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Multiple National Franchise Brands Plan Florida Expansion

Franchises are flourishing in Florida — and 2021 could be an even bigger expansion year for several national entities in the state and region.

The list of franchisors targeting the Sunshine State ranges from upstart restaurant chains to a swimming lesson provider to a flooring company. Yet the projected growth comes at a contradictory time. In February, right before COVID-19, Florida ranked No. 2 nationally in franchise economic output growth, according to a survey from the International Franchise Association. Florida’s franchise-based businesses produced an economic output of $63.5 billion in fiscal 2020, up 5.3% from $60.2 billion in 2019, second in growth rate behind Texas.

But the eight months since haven’t been pretty for franchises, at least on a national scale. Through August, for example, an estimated 32,700 franchised businesses have closed, the IFA reports in a new survey, and nearly one-third, 10,875, are closed permanently. Some 1.4 million jobs have been lost from March through August, with about 40%, 544,000, of those permanent. Another troubling stat: from March through August, franchised businesses’ average unit sales dropped an estimated 19.3%, or a total sales reduction of $185.3 billion.

Pandemic aside, executives with four franchised-based companies looking for Florida locations, in recent interviews, all point to the state’s growing population trends as the core reason for coming to town. And not only more people, but people with thicker wallets.

“We see a tremendous amount of middle to middle-upper class growth on the West Coast of Florida,” Footprints Floors Development Director Brian Knuth says.

The company, which specializes in installing hardwood floors, carpet, tile floors, backsplashes and laminates, has some 50 locations nationally, including one in Orlando. With more people working from home and doing home-based projects, Knuth says the company, based outside Denver, is as busy as ever and has seven available territories spread from Tampa to Naples.

An average investment range is between $68,130-$95,580 for a single territory, according to the firm’s franchise documents.

“It’s a lean opportunity for a investor to come in and run with it,” Knuth adds.

Three other franchise businesses with significant Florida growth plans include:

• Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes: The Plano, Texas-based company has a hand in two fast-growing restaurant segments: fast-casual and what’s being called the “better burger” concept, where the focus is on fresh, never-frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef for the flagship product. Mooyah was founded in 2007 and has nearly 90 units, including three in the Orlando area and one in Miami. It’s looking to open at least 30 locations in Florida in the next year or so, projecting to hire about 600 employees.

Mooyah President Tony Darden says the company is “real bullish” on connecting the Orlando locations to Polk County and then Tampa, Sarasota-Bradenton and Southwest Florida.

“We think we can get 10 to 15 locations in that area,” Darden says. “We feel like that’s the logical next step for us.”

In general, the company seeks markets with growing annual wages that have about 100,000 people within 3 miles of the location, in what Darden calls suburban and light urban. The average investment in a Mooyah franchise location is $403,750 to $639,100, franchise documents show, with the top 25% of annual unit sales $1.26 million. There’s also a $40,000 franchise fee.

Earlier this year, prior to the pandemic, Mooyah introduced a smaller and renovated store model that includes third-party delivery and to-go shelving — a move that now looks prescient. The new prototype includes a closed kitchen and new dining zones and seating arrangements. The company also continues to respond quickly to safety protocols and rapidly shifting customer demands, Darden says.

“We are leveraging what the pandemic has taught us,” he says, “which is you have to be nimble and you have to come to where the customers are.”

• Big Blue Swim School: Backed by private equity firm Level 5 Capital Partners, the swim lessons company wants to make a big splash, going from six locations now to 150 by the end of 2021. Up to 20 of those new locations, all indoor pool facilities, could be in Florida. Specific areas in Florida the company is looking at include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Naples and Fort Myers.

With real estate, build out, supplies and maintenance and other costs, the investment for a Big Blue franchise — from $1.82 million to $3.68 million — is large. After five years, the annual EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization) target is nearly $800,000, or 35.5% of the investment, the company says in franchise documents.

Competitive swimmer Chris DeJong, who missed a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team after Michael Phelps beat him by three-tenths of a second in a qualifying race, founded Big Blue Swim. He says the model works well for both socially distanced activities and in combating the rise of e-commerce.

“The fact that swimming lessons cannot be outsourced or automated and is recession-resistant works in our favor,” DeJong says. “As long as there are kids and families, there will be a need for people to swim, especially in a state like Florida.”

Famous Toastery: The Charlotte-based breakfast-lunch-brunch chain is hot on Florida — even with the state being home to the brand that’s been at the forefront of the sector’s surge, Manatee County-based First Watch.

“First Watch knows how to make breakfast work,” Famous Toastery CEO Robert Maynard says. “They have it down. But we think there’s room for others. There’s so much more space for what we do.”

Maynard says Florida markets the company is initially looking at include Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Deerfield Beach. The company so far has 26 locations, in the North Carolina-South Carolina-Virginia region. Like the early days of First Watch, Famous Toastery has grown slow-and-steady since it was founded in 2005. Back then Maynard opened the first location in Huntersville, N.C. with a childhood friend and business partner, Brian Burchill. They opened their first franchise location in 2013; by 2019 it was ranked No. 9 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Food Franchises of the year in the full-service restaurant category.

Based partially on being picky about its franchisees, Maynard says the company’s growth strategy remains deliberate. But that could accelerate in Florida next year. It plans to open 10-12 locations statewide, in addition to expanding to other locations outside Florida. The initial investment for a Famous Toastery location ranges from $600,500 to $1.03 million, including a $45,000 franchise fee.

“We have been talking to a lot of people in the state,” Maynard says. “We think there’s going to be a restaurant explosion [in Florida], and we see an enormous amount of opportunity.”


Source:  Business Observer

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Don’t Count Out Commercial Real Estate, Especially Near The Urban Core

Commercial real estate investors should look no further than the urban cores of Little Havana, The Roads, Little River and Coconut Grove. It’s the right time to invest, says Bill Kerdyk Jr., despite the pandemic causing some retailers and restaurants to close.

Kerdyk leads the Coral Gables-based, family-owned Kerdyk Real Estate, which first opened in 1926. Kerdyk bought the real estate investment and property management firm in 1991 from his uncle. The company leases and manages commercial real estate and sells residential real estate across Miami. While managing the family business, Kerdyk. served as a commissioner for the City of Coral Gables for 20 years, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle.

RE|source Miami checked in to get his view of the current commercial market.

Q: How is the pandemic changing how commercial real estate investors reevaluate their portfolio?

Kerdyk: Rent collection is the new metric for real estate during the pandemic and real estate investors are keenly aware of the impact on their net operating income. Declining collections and leasing spreads, characterized by lower leasing rates and additional landlord concessions, are forcing investors to re-evaluate their options and make tough decisions moving forward. Much of the retail, shopping centers, hospitality and entertainment venues are under pressure — forcing investors to make decisions whether to re-purpose and re-lease their properties, refinance, sell, or in some cases, return the properties to lenders.

Q: You sold your property 147 Alhambra Circle for $5.275 million in late September after acquiring it for $1.2 million in 2002. Where are you reinvesting that capital?

Kerdyk: The Alhambra building was sold based primarily on the premium offered for the property and because of reinvestment opportunities that will arise in the South Florida market to better deploy the capital. As an investor, I am in the process of identifying suitable properties that meet my investment criteria. I seek value-added properties that have upside income generation potential, upon releasing or repositioning of the asset. I look for assets in a stable and improving market that will provide for long- term appreciation that meet or exceed my minimum Return on Investment criteria.

Many other investors are certainly seeking to sell and reinvest the proceeds in more stable sectors but demand for real estate in the South Florida commercial market remains strong, and there are challenges to reinvesting the proceeds in this competitive environment.

Q: What type of real estate do you expect to go under foreclosure? Retail? Office? Hospitality spaces? Which of these assets are expected to get scooped up by investors and why?

Kerdyk: The pandemic has expedited the existing division already underway between essential and non-essential real estate sectors in our economy. While single-family housing remains a leader of the economic recovery here in South Florida, the best- performing commercial sectors include industrial, multifamily and healthcare, which remain very attractive in the current environment — and more so in this low interest rate environment which is expected to continue for some time.

Struggling sectors include retail, hospitality and entertainment venues, and to a lesser extent office product. These are some sectors where opportunities may exist for savvy investors with a plan to purchase and re-purpose the property. Demand for South Florida real estate remains high, despite the uncertainty related to the pandemic.

Q: What South Florida neighborhoods offer the best opportunity for commercial real estate?

Kerdyk: There are opportunities throughout South Florida in the commercial and housing segments. For commercial investing, in general, those submarkets in close proximity to the urban cores of Little Havana, The Roads, Little River and Coconut Grove remain in high demand. This demand is expected to continue post pandemic, despite the recent trend to flee these dense residential areas for more open space during the pandemic.

It is no coincidence that some of the best commercial corridors for investment are located close in to an affluent residential base or in close proximity to areas experiencing rapid growth of multifamily units. For example, mixed-use, walkable and sustainable urban developments, with significant growth in multifamily units, are currently transforming the Coral Gables Merrick Park area. The same thing is happening in Coconut Grove, along the U.S. 1 corridor and throughout Miami.

The best deals in real estate are those that meet the investor’s investment parameters for risk, investment timeline, capital available to invest, and a variety of other considerations. That’s really how you define what’s appropriate for each investor. Some investors seek income, others capital appreciation or a combination thereof, while another investor may seek capital preservation.

Q: What type of real estate in South Florida will likely have the best return for investors in the next 10 years and why?

Kerdyk: I expect trends related to sector bifurcation to continue after the pandemic and believe that housing, industrial, multifamily and healthcare will continue to provide some of the best opportunities, in part due to continuing product demand for these types of assets. I see high-end prime retail and entertainment venues stabilizing and making a comeback as early as next year. I expect lesser retail venues to continue to be under pressure until the retail space is repurposed to a variety of service retail uses.

Overall, I believe impressive demographics, especially net inflows to the South Florida region, to have a continuing favorable impact on valuations. The fact that Florida has no state income tax, and a scarcity of available land for building, also provide a solid base for real estate investment growth in South Florida.


Source:  Miami Herald

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Developer Proposes Apartment, Office Buildings Near Aventura

Three full blocks just west of Aventura could be developed into a trio of mixed-use buildings.

West Aventura Developers LLC and West Aventura Exchange LLC, both managed by Marina Kessler and Gustavo Lumer in Sunny Isles Beach, filed a pre-application with Miami-Dade County officials for the 7.9-acre site at 2375 N.E. 186th St. The property runs from Northeast 23rd Court to Northeast 24th Place and from Northeast 187th Street to Northeast 186th Street. It currently has some single-family homes, but it’s mostly vacant.

It’s located just north of Greynolds Park, on the south side of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center.

The property is in the Ojus Urban Area, an area west of Aventura that the county rezoned to allow mixed-use development and more density. This has attracted a flurry of development.

The westernmost block of project would have an eight-story building with 378 apartments, 31,375 square feet of retail, and 585 parking spaces. There would be a rooftop pool deck.

The central block would have a 12-story building with 114,385 square feet of leasable office space; 16,715 square feet of retail, including a café on the ground floor; and 552 parking spaces. There would be a rooftop amenity deck with planters.

Finally, the easternmost block would have an eight-story building with 247 apartments, 19,160 square feet of retail, and 386 parking spaces. It would also have a rooftop pool.

Both apartment buildings were designed by Corwil Architects. Arquitectonica designed the office building.

Miami attorney Greg Fontela, who represents West Aventura Developers in the application, couldn’t be reached for comment. Developers file pre-applications to receive feedback from county officials before submitting official applications.


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The Gateway At Wynwood Office Building Tops Off

New York-based R&B Realty Group has topped off The Gateway at Wynwood, one of the first Class A office buildings of this scale to rise in this robust neighborhood, and Miami’s newest office market.

The general contractor Plaza Construction poured the roof of the 13-story building in November, ahead of schedule. The building will be completed in the second half of 2021.

The Gateway at Wynwood, located on the border of the iconic Wynwood and Midtown neighborhoods, will offer about 195,000 square feet of leasable Class A office space and nearly 25,900 square feet of prime street-level retail space. Designed by renowned architect Kobi Karp, the environmentally-responsible, 460,000-square-foot building boasts flexible floorplans, a private rooftop terrace, floor-to-ceiling windows, 24/7 on-site security, and 2:1,000 on-site covered parking.

“This is one of the most important moments in the construction of a commercial project, especially as we are ahead of schedule amidst the pandemic,” said Shelby Rosenberg, Principal of R&B Realty Group. “We are excited to see The Gateway at Wynwood is a step closer to reality. Our project will contribute to the transformation of Wynwood into a 15-minute city, where people can access their office, home, the grocery store, restaurants, and more within a 15 minute walk. We want to thank the city, the area’s stakeholders, our construction and design team, and all our partners for trusting us and helping The Gateway at Wynwood reach this important milestone.”

“Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has posed across our industry, we are proud to have been able to reach this milestone on time and without incident,” said Brad Meltzer, president of Plaza Construction. ” We prioritized the health and safety of all stakeholders with great success, and we look forward to continuing to deliver exemplary construction services to the South Florida market and beyond.”

R&B Realty’s vision for Wynwood has helped fuel a new office submarket in Miami, creating competition for more established office markets such as downtown Miami, Brickell, Aventura and Coral Gables. Already, several big-name companies have made Wynwood their home, including Spotify, Live Nation and WeWork. Other companies looking at the area include Apple Music, Google, Dentsu and other creative marketing agencies.

“We are actively engaged with prospective tenants that are attracted to Wynwood because of its ‘live, work, play’ environment,” said Stephen Rutchik, Colliers International Florida’s Executive Managing Director | Office Services, who handles office leasing for The Gateway at Wynwood. “This area has become a mecca for art, food, and entertainment just north of downtown Miami. While a few companies are hesitant to sign new leases just now, they do know exactly where they want to be … and that is Wynwood. We expect many of the deals in the pipeline for The Gateway at Wynwood will come to fruition as we get closer to completing the building later next year.”

The Gateway at Wynwood is located minutes away from downtown Miami, Aventura and Miami Beach as well as Brightline’s Miami Central, Miami International Airport and PortMiami – the cruise capital of the world. Strategically located near Interstate 95, The Gateway at Wynwood can be easily accessed from Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach to the north. The Gateway at Wynwood is also bordered by the Wynwood Arts District, Midtown Miami, Edgewater and the Miami Design District, which are among South Florida’s fastest-growing residential and commercial destinations.

“There are many unique characteristics of the building that will offer a great flair to the neighborhood,” added Taras Diakiwski, Managing Principal of Modern Building Group, the Project’s Construction Manager and Owner’s Representative. “The entire team looks forward to continuing to push the schedule to an on time or early completion while building safely and ensuring the highest level of quality.”

While the area has seen significant change over the past five years, the next five years will bring even greater change as new construction is underway that will aid in Wynwood’s evolution. In the next few years, the total supply of buildings in the Wynwood area is projected to increase by 35% to around 5.3 million square feet, based on projects under construction and in the planning stages.

With the continued growth of the multifamily market, there will be an increased demand for office space. The full-time population in Wynwood will increase by 1,206 persons based on delivery of 464 units under a market average of 2.6 persons per household. At the same time, the population in the nearby greater downtown Miami area has grown significantly in recent years. Greater Downtown’s population was 92,235 people in 2018, and the Downtown Development Authority estimates the population has increased by nearly 3,700 people since 2016, about 4% growth in two years. This equates to over 1,500 people moving to Downtown a year. That’s important because people, especially decision-makers, like their offices to be close to their homes. Wynwood is the perfect office submarket for them to move their offices to. There is a direct correlation between the area’s population’s growth and the rise of Wynwood as an office submarket.

Colliers International’s Stephen Rutchik and Tom Farmer are handling office leasing for the project, and CBRE’s Alex Cesar and Drew Schaul are handling retail leasing.


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A Government-Owned Lot Near Wynwood Is Up For Grabs. These Five Developers Want it.

Miami-Dade wants a library and county offices in Wynwood Norte — and is putting its land into the deal. Five local developers now are vying for the action.

Three adjacent county-owned parcels in the city of Miami, at the northwest corner of Northwest 29th Street and Northwest Second Avenue, just across the street from Midtown Miami, are up for bid as part of the Request for Proposal issues in July by the Miami-Dade Strategic Procurement Division, according to the county solicitation page on BidSync. The deal comes with a 50-year lease and the potential for two 20-year renewals.

Under the RFP, the developer must incorporate a total of 10,000 square feet for a public library and office space for county officials on the site, currently home to the De Hostos Senior Center. The site covers almost an acre.

In the running: New Urban Development, Integra, Related Urban Group, Buslam and the South Florida Community Land Trust. All submitted proposals by the early November deadline. The county will select the firm by January 2021.

Only Integra agreed to comment for this article.

The firm envisions a $50 million mixed-use development on the site, said Jake Morrow, head of Integra Investments’ Interurban. The 12-story, 265,000-square-foot project would include 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, a second floor with a 5,000-square-foot library and 5,000 square feet of county office space. The tower would feature 160 affordable housing units for seniors and income-limited workforce housing apartments.

Integra partnered with the Sunrise-headquartered Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation, or EHDOC, on the proposal. The two firms also are co-developing an affordable housing community for seniors in Allapattah.

In recent years, developers have zoomed in on the Wynwood area, with a flurry of office, residential and mixed-use projects, including 545 Wyn, Wynwood Green and Wynwood Square. In October, Miami commissioners approved a neighborhood-led development plan for Wynwood Norte and a new streetscape plan for Wynwood.


Source:  Miami Herald

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Miami’s Design District Is Expanding West

The western edge of Miami’s ritzy Design District is being turned inside out — literally — to create a new wing for the luxury shopping and design neighborhood.

The Market at Miami Design District, a joint venture between the New York-based Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance and the Miami retail leasing and development firm The Comras Company of Florida, will take 16 existing commercial properties spanning nearly a full city block and convert them into an open-air marketplace, with paseos and corridors carved out of the existing structures and storefronts on multiple sides of the buildings to give the area the feel of a village.

“The idea is to do something a little more elevated than Wynwood, but not with the luxury vibe of the Design District,” said Michael Comras, president and CEO of The Comras Company, who is overseeing the leasing and redesign of the area. “I want to create something between those two and maybe attract people from Midtown.”

Comras said the first phase of development will consist of adaptive reuse and reconverting the vacant buildings for multiple purposes — food and beverage, showrooms, office spaces and pop-ups — with an emphasis on home furnishings. The new landscaping, lighting and conversion of existing buildings is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

“We want to create an identity over the next 3 to 5 years and attract people to the District,” he said.

The long-term master plan for the project could include as much as 600,000 square feet of residential, hotel and commercial. The project is also located inside an Opportunity Zone, which offers investors deferred taxes on their capital gains. A final budget for the entire development is not yet available.

Comras said the first tenants will get the sweetest deals — between $60-$80 per square foot in rent, considerably lower than the District’s current rate of $125-$150 per square foot.

“The new owners and I talk regularly,” said Craig Robins, CEO and president of Dacra development, which owns 900,000 square feet of land and one million square feet of buildings in the open-air Design District, along with rights to add another two million square feet. “They couldn’t have better timing, since our leasing post-pandemic has been more robust than any time in the last five years. I’m sure they’re going to be successful and it will be great for the District to have those properties activated.”

The Design District spans 18 square city blocks north of downtown Miami, from Northeast 38th to 42nd Streets between N.orth Miami Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. The shopping haven is home to 211 luxury shops and boutiques and is famed for its upscale tenants — Gucci, Prada, Louis Vitton — and its architecture, including the 13,000-square-foot three-story flagship store for the French luxury fashion retailer Hermès. The District is also home to restaurants, ice cream parlors and two art museums.

The Market at Miami Design District stretches from Northeast 39th Street to Northeast 41st Street, between North Miami Avenue and Northeast First Avenue, nestled between the two existing Museum Garage and Parkview Garage parking garages. The Market already houses the home furnishings and decor store Nisi B Home and the German Kitchen Center, creator of customized kitchens of European design.

“I think what Michael is doing is so smart,” said Nisi Berryman, who opened Nisi B Home, located at 39 NE 39th St., at the southern edge of The Market 16 years ago. “He has a vision about this and it will enhance the appeal of the Design District. I’ve been waiting for five years for the former owners to say ‘This is your last month’ because they had a different plan with a big building. I just hung in here. But it’s been terrible because all the other buildings were left vacant since they wanted to proceed with their residential project.”

The assemblage of buildings that will comprise The Market was originally put together by the New York-based RedSky Capital and JZ Capital Partners firms at a total cost of $395 million in 2015. They leveraged the properties for a $220 million loan from Apollo Real Estate Financing in 2016, according to The Real Deal. Various projects were considered, including one large mixed-use development that would have included residential, office and retail.

But after defaulting on a loan for a project in Brooklyn, RedSky was forced to liquidate its assets. Apollo assumed ownership of the properties in April and brought on Comras, whose experience in retail includes large projects on Lincoln Road and the ongoing redevelopment of Sunset Place in South Miami, to conceptualize and lease out The Market.

The Market is expected to be a three- to five- year interim project before the final plan for the neighborhood is begun. But experts say the development ticks off all the boxes for the ongoing reinvention of retail around the country: Go smaller, pay less overhead and specialize.

“When you look at the Design District, you see a lot of downsized stores and ground-floor showroom boutiques,” said Zach Winkler, South Florida senior vice president retail lead for the commercial real estate firm JLL. “Back-channel logistics have gotten so much better that a retailer can have a smaller stock of their product onsite in the back of the store and replenish it quickly and easily.

“The great thing about the Design District is that it casts a much greater shadow than other neighborhoods do,” Winkler said. You have people from Coconut Grove and Brickell going there for a night out with friends. It draws tourists and day trippers. Because North Miami Avenue really is the western edge of the District — everything beyond that is residential — The Market will be as walkable as the rest of the District, which bodes well for its sustainability.”


Source:  Miami Herald

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Miami Beach Seeks To End Tourism Economic Dependence

Miami Beach is a world-renowned tourist destination, but commissioners are hoping to shift the city’s economy away from dependence on this singular industry.

Covid, Hurricane Irma and the Zika virus are just some events within the past 15 years that have put a damper on visitation dollars, Commissioner Mark Samuelian said at a meeting Friday, and the city needs to find a way to diversify revenue streams.

In October’s Finance and Economic Resiliency Committee meeting, city staff presented an outline detailing multiple channels Miami Beach could explore as a means of generating economic stability outside of the tourism industry. In addition to strengthening new revenue streams, commissioners said, the city should also look to diversify its pull within the tourism industry by promoting arts, culture and daytime activation in addition to the famous nightlife.

John Woodruff, Miami Beach’s chief financial officer, explained to commissioners Friday that staff had sorted the possible revenue streams into multiple “buckets” to make discussion easier. Ideas explored, a commission memo said, included identifying new revenue streams, recruiting new businesses, transforming one-time funds into recurring revenue, increasing reserves and reducing costs.

In July, Mr. Woodruff told commissioners, the city approved a deal with Spectra Partnerships that would allow the company to manage sponsorship and naming rights for the city, including finding a sponsor for the Miami Beach Convention Center, hopefully generating another source of income. 

Business recruitment, he said, would also be vital and will be bolstered by Miami Beach’s efforts to incentivize Class A office space. A proposed amendment still being reviewed by the commission and planning board, Miami Today previously reported, would allow the development of buildings up to 75 feet high in areas of Sunset Harbor, Alton Road and Terminal Island, which would give developers enough floor-to-ceiling space to achieve the high ceilings that are in demand for Class A space.

Increasing reserves and insuring tourism revenue, Mr. Woodruff said, were also options staff considered. The city ultimately decided on a form of self-insurance for tourism revenue, he said, but a 2019 policy led to the generation of more reserve funds that ultimately helped the city through the Covid crisis.

“The Resort Tax Fund reserve policy,” the memo explained, “was increased from a goal of 3 months (2 month requirement) to a goal of 6 months (required amount would begin with 2 months and increase over time as a moving floor until it reaches 6 months). The Resort Tax Fund reserve at the beginning of FY 2020 was $15.2 million or 3 months.”

Commissioners asked Mr. Woodruff and staff to provide a more detailed memo in time for the committee’s next meeting Nov. 13, with the intent of continuing the discussion on reducing the city’s dependency on tourism.

Commissioner Ricky Arriola said Miami Beach should look at diversifying revenue within the tourism industry as well as outside of it. 

“How do we attract a different type of tourist?” he asked. Throughout the year, he continued, a goal should be to attract business people and families in addition to visitors looking for nightlife.

Mr. Samuelian added that in a new work-from-home world, Miami Beach could leverage its appeal as the ultimate destination to telecommute and work with hotels to promote this image. 

However, he said, the focus on driving business in Miami Beach couldn’t just be about tourism. 

“We’re always going to have the conversation around tourism and hospitality because that’s who we are,” he said. But city officials, he added, have to be intentional about focusing on and creating quantitative goals around other areas of the economy as well.


Source:  Miami Today

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Construction Progresses On Miami’s Deepest, Most Expensive Underground Parking Garage

The three-level subterranean basement will become the deepest, most expensive underground parking garage ever built in Miami. The vertical construction of the 47-story luxury tower is slated for 2021, to be completed in 2023.

Construction is progressing on what will become Miami’s deepest, most expensive underground parking garage. Reaching nearly 50 feet and three stories below sea level, the 100,000-square-foot, 236-car garage for Miami’s Una Residences condominium will cost the developers $25 million to build. The first-of-its-kind subterranean parking garage, set on the edge of the Biscayne Bay waterfront, will become a key element of the 47-story luxury residential tower upon its completion in 2023.

Developers OKO Group, the luxury development group helmed by real estate mogul Vladislav Doronin, and Cain International have enlisted world-renowned architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS+GG) to design Una Residences. The 579-foot-tall tower was envisioned to embody the spirit of the city and the aesthetics of the Brickell neighborhood’s urban, waterfront environment.

OKO Group is an international real-estate development firm established by Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin.

OKO Group’s current U.S. portfolio of prime properties and development projects include two luxury residential developments in Miami; Missoni Baia in East Edgewater and Una Residences on the Brickell Waterfront; and in New York City at the crossroads of 5th Avenue and 57th Street, the Crown Building which will soon become Aman New York.

Hiding Underground

This open waterfront concept could only be realized by ‘hiding’ the parking garage underground – a challenging and costly approach that contrasts sharply with typical condominium developments in South Florida, which tend to feature a pool deck situated high atop several levels of parking. To create the underground structure, the development, design, and building teams worked closely together to determine the best method for subterranean construction in such close proximity to the bay.

“OKO Group has extensive experience with subterranean construction, with our firm’s Capital City mixed-use development in Moscow encompassing a six-level garage for over 2,000 vehicles built 72 feet deep underground adjacent to the Moscow River,” said Ahmet Oktay Cini, Chief Operating Officer of OKO Group. “When conceptualizing the design for Una Residences in Miami, we envisioned a similar urban-style, efficient tower that would maximize as much space as possible for the use of residents and showcase the site’s waterfront views. The result was a modern condo tower without a parking podium, meaning more square footage for luxury amenities and residences.”

In order to build a garage that doesn’t flood, the building’s general contractor, a joint venture between Civic Construction and Ant Yapi U.S., along with specialty subcontractor Keller International, set out to create a massive watertight concrete box deep underground. Using highly advanced technology and equipment, the complicated undertaking requires workers to drill 800 holes 50 feet deep into the ground and fill them with concrete and water. The interlocking pillars create a cement block that is hollowed out to build the garage.

Project Estimates

  • 130-150 workers will be employed daily
  • 50,520 cubic yards of concrete will be placed
  • 8,960 tons of rebar will be used
  • 1,693 tons of structural steel

Following the building’s groundbreaking earlier this year, the construction team embarked on the deep-soil-mixing construction process to create a giant waterproof ‘bathtub’ that protects the building’s concrete mat above the tub from the groundwater and forms the base of the garage. Engineers are now using a state-of-the-art, 10-foot high-torque drill to create the bathtub by digging into the site’s crushed limestone, while simultaneously injecting cement slurry into the ground and blending it with the limestone rock and sand. This process changes the composition of the soil, creating a support system for the bathtub’s walls and floor while ultimately reducing waterflow and permeability to allow for excavation of the site.

Once the soil mixing process and tub is complete in early 2021, the construction team will begin drilling piles 135 feet deep into the ground to support the tower, and to hold down the floor of the tub during construction. The loose-mix soil inside of the tub will then be mass excavated – a three-month-long process – to reveal the new, waterproof underground form. Once the site is excavated, the building’s steel mat foundation will then be constructed followed by a massive concrete foundation pour. Once the three levels of vertical columns are completed in the underground basement, ground-level vertical construction will then commence, estimated to take place in late 2021. From there, the tower’s rise will move at a fairly quick pace, accelerating approximately one level a week through top off of the 47th floor in late 2022.

The Bottom Line

“A below-ground garage of this caliber costs triple the amount of a typical parking garage. This kind of major investment in underground construction has never been seen before in Miami,” said William Real, President of Civic Construction Company. “The developers of Una Residences are sparing no expense when it comes to top-notch construction quality and efficient design, which will ultimately deliver a superior product for residents.”

Slated for completion in 2023, Una Residences will be comprised of 135 spacious condominiums spanning 47 floors. Residences range from two-to-five bedrooms, measuring between 1,100 to 4,786 square feet in size, with two ultra-exclusive penthouses available. The tower’s secluded waterfront location, situated in the South Brickell area at 175 SE 25th Road, is only moments away from downtown Miami’s metropolitan city life. Residences are priced from $2 million to $7.4 million, with penthouses up to $21.6 million.


Source:  FCP

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$58M Affordable Housing Development For Seniors Underway In Trendy Allapattah

Seniors seeking affordable housing near art, barbecue and the Health District can soon look to Miami’s up-and-coming Allapattah neighborhood.

The Downtown Miami-based Interurban, a branch of Integra Investments, and the Sunrise-headquarterd property management company Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation, or EHDOC, are developing Mosaico, an affordable housing community for seniors.

The 13-story, 290,000-square-foot building will have 271 units, 92 studios and 179 one-bedroom, one-bath units. Amenities include a gym, computer lab, library, laundry room, and rooftop garden.

Mosaico will sit on 1.2 acres at 1396 NW 36th St., two blocks from the Allapattah Metrorail Station north of the University of Miami School of Medicine, Jackson Health and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute — and a short walk to the Rubell Museum, the soon-to-open Superblue art space and Hometown Barbecue in the emerging Allapattah neighborhood. Construction began in September and is expected for completion by late 2021.

“Miami is one of the most significantly rent-burdened markets in the country,” said Jake Morrow, head of Integra Investments’ Interurban. “The pandemic has exacerbated the dire need for affordable housing, especially for the area’s elderly population whose income far too often consists of only Social Security income.

“To serve the community’s needs, Interurban is committed to providing high-quality housing at affordable rents,” he said. “The pandemic has heightened the need for affordable housing. I think that we can see upward pressure on market rents due to an influx of residents from northern cities.”

EHDOC did not immediately respond.

The firms are using low income housing taxing credits syndicated by Boston Capital and tax-exempt bond construction financing from the Housing Financing Authority of Miami-Dade County, which are underwritten and administered by R4 Capital, for the $58 million project.

Interurban and EHDOC hired the architect firm C.C. Hodgson Architectural Group to design the project.

The firms expect to rent the 450-square-foot studios to single seniors and 580-square-foot one-bedroom units to couples. All units are reserved for households with average incomes at or below 60% of the area median income, which is $59,100. In other words, prospective residents cannot earn more than $38,400 per year to qualify.

Residents would spend 30% of their income on rent and would need a Section 8 voucher, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Seniors interested in living in Mosaico must first register on the Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development general waiting list at for affordable housing in Miami.

Integra, founded in 2009, launched Interurban in 2017. In recent years it has focused on mixed-use, market-rate projects; Mosaico and Las Brisas Trace, in Brownsville, near Liberty City, are its first affordable housing developments.

EHDOC operates 55 senior living communities nationwide, including in Florida, Illinois, California, and Ohio.

Mosaico and Las Brisas are among the growing affordable options for local seniors, often strapped by the region’s notoriously high housing costs. Earlier this year, Related Urban announced Lincoln Gardens, a Brownsville project due to open in 2022; and expansion of affordable project Brisas del Este, also in Allapattah at NW 18th Avenue and NW 29th Street, due for completion in 2022. Earlier this year, Pinnacle Housing Group opened Caribbean Village in Richmond Heights in southern Dade and Carrfour Supportive Housing opened a complex for LGBQT seniors in Wilton Manors.


Source:  Miami Herald

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Developer Proposes Five Apartment Buildings Near Aventura

A developer has proposed five apartment buildings in the Ojus neighborhood just west of Aventura.

The West Aventura Lofts would combine for 172 units. The project is led by Samir Dichy of Casa USA Brokers and all five buildings were designed in a similar style by Gustavo Spokolny of GS Architecture.

All five sites are located just west of the new Brightline passenger rail station under construction in Aventura, and east of the Sheck Hillel Community School. When completed, the Brightline station will connect Aventura to downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and eventually Orlando.

Source:  SFBJ

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