|Swire joins Fortune International to develop $250 million bayside condo
Swire joins Fortune International to develop $250 million bayside condo
By Sherri C. Ranta
Swire Properties' first project off Brickell Key will be as co-developer of The Jade, Fortune International Development's $250 million waterfront condominium under way on Brickell Bay Drive.
Known as the developer of Brickell Key, Swire Properties brings "substantial equity" and experience to the deal, described by Swire President Stephen L. Owens and Fortune President Edgardo Defortuna as a true partnership and joint venture with shared decision-making.
"This was a part of our business plan. We were looking for an equity participant, institutional investors or an opportunity to talk to a potential developer," Mr. Defortuna said. "In the case of Swire, they bring substantial equity to the deal.
"We're excited about the project," Mr. Owens said. "In reality, it is a major undertaking."
Swire officials, he said, had been looking for a development opportunity at a site other than Brickell Key for the past several years. He said officials eyed more than two dozen other possibilities.
"We had our eye on this site in one way or the other for the past four or five years. It is one of the more strategic waterfront sites in the urban area," Mr. Owens said.
Fortune's success in pre-construction work, plus pre-construction sales of $100 million, he said, made the partnership "very attractive.
"We've never experienced that kind of pre-sale success in our projects. It is a whole new experience for us, one that we found very attractive," Mr. Owens said.
Jade on Brickell Bay's 48-story, 326-unit tower overlooking Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami is being built on 2.5 acres at 1295 Brickell Bay Drive, just across the bay to the south from Brickell Key, where Swire developed Tequesta Point condominium towers and Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Workers are preparing the Jade site with piling work expected to begin in six weeks. Completion is scheduled for 2004.
Fortune and the Florida investment firm Inversora del Conosur purchased the 2.5-acre Jade site in March 2001 for $19 million from Brickell Invest Joint Venture, a Multiplan USA affiliate. It was considered to be one of the highest-priced land sales in Miami history.
Jade is a landmark development for Fortune, said Mr. Defortuna, who grew up in the Brickell area. He's been a broker, marketing agent or co-developer for many South Florida properties, including Grand Bay Tower Residences, Mutiny Park, Ocean Blue and Grand Venetian.
Mr. Defortuna said Jade's $100 million in pre-construction sales represents about 50% of all units available. The buyers, he said, are a mix of South American and US residents.
"In general, most buyers want to reside in the building because of its new technology and services. A lot of buyers are upgrading from buildings on Brickell Avenue that are 15 to 20 years old," he said.
Future partnerships between Fortune and Swire are still up in the air, the presidents say.
"You have to get to know one another before you go any further. We'll have to see how history and time treats us," Mr. Owens said. "Certainly the opportunity to discuss other things is out there. I certainly wouldn't want to close that door."
Swire does not have any other developments under way, Mr. Owens said, although a condominium planned for the northwest corner of Brickell Key is in the design stage. Swire also plans a condominium project tied in some way to the Mandarin Oriental, he said.
The two waterfront sites on Brickell Key, Jade's site and the adjacent site - owned by a development group led by Tibor Hollo - are the remaining four waterfront sites open for development between the Miami River and Coconut Grove, Mr. Owens said.
Jade officials are in final negotiations for financing with four banks, including two international financial institutions.
"Interest in financing has been very keen," Mr. Owens said.
The partners are also in preliminary interviews with seven general contractors, he said, and that will be shortened to four and awarded on a competitive basis.
Luis Revuelta, principal of Revuelta Vega & Leon, which also designed Santa Maria and Bristol Tower, designed Jade's glass-front tower. Tessi Garcia & Associates Interior Design will design the building's common areas, including a three-story lobby.
Amenities at Jade are to include 9-foot ceilings in tower residences and 18-foot ceilings in bay lofts, concierge service, cabanas overlooking the bay, racquetball court, a full-service business facility and a 10,000-square-foot recreation area to include a European spa and fitness center.
Details: (305) 670-5233.