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A Singular Voice in an Evolving City


$60 MILLION MIAMI WILDS THEME PARK NEAR ZOO TARGETS FALL UNVEILING, pg. 3 JACKSON EXPANDS IN GABLES: Jackson Health System plans to build a new 9,000-squarefoot urgent care facility on the site of a vacant gym and adjacent parking lot at 3737 SW Eighth St. in Coral Gables. The Public Health Trust, which controls Jackson, plans to buy the site for $8.4 million with the total capital cost of the project, including acquisition, construction and equipment, estimated at $17.66 million. The ground floor of the new building is to be an urgent care center, with a primary care clinic on the second floor. Miami-Dade commissioners last week approved the purchase of the site from Mozes Office LLC and Mozes Consolidated Properties LLC. The commission action, which was not reviewed by a committee beforehand, said that the new site is part of “Jackson Health System’s strategic plan to expand its ambulatory care network throughout Miami-Dade County.” A memo from health trust Chairman Joe Arriola says Jackson’s strategic vision calls “for the expansion of Jackson’s footprint into communities that currently lack sufficient healthcare services in general and access to Jackson programs specifically.”

The Achiever

By Katherine Lewin

SILENCE ON TRANSIT HUB: Details about county negotiations to create a transit-oriented complex are unavailable, as the project has fallen under the “Cone of Silence” ordinance, a spokesperson for the county and mayor’s office wrote Tuesday. The site at Northwest 27th Avenue and 215th Street has been studied for an extension of Metrorail or an expansion of the bus service on Northwest 27th Avenue from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. station northward, with a transit hub, a park-and-ride facility and a six-story hotel as an anchor. The county has been in talks with Miami Gardens Transit Village LLC about such a development, but things hit a snag last August when troubling site conditions, including subsurface soil contaminants, delayed progress. Responding to an inquiry this week, Transportation and Public Works PIO Karla Damian told Miami Today that while no completion date has been set and no staff could comment, the county is still contributing $5 million in grants toward construction of its transit hub portion once the project begins. BEACH GROUND LEASES STALL: A 2017 invitation by the Wolfsonian-FIU to negotiate for the ground leases of two of its Miami Beach properties – The Annex, 1538 Lennox Ave., and a nearby surface lot at 1500 Lennox Ave. – has stalled after missing its April 5 deadline to accept proposals and is still in the process of working things out, says Meg Floryan, a museum spokesperson. “We’re still in the [invitation to negotiate] process,” she said. Asked to comment on reasons behind the delay, the museum declined.

Hernan Organvidez

Photo by Cristina Sullivan

Doral chief targeting school safety, traffic enforcement The profile is on Page 4

Beach bids to host 2020 Democratic convention By Katherine Lewin

Miami-Dade County – specifically Miami Beach – has expressed interest in hosting the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told the city commission last week. The commission agreed unanimously to move forward to become an official contender. The city will respond to a request for proposals for the convention issued this month. Mr. Gelber speculated that the convention will need 30,000 rooms to house attendees. He also mentioned high levels of security and commitment on the part of Miami Beach. “We are not at a point yet where anything we do commits us inalterably to being the host city. It’s a very big deal,” Mr. Gelber said. “It’s something you really have to think about. I have reached out to the county mayor and the City of Miami mayor with the notion that this is not simply a Miami Beach thing.” If the city is selected as a finalist for the 2020 convention, a site visit would come in August. If the Democratic National Committee decided to award the convention to Miami Beach, the

Straw votes would stop plastics use

city would need to decide by January whether to accept it. Miami Beach has hosted three national party conventions, once for the Democrats, in 1972, and twice for the Republicans, in 1968 and 1972. All three were at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which has been under renovation for 28 months and is only partially open for events. But the center is slated to be completed and fully open again in September. All three of the national political conventions held here experienced difficult moments. At the Republican convention in 1968, thenvice presidential nominee Spiro T. Agnew made comments against black activist leaders in Maryland for not supporting what he perceived to be positive programs for black neighborhoods. Many people walked out of the convention as a result. The 1972 Democratic convention was described in a New York Times article as “a disastrous start to the general election campaign.” Then-vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton was forced to back out at the last minute after it was revealed that he had received electroshock treatment for

mental illness. Sessions began in the early evening and lasted until sunrise the next day. Then-presidential nominee George McGovern could not deliver his acceptance speech until 2:48 a.m., after most people had gone to bed. San Diego was originally selected to host the 1972 Republican convention but because of a possible scandal involving the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. giving money to the San Diego bid in exchange for the US Department of Justice settling its antitrust case against the company, the convention quickly switched locations to Miami Beach. It was the sixth and most recent time both the Republican and Democratic national party conventions were held in the same city. The Republican convention in 1972 also faced widespread protests, mostly against the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration tried to suppress protesting by famously instructing the FBI to monitor John Lennon, who played at the protests. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau declined to comment on what hosting another national political convention might mean here, saying it is still too early to speculate on possible preparations and numbers.

The City of Miami Beach is leading the way in South Florida on banning plastic. Last week the entire city commission unanimously sponsored two ordinances that would ban various types of plastic from being used or distributed in businesses. Both face a final vote in July. The first ordinance would ban plastic straws and stirrers in marinas, beaches, parks and sidewalk cafes and in city buildings in Miami Beach. This includes vendors and during special events. The second ordinance would amend the city’s existing plastic bag ban to take effect as early as it is legally allowed. This ordinance bans single-use carry-out plastic bags for sidewalk cafes on public property. It will have a to-be-determined warning and education period for business owners to transition away from plastic. This ordinance could be adopted by September, depending on the outcome of an ongoing Coral Gables court case. Coral Gables instituted a voluntary plastic bag ban this year that Publix challenged. That case is currently in the Third District Court of Appeal. Miami Beach passed the plastic bag ordinance in 2017 but the effective date was initially set for after all appeals for the Coral Gables case had ended, including a Supreme Court decision. “Our ordinance was pinned to a final resolution of the District Court ofAppeal’s opinion of that court case in the Supreme Court. Coral Gables got the benefit of an effective date some time ago and we would have to wait for the case to go all the way through the Supreme Court,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber at last week’s commission meeting. “So this tethers our effective date to this District Court of Appeal’s opinion. If the District Court of Appeal’s opinion becomes favorable to Coral Gables, we would then have an implementation even if Publix appeals it to the Supreme Court.” The Third District Court of Appeal should be deciding any day now since all arguments were held months ago, said Commissioner Michael Gongora.





















$60 million theme park near zoo targets fall unveiling, vote By Jesse Scheckner

Developers behind the forthcoming Miami Wilds theme park near Zoo Miami hope to bring plans to the county commission this fall, according to Paul Lambert, managing principal at Lambert Advisory. While several terms of the $60 million project must be settled, including pending environmental studies and a lease for the 27.5 acres encompassing the water park, hotel and retail space, Mr. Lambert said most of the major terms have been negotiated. “We’re getting increasingly excited about this opportunity and doing something of a scale that certainly hasn’t been done in South Florida in decades, which is investing in a major, high-profile, awesome water park that will draw people and be great for locals,” he said. “Hopefully, by the end of the summer, the lease will be able to go through the county process and the mayor will feel comfortable to forward it to county commissioners.”

In 2006, two-thirds of voters approved development of the park, the concept of which dates to 1997. Since then, interested big-name parties attached to the project have come and gone, including 20th Century Fox and Dinosaurier-Park International. The current water park concept, Mr. Lambert said, will create more than 400 full-time equivalent jobs, with salaries averraging about $35,000, and seasonal part-time work opportunities. Plans include two parking lots shared with Zoo Miami, Miami Military Museum and Gold Coast Railroad Museum – one near the railroad museum with almost 17 acres and another 4,500-space lot beside the zoo entrance expanding about 36 acres. Partners designing and leading the project since summer 2013 include Zyscovich Architects, Urban Strategies, Entertainment + Cultural Advisors, water park designer xP2 Entertainment/ Pure Imagination Studios and Parques

Reunidos, the eighth-largest leisure park operator worldwide. Mr. Lambert said he envisions park visitors spending a full day in the area near Southwest 152nd Street and 124th Avenue, splitting their time between parks and museums. “We’re not at a point where we can reveal all the rides – we’re going to do that over time – but we’re super excited about what this means in terms of bringing people to South Dade,” he said. Miami Wilds development has not been without opposition. Most of the park design, according to Mr. Lambert, would have at least 100 feet between the site and Pine Rockland habitat. That would be too close for comfort, according to Matthew Schwartz, executive director of South Florida Wildlands Association, who warned of harmful “spillover effects” such as noise, lighting and pollution. Al Sunshine, president of the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition, also warned of potential environmental damage, sug-

gesting that Homestead or Florida City be considered instead for the project. But unless the park plan includes a federal component, developers don’t need approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build, according to South Florida branch spokesperson Ken Warren. Mr. Lambert, who previously estimated about 45% of visitors would come from outside the county, said a late May meeting with “one of the major global water park design firms based in Canada” reinforced his belief that the park will bring something unique and exciting to Miami. “I’m really convinced people are going to be wowed by this,” he said. “For Floridians who are jaded with Orlando just a few hours away, we have good attractions here, but for people in South Florida to have this in their backyard, I’m convinced they’ll be able to call it their own and have something as good a quality as they find in the water parks in Central Florida.”

Arab Health in Dubai estimated at $69 million Florida impact By Katherine Lewin

Florida companies had $6.2 million in sales at the 2018 Arab Health event in United Arab Emirates in Dubai in February and are projecting $63 million more in sales over the next three years as a result of the business ties made at the event, according to data aggregated by Enterprise Florida. Florida was the US state with the most companies attending the event. There were 21 Florida firms total, and eight of them were from Miami-Dade County. Florida’s presence was two to three times bigger than the next state, said Manny Mencia, senior vice president of international trade and development for Enterprise Florida. Arab Health is the secondlargest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the world, second only to Medica, held in Germany. It’s the largest trade show in the Middle East and


North Africa regions. The event had over 5,000 exhibitors. The healthcare industry in the Middle East is estimated to be worth more than $44 billion per year with an annual growth rate of 10%, according to Enterprise Florida. State-run Enterprise, with its main goal of driving the economy in Florida, wants to help as many Florida businesses as possible enter the Middle Eastern market. “Our job is to take companies into the market and hopefully find them suitable partners and clients,” Mr. Mencia said. “If they are small businesses or new to the business, we have grants for them. This event is just one of the vehicles we use.” Companies from Miami-Dade that attended the event included Advanced Instrumentations Inc., Cirro Medical Systems LLC, Gaumard Scientific, Ecleris USA dba EUSA Global LLC, Medimar, OSKO Inc., US DE-FIB Medical Technologies and Victoria World

Elsa Ospina, whose firm sells food supplements and pharmaceuticals, cited success: “Saudi Arabia is the country which we sell the most.”

Wide Business Connections Group. Victoria World Wide Business Connections Group has been attending the event in Dubai for nearly 15 years and credits the trade event with the bulk of its

business and worldwide presence, said Elsa Ospina, CEO of Victoria. The company sells food supplements and pharmaceutical products. “Saudi Arabia is the country which we sell the most, but it is











EWM Realty International’s #1 ranking is based on total dollar volume sales. Data was extracted from the Miami Association of Realtors, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Association of Realtors, and the Southeast Florida Regional MLS on 6/11/2018 for single-family homes sold within Miami-Dade County for the period beginning 1/1/2018 and ending 6/11/2018.

also important to inform that our main markets are located in the Middle East and North Africa regions,” Mrs. Ospina said. “We are completely sure that it was a successful trip, but not just successful in economic terms. It was successful in strengthening our relationships with our existing clients as well.” Ecleris USA dba EUSA Global LLC, which sells colposcopes, microscopes, light sources, and video cameras for endoscopies, did most of its business at the event with Pakistan. Ecleris hopes to expand its business further in the Middle East, said Marcos Ledesma, the company’s director. “It is difficult to measure how much business we did, as it takes usually months to start selling demo units, registrations, trainings and participation in local congresses. But it is a process we are used to following in other regions,” Mr. Ledesma said. “We expect to continue our participation for the next years.”





Custom boat maker set to replace five sites, add 100 jobs By Katherine Lewin

SeaVee Boats is probably two to three weeks away from receiving the final necessary building permits from Miami-Dade County to begin construction of its new facility, according to Ariel Pared, one of the three original business partners who bought SeaVee Boats in 1994. The county’s Industrial Development Authority fully financed the project. SeaVee Boats will consolidate all five of its facilities around Miami into one at 11100 NW South River Drive in Medley. Currently, all five locations have 100,000 square feet combined. The new 220,000-square-foot facility sitting on 10 acres will house all of the expanded operations to make manufacturing more efficient. Mr. Pared said it will be the largest boat manufacturing facility in South Florida. “We originally bought our current facility thinking it would be large enough. But the economy is doing well, so the business is doing well,” Mr. Pared said. “We’ve outgrown the facility. We’re bursting at the seams right now.” SeaVee Boats is currently able to manufacture 165 custom boats per year. With the new facility, the company hopes build 250 boats per year within three years, Mr. Pared said. The partners also want more square feet to build bigger boats. Once the new facility is open for operations, they plan to build a new 50-foot flagship boat. “South Florida has been booming. People are looking for bigger, faster and more advanced boats and technologies,” Mr. Pared said. “Big boats are selling like never before.” Jack Ellis, the founder of Info Link

‘We originally bought our current facility thinking it would be large enough. But the economy is doing well, so the business is doing well.’ Ariel Pared Current SeaVee sites will fold into one larger site after the county issues a building permit to do the work.

Technologies Inc., a marketing and data services company that watches the outdoor recreation market, found that flats, bay and inshore fishing boat sales are down at least 40%. Bigger boats are selling more. His data show overall boat sales have been on the increase the past seven years both in and outside of Florida. However, Mr. Ellis said that he sees possible rough seas in the boating industry in the future caused by environmental challenges. “The health of the boating industry depends on how you look at it. Generally speaking, most custom boat builders in Florida seem to be doing fairly well,” Mr. Ellis said. “That being said, another decline in boat sales is inevitable, and I’d be the first to admit that Florida’s

deteriorating water quality certainly won’t help the situation.” Mr. Pared and his business partners have faced several challenges in building on the new property. The Environmental Protection Agency put the property on the Superfund’s National Priorities List in 1984 and cleanup started soon after. Electrical transformers were recycled on the site, which led to waste oil being dumped into the ground and rusted machinery left on the property. However, the land is slated to be removed from the National Priorities List in July, for a full return to industrial activity with no threat to health. Mr. Pared also said that the county has been slow to approve the final building permit.

As soon as the final permit is approved, SeaVee will start building, Mr. Pared said. The chosen firm, TA Builders, estimated that construction could take 10 months. All the land is cleared and foundation permits were approved recently. SeaVee Boats hopes to be up and running in the new location this time next year. Right now in its 60,5558-squarefoot headquarters at 6900 NW 77th Court, smaller boats are backlogged 10 months and the larger models are backed up 18 months. Currently over 200 boats on order. SeaVee now employs 220 people and hopes to employ 325 to 350 total once it moves to the new site. It started with seven employees in 1994, Mr. Pared said. While other custom boat manu-

facturers have chosen to move out of South Florida, Mr. Pared said, South Florida is the best place to be for a company like his. He said the high price of real estate, the lack of available real estate suitable for boat manufacturing and a more expensive workforce are the main reasons that custom boat manufacturers have moved upstate. SeaVee Boats is building its brandnew facility, he said, because nothing already existing fit its needs. “The most skilled workforce in boat manufacturing is in South Florida,” Mr. Pared said. “Not the most affordable, but we feel that because of the type of product we make – boutique and high-end boats – we’re able to spend more to build a better product.”

Late fall opening due for Baptist Health’s 184-room Hilton By Katherine Lewin

South Florida Baptist Health Hospital’s adjacent Hilton hotel has a scheduled soft opening for late November or early December. It won’t be publicized initially, while the new staff at Hilton “takes the kinks out,” said Ana Lopez-Blazquez, executive vice president of Baptist Health South Florida. Most of the first guests will be friends and family of the staff at the hospital and the hotel. The official publicized opening will be January 2019. At that point, the hotel’s 150,000 square feet and 184 rooms will be open to the public and the patients receiving care at Baptist Health. There are no hiring projections yet for the project. Both a general manager and a director of sales were recently hired. General Manager Jimmy Shander has been working for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global management company, for 28 years. This is his fourth hotel opening and he has managed more hotels around the country. It is his first grand opening in Florida. Mr. Shander said that even though the hotel will be serving patients from the Miami Cancer Institute, he will run the hotel the same as any other. “This is our first management property with Baptist. I’m excited about the opportunity and such a unique venue with a fantastic

The Hilton Miami/Dadeland Baptist Hospital campus will officially open its doors to the public in January.

location for business travelers,” Mr. Shander said. “It will be a fun project to get up and running.” Director of Sales Rose Albert is already meeting with local chambers of commerce and tourist bureaus to build more buzz around the new hotel. Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said this is “not her first rodeo” and she has done similar work for multiple hotels in South Florida before.

The hotel is built and owned by Baptist Health but will be run by Hilton in a franchise license agreement. Callison RTKL, a firm that specializes in hospitality architecture, designed the hotel. All revenue will go to Baptist Health but the health system is still working on financial forecasts. An average room rate has not been set. The Miami Cancer Institute, a $430 million clinical and research

center, opened in January 2017 at Baptist Health. When designing the Hilton, radiation and chemotherapy patients were kept in mind. Many current patients at the Cancer Institute are showing interest in staying at the hotel and are eager for its opening, Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said. “We met with the folks at the Cancer Institute several times trying to understand what are

the kinds of guests that we could see because of Cancer Institute,” she said. “There are a lot of folks from out of town that will be getting radiation therapy treatment. It might last 20 minutes but they have to do it every day for three weeks. The hotel would serve as a great place for them to stay.” Of the 184 rooms, 34 will have an extended stay option with a kitchenette, dishwasher, refrigerator and sitting room for patients from the Cancer Institute and any friends and family that may be there helping them. There is also a fitness center, a heated outdoor pool, room service and a water bar. Baptist Health also hopes to bring in business and leisure travelers. The Hilton will offer a full-service Starbucks, a 150seat farm-to-table restaurant and a 6,200-square-foot conference ballroom with catering services that can be broken down into seven separate rooms. There is already interest in the ballroom and banquet service for weddings, large social events and medical conferences, Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said. The restaurant will serve three meals a day and source some of its food from local farms. The aim is to use produce grown at Baptist Health’s Homestead location. That Grow2Heal community garden offers both fruit and vegetables.




Commercial Office Space & Residential Real Estate Sales rebuild for condos, homes near top edge of market By Rebecca San Juan

The crème de la crème of luxury real estate continues to sell like hotcakes. Homes and condos at the top 10% of the entire market show higher sales this year than last. Ron Shuffield, president of EWM Realty International, sees a healthier market: “We’re starting to rebuild our level of activity. Our sales are up about 13% in Dade County in single-family homes sold in excess of $1 million in these last three months over the same three months last year, and 10% increase in condo sales over the same period last year.” Mike Pappas, CEO of the Keyes Co., said about 2,000 houses are on the million-dollar-plus market. The homes average 150 days on the market from listing to signing a contract, with a median price of $1.8 million. The most popular neighborhoods with waterfront views include Coconut Grove, Cocoplum, and Miami Beach. These neighborhoods see 110 to 120 properties sold per month. The sale of condos shows a similar trend. Mr. Pappas said, “The number of sales is going up a little bit. We’ve seen a pop in the number of sales in new condominiums.” The boom in inventory shows developers meeting a demand for luxury high-rise living, with the market now listing 3,166 condominiums compared to 2,800 last year. The 30-month supply means about 100 condos are sold ever month, with each one lasting 50 days longer on the marketplace than single-family homes. Fisher Island, South Beach, Surfside and neighboring Bal Harbour remain popular choices among luxury buyers. Brokers Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, or the Jills, of Coldwell Banker see modern, ready-to-move-in homes growing in demand. Ms. Eber said, “The ones that are getting the top prices right now have been the modern homes on open water. They are brand new or built within the year, and they have phenomenal views.” Houses built in 2004 and, more recently, in 2015 to the present are the most in demand, according to Madeleine Romanello, Compass associate broker. Mr. Pappas said, “The affluent buyer is looking for pristine conditions. Buyers want a turnkey home rather than having to do the work to get it to what they want.” He said brokers rely more than ever on marketing tools to distinguish listings. Video and images captured by drones and photographers are critical for online portfolios. “Using 3D imagery and walkthrough ability is the new technique,” Mr. Pappas said. “It’s gathering a lot of interest from overseas and through the local market. We are a worldwide

Top 10 Single Family Homes for Sale City 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Original Price Current Price Square Feet

46 Star Island Dr. Miami Beach 4 Tahiti Beach Island Rd. Coral Gables 23 Star Island Dr. Miami Beach 370 S. Hibiscus Dr. Miami Beach 100 La Gorce Circle Miami Beach 5004 N. Bay Rd. Miami Beach 4701 Pine Tree Dr. Miami Beach 73 Palm Avenue Miami Beach 16 Palm Avenue Miami Beach 4730 N. Bay Rd. Miami Beach

$65,000,000 $45,000,000 $49,000,000 $38,000,000 $34,900,000 $32,900,000 $29,500,000 $27,500,000 $24,995,000 $27,950,000

$48,000,000 $45,000,000 $39,000,000 $38,000,000 $34,900,000 $29,995,000 $29,500,000 $29,500,000 $28,500,000 $27,950,000

20,000 18,359 9,419 10,754 10,155 17,055 19,530 14,200 9,209

Year Built 1923 2009 1973 2016 1952 2015 2005 2017 1930 2015

‘The number of sales is going up a little bit. We’ve seen a pop in the number of sales of new condominiums.’ Mike Pappas

destination. You need to present the property appropriately to the world.” Condo developers are taking advantage of interior designers and designer brand furniture packages accommodating ready-to-move-in buyers. “A lot of the condos come with furniture package so that people can go turnkey,” Ms. Romanello said. “The developers aligning themselves with interior designers putting it all together, make it look amazing and then of course the property sells better and the buyer gets what they want.” Realtors see a surge from certain international markets. A top producer for Avatar Real Estate, Josie Wang, says South Americans,

such as Brazilians, and Canadians continue to flock to Miami. Ms. Eber also sees plenty of Brazilians moving to the Magic City: “The Brazilians were out of the market for quite a while and now you see that they’re starting to come back, and I see Italians there as well and Canadians. It’s been healthy.” Elections in Mexico and Turkey motivate some natives to take leave, and despite the political turmoil as well as tanking economy Ms. Wang often sees Venezuelans moving to town. But domestic buyers from California and the Northeast are outpacing foreigners. Ms. Hertzberg said, “People from high-tax states always fueled

our market, but much more so now that we’re seeing the people from the Northeast, whether it’s Boston, California, Connecticut, the Hamptons and New York. The biggest deals have been done with American families that are from the Northeast corridor or from California.” Her buyers range from 30-somethings to 80-somethings in age and usually own their own business or work in finance. She said, “I think technology, computers, the Internet has allowed so many people to change. It used to be that the person who owned the company would have to physically go into their company, but now you can run a lot of businesses being in Miami.

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Original Price

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Year Built


17749 Collins AVE PH47 Sunny Isles Beach






19575 Collins Ave PH-43 Sunny Isles Beach






17901 Collins Ave. PH4907 Sunny Isles Beach






18501 Collins Ave Unit#PH01 Sunny Isles Beach






1123 Lincoln Road PH Miami Beach






16901 Collins Ave #5603 Sunny Isles Beach






19575 Collins Ave #3 Sunny Isles Beach






7001 Fisher Island Drive PH1 Fisher Island






17475 Collins Ave PH-3201 Sunny Isles Beach









10 2675 S Bayshore Drive PH-1 Miami

Technology has allowed a lot of businesses to be flexible.” Ms. Wang says the tax reform motivating many: “In the Northeast, you have city tax, state tax, federal tax. In comparison to Miami, we only have the [federal] income tax.” Mr. Shuffield says sellers pricing closer to what their property is worth also attracts buyers. He said, “The main reason we’re seeing this renewed activity is because our sellers have finally come to the realization that our inventory was growing and that we needed to reduce prices. The average single-family home this past year is sold for 79% for its original asking price. The average condo priced over $1 million sold for 82% of the original asking price. What we’re seeing is sale prices being discounted even 35% from the original asking price.” He says the majority of the top 50 properties with the highest price tags show sellers rarely budge in the beginning: “Very few of these sellers have reduced their prices. If they were to reduce their prices in line with what they will ultimately receive, they would sell their properties much faster.” And realtors say there is always room for negotiation. For example, Ms. Hertzberg says that this year the Jills sold high-end properties from $17 million to $20 million, with 15% selling lower than the original asking price. Mr. Pappas said, “It’s the pendulum of pricing that if the price is x and you’re 20% over x, then buyers will have to come in and offer 20% under x to try to balance you out.” Predictions for coming months are positive. Ms. Wang said, “We still have a lot of cash transaction on high end but the interest rates climbing up and also the tax reform certainly improve the market condition.”





Apartments, offices soon to rise in multi-block Gables plan By Katya Maruri

Although the Plaza Coral Gables, formerly known as the Mediterranean Village, is still in the process of permit reviews, Ramon Trias, the city’s planning and zoning director, says “we expect the north block of the mixed-use project to be completed soon as part of the first phase of the project,” which will include apartments and office space. The project, which is set to rise at 2801, 2901 and 3001 Ponce de Leon Blvd., just south of downtown Coral Gables, will stand

190 feet tall and have one level of retail along with a hotel component in the rear of the complex, creating an open pedestrian space in front of it, Mr. Trias previously told Miami Today. The development, he said, will also include a hotel with 220 rooms, along with 16,000 square feet of meeting space, a 10,000-square-foot casual restaurant, a 30,000-square-foot quality restaurant, and a gym and movie theater. The residential component, Mr. Trias said, will be comprised of 136 rental apartments and 15 townhouses. There will be

473,000 square feet of office space. As for parking, Agave Ponce, the developer, plans to keep a planned 2,408-space garage within the building, with parking to be shared (during different hours) by the commercial and the residential users. “The overall foundation of the project is built,” Mr. Trias said. “It’s such a large project that working in phases would be best, so that way things can be reviewed and then worked on from there.” As for the review and permitting process, he said, “the best way to describe this process is ongoing.”

However, he said, “permitting for the north parcel of the project is currently being reviewed and is expected to go through soon.” Delivery of the mixed-use project is anticipated for 2020 or 2021, according to the developer. Until then, Mr. Trias said, the main focus will be on getting all the phases of the development finished as soon as possible. “This is a very large project,” he said, “and it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get everything up and running.”

Adler team unveils plans at site of city-owned office tower By John Charles Robbins

The Adler company has quite an ambitious plan to transform the downtown riverfront in Miami, and is moving toward a major redevelopment of prime real estate on the Miami River. On Monday, Adler representatives shared information on a plan that could bring a new hotel to the river, along with about 37,000 square feet of retail stores, framed by three to four towers. The Adler team met with the Urban Infill and Greenways Subcommittee of the Miami River Commission, on its way to a July 9 meeting before the full river commission. The current goal is to get the Miami City Commission to approve a referendum on the fate of the city-owned property at 444 SW Second Ave. on the November ballot. The high-profile parcel is home to the city’s Miami Riverside Complex and adjacent to cityowned open green space with three boat slips. The city charter requires city voters to approve the lease or sale of city-owned waterfront property. This plan would involve the sale of the city’s property to Adler. The committee recommended the full river commission support proceeding to election, with conditions: the plan comply with code requirements for a 50-foot setback from the water and construction and maintenance of a public riverwalk; provide a view corridor; maintain existing boat access; and consider coastal flooding in design, using data from the city. A key component of the plan has Adler or one of its affiliates providing a new office complex for the City of Miami. The committee didn’t discuss this, as its main focus is on the riverfront. The city administrative complex is on choice land near downtown and Brickell, at Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest Third Street, directly across the river from a planned mixed-use development to be called Miami River. Across the site to the east, on the other side of Southwest Second Avenue, is a large electrical grid station of FPL. To the west and a bit north is a state-owned parking area (under I-95), connected to a planned mixed-use project called The Wharf. The site is also kitty corner to Jose Marti Park, across the river to the west.

Drawing positions the proposed towers for Adler project on the riverfront beside Second Avenue bridge.

While Adler representatives didn’t discuss the status of plans for a new city office complex, they did offer some new ideas in what they’re calling a conceptual plan. An earlier draft proposal for the riverfront land had Adler building Nexus Riverside Central, a large mixed-use project providing residential towers, a hotel, and retail and restaurants. A presentation Monday of the conceptual site plan included about 36,177 square feet of ground floor retail, 100 public parking spaces, and a landscaped public riverwalk. Architect Igor Reyes of Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates Inc. detailed the finer points of the planned development. Other parts include an 8,963-square-foot hotel lobby, facing the river; main parking levels to the north end of the property; about 35,145 square feet of amenity decks on three of the buildings, plus 13,087 square feet of office amenities on a planned office structure at the northwest corner of the site. Mr. Reyes said the design and look of the overall project is intended to be “less urban and more about the river.” As part of that goal, he explained site development that has open views of the river and public access to the water from several directions, and the lush landscaping and treatments to the public riverwalk the full extent of the site.

Mr. Reyes showed site plans that illustrated walkways and a center hub, providing more than 47,000 square feet of “public realm, open space.” The idea was to expand that riverwalk experience through much of the site, he said. “The ground floor is really dedicated to the public realm, creating an experience for the public,” Mr. Reyes said. He pointed to renderings showing a curved entry walkway with a central green space, open to the sky. There is also planned a water feature in this area, he said. The riverwalk ties into curved walkways that extend inland further, hugged by vegetation, seating, lights and more. Mr. Reyes showed design drawings of the planned second floor perch, which would be more private for residential tenants and hotel guests to enter and exit. It includes a centralized drop-off area that leads to a balcony. “You can look right out to the river,” he said. He said the planned façade of the towers includes scattering the size and depth of balconies, to avoid a straight wall. The recreational amenities decks include swimming pools. The design and placement of the towers was made with the goal of giving all residential units an openness, he said. “We wanted everyone to feel they live on the river,” he said. “We want all of the units to have some kind of fantastic view.”

Committee Chairman Jim Murley explained the limited focus of the committee and river commission at this stage of the project. He noted that if voters OK the sale, more detailed plans will come back for a more indepth review. He liked what he saw Monday. “The buildings are remarkable,” said Mr. Murley. The smaller city-owned site next door has three permitted boat slips. Discussion Monday explained that the city’s request for proposals was on both city lots, and the current Adler site plan does not include the three inlet slips, though the latest renderings do show boats tied up to the seawall. “We don’t like to lose public space on the river,” said Mr. Murley of river commission members. The reuse of the city’s riverfront property was first considered in 2015. The Urban Infill Subcommittee’s Sept. 23, 2015, meeting minutes read: “MRC Urban Infill Chairman Murley suggested the Miami River Commission recommend the City of Miami maintain ownership of 460 SW 2 Ave, or provide covenants and guarantees that any future owner will maintain its current use which serves as an undeveloped public park with a public Riverwalk and three valuable waterfront slips which could generate re-occurring revenue source to fund maintenance

of the public park and public Riverwalk. Chairman Murley suggested the MRC further recommend the City of Miami increase its riverfront public park space, do not lose riverfront public greenspace, and host a public planning process of how the reserved park space might be better integrated into the public Miami River Greenway.” At the Oct. 5, 2015, meeting of the full river commission, member Sallye Jude made a motion to recommend the city retain ownership of 460 SW 2 Ave, and maintain its use as a public park featuring the public riverwalk and three boat slips. The commission adopted the motion 8-2. This was brought up Monday but it was noted the city’s request for proposals was issued later, and included both city parcels. In early 2016, with the assistance of CBRE Inc., the city solicited proposals to relocate its administrative hub and subsequently dispose of the riverside facility. In December 2016, city commissioners conceptually approved the sale or long-term lease of the Riverside Center and development of a new city administration building. Commissioners authorized then city manager Daniel Alfonso to begin negotiations with Lancelot Miami River LLC (Adler). On June 8, 2017, city commissioners voted to hire Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman as special real estate counsel to work with the city attorney in those negotiations. Commissioners said the matter is so big and complicated they wanted an outside real estate expert to help the city get the best deal. The city’s riverside complex is more than 25 years old and “unable to fully and satisfactorily meet the city’s future operating and client service needs,” the request for proposals said. The goal is a new Class A space for city administrative offices within city limits that will “functionally, securely and conveniently serve the citizens of the City of Miami.” Adler proposed constructing a 375,000-square-foot office building for the city elsewhere, listing three possible locations: near the Lyric Theater in Overtown, next to Marlins ballpark in Little Havana, or as part of a mixed-use project on county land surrounding the Douglas Road Metrorail Station being built by an affiliate of Adler.





Development increasing on river’s banks near health district By Marcus Lim

The Miami River has seen a flurry of attempts to revitalize the area. The mixed-use River Landing under construction has spurred interest and activity seeking new opportunities along the corridor that had been historically neglected, and a transaction last month continues this trend. In a $26 million deal, Mast Capital bought 6.3 vacant acres in April. The site is to be developed into Miami River Walk, a total of 688 one-bedroom and twobedroom units as well as 2,900 square feet of retail. The site is at 1001 NW Seventh St., across the river from the Miami Health & Civic District. That plan has been two years in the making, according to brokers Gerard Yetming and Mika Mattingly of Colliers, and the 688 units won approval this year. Even though the property was listed back in 2014, it had less appeal then. But with the river undergoing revitalization with many projects underway, the area is a hot commodity and will cater to medical students in the Health District and young professionals. “The area wasn’t as ready for development back then, but now it is surrounded by even larger projects,” Mr. Yetming said. “The surrounding developments have helped the area and attracted institutional interest.” Mast Capital hopes for a groundbreaking this year. The

‘It is interesting to see the evolution into entertainment and residential use. We are seeing a lot of pulse on the river.’ Mika Mattingly The 8.14-acre River Landing is to have 508 apartments and 412,000 square feet of retail and office uses.

transaction came on the heels of the Miami River Commission approving the project in January. Ms. Mattingly points to recent activity showing that developers are recognizing the potential of the Miami River for urban development, including a $1 billion mixed-use project by the Chetrit Group and JDS Development Group, KAR Properties’ luxury condo project One River Point, and Andrew Hellinger’s $380 million mixed-use apartment and retail complex, River Landing. “The river four years ago was almost a blighted and deserted area except for one restaurant. Strangely enough, the area was

never capitalized on then,” Ms. Mattingly said. “It is interesting to see the evolution into entertainment and residential use. We are seeing a lot of pulse on the river.” Mr. Hellinger and the River Landing project have been credited by real estate experts and analysts for jump-starting the excitement and interest of the Miami River to be a new retail and dining destination. River Landing, at 1400 NW North River Drive, sits at the crossroads of I 95 and State Road 836. The project has 8.14 acres, 508 market-rate apartments and 412,000 square feet of commercial use for retail and office, with plans to open by the

fourth quarter of 2019. they will be across from the retail Now 70% pre-leased, Mr. stores in River Landing,” Mr. Hellinger hopes to fill the rest by Hellinger said. “There’s exciting mid-2019. Committed tenants things happening in this area in a include chains such as Publix, with mile or two-mile radius around the 40,000 square feet; T.J. Maxx; project, and the press that I read Burlington, is to will have two credits us with showing the way.” stories; and Chase. Chick-fil-A The multiple projects coming was reportedly in negotiations up on the Miami River provide but Mr. Hellinger did not wish to more options for Health District disclose the information. workers. Mr. Hellinger has said There are restaurants now in that his big goal was to change negotiation, a mixture of fast how the Health District as a casual to white tablecloth set- submarket in the city of Miami tings, but they are confidential is viewed from a retail and resiuntil leases are executed. Eating dential perspective. with a riverside view has been a “We are reshaping how the strong allure for some restaurants, Health District is viewed. It is not according to Mr. Hellinger. a place you go to unless its healthHe notes that more and more related. But soon it is [going to projects are coming up in the area be] a place where you can live, and are advertising themselves as work and enjoy the expansive part being near River Landing. of the river,” Mr. Hellinger said. “There are some other proper- “There will also be a whole new fermenting in the industry, and it ties that have gone up for sale retail shopping center ,so that’s a marketing themselves as being whole new group of jobs coming creates opportunities.” The woes of retail have not near River Landing. Some condos into an area that has been forgotten discouraged developers, eager to point out to potential buyers that by the city.” build new retail space in Miami knowing there will be a profit, primarily in areas with a live, work, play environment. Malls, Estimated Completion Fall-2018 which have nationally seen merous closings, are experiencing a renaissance in Miami, with MIAMI LAKES BUSINESS PARK WEST more service-based options and 8190 COMMERCE WAY new varieties. The new American Dream MiFreestanding Industrial Building: 23,710 SF ami megamall, for example, is to • 10% Office Build-Out • ESFR Fire Sprinkler System have unique outdoor and indoor • 10 Dock High Doors • Twin Tee Roof amenities such as an indoor ski • 1 Ramp • T5 Lighting slope. Sawgrass Mills recently • 28’ Clear Ceiling Height • 50 Parking Spaces completed a 60,000-square-foot expansion. Aventura Mall built a 93-foot-tall slide. Mr. Kozolchyk said that the variety of offerings appeals to many and is keeping South Florida malls strong. Even with the rise of ecommerce threatening traditional retail, Mr. Romero said that online shopping cannot recreate the experience of shopping in Miami. Apart from the unique amenities that malls have, Vibrant and substantial business community shopping in live, work, play areas has a strong allure. Proximity to several major expressways, with immediate “Some just don’t want to shop, access to I-75, the Gratigny, and Palmetto Expressway they want an adventure, they want a community where they can enjoy Access to a large multilingual workforce time with family and friends. That experience can’t be done online,” Abundance of affordable housing Mr. Romero said. “You can order anything online, but it takes a city Located in a carefully planned community with overall to make an effort into creating beauty and convenience something where people can take advantage of the infrastructure For leasing information, please contact: developers have created. And it Steve Style, VP of Marketing doesn’t hurt that we have great 305.817.4025 weather.”

Retail sinks nationally but rises here By Marcus Lim

The retail market in MiamiDade County is looking healthier than ever and continues to flourish with decreasing vacancy rates, increasing rental rates and a high demand for retail space, plus a shift toward building mixed-use projects that have already seen success and popularity in a time where retail is doing poorly nationally. A quarterly report on the county’s retail sector by Collier show that overall vacancy rates have hovered around 3% since 2015, with the end of the first quarter sitting at 3.8%. This was an increase from the fourth quarter of 2017 by 0.2 percentage points. Analysts project that the trend will stay the same by the second quarter’s end. There was 431,906 square feet of retail space delivered in the first quarter, and 2 million square feet is under construction. The report stated that the strength of the market was demonstrated through the 232,303 square feet of space absorbed. Boris Kozolchyk, Collier’s executive vice president of retail services, said that overall, retail is strong in Miami-Dade, with rental rates averaging around $39.59 per square foot, a 15% rise in rates year-over-year. Because of the demand, landlords are increasing rates due to the active market, he said, and he expects the rates to increase by the end of the year. “The fact is, retail is healthy in

Dade County, no question about it. It has been healthy for a long time,” he said. “Dade County specifically has the extreme combination of a very healthy economy, construction has been good and tourism has been good and growing every year. Those phases have supported the growth.” Miami leads in most statistical categories in Florida, according to a CoStar report. The second highest rental rates in Florida was Fort Lauderdale’s $24.47. When compared with the nation’s index of $20.66 per square foot, Miami’s rental rate is 81% higher. “Miami-Dade County is a place to be a retail center,” said Rafael Romero, vice president of CREC retail division. “The county will continue to be a leader nationally in terms of sales per square foot for existing tenant and serve as a platform for tenants to grow even beyond Florida.” Despite retail not doing as well nationally, where the “retail apocalypse” is forcing 12,000 stores to close, Miami has been unaffected and instead is using it to thrive, according to Mr. Kozolchyk. The closings of national stores, such as Toys’R’Us, creates opportunities for new concepts, he said, which strengthens the market. “All of this creates new opportunities, malls are experimenting with new concepts and this helps retail revitalizes itself. We may not recognize what we need in retail today, but some entrepreneurs recognize it and can only take the chance when others close,” he said. “There is a lot of activity and

New Construction in Miami Lakes




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Miami Today: Week of Thursday, June 14, 2018  

Special section on Commercial, Office & Residential Real Estate. Just a preview of some of our top stories this week. Includes editorial pag...

Miami Today: Week of Thursday, June 14, 2018  

Special section on Commercial, Office & Residential Real Estate. Just a preview of some of our top stories this week. Includes editorial pag...