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By Jgulliksen | Real Estate Pro in Miami, FL
  • Downtown's Omni gets new lease on life

    Posted Under: General Area in Miami, Market Conditions in Miami, In My Neighborhood in Miami  |  August 31, 2011 9:37 AM  |  1,404 views  |  No comments


    The Omni International Mall was the place to shop in the 1980s and then the 90s came around and the Mall all but died. There have been several attempts to revive it since then, with plans ranging from condominiums to restaurants and from offices to even a telecom hub. All those plans failed but it seems like this latest one is gonna stick. The Related Group has taken control of the space at 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, buying it for a cool $100 million. According to the article in the Miami Herald they, along with Tate Capital acquired the debt and are the lenders.

    Led by developer Jorge Perez, Related is responsible for a huge chunk of the projects around swanky Brickell and with this have now turned their attention to Downtown Miami’s revival. This latest is just another notch in that rebirth and at 1.5 million-square-feet is by far one of the largest in sheer size and magnitude.

    The Center features office and retail space and currently houses a 525-room Hilton Hotel, the offices of long-time tenants Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Miami International University of Art & Design and the General Services Administration Passport Control and Diplomatic Security Services offices.

    The rest of the Center is empty. Enter Perez, who has a reputation for turning his projects into gold, just look at Icon Brickell which has quickly become the mecca condo with a state-of-the-art spa, stellar restaurants and a celebrity-spotting hot spot. The location, hugging the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, couldn’t be better.

    Sounds like Perez is the man to turn Omni Center into another great mixed-used retail/office complex. The area is ripe for such a place with condominiums surrounding the area, the Adrienne Arsht Center and DRB – Democratic Republic of Beers just blocks away and the American Airlines Arena not much further. Then, along northbound Biscayne Boulevard cool spots like Bin No. 18 and the newly-opened City Hall Restaurant.

    The project is still quite hush-hush but as it develops there will be more to report. Might even be that if plans change, residential space could somehow make it onto the drawing board. Check this blog for further news on Omni Center developments.

    Photos courtesy of Google Images / Vance Gulliksen

  • Luxurious Continuum Condo offers premium Sofi living

    Posted Under: General Area in Miami Beach, Quality of Life in Miami Beach, In My Neighborhood in Miami Beach  |  August 20, 2011 7:45 PM  |  1,491 views  |  No comments


    Sofi, short for South of Fifth Street in Miami Beach is hot to trot in the condo market and the location is ultra desirable. What could be better than stepping through the lobby, out to the courtyard and taking a few steps onto the sands of South Beach.

    That’s what residents at Continuum Condominium experience on a daily basis. The 38-floor North Tower and the 4o-floor South Tower jut up into the sky and are the centerpiece of this oasis. The sporting club and spa are nearest to the South Tower and a walk through the lushly landscaped courtyards leads to two free-form lagoon swimming pools on either side with relaxing cabanas. Three tennis courts await residents who want to play a few sets and then perhaps take a dip to cool off.

    The spa and fitness center rise four stories and span 25,000-square-feet. They’re serious about keeping residents in shape as well as relaxed. A rooftop lap pool, six private and several open-air spa treatment rooms, whirlpool, sauna and steam room, aerobics training room and more than 10 group fitness classes including yoga, pilates, kickboxing and cycling are just some of the highlights. Even better is that they offer much of the outdoors to the amazing oceanviews.

    Another outstanding feature at Continuum is the two-story lobby with a sweeping, wide, spiral staircase and impressive crystal chandelier.

    The bathrooms and kitchens are designer all the way with granite and marble countertops, whirlpool tubs, marble flooring and designer fixtures. The views from the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors are why folks choose to live here, the wide spanse of oceanfront is a sight to behold.

    The condominium is in the heart of South Pointe Park, a great place for families and active folks. A playground, breathtaking green hills for biking and a great yogurt spot at the center for a break and a cool snack.

    And of course, being at the heart of South Beach doesn’t hurt either. Prime 112 and Smith & Wollensky are within walking distance and for nightlife, Nikki Beach is too.

    Several units remain in each building. Call us at 877-852-6636 for more information.

    Photo courtesy of Google Images

  • Miami Beach and Sofi: Hot Condos and High-end Living

    Posted Under: General Area in Miami Beach, Quality of Life in Miami Beach, In My Neighborhood in Miami Beach  |  August 16, 2011 6:12 PM  |  1,659 views  |  1 comment


    The Sofi area of Miami Beach (that’s South of Fifth Street) is a hot area for real estate. It hasn’t also been so, though. Strategic investment and development over the last decade were needed to turn Sofi into a neighborhood-to-be-watched. In the last couple of years the plan has paid off and the area has become white hot and ripe for development. Condos like Murano Grande, Continuum, The Courts and the upcoming Meridian Five are four of Miami’s best … and they are all here.

    I recently sat down with Todd Sims, a realtor in Miami Beach and local Sofi resident/aficionado, who took time to share his insight on the area, it’s booming success and what’s on the horizon:

    Q: Tell me about the area South of Fifth where The Courts condo is located:

    A: Sofi is what everyone calls it now, South of Fifth, five years ago it was just not great but Jorge Perez from the Related Group started building it up. Prime 112 for example, which is in this area, is the most successful restaurant for its size in the United States. The combination of celebrities and multi-million dollar high rises is why the area is so successful.

    Q: Describe “The Courts” and what makes it the ideal condominium:

    A: The Courts has 189 units and the great thing about it is it’s just three blocks from the beach, it’s the little oasis with prices from $500,ooo to $1.3 million. You’ve got all the apogee and the expensive multi-million dollar condos.

    There are currently two units available at the Courts. One is a 1,430-square-foot 3-bedroom, 2-bath corner unit for $749,000 or the 1,150-square-foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit for $535,000. The latter one has been on the market for a while.

    It also has two great pools, they are very large, probably the best in South of Fifth next to the Continuum pool.

    The Courts started in 1996 and ended in early 2000s. It’s a low-rise Mediterranean style building. It has townhomes and units from 900 square feet to 2,500 square feet. There are only about 18 units over 2,000 square feet. There are seven townhouse units that have garages. The variety of floor plans means that nothing is cookie cutter in the Courts and units can be varying sizes. It’s gorgeous with beautifully landscaped courtyards and it’s very family-friendly. It’s perfect for a business professional person with children.

    Q: What other units are available around the beach?

    A: At the Yacht Club in Portofino, there’s a 2-bedroom, 2-bath 1,130-square-foot corner unit with ocean view for $549,000. It’s the best deal in the Yacht Club. They have a very liberal rental policy where tenants can rent monthly. Jorge Perez from Related built it as a rental building in 1999.

    Q: How desirable is this Sofi area?:

    A: The Miami Beach area is still one of the strongest in the market but they took a hit just like everyone in 2008 but they performed the best regionally, though. Murano Grande for example is full of Brazilian nationals who are buying units in cash. I estimate that 80% of the buyers in Sofi are Brazilians.

    They’re attracted to the area because it’s the gateway to Latin America and so they’re comfortable here. They know the area is going to remain strong. It’s considered the Rodeo Drive of Miami, there’s no question.

    Q: What’s on the horizon for Sofi:

    There are a couple of projects coming. Meridian Five is new construction at 425 Meridian Avenue. There are 14 townhome residences. And ready to take off, the already built Jefferson Lofts at Fourth St. and Jefferson Avenue. It features six lofts that  are very nice, modern and contemporary.

    Other great spots in SoFi are South Pointe Park, Smith & Wollensky restaurant, Nikki Beach Club and China Grill restaurant.

    Call 877-852-6636 to speak with a Miami expert or click here to view details about condos in the area.

    Photos courtesy of Google Images, Portofino Condominium and JeffersonLofts.com

  • Trump Towers in Sunny Isles Beach, filling up fast


    The problems at the three-building Trump Towers in Sunny Isles Beach in the northernmost part of Miami-Dade County began, not surprisingly, around 2006 when the market started on its downslide. The Related Group, who developed the project along with Dezer Properties, began having issues at the point of conception and by 2010 Dezer had taken over and become the sales and marketing arm.

    “We were partners in the deal with Related and when we took over in 2010 they signed over the loan to us and we went ahead and sold it,” said Gil Dezer, president of Dezer entities.

    The building was built and finished properly but in 2009 when no one closed that’s when talk of the sale to Dezer began. They had to start from scratch, calling into their brokers, existing clients, basically working every single lead to begin selling the building. Things are going well so far. Tower 3 is sold out, Tower 2 is 80% sold and Tower 1 is 70% sold.

    Gil Dezer took some time to answer a few additional questions about Trump Towers in Sunny Isles as well as the comparison between their New York and Miami projects:

    Q: What’s remaining in the Trump Towers specifically?

    A: They have a little bit of everything remaining, the smallest is a 2/2 at 1,463-square-feet, next size is a 1,975-square-foot 3/3.5 bath unit  and then to the next size 2,558-square-feet which is also a 3/3.5 but this unit is at the corner of the building and has four separate balconies, one from every bedroom. And the BEST one we have is directly on the ocean and that’s 2,928-square-feet 3/3.5 and that’s been a great seller for us. There are about 20 of each remaining of these described here and all are in Tower 3.

    Q: I’d love to know about the amenities of this building that are attracting folks to buy here?

    A: Definitely the oceanfront, a lot of the people are real beachgoers, plus the state-of-the-art spa, aerobics room. Also a stellar restaurant which was reviewed in the New York Post. It sits directly on the sand and is only open to residents and guests and this makes a very unique kind of amenity to have. They also do room service to the condos, it’s almost like living in a hotel but you’re in a condo. This is a five-star building for certain.

    Q: Perhaps it would be good to give our readers an idea of the attractiveness of S. FL as opposed to the properties in NY?

    A: When New Yorkers began seeing these prices they were prepared to buy. The value here is half to a third of the price in New York per square foot and so those who are prepared to buy are buying. New Yorkers are very astute and it doesn’t take much convincing.

    Q: How about the surrounding area of Sunny Isles? What is attracting the buyers here and better still, how you are attracting them here?

    A: They like the surrounding area, they like the restaurants, the proximity to Aventura and Bal Harbour Shops, especially South Americans. When the weather’s not great out there, they’re in the mall, it’s great for our local economy. We’re becoming our own neighborhood. The buyers are there for the higher end restaurants.

    The locals we saw take advantage early on were the ones waiting on the sidelines for the whole thing to collapse. We have some Williams Island transplants and The Point, they are second homes for many of these folks. It’s the same buyer mix that everyone else is seeing. Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina has slowed down a bit.

    Typical buyers are young families between 40 and 55, a businessowner is another of our demographic.

    Call us at 877-852-6636 for more information on available units.

    Photos courtesy of Kreps de Maria

  • Capital at Brickell soon to join Brickell skyline

    Posted Under: General Area in Downtown Miami, Quality of Life in Downtown Miami, In My Neighborhood in Downtown Miami  |  July 29, 2011 1:55 PM  |  1,648 views  |  No comments


    Courtesy of Google Images

    There’s an empty plot in the heart of the Brickell area at 1421 S. Miami Avenue where Capital at Brickell will rise. The latest to join the ever-expanding Miami skyline, it will feature towers rising to 57 and 58 floors and boast a combined, and mammoth, 888 residences.

    Designed by the Coral Gables-based Fullerton-Diaz Architects, who also designed Murano and Murano Grande in Miami Beach, the concept for the Brickell area building, according to the design firm’s website is that “Capital at Brickell is a building that captures the essence of urban living and pays tribute to the historically significant icons The Chrysler and The Empire State Building, from which it was inspired.”

    It may seem crazy to focus on the parking first when talking about this project, but in Downtown Miami (especially in the Brickell area) parking is at a premium and a major incentive. The Capital at Brickell offers one parking space assigned per residence. However, those with a 3-bedroom or Penthouse unit get two spaces.

    Amenities include a 14th floor pool, fitness center, tiki bar, racquetball courts and approximately 50,000 square-feet of street level retail space. Within the units the expected — stainless steel kitchen appliances, high-efficiency washer/dryer, marble floors, jaccuzi tub and imported Italian cabinetry.

    Courtesy of Google Images

    The surrounding area is made for strolling and walking, with restaurants, nightlife, grocery stores and more just minutes away. Directly across the street and just a block away are the casual Pieduck’s Pizza, restaurant/sports pub Brickell Irish Pub, and restaurant/nightspots Novecento and Segafredo. There’s no shortage of supermarkets as there are two within walking distance and another just a short drive away. Mary Brickell Village is about three blocks away.

    There are pre-construction prices available now. Call us at 877-852-6636 for more information.

  • Live in luxury with the Tui Lifestyle

    Posted Under: General Area in Miami-dade County, Quality of Life in Miami-dade County, In My Neighborhood in Miami-dade County  |  July 26, 2011 8:38 PM  |  1,579 views  |  No comments


    Photo courtesy of Tui Lifestyle website

    Imagine alleviating the need to pick out home furniture or accessories individually but instead, having the convenience of choosing an entire indoor room that encompasses all your favorite styles.

    That’s the concept that Tui Lifestyle – made up of chairman and founder Jason Atkins and designer Noranit “Tui” Pranich — has revolutionized since exploding onto the condo market two years ago. With headquarters in Miami and design centers and showrooms throughout the city and one in New York, their furniture collections, both indoors and outdoors, can be seen throughout Downtown Miami. They’re in such iconic buildings as The Viceroy, Icon Brickell, Marquis and Epic Biscayne, to name a few.

    Jason Atkins talked about the birth of Tui Lifestyle, its present and future in the Miami Market:

    Q: Tell me about your project at Marquis Residences and how you decided the concept for that building?

    A: We constantly enjoy all new project opportunities with any buildings.  Marquis is an outstanding building which developed an extended stay rental program. Similar to other parallel programs, the building wanted a beautiful design and a consistent scheme for all the units.   We were very excited when Marquis made the decision to decorate the extended stay units with Tui Lifestyle collections. Our in-stock inventory ensures that units can be designed, delivered and installed in 72 hours.

    Marquis Residences

    Q: How did you devise such a unique concept for Tui Lifestyle and how did you come together with Noranit “Tui” Pranich?

    A: I am very proud of Tui Lifestyle; we are a young, successful, and dynamic company. The company launched in 2008 with creative talent and business acumen twenty years in the making.  We see it as a synergy of style and business.  Tui and I got together for a business strategy meeting in 2008.  We came up with the innovative idea for Tui Lifestyle in that meeting.  We are proud to say that Tui Lifestyle has redefined the design and furniture industries, providing luxury style furniture at affordable and sensible prices with the extraordinary convenience of turn-key living solutions.  Design excellence behind every item in a collection ensures the highest quality merchandise at the absolute best value in the industry.  An extraordinary logistics team ensures streamlined ordering and white glove delivery installation in 72 hours.  At Tui Lifestyle, you never have to wait weeks for furniture with our “in-stock” inventory.

    Q: I see that you have Design Centers in various buildings around Miami, can you tell me how those centers vary? And is the Tui Lifestyle incorporated into those buildings and if yes, describe the different looks you have incorporated into those buildings?

    A: Yes, we have a great presence in Miami.   There are approximately 45 Tui Lifestyle demo model design centers all around Miami.  We strive to make sure that the design of each demo model is tailored to the overall design of the building.  We also collaborate with the building in achieving the best design for the building residents.

    Q: How were the various furniture collections developed and designed?

    A: Our collections are always designed with our customers in mind; providing great European design, style and grace with the simplicity of modern living. Our furniture is crafted beautifully with meticulous attention to detail paired with rich linens, leather, silk, and ebonized wood.  Our Sophisticated Collection and Outdoor Collections combine European design with the beautiful warmth of Bali-inspired Asian design.

    Q: What condo projects are on the horizon in Miami for Tui Lifestyle?

    A: Our design and marketing teams are working on our upcoming collection designs at Paramount Bay, Peninsula II, Viscayne and many more.

  • Downtown Miami is hot: A multitude of reasons why

    Posted Under: General Area in Downtown Miami, Quality of Life in Downtown Miami, In My Neighborhood in Downtown Miami  |  July 26, 2011 8:10 AM  |  1,585 views  |  No comments


    Downtown Miami has changed. No longer does the area shut down when the clock strikes five. The past decade has seen the area come to life with new museums and parks, performing arts spaces, restaurants and bars, condominiums, a continuously growing community college and retail/shopping outlets.

    Developers have made many plans. Museum Park will replace the former Bicentennial Park space, where the Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum & Planetarium will share space. Construction has begun and it should open to the public in Fall 2013. The nearby Adrienne Arsht Center, with first-run Broadway spectaculars as well as quirkier performances and concerts, is another hot venue.

    Museum Park. Photo courtesy of Google Images

    Nearby restaurants and bars are vital to such an attraction and to keeping residents around the area. Bongo’s Cuban Cafe behind the American Airlines Arena is a favorite spot that’s a veteran of the area for both dinner and/or partying. Feeling adventurous? Try new contenders like First & First Bakery, which has great baked goods and sandwiches, or Cvi.che 105 (yes, that’s how they spell it) for delicious Peruvian cuisine in a modern setting.

    In the heart of Downtown is the ever-growing Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus which recently unveiled and opened their new Culinary Institute. A continued learning resource for area residents. Their Chef’s Council is a Who’s Who of noted local chefs, many are James Beard Award Winners. The list features Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s, Sra. Martinez and now Crumb on Parchment fame; Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, a hotbed for celebrities and a menu filled with organic and locally grown fare; and Douglas Rodriguez of De Rodriguez Cuba on South Beach.

    Mary Brickell Village. Photo courtesy of Google Images

    Closeby (just over the bridge actually) is Mary Brickell Village where downtowners can party at Blue Martini or Fado Irish Pub and eat great food at Rosa Mexicano or Balans, to name a few. And not part of the Village but directly across the street is the consistently good Perricone’s Marketplace for great wines, terrific Italian food and a great gourmet market.

    Marquis Residences. Photo courtesy of MarquisMiami.com

    So of course, to support such an amazing location, the buildings have to be equally spectacular. Marquis Residences, overlooking Biscayne Bay fit the profile of luxury perfectly. At 14-stories, the bay and city views are stellar and the luxurious rooftop deck pool’s a great spot for sunning and swimming. A little deeper into Downtown is One Miami with Scalina Restaurant right on site and minutes away from Miami Beach and also from the Brickell area.

    Call 877-852-6636 to speak with a Miami expert or click here to view details about condos in

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