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Front Page » Business & Finance » Investments, upgrades spur Brickell boom

Investments, upgrades spur Brickell boom

Written by on October 23, 2013

Brickell’s real estate boom is continuing to change the face of the financial hub, with more aging structures in line for demolition to make way for new towers, investors reaching deep into their pockets for a slice of the action and existing office buildings pouring millions into upgrades.

Days are numbered for a parking garage at 1010 Brickell Ave., which will be closed and demolished in the second quarter of next year, said Key International Vice President Inigo Ardid.

In place of the 316-space garage will rise a high-end, 50-story luxury condo tower, Mr. Ardid said, adding that the building would take 30 months to complete.

Key International, a real estate investment and development firm, in partnership with real estate investment and management firm 13th Floor Investments, purchased the site last year for $11.5 million.

The site is walking distance to Mary Brickell Village and also to Brickell CityCentre – the $1 billion-plus residential, retail, hotel, entertainment and office development currently under construction.

“Brickell will be a completely different neighborhood in the next three or four years… It really is going to be a fantastic place to live,” Mr. Ardid said.

Designed by Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership Inc. with interiors by Urbanica, 1010 Brickell will comprise 387 condos starting in the $400,000s, ranging from 800 to 2,250 square feet, he said.

One- to four-bedroom units will be available, as well as two penthouses.

The first floor will comprise the lobby and an 8,050-square-foot retail space, floors two through nine will be parking, floors 10 and 11 amenities, floors 14 to 49 residences and the rooftop will boast a residents-only pool with a bar and grill, Mr. Ardid said.

Amenities on the tenth floor – The Club at 1010 -– will include a pool, bowling alley, squash court, children’s gym and adults’ gym while the 11th floor will feature a spa and business center. Residents will also be able to enjoy a half-size basketball court and running track.

Key International Sales are to begin sales at the end of the year.

Fortune International Realty broker Fabio Faerman said celebrities, financial managers, professionals with MBA degrees, families with children and more workers are moving to the area. He said this new demographic, and tourists, are coming to Brickell to live, work and play.

Mr. Faerman said buyers are willing to pay high prices for land in Brickell if the numbers make sense and the property aligns with their objectives.

Swire Properties recently paid just over $64 million for the package of 700 and 710 Brickell Ave. in a deal Mr. Faerman said made sense for the company as it would provide its project with prime Brickell Avenue frontage.

The site housed the former home of Miami Today – at 710 Brickell Ave. – and Northern Trust bank – at 700 Brickell Ave.

The building at 710 Brickell was razed earlier this year and the bank is moving to 600 Brickell Ave.

Swire revealed plans last month to build an 80-story, mixed-used tower on the site.

Last year, Mr. Faerman put together a 49,950-square-foot assemblage for an international investor that included the 100-year-old Tobacco Road at 626 S Miami Ave., River Seafood & Oyster Bar at 650 S Miami Ave. and six parcels along Southwest Seventh Street.

The properties sold for $12.45 million, or about $250 a square foot. With prices on the rise, Mr. Faerman said, that parcel would be worth at least double today.

While zoning would allow for 890,000 square feet of mixed-used development on the land, Tobacco Road and other businesses remain. In fact, according to its website, Tobacco Road will celebrate its 101st anniversary with an event Nov. 8.

Miami Today previously reported Tobacco Road held a pre-existing lease with renewals that would delay any development until at least 2017.

Mr. Faerman said he receives one or two inquiries a day from investors wanting to purchase property in Brickell.

“We are working with developers from Colombia, Mexico, China, Israel, New York and Argentina,” he said.

And while he does have sites in the area ranging from $7 million to $25 million on his books, Mr. Faerman said, there is one 2.52-acre property behind Brickell CityCentre whose owners are seeking a buyer in the $100 million price range.

He said the river-facing site, which is not listed on the market, is empty and has “huge potential.”

The buyer would have the opportunity, he said, to build a mixed-use project of about 1.98 million square feet.

Mr. Faerman said most international buyers did not think Miami’s infrastructure projects were possible when they were discussed five years ago. But now, he said, with the Port of Miami Tunnel project, highway upgrades, baseball stadium with retractable roof, upgrades of Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports and the Metrorail long established in Brickell, Miami is resembling big cities in Europe.

Brickell Bay Office Tower Vice President Christian Driussi says while the full effect of Brickell CityCentre is still some time away, he does see that people are starting to position themselves for when it will be open.

“Some people see this coming so they position themselves ahead of the curve and they decided to move to Brickell – whether it is residential or to lease office space,” he said, adding he has noticed many new restaurants opening in the area.

The 32-story, 280,500-square-foot building at 1001 Brickell Bay Drive built in 1985 is 91% occupied, Mr. Driussi said.

The owners of Brickell Bay Office Tower have been investing heavily in capital improvements in order to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

In progress is a $2 million modernization of the elevators, he said, adding that corridors on each floor have been upgraded as well as the atrium and lobby and $1 million was spent on air conditioning improvements.

“It shows the commitment of the ownership to make sure Brickell Bay Office Tower stays one of the best in the Brickell area,” Mr. Driussi said.

Two major law firms, he said, recently signed on to occupy space in the building.