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TRD’s SoFla Real Estate Showcase & Forum stormed Wynwood

Scenes from The Real Deal South Florida Showcase & Forum

Miami’s real estate industry descended on Wynwood Thursday, as more than 5,000 wheelers and dealers packed SoHo Studios for The Real Deal South Florida’s Third Annual Showcase & Forum.
TRD‘s biggest South Florida event yet featured 50 exhibitors and five expert panels, where bigwigs from all aspects of real estate offered their insight and strategies as they deal with the changing face of the market.
Even Venus Williams shared her love of design in a panel conversation with architect Kobi Karp.
“I love being able to influence a space,” she told a rapt audience during the final panel of the day.
Earlier, standing-room-only crowds filled the panel space as developers expressed caution about the condo market; commercial brokers debated the latest deals in the retail, hospitality and office sectors; residential brokers offered their take on the market slowdown; and financial pros shed light on the current state of the debt arena.
“There’s plenty of money and there are plenty of lenders,” said Ezra Katz, founder and CEO of Aztec Group. “It’s just the criteria for making those loans that has changed.”
Meanwhile, all day long, real estate professionals hobnobbed on the expo floor, lured by booths from One Sotheby’s International Realty, Douglas Elliman, the Estates of Acqualina, One River Point, Paramount Miami Worldcenter and many others.
“There’s a lot of networking going on,” said Patricia Maurer at the Estate of Acqualina booth.
Inside a popular ArX Solutions booth, visitors donned virtual reality goggles that allowed them to virtually walk through a room.
“It’s the best way to experience a project,” said Gonzalo Navarro, COO of ArX Solutions.
In the morning, attendees heard developers offer their outlook on the first panel: “The prognosis for new construction amid global market uncertainty.”
“Since velocity is down, the most dangerous is product that is not under construction or well under construction,” said Inigo Ardid, co-president of Key International, who advised developers to wait to launch new projects and to hold onto land.
“You need to educate buyers that Miami is still a value proposition,” said Jon Paul Perez, vice president of the Related Group, comparing Miami to cities like New York and Los Angeles. “It’s a very young city still and growing rapidly.”
Shahab Karmely, founder and CEO of Kar Properties offered a dose of optimism about the slowdown, citing a Farsi saying: “Real estate doesn’t die, it sleeps.”
During the second panel, “Commercial Outlook: Examining the flurry of activity across South Florida’s retail, hospitality and office markets,” commercial brokers zeroed in on millennials.
The millennial way of thinking has already started filtering into Miami’s evolving office market, said Donna Abood, principal of Avison Young’s Miami branch. All Aboard Florida is building more than 800 market-rate rentals right next to its Class A offices as part of the MiamiCentral development in the downtown area.
Overall, the office market in Miami has been starved of supply. “We are tight on office space to the extreme,” she said. “[Condo developers] took prime sites that were really meant for offices.”
Since there’s been a dearth of new construction, the trend has been for investors to scoop up Class C or Class B office buildings and renovate them, Abood said. Co-working operators like WeWork have also proliferated as smaller businesses seek affordable office space.
That’s been the case in Wynwood, where companies have transformed a swath of the neighborhood’s aging warehouses into hip workspaces and shops. Tony Cho, president of Metro 1, said there’s still a big gap to fill for development in Wynwood. Top-shelf retail space in the neighborhood is pushing $100 per square foot, he said, and land prices are rising as a result. Hotels are also coming to Wynwood, and Metro 1 is already in talks with several operators, Cho said.
Lyle Stern, president of Koniver Stern Group, said the Miami River and especially Alapattah are experiencing a boom in property sales — and development will likely follow soon. He said said two major investors have paid about $40 million to buy nearly 20 acres of industrial properties in Allapattah over the past several years. And with a swath of new national level retailers coming to the downtown area at Brickell City Centre and Miami Worldcenter, the surrounding neighborhoods are poised to see a wave of hip street retail and restaurant concepts fill in the gaps.
“If you drew an arc from New York to Chicago to Las Vegas, there’s not another city in that entire arc that has the number of restaurants doing over $8, $10, $12 and $15 million dollars [in business] that we do in the Miami market,” he said.
During the third panel,“Post peak planning: Analyzing the future of South Florida’s residential market,” top brokers tamped down concern about the depth of the slowdown in Miami’s residential market, and keyed in on their strategies for dealing with the decline of international buyers.
One Sotheby’s and others have turned to the domestic market, and increased their marketing efforts in the continental United States. “This week alone, we’ve been meeting with our partners in Dallas, Chicago, New York and Washington,” said Mayi de la Vega, founder and CEO of One Sotheby’s.
Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage, said Douglas Elliman’s Florida office has taken a similar approach in New York City and Boston. The firm has recently opened an office on Madison Avenue that is exclusively marketing Florida properties. “We are now able to sell our products in New York with a New York realtor in a way we couldn’t before,” Parker said.
Andres Asion, founder of Miami Real Estate Group, said the slowdown has forced real estate brokers to hone their research to show buyers where the good deals are, especially in the resale market. “There are great deals on Brickell that you can still buy for $300 a square foot that are next to the newest, greatest building,” Asion said.
His advice: “If you do your homework and your research, you will be able to educate your buyers.”
On Friday, Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Development told TRD the event turned out great.
“It’s very informative for the public and it’s also a great format for people to meet guys like me and other developers and ask questions one-on-one after these panels…,” he said. “For me it’s a great way to meet people.”
Source: The Real Deal

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