Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

What Empty Condos?

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…

Ten Museum Park Profile

At the forefront of Miami’s residential development boom, stand the designs of the local, ambitious architect Chad Oppenheim. The young Cornell Graduate, only 34, has made a splash in the architecture scene with his innovative modern designs and latest plans for energy efficient buildings. The soon to be completed Ten Museum Park is his first major contribution to the Miami skyline. Of all the buildings rising along the “Miami wall” (Biscayne Boulevard Condos,) Ten Museum Park will have the greatest effect on the skyline despite being the shortest of the five towers rising. I found the following pictures on an online forum I frequently visit, they were originally posted by Edrag Tnava and provide us with some exclusive first looks at the inside of one of our most innovative condominium towers thus far:

Bathroom:

View of Biscayne Boulevard beautification project:

Interesting Windows minimize the impact of the neighboring towers currently rising:

The Loft:

Can’t wait to see how quickly this house falls in value when the owners realize they built under a TV Tower…

Paving over the Redlands, One Farm at a Time

I went to Knaus Berry Farm recently in the Redlands to savor Miami’s best milkshake and to buy some fresh, locally grown produce. Although the drive is long, the tastes and sweets are well worth the effort. I’m no longer as phased as I used to be about the amount of new development I encounter along the way. Our land use is absurd and we’re swallowing precious farm land (and the whole Miami-Dade farming industry) at an alarming rate. Part of becoming a sustainable city includes retaining enough farmland so that a considerable amount of our produce can be grown locally. As it pertains to agriculture, sustainable describes farming systems that are “capable of maintaining their productivity and usefulness to society indefinitely (Definition via National Agricultural Library.) The costs (and tastes) of locally grown produce are far superior to that of any import and the energy wasted in transportation is much less than conventional methods, making the whole process greener for our local economy. I’ve digressed…
So, we’re managing to pave over our precious farm land at an astonishing rate. Cut-rate houses are rising on lots far too small for the house size and whole neighborhoods are springing up around a road network better designed to handle cattle and tractors rather than soccer moms and minivans. The whole thing is quite a mess really and it’s rather disappointing to experience. The lack of infrastructure is incredible and the fact that so much development has already occurred or has been approved is quite disturbing. It’s only a matter of time before strip shopping centers prevalent in America as Suburban eyesores begin to dot the landscape, bringing with them total chaotic growth and congestion.

I was most in shock to see the size of the houses rising beneath the massive NBC radio guyed mast tower. These houses make the houses built in the 1970’s in cocaine alley look like shacks (no, I’m not implying that these houses too are funded by illegal activities.) The fact that anyone would spend the kind of money to construct these multiple thousand square feet houses miles from nowhere was shocking. I took a few pictures which failed to capture the magnitude of these houses, but luckily I found an ebay listing for the lots next door, selling for over $800k and touting the absurd immense houses rising in full view of the property. Here are some pictures and quotes from the listing:

BUILD YOU DREAM MANSION OR TWO ON THIS 5 ACRE PARCEL OFFERED AT $819,000.00, LOCATED IN MIAMI (REDLAND), FLORIDA. INVESTOR’S DREAM! OWNER FINANCING AVAILABLE

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MANSIONS ON EVERY CORNER! THIS VACANT AND FLAT 5 ACRE LOT IS ZONED AGRICULTURE AND YEARLY TAXES ARE $244.00. INCOME FROM PROPERTY CAN EARN $250,000/YEARLY IF USED AS A NURSERY, ACCORDING TO NEIGHBORING NURSERY OWNERS. THE LOT ALSO ALLOWS ZONING FOR TWO HOMESITES TO BE BUILT, AS SEEN IN NEIGHBORING PROPERTIES. PROPERTY IS LOCATED MINUTES FROM EXECUTIVE AIRPORT, PRIVATE GOLF&COUNTRY CLUB, MIAMI-HOMESTEAD MOTORSPORTS SPEEDWAY & THE FLORIDA KEYS.
The first of several hideous houses which initially caught my eye, I believe the architecture style is more commonly referred to as gaudy Miami or just plain ugly. This house rests just yards away from the base of the guyed mast and seemingly straddled between two of the anchoring cables. These people will be in shock the day they decide to sell this house and realize it isn’t worth anything near what they expected…
This was just the entrance to the house across the street. King Louis the XIV can be found somewhere in the chateaus (yes plural) in the background… Some of the surroundings, just waiting to be bulldozed and have some more McMansions or “affordable housing” built upon them…Another house, designed in the gaudy Miami style, still under construction…McMansions piled upon each other despite the amount of land available nearby… The ebay listing was far too childish and poorly written to be taken seriously, “Oh, Mansions!” but the construction occurring in this part of the county is undeniably genuine. The area will continue to explode if growth continues to be unchecked, bringing it with it more of the same suburban sprawl that plagues most of our city. The county will have to fund massive overhauls in the area to deal with the influx of residents while damage to the everglades ecosystem nearby and the disappearance of Miami’s farming will continue at an alarming rate unless we pro actively take measures to heed the advancement of greedy development…

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Take the Money and RUN!!!

I present an unusual idea on behalf of the citizens of Miami-Dade County: a county-wide class action lawsuit against the developers who stole millions of dollars from all of us when promising to build low-income houses. That’s right, this crack squad more than qualifies to be today’s Maricones; they epitomize the weekly award to begin with. Sure, the developers are just a few of the bad eggs in the rotten Miami-Dade Housing Agency carton, but, they knowingly took advantage of a flawed system and left our neediest citizens out in the cold while they raked in millions either directly or through real-estate dealings.

The Miami-Dade real estate market is rough, heck, we’ve paid out millions and apparently we still couldn’t afford to get a house, let alone enough to give away at a discounted rate to thousands of underprivileged citizens. We’ve given a few politically connected developers they key to accessing millions of mismanaged public dollars, which, if history serves my memory correctly is no different than in years past. Now, I could go into detail on each project and their respective developer, but, I’ll leave the snooping around up to your own personal Google searches and Miami-Dade Property Record browsing. I did my own research and the results weren’t too pleasant, let alone information we would want to publicize about how inept the housing agency controllers really are.

It becomes apparent however, that we have a collective problem when it comes to managing money in this county. The agency has barely been able to build any houses to begin with, yet, they recently completed work on their new $5 Million office headquarters. Apparently they plan on doing some serious work to assist some of the 41,000 families currently lined up to receive some sort of financial aide for housing costs.

It’s because of situations such as this, that Miami fails to gain the positive recognition it could garner. It sickens me to see that so many people are willing and able to essentially steal from tax money earmarked for struggling families. Last time I checked, we didn’t need to create a welfare fund for developers, they should be doing just fine…

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