of the country’s 200 million lived abroad, and of those, one-third were in the U.S. Drawing from local sources, the Journal reported that Florida has become one of the most attractive destinations for these emigrating Brazilians, with as many as 300,000 living in the Sunshine State. Their presence is now so prominent in Miami that in 2013, Brazilians accounted for 51 percent of the city’s tourism.
This isn’t the first time the U.S. has taken on weighty injections of Brazilian immigrants. During the 80s and 90s, Brazil was brought under the wing of a harsh, U.S.-backed military junta that drove the country into near ruin, igniting a rash of economic problems, including hyperinflation and unemployment. Thousands of Brazilians fled the regime for a safer economic climate, with many finding haven in the U.S.
The difference between today and earlier migrations, is that before, Brazilians were entering the U.S. with little to their name, satisfied working low paying labor jobs. Today, it’s far more likely for them to bring wealth.
A New Class of Wealth
In the last year, the Brazilian real has lost approximately a fifth of its value against the dollar, and the country’s inflation rate is nearing its 6.5 percent limit, the Journal reported. According to the Economic Freedom Index, a joint project from the Journal and The Heritage Foundation, researchers also noted significant setbacks for businesses in Brazil, including declines in investment freedom and monetary freedom.
In the face of state-imposed hardships, many of Brazil’s elite are taking preemptive measures and moving their accounts offshore, building strong U.S. portfolios to support their emigrating families. They’re sinking their money into promising developments, buying land and building.
In 2014, Brazilian investor Jose Assumpcao, founder of Lider Aviacao, purchased a 37,000 square-foot plot in Edgewater, which included approvals to build a 16-story, 127-unit residential tower, the Daily Business Review reported. And he’s not the only one.
According to the Journal, Brazilians are now among Miami’s top three foreign buyers of high-price real estate, along with Argentines and Venezuelans.
Miami Hot, U.S. Hotter
To account for the high volumes of international investors pouring into the city, particularly those from China and Brazil, local officials recently created a special foreign investment center downtown to process EB5 visas, which are awarded to individuals investing $1,000,000 and who are creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers, not including investors and immediate family members.
The benefits for Miami are expected to be substantial.
“The City of Miami is staying true to the intent and mission of the United States Citizen Immigration Services by offering top-tier EB5 Regional Center projects to foreign investors which in turn will provide for the creation of thousands of jobs for our local residents,” Mikki Canton, managing director of Miami’s Office of International Business Development, said in a 2014 statement. “The mission of the City of Miami EB5 Regional Center is to create thousands of jobs for local residents and strengthen economic growth in South Florida.”
However, despite business between Miami and Brazil being up last year – 0.82 percent year-over-year from January to November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – the city is losing market share. Brazil’s overall trade with the U.S. rose nearly twice as fast as with South Florida. With healthier savings, Brazilians are looking to the entire U.S. for opportunities.
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Arquitectonica-designed tower planned at 700 Brickell
The Arquitectonica-designed high-rise would serve as the entrance to the Brickell CityCentre project currently under construction on both sides of Miami Avenue, immediately west of the 700 Brickell site.
The tower, to be called One Brickell CityCentre, will include retail, Class A offices, condominium units, and a hotel with a restaurant and lounge, according to a statement released Friday. The plan also envisions grand plazas and retail shops connected to Brickell City Centre.
Upon its completion in 2015, Brickell CityCentre will comprise a luxury shopping center, two residential towers, the EAST Miami hotel by Swire Hotels, serviced apartments, a wellness center and Class A offices.
Swire Properties intends to work with the city of Miami to have One Brickell CityCentre approved as an extension of the existing Special Area Plan. The site is currently home to Northern Trust Bank, which had an interest in the sale of the property.
“In creating the vision for One Brickell City Centre, we are mindful of the legacy of the sellers of 700 Brickell Avenue, heirs of the pioneer Brickell family and Northern Trust Bank, a great corporate citizen,” Swire Properties President Stephen Owens said in a statement. “Our goal is to develop a structure that will be artful in its mix of uses and will advance Brickell Avenue’s stature as Miami’s premier destination.”
“One Brickell CityCentre is a tower that, by its design and dramatic contours, creates views above the current Miami skyline,” Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia said in a statement. “With sightlines that stretch from land to sea, the building’s glow will act as a welcoming lantern for downtown Miami and a portal to Brickell from all approaches.”
Owens told the Business Journal in August that Swire may hold off on developing the siteuntil after the Brickell CityCentre project is complete.
Oscar Pedro Musibay Miami Business Daily
The newly constructed building housing Whole Foods Market in North Miami has sold for $19.8 million.
CBRE identified the seller as Happiness Inc.
“Single-tenant Whole Foods are rarely available to investors, and this one’s very strategic location and the demographics of northeastern Miami-Dade County were especially appealing to investors,” Carson said in a news release.
South Florida Business Journal
Faena House, the ultra luxurious xanadu that Argentinian developer Alan Faena is building as the residential portion of his Faena District Miami Beach project, (let’s just call it Faena District for short) has fifty percent of its units under contract,according to a Faena representative.
The 18-story, 47 unit building comes with major starchitecture cred, being designed by Foster + Partners (a.k.a. Pritzker prize winning architect Lord Norman Foster), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It will have features and amenities galore, including its signature aleros (don’t take the hallway to get from A to B, take the balcony!), really major pieces of hurricane resistant glass, and humungous sliding hurricane glass doors (12.5 feet in some instances!). There will be a private residential beach club separate from the Faena Hotel next door, pools, men’s and women’s spas, residential lounges of course, and “gardens with both common areas and more intimate spaces” designed by Raymond Jungles.
High-End High Times
Updated 21 hours ago
This South Beach condo recently sold for $25 million. In just the first six months of the year, 400 condos priced at $1 million or more sold.
Is Miami-Dade County already experiencing another condo boom — this time strictly in the luxury market?
During the first half of the year, some 400 condos worth at least $1 million each sold in just the resale market alone, according to CondoVultures.com.
That’s up 7.8% from the same time last year. Even more remarkably, the median per-square-foot price hit $699. Prices in the luxury market haven’t been near that number since 2007.
Eye-catching individual deals have accented the luxury boom, including the recent $25-million sale of a condo on South Beach and three sales of more than $10 million at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Residences.
Many buyers are foreign — from Latin America, Russia and Europe. For most, the units are investment properties or second homes.
“If I’m an investor, I can buy a new unit that was built during the boom … for a cheaper price than new construction,” says Peter Zalewski, principal of CondoVultures.com. He notes that there are 10 condo towers already under construction east of I-95 from Miami to northern Palm Beach County. Developers have proposed another 35, including one in South Beach with prices at about $1,500 per square foot.
Cash is king, too. Although Zalewski doesn’t have updated statistics, he says that a year ago, a CondoVultures study found some 80% of the condo transactions in the county were all cash. Plus, he notes, “there’s typically about a 15% to 20% premium that someone is likely to pay if their offer is based on financing.”
January-June Luxury Condo Resales (Miami-Dade)
|Year||Units Sold||% Change||Median Price Per Sq. Ft.||% Change|