Currently viewing the category: "Real Estate Development"

Looks like we finally have a developer in the 305 that understands the importance of mobility options for urban dwellers. Newgard Development Group will soon begin construction of Centro in downtown Miami and they are marketing the building to potential buyers as a project that provides transportation choices for future residents. Not only will Centro be located in the heart of downtown, just blocks away from premium transit, but the developer has partnered with car2go to provide a car-share service at the building’s doorstep. In addition, Centro will have a bike share program for its residents as well.

 

Centro

 

Harvey Hernandez, Chairman and Managing Director, of the Newgard Development Group is clearly thinking out of the box and understands the importance of offering transportation options to urbanites. Last week  I sat down with Mr. Hernandez to discuss his new project. Below is the interview I did with him for Miami Urbanist.

Newgard Development Group Chairman and Managing Director Harvey Hernandez sat down with me to discuss his two Miami projects that are currently under development in Brickell and Downtown. BrickellHouse is under construction and Centro will break ground later this year in the heart of Downtown Miami. The partners of Newgard Development Group have spent 15 years in the South Florida real estate market. Founded by Harvey Hernandez, Newgard’s management team brings 40 years of combined experience in development, design and construction. Newgard’s approach to development includes innovative luxury buildings in desirable, centrally located neighborhoods, pedestrian-oriented lifestyles with cutting-edge amenities.

Miami Urbanist: Miami and Orlando will soon be connected by rail thanks to All Aboard Florida. Hopefully, commuter rail will soon follow. What opportunities do you see for transit-oriented development in South Florida?

Harvey Hernandez: We see great opportunity here. One of the main reasons we chose the Centro site was its proximity to transit.  We believe in density and that having premium transit within walking distance is an attractive alternative to the car. Our consumers don’t necessarily own two cars; many are able to live comfortably with one or no car. In fact we have teamed up with car2go and they will have a designated Parkspot hub on the ground floor of our building.

Miami Urbanist: What are the strongest characteristics of the Centro site?

Harvey Hernandez: It’s in the middle of everything! It’s close to Brickell and within walking distance of mass transit.  Whole Foods and Brickell CityCentre will soon open a couple of blocks from Centro.

Miami Urbanist: Please explain the parking situation at Centro, there seems to be a few misconceptions about parking.

Harvey Hernandez: Zoning allows us to provide parking offsite; therefore we don’t have to build parking. The parking garage is within 100 yards of Centro. We have entered into an agreement with the Miami Parking Authority to provide parking. We also provide 24-hour valet service and there is always the car2go hub at our doorstep.

Miami Urbanist: Has the parking situation discouraged people from buying at Centro?

Harvey Hernandez: We don’t see it at all. The buyers are coming from all segments of the market; whether they are young professionals, retirees, or 2nd home consumers they have one thing in common—less reliance on the car. All of our buyers want the urban living experience—they want to walk to restaurants, bars, the arts and other amenities.  Many of our buyers are coming from suburbia; they don’t want to deal with long drives and the cost associated with maintaining a car.

Miami Urbanist: There is also a bike share component to Centro, would you please elaborate on this?

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Wynwood Walking Tour - March 1st

 

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A team of urban designers and architects, led by Miami based firm PlusUrbia*, were among the finalists for their design concept of ‘Port-Side’, Miami’s World Trade Center’s future commercial destination.

The team developed a concept coined “Port-Side Miami” to become the city’s new commercial district on the west end of the Port’s Dodge Island, which was designated by the “PortMiami 2035 master plan” to be developed into office space, retail, restaurants and a number of high-end hotels.

Plusurbia-PortSideMiami-2

In an invitation-only RFQ for a master plan, the designers were given a set of parameters that dictated an intricate solution by means of phasing the project over time in order to minimize the effect on the port’s functions and to retain the existing buildings until the last phase. In addition, PlusUrbia’s team, following the RFQ’s guidelines, refrained to design specific buildings and maintained a generic/volumetric look to the design with the intention of later engaging other architects to provide the architecture.

Endowed with a privileged location, the site affords its buildings with outstanding views of Miami, Key Biscayne and South Beach. As such, Port-Side was designed to become a key upscale destination for residents and visitors alike, including retail, office and hotels that would provide round the clock activity as well as supporting one of the busiest cruise ship and cargo terminals in the US. The project aimed to transform Port Miami into an anchor for South Florida as well as setting a new standard for waterfront development.

The master plan’s building disposition was designed to emphasize its iconic nature while using downtown Miami’s scale and intensity as reference. Port-Side’s master plan is envisioned as an immediate extension of downtown while maintaining its identifiable urban island feel.

The proposal would become a destination by simply its physical attributes, engaging the water’s edge in a variety of ways (pedestrian and vehicular promenades, plazas and waterfront parks) supported by shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants on the water.

The new district retrofits and extends existing infrastructure (Caribbean Way) as its pedestrian and bicycle access extending the City of Miami’s plans for its river-walk that connects the river to Bayside Marketplace, Bayfront Park and proposed future plans that may possibly include other means of public transportation.

 

*PlusUrbia Design in collaboration with GSHstudio, OskiStudio and studioLFA

 

As reported earlier this month by our friends over at Curbed Miami, the long-anticipated, long-stalled Brickell Flatiron Park has finally materialized.

Curbed Miami has extensive coverage of the park, with multiple images provided by Transit Miami’s own Craig Chester.

Here are a few more shots of the newly materialized public space. This section of Brickell now has a nice little wedge of accessible park space from which to peacefully gaze and reflect upon the dynamic urban morphology surrounding it.

Cyclist on the bike lane, downtown explorers on the Metromover, Cars2Go waiting for savvy intra-city travelers . . . and a new, sweet park waiting to be fully discovered and enjoyed by Brickellites and other downtown denizens.

The weekly farmers’ market should help draw attention to this much needed downtown park oasis.

All this street signage for active transportation (walking, biking) is great, but municipal workers need better guidelines on where to install the signs. It’s a bit contradictory to have a ‘pedestrian’ sign obstructing part of the sidewalk, and a ‘bike lane’ sign obstructing the other part of the sidewalk, requiring walkers to zig-zag along their path.  All street signs and street furniture should be as far out of the pedestrian thoroughfare as possible. Hopefully that ‘men at work / construction’ sign won’t be up for too long either.

Some new trees to help revive our sparse and frail urban forest canopy, along with plenty of limestone benches on which to sit back and take-in the city — it’s getting better everyday.

With the incipient rise of Brickell CitiCenter just to the north of Mary Brickell Village, this northwest section of the Brickell neighborhood is truly becoming the new hallmark of Miami urbanism.

Now all that’s left is making sure Brickellite yuppies — for so long bereft of such an open public space to call their own — know what to do with their new neighborhood amenity.

Transit Miami’s advice: just sit back and enjoy the growing spectacle your city has to offer.

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Three Easy ways to register

Online: http://seflorida.uli.org (Credit card payment only.)

Phone: 800-321-5011 (Credit card or check) Fax: 800-248-4585 (Credit card or check)

 

Please Register Online by:

November 27, 2012

Online at seflorida.uli.org Phone: 800-321-5011 (reference #8135-1341)


Cost: FREE!

Appetizers will be provided

CASH Bar - 50% Off Drink Specials Available

 

 

 

StreetEasy has just launched its South Florida real estate website. Now you can search for your dream home, condo or apartment by neighborhood.  You can seek out that special place by school district and investigate the crime stats of the surrounding area. Eventually the site will also allow you to search for properties according to public transit and distance from your workplace.

StreetEasy also offers plenty of market research material for free so that buyers, sellers and those seeking to rent can make a more informed decision. Check out the StreetEasy website here:

http://streeteasy.com/florida

 

Check out this upcoming meeting co-hosted by Transit Miami friends: the ULI Young Leaders, the Townhouse Center Blog and Miami Urbanist (among others). Meetings like this help spread the word that urban infill is the way to go….

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Come join the ULI Southeast Florida Young Leaders of Miami-Dade County to network, meet new people and build invaluable relationships.

Attendees to include professionals in the real estate development, brokerage, management, planning, architectural, engineering, construction, legal, and public sectors. Learn about the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Group and upcoming ULI events.

Non-members are encouraged to attend.

FREE for All! Registration required – One free drink and light appetizers will be provided.

 

Date and Time August 23 5:30-7:30

Location: Clarke’s

840 1St Street

Miami Beach, FL

 

Register Online:

District Council

Register by phone:

  • Call: 1-800-321-5011 between
    9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday;

Online registration for this event is closed, but you may still be able to register. Please call 800-321-5011 for more information.

Register by mail or fax:

  • Download a registration form
  • Fax to: 800-248-4585 (credit card payments only); or
  • Mail to: ULI, Department 304, Washington, D.C., 20055-0304 (for check or credit card payments).

 

 

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On Tuesday night I attended a ULI Young Leaders steering committee meeting at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar with about two-dozen local real estate professionals.  Transit Miami friend Andrew Frey has organized this group in an effort to bring together forward-looking professionals with diverse backgrounds.

Some of the industries present at the meeting were land use and real estate attorneys, urban planners, developers, architects, commercial real estate brokers, private bankers, and an FEC representative. As diverse as the backgrounds were, there was a common trait among these professionals:  They all want to see their city develop into a transit-friendly, mixed-use and walkable metropolis. They also want to see Miami grow-up to become a non-auto centric world-class city that attracts businesses and entrepreneurial professionals alike.

This group will continue to meet once every couple of months and in the very near future will organize panels (as well as a networking happy hours) to discuss topics such as:

  • Streetscapes; why they should be improved and their economic benefits
  • The effect of gambling and casinos on Miami
  • The link between jobs and transportation

Elected officials and developers should take note and tap into the resources that this highly energized, educated, and entrepreneurial group has. They are not living in the Miami of yesteryear and they want to help build a more competitive city that will encourage businesses to relocate to the Magic City.

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The City of Miami Commissioners  approved a resolution back in October 2010 to fence a public street on NW 15 Street and NW 25 Street, thereby restricting pedestrians access to our public streets.

In February of 2011 however, the County Public Works Department told Belle Meade residents that it could not build a fence because it restricted access to pedestrians and cyclists.  The County PWD pretty much deemed the fence illegal because it conflicted with the Comprehensive Plan.  Here is what the NW 15 Street and NW 25 Street resolution said…

A)The Department of Public Works shall approve the design and the Department of Capital
Improvements shall install the fence and barricade to prohibit vehicular and pedestrian
access, ensuring no public access;
b) the fence and barricade shall be maintained by the Department of Public Works ; and
c) all applicable laws.

I’m confused…So who’s in charge here? The County or the City? Shouldn’t the City have checked with the County first?  I’m glad the County PWD does not allow  fencing that restricts pedestrian and cyclist access.  If this fence did actually go up, it should come down along with the $1.7 million tax payer funded wall surrounding Coral Gate. What a waste of money.

Personally, I would like to see the planning department involved in this dialogue. From the email thread that I received it does not appear that the city’s planning department was ever consulted.

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I just finished reading the 2010 Emerging Trends in Real Estate.  Now in its 31st year, this report is jointly produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). This is the first time I have read this report, but I am very impressed. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers webpage this report:

is the oldest, most highly regarded annual industry outlook for the real estate and land use industry and includes interviews and survey responses from more than 900 leading real estate experts, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants.”

The report is downright bearish on real estate development for 2010.The report goes on the say that real estate developers are “largely dead” and that “builders can leave on long sabbaticals”. They don’t foresee construction picking up until 2012, but when it does, most construction will be focused on urban infill development.

This is great news for those of us that believe that our cities are our future. Below are some of my favorite excerpts from this report:

Next generation projects will orient to infill, urbanizing suburbs, and transit-oriented development. Smaller housing units-close to mass transit, work and 24 hour amenities-gain favor over large houses on big lots at the suburban edge.  People will continue to see greater convenience and want to reduce energy expenses, shorter commutes and smaller heating bills make up for high infill real estate costs.” (Page 12)

Infill vs. Suburbs. Road congestion, higher energy costs, and climate change concerns combine to alter people’s thinking about where they decide to live and work.  ‘It’s a fundamental shift.’ The lifestyle cost-of-living equation starts to swing away more dramatically from bigger houses on bigger lots at the suburban edge to great convenience and efficiencies gained from infill housing closer to work. These homes maybe more expensive on a price-per-pound basis, but reduced driving costs and lower heating/cooling bills provide offsets. And time saved avoiding traffic hassles moderates stress and enhances productivity. ‘Two-hour commutes reach a tipping point with higher energy costs’ and ‘near-in suburbs will do well especially if they link to business cores by mass transportation.” (Page 32)

Investors tend to favor the following:

  • Global gateway markets on East and West coasts- featuring international airports, ports and major commercial centers.
  • Cities and urbanizing infill suburbs with 24-hour attributes-upscale, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, convenient office, retail, entertainment, and recreation districts; mass transit alternatives to driving; good schools (public and/private); and relatively safe streets.
  • Brainpower centers-places that offer dynamic combination of colleges and universities, high paying industries-high tech, biotech, finance, and health cars (medical centers drug companies)- and government offices.” (Page 27)

Denver metro area wins points for building out its light-rail network, encouraging transit –oriented mixed-use projects around stations.” (Page 35)

So what does this mean for Miami’s future?

  • We should hold the Urban Development Boundary, this report confirms that 2 hour commutes are out of vogue.
  • Miami 21 should be implemented immediately and not delayed any further.
  • A large scale light rail system, including Baylink, is long overdue
  • If Miami wants to become a competitive city we need to diversify our economy as much as possible in order to become a brainpower center. A service economy based predominantly on tourism will not attract educated people seeking high paying jobs.

  • Daniel Shoer Roth interviews a tril-rail rider about his views on FPL executives commuting via helicopter:

Edward Quiles, production manager of a company that produces bulletproof vests, commutes from Doral to Deerfield Beach. His wife drops him at Miami International Airport’s Tri-Rail station. An hour and a half later he walks from the Deerfield station to his workplace.

“I’m upset because I’m paying for his luxuries while I depend on public transportation,” said Quiles, whose monthly electric bill amounts to about $110. (Herald)

  • Two Marion County residents are waging their own battle against sprawl using the ‘demonstrated need’ test. Now it’s up to Governor Christ and the Cabinet to reject the new 500 unit subdivision. (Herald)
  • Woohoo: American oil consumption hit its peak in 2007. We may never reach 400 million gpd again. (Barrons)
  • Conflict of interest: County lobbying firm and attorney Greenberg Taurig is requesting a waiver of conflict of interest regulations that prevent it from representing the county and another client in the same case. Duh. Why do we even have conflict of interest laws if the commission is just going to ignore them?? (Miami-Dade)

Apparently blogging your opinion on a local condo development could get you fired, sued, or both! Lucas Lechuga, of Miami Condo Investments, was the lucky recipient of a $25 million defamation lawsuit from Miami developer Tibor Hollo for writing:
”My opinion is that this development is doomed…”

And:

“This developer went bankrupt in the 1980′s and I think we’ll see a repeat performance within the next 6 months. What do I know, though? I’m no real estate oracle.”

Apparently Hollo didn’t go bankrupt in the 80′s and wants to set the record straight. Meanwhile EWM’s Ron Shuffield felt the blog illustrated a negative connotation and plans to review with their 800+ Realtor staff the do’s and don’t of blogging…

I believe this whole thing has been blown disproportionately out of the water, starting with an exorbitant $25 million for defamation. How can anyone quantify that much in damages to begin with? Luckily for Lechuga, the lawsuit likely won’t hold much water in court according to herald interviews with local attorneys. From what I can tell, this has the appearance of a glorified publicity stunt amid a crumbling housing market. Who am I to say anyway? Only time will tell…

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