Affordable condo project to rise in Edgewater

                                              November 6, 2014
                                              26 Edgewater will have 86 moderately priced units

                                              Edgewater is set for a new condo project with a focus on smaller units at more affordable prices. Stripey Developments and 4R Development are partnering on 26 Edgewater, a 10-story project with 86 units, according to the South Florida Business Journal. The developers picked up the 20,000-square-foot site, located at 321 Northeast 26th Street, for $2.4 million in early 2014. The project will break ground in December and be completed in mid-2016. Fifty-eight of the units will be one bedrooms, sized at 560 square feet and costing $270,000. The remaining 28 units are two bedrooms and range from 810 to 980 square feet, with prices averaging at $340,000. The main idea is to keep these units affordable to people, said Rafael Velasquez of Sunset Realty Group in Miami, who is marketing the project. It is for the international investor who wants future income without investing that much capital up front. [South Florida Business Journal] - Christopher Cameron

                                              All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal


                                            • Cash sales dominate South Florida's housing market
                                              November 6, 2014
                                              By: Paul Ower

                                              Cash continues to dominate home sales in South Florida, a new report shows.

                                              Roughly six of 10 Palm Beach County buyers paid cash in the third quarter, down slightly from a year ago but still well above the national average of 33.9 percent, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm based in Irvine, Calif.

                                              In Broward County, cash accounted for 57.3 percent of all sales from July through September, compared with 60.8 percent a year earlier.

                                              In the South Florida metro area, which also includes Miami-Dade County, 59.1 percent of home sales didn't require a mortgage, the highest percentage in the nation, RealtyTrac said.

                                              The tri-county region's historical average for cash sales over the past 14 years is 47 percent.

                                              Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, said he expects cash to slowly lose influence as large investment firms pull back on purchases.

                                              'But you're still going to have interest from international buyers and retirees,' Blomquist said Wednesday. 'South Florida is the mecca for cash sales.'

                                              Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Melbourne ranked right behind South Florida in percentage of cash sales among metro areas nationwide. Florida led all states at 53.5 percent.

                                              With loans harder to come by after the housing bust, cash purchases have propped up the region's housing market. Because of the uncertainty of buyers qualifying for mortgages, sellers are more likely to accept offers that don't require financing.

                                              'From the seller's perspective, you're not waiting 30 or 40 days to see if the buyer can get a mortgage,' said Cathy Prenner, a real estate agent for Campbell & Rosemurgy in Palm Beach and Broward counties. 'A wise seller will take slightly less from a cash buyer because after the inspection, you know it's a done deal.'

                                              Home inspections aren't required if no mortgage is involved, but most buyers still want to give the house a once-over. Appraisals and property insurance - two other potential deal-breakers - also aren't necessary in a cash deal.

                                              But the abundance of cash sales is shutting out first-time buyers and young families, the foundation of a healthy housing market, analysts say. While the South Florida market has cooled, first-time buyers often complain they can't compete in bidding wars with deep-pocketed investors.

                                              Beverly Rothstein, an agent in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, said she had a young couple lose three homes to cash offers.

                                              'It was all people who wanted to buy and flip or buy and rent it out and my clients actually wanted to live in the home,' Rothstein said.

                                              Eventually, a home popped up on the multiple listing service, and the couple made an offer that same day. They even wrote a letter to the sellers, expressing how much the property would mean to them.

                                              In the end, Rothstein said, her clients ended up with the house, even though the sellers had cash offers in hand.

                                              Copyright 2014 Sun-Sentenial.com
                                            • Secrets to Success & Business Growth
                                              November 6, 2014
                                              By: Ivan Misner

                                              In January, BNI (Business Network International), the worldwide referral marketing organization which I founded in 1985, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

                                              In light of this, one of the organization's franchisees incredulously asked me how I've managed to consistently keep the company growing each year and how it's possible that the BNI continues to steadily achieve higher and higher feats of success.

                                              I made this video in answer to this question and in it I outline my secrets to growth and success step by step. The great thing about what I explain in the video is that you can apply the same business tactics I used to your own business. 

                                              After watching the video, I'd love to hear your thoughts about BNI, the business strategies I discuss, and/or how you are going to use the tactics I outline in your own business. Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

                                              To find out more about BNI, please visit www.BNI.com.

                                              Click on the link below to view video

                                              Copyright Copyright IvanMisner.com
                                            • Buying a Home Remains 38% Less Expensive than Renting!
                                              November 6, 2014
                                              By: KCM Group

                                              The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 17% in Honolulu, all the way to 63% in Detroit, and 38% Nationwide! This is up from an average of only 5% cheaper in Honolulu in April.

                                              The other interesting findings in the report include:

                                              - Rents have continued to increase nationally even as home price increases are starting to slow. Current low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting.

                                              - Some markets might tip in favor of renting next year if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if as most economists expect mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.

                                              'Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying and rates haven't been that high since 1989.'

                                              Bottom Line
                                              - Buying a home makes sense. Rental costs have historically increased at a higher rate of inflation. Lock in a mortgage payment now before home prices and mortgage rates rise as experts expect they will.

                                              Keeping Current Matters Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved
                                            • 23 Reasons Living In Florida Ruins You For Life
                                              November 3, 2014

                                              I'm sorry, what is this snow shovel that you speak of?

                                              1. Because now you'll never move to a state without a Publix.

                                              2. Because you get used to Disney World being only a car ride away.

                                              3. Because the only winter clothing you have to buy is a hoodie.

                                              4. Because everywhere else, winter and going to the beach are mutually exclusive.

                                              5. Because you wouldn't be able to function somewhere where people drive normally.

                                              6. Because Florida skies are so lovably dramatic all the time.

                                              7. Because indoor hobbies are boring as heck.

                                              8. Because warm nights after the humidity drops are so, so perfect.

                                              9. Four words: EATING. ICE CREAM. YEAR-ROUND.

                                              10. Because schadenfreude is impossibly sweet.

                                              11. Because you've worked hard to develop your skill of identifying every type of palm tree on sight.

                                              12. Because flip flops are still accepted as formal footwear if they're shiny enough.

                                              13. Because you know rain on the weather app is just a 15-minute shower, not an all day thing.

                                              14. Because parallel parking is not a real thing you have to worry about.

                                              15. You'll only find better Cuban food than Miami in Cuba.

                                              16. Because anything below a Category 3 hurricane means that you are most definitely throwing or going to a party.

                                              17. Because you don't even own an outfit that doesn't pair perfectly with sandals.

                                              18. Because you're used to going to the pool in fall.

                                              19. Because there's only one place where you can ride the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

                                              20. You won't find fiercer college football rivalries than Canes vs. Gators vs Noles.

                                              21. Because coming to terms with the fact that a lot of northern states just, like, don't have ceiling fans is a harsh reality.

                                              22. Because you know what fresh fish should look like.

                                              23. Because it's iced coffee season ALL. YEAR. LONG.

                                              Copyright Buzzfeed,com
                                            • New retail complex planned for Alton Road at corner of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach
                                              November 5, 2014
                                              By: Ina Paiva Cordle

                                              A handful of buildings on Miami Beach's Alton Road, at the corner of Lincoln Road including the mosaic-adorned Wells Fargo branch soon will be demolished to make way for a new retail and parking complex.

                                              Developer Crescent Heights has been assembling the properties on the 1600 block of Alton Road since August 2013, with plans to tear them down and create a new, five-story, modernistic structure, to be called 1212 Lincoln Road.

                                              The goal is for the development, across from the Regal South Beach movie theater, to be an extension of popular Lincoln Road luring shoppers to cross Alton Road, said Marisa Galbut, retail manager for Miami-based Crescent Heights.

                                              Alton Road could definitely use an energetic boost and a bit of the facelift, said Galbut, citing ongoing construction on the major Miami Beach artery. Businesses there have really been hurting, so I see it as a revival of the road.

                                              Galbut, the daughter of Crescent Heights Managing Principal Russell Galbut, said she expects 1212 Lincoln Road to attract the same type of national and international chain retailers that now line Lincoln Road.

                                              Tenants currently in the four buildings that will be demolished include Verticals & More, Gun Depot, Mattress Town, Spiaggia and Taco Rico. Mattress Town has occupied its space for 27 years, and several others have been there a decade or longer. The four buildings were built from 1926 to 1937.

                                              Miami-Dade property records show that a Crescent Heights affiliate purchased the four properties on the west side of Alton Road for a total of $48 million. Wells Fargo still owns its building at 1634 Alton, which was built in 1940. Crescent Heights has a contract to acquire it, and then will tear down, Galbut said.

                                              Demolition and construction will be done in two phases, beginning next year, once new tenants are lined up, she said. The city of Miami Beach's Design Review and Planning Boards have already given their approvals to the development, spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez confirmed.

                                              The west side of Alton Road is not part of an historic district, and Miami Beach's historic preservation guidelines only apply to properties within historic districts, said Daniel Ciraldo, historic preservation officer for the Miami Design Preservation League. So although some of the buildings date back to the 1920s and 1930s, they can be demolished without any sort of review, he said.

                                              We have been advocating for a review process similar to Coral Gables, where any building in the city, if proposed for demolition, is reviewed first for its historic significance, Ciraldo said. If we had that in place, some of the buildings might be preserved.

                                              Ciraldo said his organization has asked the city of Miami Beach if the mosaics on the Wells Fargo building, which were designed by artist Enzo Gallo, can be saved. But he said he has not yet heard back.

                                              When completed, 1212 Lincoln Road will have three stories of parking and two stories of retail shops, with a total of 83,484 square feet of commercial space and 297 parking spaces. Construction will be completed in about two years, Galbut said.

                                              The Wells Fargo building will be demolished in the second phase, and the bank will become a tenant in the new building, said Jose Gelabert-Navia, principal of Perkins + Will in Coral Gables, the architects for the project.

                                              Gelabert-Navia said the design of the new structure will be in keeping with the Bernard Zyscovich-designed Regal Cinemas and the iconic, Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road.

                                              You will see when you are on Lincoln Road, it will stand out, Galbut said. And getting the visitors and locals to cross Alton and continue their shopping experience will be a benefit to all of Lincoln Road.

                                              Copyright 2014 Miami Herald


                                            Ten Best Hotel Restaurants in Miami

                                            Posted on: 2014-11-10
                                            November 6, 2014
                                            By: Carina Ost

                                            As tourist season heats up, things in the kitchens of our favorite hotels get even hotter. Most of our city's best chefs are involved in hotel restaurants: Michael Schwartz has one at the Raleigh in South Beach, and Michelle Bernstein will soon open Seagrape at the Thompson in North Beach. On top of that, Miami imports the world's best restaurants and restaurateurs to its hotels, and the game is always changing.
                                            Favorites like J&G Grill are in flux, while the Vagabond Restaurant is previewing its menu while getting ready to open its doors.

                                            Here are the ten best hotel restaurants where you can get a great dinner and stay the night. These eateries can do for your stomach what magic fingers in a cheap motel can do for your back.

                                            10. Biscayne Tavern at b2
                                            Many hotel restaurants can be stuffy, but this self-proclaimed 'gastro-tavern' is a bit more casual. Biscayne Tavern pairs best with cold drinks, a juicy burger, and a couple of old friends. If you want an even homier experience, end your meal with chocolate chip cookies and milk.

                                            9. Zuma at the Epic Hotel
                                            Contemporary Japanese cuisine and a Zen-like dining room don't come cheap. However, at this showstopper, the presentations are stunning, while the cuisine has both yin and yang -- it's delicate and flavor-packed. No wonder this restaurant is a favorite among Miami chefs. The brunch is over-the-top.

                                            8. L'echon Brasserie at Hilton Cabana Miami Beach
                                            The Pubbelly Boys have ventured from their safe Sunset Harbour haven to give tourists a taste of a locals' favorite with some French flair. The pork-tastic dishes you have come to love are here, in addition to skate wing, escargots, and confit de canard.

                                            7. DB Bistro Moderne at JW Marriott Marquis
                                            For some of the best service in Miami and an overall luxurious business lunch, try DB Bistro Moderne. The Original DB Burger of ground sirloin, short rib, and foie gras is the menu signature, and it's as impressive as you'd imagine (and almost worth the hefty price). Beyond the burger, the wine list is beyond impressive and upward of 30 pages long.

                                            6. La Mar by Gast�n Acurio at Mandarin Oriental
                                            The view at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key is breathtaking. And now the restaurant that bears the name of the Peruvian culinary ambassador Gast�n Acurio is making locals and visitors swoon. The piscos and ceviches take Peruvian classics to a new level.

                                            5. Blue Collar at Biscayne Inn
                                            Motel restaurants don't enjoy the same level of prestige as hotel restaurants. But Blue Collar, a separate entity attached to the Biscayne Inn, breaks the stereotype. With lunch boxes on the wall and daily specials on the chalkboard, this locals' favorite serves the people's comfort food.

                                            4. The Dutch at the W
                                            For a taste of Americana with a touch of globe-trotting, the Dutch can make you a bit dizzy, but all of the food is delicious. The tiny po'boy, also known as the 'little oyster sandwich,' is pretty perfect, and ending a meal with a forkful of flaky homemade pie crust is the happy ending that foodies dream of. Entr�es are strong, but perhaps mas fuerte is the Montezuma's Revenge cocktail, made with jalape�o-infused mezcal.

                                            3. Scarpetta at Fontainebleau
                                            Miami has Scarpetta to thank for the Top Chef in our hearts, Nina Compton, along with Scott Conant's signature spaghetti pomodoro, which is as slurpable and divine as it looks. Though the menu is evolving with a new chef, and Conant is working on a new hotel restaurant in Miami, the staples are still there and always make for a memorable meal.

                                            2. Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons
                                            Despite being located inside a Four Seasons, Edge offers some of the most reasonably priced food and drinks in Brickell. We call it the 'haute hotel restaurant with a heart.' The happy hour, the brunch, those tostones, that bourbon cocktail with a bacon rim, and that view are all highlights.

                                            1. OLA at Sanctuary Hotel
                                            Tucked away on James Avenue are hotel-restaurant gems such as Pied � Terre and Casa Tua, but OLA is a standout. Always a welcome respite from the SoBe craziness, OLA serves consistent, delicious meals. Sip a strong mojito and dive into the menu that's a culinary trip around Latin America. The raspado de pato -- duck breast served over crisp rice with edamame, raisins, and pine nuts -- is like a bibimbap that's packed with flavor and sweet notes. The lobster ceviche is out of this world, and no meal is complete without OLA's deconstructed key lime pie.

                                            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.


                                            Cold front to bring 50s this weekend in South Florida

                                            October 30, 2014
                                            By: Miami Herald Staff

                                            Ready for the big chill?

                                            This weekend, we�ll get it.

                                            Forecasters expect temperatures to dip into the low- to mid-50s on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the coldest air in South Florida since March.

                                            The chilly air will continue Sunday night with lows in the 60s. Highs on Sunday will be in the low- to mid-70s.

                                            'It really will be fabulous, feeling very much like fall,' said CBS4 meteorologist Lissette Gonzalez. �We could see some record lows.�

                                            And it�ll be a darker weekend, too, with Daylight Saving Time coming to an end. Turn your clocks back an hour by 2 a.m. Sunday.

                                            A less intense cold front will roll in for Halloween.

                                            On Friday night, expect a few scattered showers and milder temperatures, with lows in the 70s.

                                            Copyright Miami Herald
                                          • Thirty Years of Tropical Chinese: 'Chinese Way Is to Fill the Tummy'
                                            October 29,2014
                                            By: Carla Torres

                                            A five-year restaurant run in this city is quite an accomplishment. Now multiply that times six and you'll get the magic number of years Tropical Chinese has seen steamed dim sum carts roll throughout its crimson, lantern-lit interior.
                                            The 30th anniversary came with a celebration last night that invited community members who've supported the business throughout the past three decades to revel in the successes of owner Mei Yu and her brother Gregory. Tropical Chinese was the endeavor of their parents, who migrated to Miami from Taiwan in 1984 when Mei and her brother were teenagers.

                                            The anniversary celebration of the neighborhood Chinese restaurant was filled with four generations of dim-sum-craving gourmands who've walked through the doors and become more than just customers. They are family and friends.

                                            'Atmosphere and friendship is number one -- after family, of course,' Mei says.

                                            When Mei's parents opened Tropical Chinese, they didn't necessarily intend to become one of the best and most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city, let alone the nation. They didn't even speak English (and still don't all too well), but they loved food (and still do).

                                            'They had nothing better to do, so they went for it,' says Mei, who at first was hesitant to get involved in the family business. 'I ended up coming back because to us, family is most important.'

                                            When her brother graduated from college after studying construction, the two decided it was time to continue pushing dim sum, so they expanded the dining room to its current size. Years later, they would remodel it to include a glass-encased kitchen and updated furnishings, but the original flair of Hong Kong is still felt evident from the moment you walk in. Even so with the new mural and 20-foot bar that were unveiled last night as part of 30 years of Tropical Chinese.

                                            The mural, which is the work of local artist Steve Saiz, is a representation of all the things that Tropical Chinese stands for. You'll find palm trees, representative of Florida's tropical climate, which inspired the restaurant's name, as well crimson lanterns, animated dim sum, pineapple, and Peking duck. You'll also see Chinese characters (those stand for family), the word 'love,' wine (because Mei loves wine), ByeJoe (the national spirit of China), and other symbols to sum up the past three decades.

                                            A step-and-repeat encouraged families, couples, and children to stop and capture memories for the evening. It was a glamorous affair.

                                            Food at these types of events is usually scarce, but that's not the Tropical Chinese way. 'The Chinese traditional way is that we wanna fill the tummy. If we don't do that, we didn't do a good job.' Barbecued pork buns flew off trays, and just as quickly as they went, others arrived. All. Night. Long.

                                            Same goes for the xiaolong bao steamed buns, which were pockets of perfection.

                                            A Tropical Chinese staple, Peking duck, was churned out via a full-on assembly line wrapping crisp skin, scallions, and cucumbers into steamed pancakes. You won't find any honey chicken at this joint, just authentic Chinese cuisine, although Mei has had to fight some battles, particularly on Yelp. 'We get comments from people saying this isn't authentic Chinese, but many people think Asian food is all Chinese or that honey chicken is Chinese,' she says. 'Honey chicken isn't a Chinese food. It's chicken and honey.'

                                            In the back, pork was being cupped and balled into dumplings just as it was 30 years ago. 'Food hasn't changed. We've stayed true to what we are.'

                                            Scallion pancakes with beef.

                                            Inaugurating the new 20-foot bar in proper fashion with ByeJoe cocktails and lemon drop martinis.

                                            Mei and one of her dearest friends look fly after 30 years of Chinese food. Asked how it feels, Mei remains humble. 'It feels amazing. Not amazing for our accomplishments, but amazing to have friends that we've shared our life with.' And about her maintaining that great physique with all of that delicious food around? Her secret is in the cuisine itself. 'Chinese food is actually very healthy. We eat a lot of vegetables, steam everything, and use mostly water- and rice-based ingredients. It's the Americanized Chinese food that adds a lot of oil and gives Chinese food a bad rep, but have you tried the real deal?'
                                            If you haven't in the past 30 years, it's about time you did.

                                            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                          • Start Spreadin� the News? Miami�s Top Real Estate
                                            Pros Assess Their City Alongside New York, London, Paris and Others in Recent Survey

                                            October 29, 2014

                                            Master Brokers Forum Members Consider Their Hometown�s Strengths and Opportunities as Miami Joins Ranks of �World Class� Cities

                                            A recent survey of 94 members of the Master Brokers Forum (MBF), an organization comprised of Miami�s top residential real estate agents, demonstrates resolute confidence about their hometown�s global standing among other world-class cities. The survey also reveals that Miami�s strongest advantages over its competitors are its weather, real estate and pricing, and global position, according to the surveyed Master Brokers.
                                            Conducted online in September 2014, the three-question survey queried members about when Miami will be globally considered a �world class� city (on the same tier as New York, Paris, London, etc.); the factors most likely to put Miami real estate�s per-square-foot pricing on the same tier as New York; and which advantages Miami has when compared to its metro-rivals.
                                            The major revelations of the survey are: 
                                            More than half (57%) of the Master Brokers believe Miami is already globally considered �world class�, and another (nearly) 30% feel that Miami will reach that status in less than ten years. Fewer than 10% feel that consideration will come sometime between 10 and 20 years from now, and only three respondents believe Miami �will never be� considered at that level.
                                            Nearly 75% of the members chose �dramatic growth of South Florida Economy� as the factor most likely to put Miami real estate�s per-square-foot pricing on the same tier as New York. Among the other two options, �political upheaval in South American� was a distant second at 18%, and �prolonged trend of rough winters in the northeast� was a distant third at 7%.
                                            When ranking Miami�s advantages over other major cities, the runaway leader was �Weather�, with a 9.46 out of 11 average ranking, followed in order by:
                                            �Price/Quality of Real Estate (8.23) 
                                            �Global location/Proximity to major markets (7.68) 
                                            �Travel/Tourism/Hotels (7.04) 
                                            �Entertainment/Dining/Sports (6.14) 
                                            �Business/Economy (5.69) 
                                            �Shopping (5.24) 
                                            �Hospitals/Health Care (5.01) 
                                            �Arts/Culture/History (4.43) 
                                            �Schools/Education (4.29) 
                                            �Public Safety/Infrastructure/Ease of Transportation (2.79)
                                            To view an infographic for this survey, visit: https://www.masterbrokersforum.com/images/MiamiMBFSurveyInfographic.jpg
                                            �It could be very easy to dismiss these results as arrogant and myopic, but observers should take careful notice of the wording of the first question,� said Jeff Morr, Miami MBF chair. �We asked our members �WHEN do you believe Miami will be globally considered a world class city�� which is different from asking them their own opinion about their hometown. Those results are indicative of Miami�s extraordinary recent progress, and perhaps an abundance of optimism for that positive trend to continue.�
                                            �The results of question number two demonstrate a realistic understanding of a key advantage for New York,� added Morr. �Despite Miami�s dramatic evolution as a center for trade and commerce, New York is still the financial capital of the world, and Miami has some ground to make up before our per-square-foot pricing is on the same level.�
                                            �I believe the results of question three are the most interesting findings of the survey,� Morr went on to add. �Master Brokers have a clear sense of the advantages presented by Miami�s celebrated weather; the diversity and quality of real estate available to residents, part-time inhabitants, and investors; our proximity to South America and the Caribbean; first-rate tourism and hotel offerings; and a wide spectrum of dining and entertainment options. It should be noted that we have also seen wonderful advances in Miami�s infrastructure, schools and cultural offerings in recent years, so I would not be surprised to see those aspects become great advantages in the years to come.�
                                            [NOTE TO MEDIA: INFOGRAPHIC ATTACHED. For a complete review of the survey�s results, please contact Jason Rayman at jrayman(at)jrayman.com or 786-473-0992.]
                                            ABOUT THE MASTER BROKERS FORUM 
                                            Established in 1993, the Master Brokers Forum is a unique organization comprised of South Florida's top residential real estate professionals. The MBF provides its members with the opportunity to network and exchange ideas, stay at the cutting edge of the real estate industry and new products, and spearhead the identity of the best of real estate professionalism. Membership is limited to the region's most successful real estate professionals, and is by invitation only. For more information, visit https://www.masterbrokersforum.com.

                                            Copyright 1997-2014, Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC. Vocus, PRWeb, and Publicity Wire are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vocus, Inc. or Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.

                                          Billionaire investor plans upgrades for Miami boatyard
                                          October 26, 2014
                                          By: Martha Branningan

                                          John Spencer still remembers that day just before Christmas in 2009, in the depths of the economic downturn, when Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock Co. sent workers home and suspended operations.

                                          �After it closed, I went home and said, �Now what the hell am I going to do?�� said Spencer, 59, who at the time was a yard superintendent at the historic boatyard on the Miami River.

                                          So Spencer stepped up.

                                          He raided his retirement nest egg and leased the facility from the owner, reopening for business six weeks later. Initially the yard brought back 10 workers, about 20 percent of the staff, but as much as the work could support.

                                          �I had one boat to paint, so I said, �Well, let�s paint a boat.� Pretty soon, there was another one,� Spencer said. �That was the depths of what they call the Great Recession.�

                                          But all that seems so long ago now.

                                          Fast forward to November 2013: Turkish billionaire industrialist and philanthropist Rahmi M. Ko� acquired the boatyard in cooperation with Spencer, who became the CEO and a minority partner at the business, which is reflagged RMK Merrill-Stevens.

                                          With the marine industry showing slow, steady signs of recovering over the past two years after a dramatic plunge during the recession, Spencer said: �We�ve got a full order book for the fall, and we�re starting to take work for 2015.� The company now has 30 employees.

                                          The new owners are weighing ambitious plans to modernize and upgrade the six-acre facility, whose history dates to 1923 in Miami, and even farther back to its founding in Jacksonville in 1885 by James Merrill and Alonzo Stevens.

                                          �Thanks to John, we are working to bring back its old glory and prestige,� Ko� said on a recent visit to Miami, where he keeps a vacation home.

                                          The latest push to reinvigorate the aging boatyard stands out at a time when many sites along the Miami River have given way to condominium projects. With waterfront land in scarce supply, even at record prices, the river is drawing intense interest from residential developers.

                                          The boatyard already works on megayachts of up to 250 feet in length in the water and and vessels more than 170 feet long out of the water.

                                          Over the years, it has serviced yachts for a host of celebrities, including Malcolm Forbes, Ivana Trump, Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp.

                                          With yachts growing ever larger, a key goal of the modernization will be making room to accommodate larger vessels. One challenge is the narrow width of the river, but special ship-lifting equipment could help maximize the yard�s flexibility. �We want to be able to handle any boat that can navigate the river,� Spencer said.

                                          �The yacht industry is coming back and people want bigger and newer yachts,� Ko� said.

                                          The boatyard has fallen into loving hands after a tumultuous decade in which it changed ownership several times. In 2004, the Merrill family sold the facility to Hugh Westbrook, a former healthcare entrepreneur, whose big plans for a megayacht operation were dashed during the economic downturn. That�s when Spencer began leasing it from Westbrook, his old boss, and operating Spencer Boat Company.

                                          Spencer continued to lease it after Coconut Grove Bank took over the facility in 2011 and searched for a buyer, and he stuck with it after David Marlow, chairman of Marlow Yachts of Palmetto, bought it from the bank.

                                          Ko� � an avid yachtsman with a passion for boats � first became interested in the boatyard when the bank still owned it.

                                          Ko�, who spends several weeks a year in Miami, said a friend, Finlay B. Matheson, was taking him to lunch on the Miami River and pointed out the boatyard, saying the distressed property, which straddles both sides of the river, had been taken over by Coconut Grove Bank, which was looking for a buyer. �He asked if I would be interested, and I said I was,� Ko� said.

                                          The family-controlled Ko� Holding, a diversified industrial giant based in Istanbul, owns RMK Marine, a much larger shipyard that makes megayachts and naval and commercial vessels. Ko� spent more than two years � September 2004 to July 2006 � sailing around the world in Nazenin IV, a 124-foot sailing yacht that was custom built for him at RMK Marine�s shipyard.

                                          But before Ko� could act, boating entrepreneur Marlow, whose company manufactures yachts in China and elsewhere, purchased the real estate, equipment and name from Coconut Grove Bank for $6.6 million in June 2011.

                                          While Ko� was looking at the yard, he and Spencer became friends, and they kept in touch.

                                          In 2011, Spencer visited Ko� in Turkey. He was considering working for Ko��s shipyard there, but he decided against it. Still, the men continued kicking around ideas for teaming up on a boatyard in Miami.

                                          They looked at several facilities in the Miami area. Merrill-Stevens kept coming back as their top choice, even though it wasn�t for sale. Marlow, who didn�t return phone calls seeking comment, was in the process of making improvements and reorganizing the facility, according to Spencer.

                                          �It�s not easy buying something from someone who doesn�t want to sell,� Ko� said.

                                          But Ko� prevailed, and in November 2013, he paid Marlow $7.7 million for the real estate and an additional sum for the business.

                                          While Ko� loves boats, he said any decisions for upgrades at RMK Merrill-Stevens will be driven by financial considerations.

                                          �I didn�t buy it for charity: We must make money,� Ko� said. �That�s why we�re investing � to have the full benefit of the land and property.�

                                          Improvements would be concentrated on the boatyard�s facilities on the north side of the river.

                                          One challenge is the narrowness of the river. RMK Merrill-Stevens is considering installing new equipment � either a larger travel lift or synchrolift � for hauling bigger yachts out of the water. That could entail relocating the boat-lifting capabilities to a different area, Spencer said.

                                          �We�re doing engineering and cost-benefit analysis right now,� said Spencer, who has worked around boats much of his life.

                                          Spencer, a Wisconsin native who grew up near Lake Superior, came to Florida to work as a boat captain. �I thought I�d stay one winter,� he said. �That was 1983.�

                                          Although Miami-Dade�s marine industry has dwindled in recent decades, overshadowed by operations in Broward and Palm Beach counties, Ko� and Spencer see signs it will make a comeback � with the Miami River playing a vital role.

                                          Among other things, preliminary work has begun on a megayacht marina and resort at Watson Island in Biscayne Bay. While those plans were delayed for years � and now face a court challenge by nearby Venetian Islands residents � such a facility would draw larger yachts that currently have limited options for docking in Miami.

                                          �The more activity here [and] the more that Miami is seen as a yachting destination, the better that is,� Spencer said. �The more yachts that come here, the better that is for this economy.�

                                          Ko� said the expansion of the Panama Canal and Miami�s emergence as a magnet for international wealth bode well for the future of its marine business. �Miami is going to be a big yachting center and cruising center,� he said.

                                          Along the Miami River, plans are in the works for a megayacht marina at 1583 NW 24th Ave., the location of Brisas Del Rio Marina. The project would include 14 private, enclosed wet berths for megayachts of 150 to 250 feet with storage and living facilities for the captain and crew overlooking the water.

                                          Plans call for selling individual berths as condominium units, said spokesman Frank Leon, who expects details of the project to be unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show set for Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

                                          �Merrill-Stevens is very excited [about the marina plans], and we�re very excited with Merrill-Stevens� plans,� Leon said. �It�s complementary.�

                                          Besides boat maintenance and repair, the Merrill-Stevens facility provides a U.S. beachhead to market custom yachts made by RMK Marine, the Turkish shipmaker that is part of Ko� Holding.

                                          Ko� and Spencer see an opportunity to sell new megayachts from RMK Marine at their Miami facility.

                                          As a complement to its refitting and repair business, RMK Merrill-Stevens is launching a yacht brokerage operation � a line of business it had discontinued in 2008.

                                          In June, RMK Merrill-Stevens signed a licensing agreement under which Paul Madden, a veteran yacht broker, is reviving the company�s brokerage brand. Madden, who had worked as a shipyard representative at CRN Yachts and Blohm+Voss, is marketing, among other things, RMK Marine custom yachts and Benetti yachts.

                                          Merrill-Stevens officials see marketing advantages in offering buyers delivery of the new vessels in Miami along with a U.S.-based service center.

                                          �American buyers like to have warranty and service locally,� Madden said.

                                          Madden plans to invite boaters at the Fort Lauderdale show to visit the Miami boatyard and to promote it during the Miami International Boat Show in February.

                                          �With Merrill-Stevens, I feel here�s a brand that can really be built � or rebuilt � into something great,� Madden said.

                                          Copyright 2014 Miami Herald


                                          Renderings revealed
                                          Miami Beach Convention Center's new look

                                          Click on the link below to view photos
                                        • Legendary Comedian & Actor, The Great One

                                          Jackie Gleason, Live From Miami Beach 1965 
                                          Courtesy of Alvin Lederer


                                        • Splitsville
                                          Photo Courtesy of Lee Smith





                                        BIG BUS TOURS DOWNTOWN MIAMI AREA

                                        This sightseeing tour of Miami has been specifically designed to show the best that Miami has to offer. Guests can enjoy it all from the comfort and great vantage point of the open-top buses, or hop off wherever they want to explore the places that intrigue them most before hopping back on to continue their journey. See all the most thrilling and attractive areas such as South Beach, Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Little Havana and more. See iconic buildings and monuments like the Freedom Tower, Vizcaya Museum and the Versace Mansion, not to mention the sleek shapes and vibrant colors of the Art Deco District. The hop-on, hop-off facility is a great benefit that enables guests to explore all the sights at their leisure. There are 20 locations where guests can get off the bus to visit attractions and monuments or explore places of interest. This facility gives guests the freedom to plan their own itineraries, visit the places that interest them and to explore for as little or as long as they would like. They can leave and return to the open-top buses as many times as they want within the validity period of their tickets.

                                        Must purchase ticket on their website https://eng.bigbustours.com/miami/home.html
                                        using code: CVBMAM50 to receive 50% off adult and child addmission during October 1-31, 2014

                                        Copyright 2014 Official website Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. All rights reserved.

                                      • Tensions over public money for SkyRise are sky high
                                        October 22, 2014
                                        By: Douglas Hank & David Smiley

                                        Designed to soar 1,000 feet up into the clouds over Biscayne Bay, SkyRise Miami has been billed as the Magic City�s $430 million version of the Eiffel Tower. But a renewed push for millions in public subsidies is beginning to make the voter-approved project more a lightning rod.

                                        Developer Jeff Berkowitz�s quest for tax-backed funds plunged his project last week into a sticky political web. The imbroglio � centered around a summer campaign that emphasized the lack of public funding for the tower � has pitted politician against politician, and Berkowitz against Miami Mayor Tom�s Regalado, who has gone from campaign spokesman to outspoken critic.

                                        Tensions grew Wednesday after the mayor canceled a meeting with Berkowitz at City Hall, saying they had nothing to talk about. Berkowitz responded by demanding a public apology.

                                        �My reputation for integrity and credibility is being widely [but without justification] challenged and I believe I deserve a public acknowledgment from you that I never misled you or the voters about anything,� Berkowitz wrote in a letter he distributed to the media.

                                        Regalado fired back: �The way to resolve this is for him to pull his request and find the money from the private sector.�

                                        The barbs began last week after Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez suddenly threw his support behind a SkyRise application to receive money from a $75 million pot of economic-development dollars funded through property taxes. The move was a change in course for Gimenez, who had previously endorsed smaller projects and placed a SkyRise application on the back-burner while awaiting the results of an August referendum that determined whether Berkowitz could build his tower.

                                        Over the summer, Miami voters overwhelmingly approved the project, pitched as part of a new city lease agreement with Bayside Marketplace that included renovations to the old retail center on the bay in downtown. In the deal, Miami was to receive a $10 million payment plus millions more over the course of Bayside�s long-term lease.

                                        SkyRise, a hairpin shaped structure with theme park-style rides and an amphitheater on a spit of land behind the retail center, was the deal�s showstopper.

                                        Berkowitz has made bold projections. He said 3.2 million visitors would come each year, and SkyRise would have an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion.

                                        But, perhaps infamously, Berkowitz also pledged repeatedly that SkyRise would be built at no cost to the city of Miami, a promise that would become a focal point of the campaign to court Miami voters.

                                        Berkowitz maintains that commitment holds true, saying the city pays nothing and county money would pay for public infrastructure such as a baywalk, marina and parking garage around SkyRise. But if he gets the funds he�s seeking, it would push up property taxes. Miami property owners, then, would help fund a small part of Berkowitz�s project.

                                        Regalado, who in one radio spot to �Miami voters� during the summer campaign flatly stated that �taxpayers win without putting in a cent,� says he was caught off-guard by Gimenez�s request for public funds for SkyRise. He called on Gimenez and Berkowitz to withdraw the application last week, saying it flew in the face of what Miami voters were sold.

                                        The spat is problematic for both men. Berkowitz informed the city administration in an April letter about his application for county funds, but did not make it explicit to Regalado during the campaign that he was indeed seeking money that could increase property taxes for Miami taxpayers.

                                        Regalado says he was ignorant about a detail that now appears crucial to a significant project and referendum in the city he leads. Regalado says his administration never informed him of SkyRise�s application for a county grant, and denies responsibility for being in the dark.

                                        �It doesn�t fall on me because I didn�t know the letter existed,� Regalado said.

                                        Berkowitz first went public with SkyRise about a year ago, after submitting initial plans to the city to begin the approval process. In February, he filed an application with the county for $15 million in economic development funds. He also unsuccessfully sought millions in state funds, which he says he�ll pursue again next year.

                                        In April, Berkowitz explained the funding sources for the $430 million project in a letter to Miami Deputy City Manager Alice Bravo. His team wrote that $30 million would come from Berkowitz, up to $110 million from other investors, and $270 million from foreign investors seeking visas through the federal government�s EB5 program. And he also said he was seeking up to $20 million in public funds, including money he had requested from the county, to pay for infrastructure work.

                                        In May, the city commission approved the referendum language, and in June they approved key lease agreements to allow Berkowitz to build with voters� consent, kicking off a campaign that ended with 68 percent of the voters approving the SkyRise deal.

                                        The campaign included ads funded in part with $125,000 in SkyRise money. Some of the dollars paid for the radio ad featuring Regalado�s statements about public funding.

                                        The mayor now believes the developer�s quest for county funds was overlooked in his discussions with Miami�s administration amid a heavy focus on how the deal affected the city of Miami. But Berkowitz on Wednesday chided Regalado for faulting others for the mayor�s ignorance.

                                        �I am sorry that your administration did not share that information with you, leaving you uninformed, but that is your issue, not mine,� Berkowitz wrote. �I was upfront, transparent and forthcoming.�

                                        As the dispute lingers on, it throws into question Berkowitz�s chances of securing the $9 million in county funds, which would no doubt help him court other investors. Several county commissioners have come out in opposition to the SkyRise application, and Berkowitz has said he�s unsure what will happen with the proceedings.

                                        The debate over the SkyRise campaign has also tacitly pitted Regalado against Gimenez. Regalado says that giving the developer public money would be somewhat of a bait-and-switch. But Gimenez spokesman Mike Hern�ndez said the project is the type that voters envisioned when they backed the economic development funds 10 years ago.

                                        �Miami-Dade voters knew what they voted for in 2004,� Hern�ndez said. �You�re talking about a very small sum of money for a very large economic impact in a county that could use additional jobs.�

                                        Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                      • QRM Mortgage Rule Could Ease Credit for Consumers
                                        October 21, 2014
                                        By: Robert Freedman

                                        No minimum down payment, as NAR sought
                                        The mortgage financing environment for households could improve as a result of a rule federal regulators are releasing starting today. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the first of six financial regulators to release the final version of the long-awaited qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule, which stems from the big 2010 banking reform bill the federal government enacted after the financial crisis.

                                        The QRM rule provides a set of requirements a loan must meet to be considered a safe loan and eligible to be sold to investors as part of a mortgage-backed security without the lender having to retain 5 percent of the loan amount on its books. Because the QRM loan comes without the risk-retention requirement, lenders should be able to make more loans and also make them more cheaply, because they don't have to pass along that risk-retention cost to borrowers.

                                        NAR has been vocal for several years that the QRM rule should be broad rather than prescriptive and that it should match up with the qualified mortgage (QM) rule, which took effect at the beginning of this year, and the QRM rule does in fact do that. The QM rule provides ability-to-repay standards for safe and affordable loans, whether or not they're securitized for sale to investors.

                                        'NAR applauds the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for finalizing the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule today, which includes a broad definition of QRM and aligns with the Qualified Mortgage standard implemented earlier this year,' NAR President Steve Brown says.

                                        Under the QRM rule, as under the QM rule, loans are generally considered qualified if the borrower's debt-to-income ratio is 43 percent, among other things. There is no onerous down payment requirement, which regulators had talked about including and which NAR and coalition partners strongly opposed.

                                        'Importantly, the final rule relies on sound and responsible underwriting rather than on an onerous down payment requirement to qualify as a QRM loan,' Brown says. 'NAR strongly opposed earlier versions of the rule that included 20 and 30 percent down payment requirements, which would have denied millions of Americans access to the lowest cost and safest mortgages.'

                                        The rule takes effect in 12 months. That will give lenders time to align their internal processing systems with the requirements. Since lenders have already been aligning their systems to the QM rule, the process can be expected to go smoothly.

                                        For lenders, having the two rules in alignment provides clarity that they've long been asking for. One result of this new clarity could be a widening and deepening of loan availability, which has been one of the main stumbling blocks to increased home sales. At a press conference today, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the alignment of the two rules could help make credit more available and boost sales.

                                        'Certainly this is a victory for consumers,' Yun says.

                                        Learn more about the rule:

                                        QRM and risk retention.


                                        2014 Copyright. All Rights Reserved. National Association of REALTORS
                                      • South Florida Market Focus Update � October 2014
                                        Click on the link below to view video

                                        Courtesy of Miami Association of Realtors
                                      • Coconut Grove manse is Miami�s priciest home listing
                                        October 17, 2014

                                        Owner of La Brisa wants $65M for waterfront property that dates back to 1880s

                                        With a $65 million asking price, a Coconut Grove mansion is the most expensive home on the market in Miami-Dade County. The owner of La Brisa, a nine-bedroom, nearly 14,000-square-foot estate on 6.9 waterfront acres, brought in William P.D. Pierce of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate to market the property, according to the firm�s written announcement. The gated and Mediterranean-style La Brisa was originally constructed during the 1920s and recently went through a restoration. The mansion sits atop an ancient coral reef about 23 feet above sea level. Features include 3,338 square feet of outdoor living space with several balconies and covered porches and a private port that can accommodate a 70-foot yacht. La Brisa�s history dates back to 1886, when the land was deeded to children�s novelist Kirk Munroe. �This is an extremely rare opportunity to purchase not just part of Miami�s colorful history, but to own [a] spectacular Hammock that rivals a private reserve in the heart of Miami�s famed Coconut Grove neighborhood,� said Pierce, who is also marketing a Hillsboro Beach mansion for $139 million. That listing is believed to be the most expensive in the U.S. - Eric Kalis 

                                        All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal


                                        Miami art collector unveils plans for Latin American art museum
                                        October 15, 2014
                                        By: Kathryn Varyn

                                        Gary Nader has always felt Miami�s art and culture network was missing something: a museum dedicated to showcasing Latin American media.

                                        So he decided to create his own.

                                        Nader, a local art collector with a gallery in Wynwood, revealed plans this week to build a Latin American Art Museum at a still-to-be-determined location in downtown Miami. The museum, he said, will feature about 600 paintings, drawings and sculptures from his personal collection.

                                        �The influence of Latin America in the U.S. is extremely prominent,� he said. �We want to tell the story.�

                                        The 90,000-square-foot museum, expected to open in early 2016, will feature exhibits showcasing a variety of modern and contemporary media, including visual art, couture fashion, film and music. Outside, Nader will display about 25 sculptures in what he has called a �cultural park.�

                                        The first year of programming will feature a retrospective of works by Fernando Botero and a Brazilian art exhibit, along with individual shows of works by Latin American masters Roberto Matta, Wifredo Lam, Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera.

                                        To design the museum, Nader engaged Mexican architect Fernando Romero, known for his metallic, lopsided cylindrical design of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City. Nader estimated the cost of the museum at about $50 million.

                                        To help pay for it, Nader plans to build a 300-unit, $300 million residential tower on the same property, where units will be priced between $2 million and $20 million. Nader said he is working with three potential sites on Biscayne Boulevard, and negotiating with three potential partners to develop and construct the project.

                                        The museum�s potential is heightened by Miami�s reputation as a �hotbed� for cultural institutions, said Dennis Scholl, the Knight Foundation�s vice president of arts. But that success will depend on the museum�s programming, he said.

                                        �Any institution needs to have the highest quality artistic programming and needs to reach out to everybody in the community in order to introduce them to the work that they�re going to be showing,� Scholl said. Nader�s long standing as a collector and dealer of Latin American art gives Scholl confidence in the project, he said.

                                        Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County�s cultural affairs director, voiced a similar faith in Nader�s knowledge and business savvy, drawing comparisons to other privately owned museums in the county, such as the de la Cruz Collection in the Design District and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Wynwood.

                                        �The force and determination of these people and their vision has given us an amazing array for opportunities for people to enjoy the arts,� Spring said. �I�m glad Gary�s moving ahead with it.�

                                        During Art Basel and through January, Nader will display the rendering and a model of the museum at his gallery, 62 NE 27th St. Guests can also see a preview of some of the Latin American art in Nader's collection on the second floor of his gallery until the museum opens in 2016.

                                        We're not building a museum, then a collection, he said. We're building a museum around a collection that already exists.

                                        Copyright Miami Herald


                                      Proposed museum building splashy even for Miami

                                      October 11, 2014
                                      By: Andres Viglucci & Hannah Sampson

                                      A celebrated, wealthy investment manager wants to erect a strikingly unconventional building � shaped like an anvil, raised on a platform and encased in translucent concrete � on Biscayne Boulevard to house his offices and a pair of monumental works by two art-world legends.

                                      The proposed building, designed by Miami�s Arquitectonica, would be the latest � and surely the splashiest � in a series of private museums established by art collectors in Miami to show their holdings to the public.

                                      But the nearly windowless structure, plans for which were recently submitted to the city, have been met with initial consternation by zoning reviewers. City planners say they�re having trouble at first blush reconciling it with the Miami 21 zoning code, which does not anticipate a building like it, though they say it could pass muster with variances and modifications. One concern: whether the sculptural monolith might be too �offputting�� a presence on the city�s resurgent main drag.

                                      Like some ancient ark for art, the building�s shape and dimensions were precisely tailored to display two highly engineered works � a tall conical installation by light artist James Turrell that was a blockbuster when exhibited last year at New York�s Guggenheim Museum, and an undulating, 200-foot-long steel piece by sculptor Richard Serra last shown in Qatar.

                                      Both works were acquired for the site, a vacant block at Biscayne and Northeast 26th Street in the Edgewater neighborhood, by Bruce Berkowitz, founder of Miami-based Fairholme Capital Management. Berkowitz, dubbed �the megamind of Miami� by Fortune magazine for his market-beating proficiency at contrarian investing, has been quietly assembling land since last year to build a new headquarters for his company and foundation that would also incorporate a public showcase for art.

                                      Berkowitz said he chose Edgewater because of the National YoungArts Foundation�s move in 2012 into the historically and architecturally iconic former Bacardi headquarters five blocks to the south on Biscayne Boulevard. He had been contemplating the idea of a building that could combine his business and art interests in one location when he found out �by accident� that the Turrell and Serra works were available, Berkowitz said.

                                      �We wanted to create a unique space that combined both work and play � business and arts and education,� Berkowitz said. �We thought about the idea of how to mix that all together, and there was an opportunity to purchase the works, and then we started to think about the building in relationship to the works.�

                                      Paul Lehr, president and CEO of YoungArts, said he met with members of Fairholme�s team as they were searching for a site and has been filled in on the plans for the building. The YoungArts campus will include a Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center.

                                      �I think it�s thrilling. It�s great for the neighborhood to have that kind of art right down the street,� Lehr said. �It�s always wonderful to have new development around, but when you�ve got pieces of artwork like this building is going to have, it really enhances the neighborhood.�

                                      The Fairholme building�s unusual design and prominent location, though, seem sure to spur a lively public debate. When renderings were posted on the exMiami.com website recently, one commenter called it �awful� and another compared it to the Jawa Sandcrawler in Star Wars. But others embraced it just as forcefully: �YES YES YES! I love it!� went one fan. �Bravo!� went another.

                                      Both Turrell and Serra have been closely involved in the building�s design, portions of which were drawn to their specifications, Berkowitz and Arquitectonica co-principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia said. Turrell has designed a second work for the site that would light up the exterior lip of the building platform at sidewalk level, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      (Bruce Berkowitz is not to be confused with the unrelated real estate developer Jeff Berkowitz, for whom Arquitectonica has designed another unique structure, the SkyRise observation tower that would rise 1,000 feet behind Bayside Marketplace.)

                                      The Fairholme building design began taking on its unorthodox form and materials because Berkowitz, who is known for going against the crowd in his investment strategy, didn�t want anything like �the typical Miami glass tower,� Fort-Brescia said.

                                      They settled on a concrete exterior in part because Berkowitz likes the material, said Fort-Brescia and his architect son, Raymond Fort, who is in charge of the project for the firm. But they turned to a new type of concrete embedded with glass fiber optics that renders the material translucent and softens the building�s appearance. At night, they said, the building should glow as light from the interior filters out through the concrete.

                                      Another reason for concrete: It best sets off Passage of Time, the work by Serra, who did not want it sitting against glass, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      The building would rise from a platform elevated 111/2 over sidewalk level, in part because of federal flood requirements, Fort-Brescia said. A single level of parking would sit below the platform, fully underground, he said.

                                      Though it would have just five floors � two for the public gallery, and three office levels above � the building would be 100 feet tall, or roughly 10 stories, to accommodate Turrell�s Aten Reign. Originally conceived for the contours of Frank Lloyd Wright�s famed spiral rotunda at the Guggenheim, the sculpture � with the widest part of the cone at the top � also inspired the Fairholme building�s shape, which gets wider as it rises, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      Aten Reign�s series of concentric color-shifting light ovals requires natural light filtering from above. At New York�s Guggenheim, that light came through an �oculus,� or circular skylight. At the prism-like Fairholme building, an expansive skylight in the wide roof could catch sunlight and, with the use of shades, soften and guide it down through the Turrell sculpture and throughout the building�s atrium-like interior, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      Turrell, who carefully positions his works� displays, wants visitors to enter the light cone from below. At the Guggenheim, people lined up outside for hours to lie on the floor and gaze up into the ethereal light effects. At the Fairholme building, visitors would walk up a ramp and then down under the sculpture to fulfill Turrell�s vision, Fort-Brescia said. At the top of the sculpture would be a �sky room� in which viewers can look down through the sculpture, a feature the Guggenheim could not fit in.

                                      �It will be incredible, mystical,� Fort-Brescia said. �This building perfects the sequence of arrival at the piece. It�s amazing that Miami�s getting the piece.�

                                      When Aten Reign opened at the Guggenheim last year, The New York Times� critic called the sculpture �ravishing� and described it as �an immense, elliptical, nearly hallucinatory play of light and color.�

                                      �I couldn�t believe how people were waiting for hours in line to just lie down on the floor and look at this piece,� Berkowitz said. �It affects your mood and the way you look at things.�

                                      The Serra sculpture, long twinned waves of Cor-Ten steel that oxidizes naturally to a rusty patina, would run along the building�s south side on 26th Street. It would be raised on a plaza above sidewalk level and sit behind a shallow reflecting pool so that visitors could walk through and around the piece, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      The building�s main entrance would be tucked behind the Serra piece. Above it, one of the building�s few windows � a band of glass that stretches along the entire 260-foot length of the southern fa�ade without a single mullion or column to interrupt it � is angled down precisely to allow a full view of the Serra sculpture on the plaza below it. The glazing would be super-clear, low-iron glass, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      The platform is one of the elements troubling city planners, who are concerned it could isolate the building from streets and sidewalks they have been working to make pedestrian-friendly. But it is critical for display and protection of the Serra sculpture, restricting access and placing it beyond the reach of street vandals, Fort-Brescia said.

                                      Fort-Brescia noted historic and architectural antecedents on the boulevard for putting a building on a raised platform, including the Bacardi complex, in which a tower and a boxy companion on a short pedestal behind it sit on a broad, raised plaza. Like the Fairholme design, the Bacardi buildings also blend sculpture and art with the architecture, he said.

                                      But the Fairholme building design presents a quandary for the city�s reviewers, who must ensure it�s compatible with Miami 21, concedes city planning and zoning director Francisco Garcia. The code is designed to promote active, pedestrian-friendly sidewalk life by requiring that commercial and residential buildings have lots of glass and doorways at ground level along important streets like Biscayne Boulevard.

                                      Reviewers initially balked, Garcia said, acknowledging that the code was written to foster �cohesive background buildings� and not �one-off�� buildings like Fairholme�s. After meeting with Fort-Brescia, Garcia said he believes there might be ways to allow it, but the trick will be to do so �without a complete subversion of Miami 21.�

                                      Garcia said he and his staff are taking a close look at the plans to determine what design changes or variances might be needed.

                                      �It�s not your average, run-of-the-mill building,� Garcia said. �It�s certainly a building of a type that would be hard for any code to provide for. I would describe it to you as a work in progress.

                                      �Does it have to do it like every other building? Not necessarily. But it should not be off-putting. It should engage the pedestrian realm in some meaningful way.�

                                      One idea, he said, is to approach analysis of the building as a sculpture, and the platform below it as the plinth or base on which it�s displayed.

                                      �When you get down to the details and the fine-grain design approach, there are a number of possibilities that in the end could result in a truly, truly remarkable building,� Garcia said. �I really think it could be a good addition to the Biscayne Boulevard menagerie.�

                                      One problem, Fort-Brescia said, is that the code contains restrictions to regulate ordinary commercial or residential buildings, like sharply limiting floor heights, so that they follow a consistent urban form. �But everything�s not a condo,� he said.

                                      Berkowitz said he is �just waiting� to hear back from the city. �There�s still a lot of �to be determined,�� he said. �It�s a very fluid situation.�

                                      In the meantime, the Serra sculpture � fabricated in Germany, last exhibited in Qatar and then dismantled into eight giant sections � was shipped from Doha on a freighter to Jacksonville, where it will be stored until it�s ready for the trip south. Each section of the sculpture, whose total weight is reported to be 600,000 pounds, will be barged to Miami individually.

                                      The Turrell is in storage in New Jersey.

                                      If it all comes together, Berkowitz hopes to open in 2017.

                                      Art world observers say it would be a welcome addition to the city�s roster of private museums, known in the art world as �the Miami model.�

                                      Two, those of developer Martin Margulies and the Rubell family, consist of converted warehouses in Wynwood, not far from Berkowitz�s site. Art patron Ella Fontanals-Cisneros� CIFO Art Space is also in a redesigned warehouse on the edge of downtown Miami. Another, belonging to Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, is a purpose-built, elegantly minimalist three-story building by architect John Marquette in the Design District.

                                      �I don�t think that all art has to be in a museum setting,� said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and an art collector. �So the idea that Fairholme Capital would create a headquarters that has what really looks like world-class sculptures, and make that available to the public, is truly only an enhancing concept for Miami,� Scholl said.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Miami World Center plans poised for crucial vote
                                      October 8, 2014
                                      By: David Smiley

                                      The developer pushing to break ground in downtown Miami this year on a privately financed convention center topped by an 1,800-room hotel could clear a major hurdle Thursday.

                                      MDM Development�s $600 million Marriott Marquis Miami World Center is going before the Miami City Commission, which will weigh crucial zoning exemptions that the developer needs to pursue its plans on the site of the old Miami Arena at 700 N. Miami Ave.

                                      Designed by Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, the complex includes a curved, three-level convention center with 350,000 square feet of exhibition space, including a ballroom, junior ballroom, and a ground-floor hall the developer says is large and tall enough to fit a Boeing 747 inside.

                                      On top, there�s a pool and event deck. And on the back end, a 1,250-car garage. A hotel built atop the convention hall juts into the sky in four tiered, glass-facade columns like fingers on a hand, the tallest of which stands at 54 stories.

                                      �This is a pretty unique development in and of itself, under any code,� said MDM attorney Tony Recio.

                                      With exhibition space crucial, the project is designed so that the convention center takes up most the 4.7 acres of the parcel, beyond what is allowed by Miami code. And because plans space structural columns out wide to create a large and uninhibited exhibition hall, attorneys representing MDM say the hotel has to be located and massed on a specific portion of the pedestal�s roof in a way that isn�t allowed by code.

                                      Should commissioners approve the exemptions Thursday, MDM can begin seeking building permits for the project, which is in the heart of a Park West neighborhood awaiting an overhaul. To the east, the developers of the Miami Worldcenter, with whom MDM has a contract to purchase the arena site, say they�re progressing toward construction of a massive mixed-use development. To the west, All Aboard Florida is planning the MiamiCentral station along the FEC tracks.

                                      �What we�re talking about is a wholesale redevelopment of that entire 30-acre area,� Miami Planning Director Francisco Garcia said of the Worldcenter and expo projects, which at one point were joined together as one project.

                                      Downtown business boosters say the expo center is crucial to the rapidly expanding downtown area. Years ago, the Downtown Development Authority commissioned a study of the benefits of a convention center, and approved a master plan that included a center.

                                      �This is the right thing to do at the right place and now�s a good time to be doing it,� said DDA vice chairman Neisen Kasdin.

                                      The expo center project is moving forward as Miami Beach continues to push an expansion of its own convention center, which has acted as a regional meeting space for decades.

                                      Years ago, downtown�s plans caused friction with Beach officials, who worried it would eat into their business. But as planned, the downtown expo center�s convention space is smaller than the Beach�s 500,000 square feet. The city�s mayor, Philip Levine, said MDM will only create more options for the greater Miami area.

                                      �This,� he said, �is a fabulous complement to us.�

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Coconut Grove Seafood Festival
                                      October 19
                                      Peacock Park
                                      2820 McFarlane Road Coconut Grove, FL

                                      Promotional Event Description

                                      The Coconut Grove Seafood Festival is all about celebrating seafood, waterfront living and giving people their fill of the freshest, tastiest delicacies of the sea. Bushels of shrimp, oysters, crawfish, lobster, clams and fresh fish will soon overflow at the quaint neighborhood of Coconut Grove, just in time for the opening of stone crab season in October.

                                      There�s no better place to savor a multitude of seafood prepared in a variety of ways including Caribbean with its Bahamian cracked conch and Jamaican Jerk grilled fish, Latin American offering paella and Peruvian ceviche, Cajun with its gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish �touff�e, North Eastern offering traditional chowders, lobster rolls and clam boils, Asian with the always satisfying sushi and sashimi and, last but not least, Florida seafood with its world-famous stone crab, lobster and fresh fish. In addition, people can head over to the 'Grove Wharf' - a farmer�s market meets seafood - where experts will be on hand to help them select the right items to purchase and take home.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                    • New renderings for Park Grove are out
                                      October 8, 2014

                                      Plans call for three towers, and 284 condos

                                      The latest renderings are out for Park Grove, a luxury condo project in Coconut Grove designed by starchitect Rem Koolhaas.

                                      The towers� shapes were inspired by Biscayne Bay�s islands, according to Curbed.

                                      The development is a joint venture between Terra Group and the Related Group and plans call for two 20-story, 72-unit condo towers and a third 20-story building with 140 units. [Curbed] � Christopher Cameron

                                      Click on the link below to view photos of the latest renderings.

                                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                                    • Mast Capital buys Miami Beach land for residential project
                                      October 7, 2014

                                      Camilo Miguel-led company picks up nearly two acres in mid-Beach

                                      Mast Capital continued its recent acquisition flurry with the purchase of 1.87 acres in the mid-Beach section of Miami Beach. The Camilo Miguel-led company plans to develop a luxury residential project on the 4000 Alton Road site, which has existing approvals for 162,000 square feet of residential space. Mast�s acquisition closed on Friday and has not been recorded by Miami-Dade County. The purchase price was not disclosed in Monday�s written announcement. �The Miami Beach for-sale residential market is driven by a mix of international and domestic buyers who are attracted to the area�s lifestyle, culture and business-friendly investment climate,� Miguel said. �Extensive recent investment in mid-Miami Beach has made this area one of the most desirable places to live on the island.� Other recent investments by Mast include the $29.5 million purchase of a Coconut Grove office building in April and the $39.5 million acquisition of a Key West multi-family community in June. - Eric Kalis 

                                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                                    • East End makes another big Wynwood purchase
                                      October 7, 2014
                                      By: Eric Bojnansky

                                      New York developers pay $23.5M for two acres in what might be a record for the market

                                      Two acres of Wynwood land was just purchased by a New York real estate investment firm for $23.5 million in a transaction that might be a record for the emerging Miami neighborhood, The Real Deal has learned. East End Capital bought the properties at 215 and 227-339 Northwest 24th Street on Monday, according to a broker involved in the transaction. The sellers are Marc Kovens and Shawn Chemtov. Chariff Realty president Lyle Chariff told TRD the deal set a new sale price record for Wynwood, which is starting to experience significant investment from major real estate players on par with the activity in the nearby Design District. Kovens and Chemtov were represented by Chariff and his partner Mauricio Zapata. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented East End, which is proposing a 23,500-square-foot project on a separate Wynwood site it assembled earlier this year. Kovens and Chemtov planned to construct an eight-story building with three floors of retail and five floors of residential space on the land they sold to East End. Called Wynwood Central, the project was also going to include 400 parking spaces, a courtyard and a rooftop pool and bar. Concrete Beach Brewery and a small furniture and lighting company operate on the site. �It�s a bittersweet transaction for us,� Chariff said. �We did very well financially but we really wanted to be a part of building it and make our mark by leasing space to great businesses that would add to this amazing growing neighborhood.� Chariff said he is not sure what the new buyers have planned for the land, but the brewery will be incorporated into any future development. �The rumors are that they are reworking the plan and trying to figure it out,� he said. �They are possibly waiting for rezoning.� East End representatives did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. In an August interview with TRD about East End�s proposed retail development at Northwest 23rd Street west of North Miami Avenue, company cofounder Jonathon Yormak called Wynwood �the next Meatpacking District, Soho and Williamsburg.� 

                                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                                    • Brickell City Centre releases fresh renderings
                                      October 7, 2014

                                      Check out the images after the jump

                                      The developer of Brickell City Centre, the $1.05 billion mixed-use project rising west of Miami�s financial district, released new renderings.
                                      The new renderings include the kitchens, pool, restaurant, lounge, lobby, bathrooms and outdoor spaces of the building. The developers also launched a redesigned website for the residential component with a 360-degree viewing feature. � Christopher Cameron

                                      Click on the link below to view the images of the new renderings

                                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                                    • Massive MiamiCentral train station would be a new urban hub downtown
                                      October 6, 2014
                                      By: Andres Viglucci

                                      It might be the biggest thing to happen in downtown Miami since Henry Flagler brought his railroad south and created downtown Miami.

                                      And it�s happening sooner than you might think, on the same long-vacant acreage where Flagler built his little Miami train depot more than a century ago.

                                      No longer just a concept, All Aboard Florida, the new privately financed passenger-rail service to Orlando, is moving full steam ahead with plans for a mammoth new downtown train-station complex that supporters say will constitute nothing less than a quantum leap in Miami�s quest for a place among the world�s great urban centers.

                                      MiamiCentral, the name chosen for the complex by All Aboard Florida, represents an ambitious and unusual all-at-once marriage of heavy infrastructure with urban revitalization that would turn a drab stretch of downtown into a bustling fulcrum of transportation and human activity � including a food market, shops, restaurants, offices and two residential towers with that increasingly rare commodity, 800 rental apartments affordable to people who work in the neighborhood.

                                      All Aboard, a subsidiary of the rail company Flagler founded, is moving fast. Conceptual plans for the station have been approved, and detailed site plans are now under review by Miami-Dade County and City of Miami planners. The parking lots on the four blocks the complex will occupy are already gone, closed off by an opaque construction fence. Suffolk Construction has been hired to build the complex.

                                      All Aboard executives hope to start construction work by the end of the year, a timetable that county officials say appears feasible.

                                      �We�re going to dramatically change what downtown Miami looks like 24 to 36 months from now, and in an unprecedented way,� said All Aboard president Michael Reininger.

                                      The station architecture, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, designers of the new One World Trade Center tower and the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, in collaboration with Zyscovich Architects of Miami, is still being refined. But the architects want to suspend the three towers on columns over the train platform. All Aboard is also in talks with developers of a planned hotel and exposition center next door on the site of the old Miami Arena to hook the two up with some kind of elevated walkway. That would allow conventioneers to take Metrorail from Miami International Airport, or All Aboard from Orlando, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, and dispense with a car, Reininger said.

                                      Also possible: a terminal at MiamiCentral for Tri-Rail, the South Florida regional commuter service that now operates on CSX tracks west of Interstate 95. Tri-Rail hopes to start running trains along the Florida East Coast tracks that All Aboard Florida will use.

                                      Tri-Rail would cover the partial cost of extending the MiamiCentral platform and installing tracks to handle its trains, but must decide �soon� whether it can commit to doing so, Reininger said. All Aboard and Tri-Rail officials say that arrangement would be substantially less expensive for the publicly subsidized commuter service than building its own terminal.

                                      Because it�s Miami, where most people will still rely on cars to get around, MiamiCentral also accommodates substantial parking. Garages for the residential towers will be integrated into the station structure. The main station parking, with 1,800 spots, will be a block away at 700 MiamiCentral, which All Aboard is developing under a deal with the city�s Community Redevelopment Agency for Overtown.

                                      The train platform would be elevated 50 feet above street level, in part to allow Northwest Fifth and Sixth Streets, major east-west connectors, to remain open beneath the station. But those through-ways would not be dark tunnels. Natural light will pour down through openings in the platform, Reininger said.

                                      The station architecture, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, designers of the new One World Trade Center tower and the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, is still being refined. But the architects want to suspend the three towers on columns over the train platform.

                                      The two retail floors at the base of the complex would be enclosed in glass, brightly transparent and fully accessible from the street, a design that county reviewers praised in their analysis.

                                      �It�s what you�d expect to see in a vibrant downtown,� Reininger said. �Because of where it is, it needs to be a beautiful work of civic infrastructure. It�s going to be an iconic, photogenic place.�

                                      County reviewers have some issues, documents show. Transit officials want a definitive commitment and clear designs from All Aboard for the Metrorail and Metromover connections, both elevated and at ground level, in particular along Sixth Street, which will be the link between the main station complext and the Overtown project.

                                      Planners say the site plans also don�t do enough to make sidewalks around the station welcoming to pedestrians, and they�re requiring a greater amount and variety of greenery, including shade trees, on its perimeter.

                                      Reininger said those questions are normal in a complex review process and are being worked through.

                                      All Aboard will also build new stations in downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm, the first phase of its planned Orlando service, which will use existing FEC tracks. All Aboard must build tracks for the second phase, connecting West Palm to a new intermodal station at the Orlando airport.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • �King tide� will be first test for Miami Beach�s new pumps
                                      October 6, 2014
                                      By: Joey Flechas

                                      The tides are rising this week in South Beach, and everyone�s watching to see whether newly installed pumps will control the flooding.

                                      During this week�s king tide, city officials hope to avoid the familiar scenes of people wading in ankle-deep waters and cars splashing down Alton Road and West Avenue.

                                      Officials are banking on their $15 million investment in stormwater pumps to mitigate this year�s highest high tides, which are expected to arrive Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The projected high tides will be around 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and are supposed to reach about 3� feet both days. Areas on the west side of South Beach start to flood at around 3 feet.

                                      Freshly installed pump stations are already working at 10th and 14th streets along West Avenue, as well as two updated pumps in Sunset Harbor. Temporary pumps at Fifth Street should also help stem the tide, and the city plans to build another permanent pump at Sixth and West within the next six months.

                                      All of this, according to city engineer Bruce Mowry, is expected to minimize flooding � resulting in less standing water for shorter times.

                                      He emphasized that these are short-term solutions when considering a larger and far-reaching issue of sea level rise. Since the westernmost swath of South Beach sits low, he said, the area will essentially be ground zero.

                                      �This is the biggest area impacted by sea level rise,� he said.

                                      The $15 million spent so far is the first fraction of the $500 million the city plans to spend during the next five years on 58 pumps up and down the Beach. The Florida Department of Transportation also plans to install pumps at 10th and 14th streets and Alton Road. The construction that has plagued Alton all year � expected to wrap up before the end of the year � has been to improve drainage.

                                      The new pump systems are connected to the new drainage infrastructure under Alton, so conditions are expected to be better there, as well.

                                      Public works director Eric Carpenter said that with the pump projects, the city is updating infrastructure that is at least 50 years old. City leaders hope they will provide relief for 30 to 40 years, but all agree the long-term strategy will have to include revamping the building code to construct buildings higher off the ground, making roads higher and constructing a taller seawall.

                                      Mayor Philip Levine said the conversation would continue for years on how exactly to prepare the Beach for rising waters.

                                      �We know the questions,� he said. �But don�t have all the answers.�

                                      The tide is high

                                      The king tide occurs when the sun and moon align in a such a way that their gravity tugs at earth�s water enough to create the highest of high tides.

                                      In Miami Beach, the highest elevations run along the sandy beaches, and the lowest lands lie to the west, in areas that used to be mangroves. In a way, a natural event like the king tide simply sends this dense, built-out section of land back to the state Mother Nature intended it to be.

                                      The king tide does not send water careening over the western seawall from Biscayne Bay, but it raises the tide high enough that it seeps into the drains underneath the city through Florida�s porous soil and limestone.

                                      �It�s like water flowing through a bunch of marbles,� Mowry said.

                                      The water then rises through the storm drains and, if there is enough of it, floods the streets. Before the current upgrades, faulty caps on the pipes where the water comes out led to either backed up drains behind jammed caps or water rushing back up into the drains because the caps were gone.

                                      And rainfall always makes matters worse.

                                      The new pumps are designed to collect the water, filter it and push it out to Biscayne Bay. Special valves prevent it from flowing back.

                                      It might not sound logical to pump water back into the bay that is causing the flooding, but Mowry explained that the seepage is slower than the pumps, each of which can move about 14,000 gallons per minute. The water removed from the streets is not enough to raise the level of the bay any more than the king tide already has.

                                      A key factor of the new pump system is the valve that prevents water from rushing back in through the release point.

                                      �It�s like a trap door,� Levine said. �The water goes out one way, and it can�t come back.�

                                      During this week�s king tide, the city estimates it will be able to pump about 50,000 gallons a minute, or the equivalent of three to four swimming pools. It could still take time to drain a flooded street, particularly if rainwater adds to the problem, but officials hope to see less standing water for a shorter amount of time this year.

                                      �We�re hoping people don�t have to use sandbags this year,� he said.

                                      If people do have problems, they are being encouraged to report any flooding they see to the city by calling 305-604-2489 or using the city�s mobile app, Miami Beach e-Gov.

                                      Residents and politicians alike will have their eyes on the Beach this week to see whether the city�s early efforts relieve the problem.

                                      Last week, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced that he was bringing a contingent of senators to South Florida on Thursday to see how the streets around Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale flood during the king tide. He said he would not visit Alton Road, where he believes the street will be dry thanks to the new pumps.

                                      �I think the pumps are going to be so effective that you won�t have the visual of the water sloshing around on Alton Road,� he told the Miami Herald after delivering a speech at Jungle Island.

                                      Some local students are also watching closely.

                                      During the king tide, students from Florida International University and MAST Academy will be out to collect data to study the flood waters and the quality of the filtered water being ejected into the bay. A balloon will capture images from 150 feet in the air to document the scene.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Iconic downtown Miami building set to go office condo
                                      October 6, 2014
                                      By: Martha Brannigan

                                      A 1952-vintage office building in downtown Miami designed by revered modernist architect Morris Lapidus is going office condo.

                                      One Flagler, a 15-story building at 14 NE First Ave., is well along in some $10million in upgrades, mostly to the interior of the structure previously known as the Ainsley building and the Foremost building.

                                      Miami developer Harvey Hernandez�s Newgard Development formed a joint venture with Midgard Management, the building�s owner and manager, to convert the iconic building to office condos.

                                      Over the years, the building � an example of MiMo, or Miami Modern, architecture � has had an array of tenants from the Cuban consulate and the Miami Athletic Club to the Israel Discount Bank and various federal offices. It currently houses a branch of Continental Bank and various law firms and investment firms, among others.

                                      �The building needed to be renovated, and we said: �How can we renovate this building but at the same time make some business sense?�� said Hernandez, who describes his role as �the development partner doing the conversion for the venture.�

                                      �The upgrades we have been making are very systemic, but we have been paying attention to details and leaving the most historic features,� said James Goldstein, CEO of Midgard.

                                      Midgard acquired the property in 2010, by acquiring a defaulted note and negotiating a turnover. The company expects to continue managing the building once it goes condo.

                                      �We love the building,� Goldstein said. The condo conversion will help preserve the building �for future generations,� he added.

                                      Likely buyers are investors and businesses that plan to be owner-occupants, Hernandez said.

                                      Miami�s downtown office vacancy rate has been declining from the yawning levels hit when the Great Recession collided with the delivery of a spate of new office space in the Brickell area. The office vacancy rate there is still about 20 percent � quite high by historic standards. Hernandez says he isn�t fazed by the volume of empty space in the area.

                                      Hernandez, whose company has been focused on new residential condo construction, said he thinks investors will jump at the opportunity to buy commercial office space in a downtown building designed by a famous architect. Investors in many cases would be able to acquire space already occupied by a tenant and could expect a return of �in excess of 4.5 percent,� he said.

                                      The 62-year-old building is a contributing historic structure in a historic section of downtown, he said. �We�re going through the process of making it designated historic.� Lapidus is best known for the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc resort hotels in Miami Beach.

                                      Hernandez said the space in the building currently rents for $26 to $28 a square foot, compared to $38 to $40 a square foot in the Brickell area.

                                      Plans call for offering 14 floors of office condos, totaling 143,000 square feet of space.

                                      Renovations have been under way for months, including upgrades to the air-conditioning, plumbing, electrical and fire systems, according to the developer.

                                      �We�re going to start demolishing the lobby in the next few weeks and build the new lobby,� Hernandez said.

                                      Newgard�s projects include Brickell House, a tower that is expected to be delivered to buyers in the next few weeks, and Centro, a loft project with no on-site parking garage is going up at 151 SE First Street, not far from One Flagler.

                                      Hernandez said he thinks the office condo trend is poised for a comeback.

                                      In August, The Solution Group said its development affiliate, Ofizzina 1200, bought a site at 1200 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables with plans to build a new office condominium. Construction is expected to start in the fall of 2015. The Gables� project is slated to have 47-units in a Mediterranean-style building with 97,000 square feet of Class A office space, plus space for retail and parking.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Miami school district bracing for downtown population boom
                                      October 6, 2014

                                      With many new condo developments, the school system doesn�t know what to expect

                                      With thousands of new condo units rising above downtown Miami, the school district is bracing for a possible wave of families moving to the area. Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is partnering with the Downtown Development Authority to run the numbers and evaluate what, if any, new school developments and programs are needed in downtown Miami, according to Local 10. �It�s sort of the unpredictability of what downtown will bring,� Carvalho said. �We know that condos are booming. The question is, are they going to be filled with families?� �A lot of it is driven by foreign investment that does not result necessarily in students wanting to attend schools in Miami-Dade,� Carvalho added. �We�re going to grow organically as the downtown community grows.� [Local 10] � Christopher Cameron 

                                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                                    • Cape Florida Lighthouse
                                      Key Biscayne, Fla. 1980 
                                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
                                    • Explore what Miami Attractions Month has to offer
                                      During October, enjoy Buy 1 admission, get 1 admission free and other great offers.

                                      Click on the link below to view all the attractions for October

                                      Copyright � 2014 Official website Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. All rights reserved.
                                    • Fee-free days at Everglades National Park in 2015
                                      By: Doreen Christensen
                                      October 4, 2014

                                      The National Park Service will offer free admission to Everglades National Park and other U.S. National Parks on nine days in 2015, according to a release.

                                      This year's last remaining fee-free day this year is on Veteran's Day, celebrated Nov. 11.

                                      In 2015, visitors can explore for free the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States while celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 19

                                      Other free admission days, recognized at more than 400 U.S. parks and monuments, are Feb. 14-16 for Presidents Day; April 18-19 to celebrate National Park Week; Aug. 25 for the National Park Service's 99th birthday; National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26; and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

                                      Things to do in the 1.5 million-acre park include ranger-led tours of the Anhinga Trail and of the Cold War-era Nike Missile Base; tram or bike tours of the 15-mile loop at Shark Valley; and educational and art exhibits at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center.

                                      Entrance fees average $10 at the ENP and $3 to $25 at other parks.

                                      For more information, go to NPS.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm. Everglades Park entrances, visitor centers and hours are available at NPS.gov/Ever or call305-221-8455.

                                      Copyright Sun-Sentenial.com
                                    • Visionary VIP Experience
                                      Please join us for festival week.
                                      Early bird tickets and passes are now on sale. There are two ways to purchase your tickets:

                                      1. Online by clicking any buy now link below.

                                      2. Or you can visit our local ticket outlet: Green Bar and Kitchen 1075 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

                                      For any additional questions please call Alison at (954)288-8691.

                                      Visionary VIP Experience

                                      The Visionary experience is the ultimate way to enjoy the Seed Food and Wine Festival. Enjoy early seating at cooking demos, and seminars, early access to the festival day and the comforts of the VIP Savor Lounge, complete with private food and drink tastings throughout the day.

                                      Admission to the Film Screening with priority seating
                                      Admission to the VIP Cocktail Event
                                      Admission to both evening dinners with Matthew Kenney and Rich Landau
                                      Admission to festival day with exclusive Savor Lounge access
                                      Admission to the Beach Brunch
                                      Admission to the Sprouts kid�s day
                                      VIP commemorative gift bag
                                      Commemorative shirt
                                      Value $500

                                      Early Bird Price $400

                                    • Seed Food and Wine Festival: Eat. Drink. Enjoy.
                                      Daily from October 15 until October 19

                                      Promotional Event Description

                                      Seed Food and Wine Festival: Eat. Drink. Enjoy.

                                      The Seed Food & Wine Festival, from October 15-19, is an annual gathering that celebrates delicious plant-based foods, fine wines, craft beers, spirits, and lifestyle products and companies, while raising health awareness.

                                      The Festival will gather some of the most talented speakers, chefs, celebrities, athletes and authors for an fun, educational, enriching, hip but most of all delicious, week of food, cocktails, film, parties, and events.

                                      Events include upscale dinners, film screening, garden parties, and a Southern brunch, all leading up to a large-scale outdoor festival featuring food, wine, juices, music, gifts, organic body care, clothing, yoga, and everything that celebrates conscious plant-based living. Whether vegan, veggie-curious or you dig Meatless Monday, anyone who enjoys fresh, locally-sourced food will appreciate SFWF.

                                      Click here for tickets and more information!


                                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
                                    • Introducing the Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn
                                      The one-stop shop for everything a marketer needs to know about getting the most value from LinkedIn for themselves and their company. It's not an instruction manual, but more of a strategic guide full of interviews and tips from marketing thought leaders combined with expert insights from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions team.

                                      The Definitive Guide for Marketing on LinkedIn.

                                      Get ready to take your social media marketing to the next level and discover the vast opportunities that await � increase awareness, influence perception, generate leads, and ultimately drive revenue with LinkedIn.

                                      Download our guide and learn:

                                      Why your business needs to market on LinkedIn.
                                      How to tap into LinkedIn�s powerful marketing solutions including Company Pages, Sponsored Updates, and more.
                                      Expand the reach of your content marketing strategies using LinkedIn to share relevant and targeted content to the world's professionals.
                                      Reach millions of active business professionals with rich display ads and highly-targeted text ads.
                                      And much more.

                                      LinkedIn Corporation Copyright 2014
                                    • MIAMI BIKE TOUR
                                      October 05, 12:00pm - 2:00pm

                                      Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

                                      Transport yourself back 2,000 years with your bicycle with a HistoryMiami guide!

                                      Explore a tropical hardwood hammock forest, visit an archaeological site and learn about the early Tequesta people. You will also see an early pioneer house. Enjoy a ride through Miami�s oldest city cemetery, where Julia Tuttle and other notable pioneers are laid to rest. Tour-goers will receive a special discounted bike rental with our partner Bike and Roll Miami.

                                      Members: $20 Non-Members: $30

                                      Register ONLINE, call 305-375-5792 (Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or email: citytours@historymiami.org

                                      Mention code: �HistoryMiami Bike Tour� to redeem bike rental discount.

                                      For more information on bike rentals, call 305-604-0001. Advanced reservations and payment recommended. Tour ticket includes museum admission.

                                      Copyright HistoryMiami. All rights reserved.
                                    • Miami, Miami Beach Have Second and Third Most Million-Dollar Listings in the U.S.
                                      October 3, 2014
                                      By: Kyle Muzenrieder

                                      How high are prices is Miami real estate? Well, only overpriced, densely packed Manhattan has more listings on the market priced at $1 million or more. The city of Miami comes in second, while Miami Beach has the third most. Though, Miami Beach has far more listings in the $5 million and $10 million-plus echelon than its mainland sister.
                                      The report, via exMiami, comes from Coldwell Banker. Keep in mind that the data comes from MLS, a listings service used by realtors that may not include properties sold directly from developers.

                                      Miami currently has 1,185 residential listings priced over $1 million, while Miami Beach has 897. Manhattan sits far and away at number one with 5,006, but to put it in prospective, Los Angeles only has 770, which is good enough for fourth place.

                                      Though, the high-priced market in South Florida isn't limited to just Miami and Miami Beach. Fort Lauderdale came in sixth with 729, Naples was seventh with 712, Boca Raton was tenth with 544, and North Miami Beach was 13th with 460.

                                      When it came to listing priced at $5 million or more, Miami Beach came in second with 218 behind Manhattan's 1,573. Miami fell to eighth with just 87.

                                      Miami Beach was also second for property worth $10 million or more with 82 to NYC's 685. Miami was tenth with 27th. Naples, home of Rick Scott, was tied for eighth with 28.

                                      Though, there's a big difference between million-dollar listings being on the market and people actually buying those properties. The Miami-area doesn't do quite so well when it comes to luxury properties that have actually closed this year. 

                                      There were just 933 closed properties in Miami at a million-plus and only 699 in Miami Beach. That put the cities at ranks of eighth and 12th each. Miami Beach, however, came in fifth at closed properties over $5 million with 63, and fourth in properties over $10 million with 17.

                                      �2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
                                    • Agency celebrates 40 years protecting Biscayne Bay
                                      October 4, 2014
                                      By: Katie Lepri

                                      Forty years ago, the Florida Legislature created the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, a large swath of water in the bay for fishing, recreation and the protection of plants and animals.

                                      Before the 1970s, Biscayne Bay was one of Miami-Dade�s most pressing environmental problems. Cities were polluting the water with raw sewage and anything else that could be dumped into it. And there was no concerted effort to manage dredging, runoff, and fishing.

                                      In 1969, commercial fisherman Walter Kandrashoff had started stirring public outrage at the diseased, deformed fish being caught in the bay. Eventually studies showed fish in Biscayne Bay had abnormalities like missing and stunted fins, backward scales, indented spines and cancerous tumors.

                                      �I was seeing over and over again one particular type of abnormality, this involved the dorsal spine,� said Joan Browder, a leading scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Virginia Key. �The fishery biologists here at the lab hadn�t seen anything like this.�

                                      Kandrashoff�s efforts, combined with the work of two state legislators, John Cyril Malloy, R-Miami, and Alan Becker, D-Miami, led to the creation of the first preserve in Biscayne Bay in 1974. The second preserve in Biscayne Bay was established in 1975.

                                      One part lies off Key Biscayne, and the second encompasses the underwater landscape in Biscayne Bay that is not in Biscayne National Park. The two preserves are collectively known as the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve.

                                      On Sunday, friends and supporters of the preserve will hold a soiree to celebrate its 40th anniversary and to raise awareness of the bay for future generations.

                                      Biscayne Bay had been polluted for years, both before and after the preserves. Urban runoff, polluted with pesticides and assorted debris, washed into the rivers and streams that fed the bay, devastating the plants and marine life within it.

                                      �I discussed it with John and I said, �Let�s do something about it,�� said Becker, now 68. In an effort to gain support for the bill, he and John took the Florida House of Representatives� Environmental Protection Committee to Miami to see the bay firsthand.

                                      The bill passed in one session.

                                      �It was something John was very proud of, and so was I.�

                                      The aquatic preserves, according to the designation in state law, were established �to be preserved in an essentially natural condition so that its biological and aesthetic values may endure for the enjoyment of future generations.�

                                      �Over the succeeding years, it actually seemed to work,� Becker said. �The pollution problem was far less, and the fish seemed to rebound.�

                                      Today, thanks to the efforts of two Florida Department of Environmental Protection employees, Pamela Sweeney and Laura Eldredge, and a group of committed volunteers, the bay has become a natural habitat for marine life, endangered species and the bottle-nosed dolphin.

                                      �What it did was it turned around the bay,� said Sweeney, who is the manager of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.

                                      The preservation designation set rules for topics like drudging and filling, to retain some of the resources that the bay needed for fisheries.

                                      According to Sweeney, there has been a concerted effort to restore the bay and bring back sea grasses that oxygenate the water and act as a nursery for baby fish.

                                      The staff and the unpaid volunteers also educate local marine law-enforcement officers to look for potential threats to the bay, like illegal dredging and mangrove cutting; oversee mitigation projects where sea grass has been destroyed; and keep watch over endangered species.

                                      Under Sweeney�s management, the aquatic preserves work with various partners such as the University of Miami to host community-wide events. The preserves also teach students about marine debris removal and habitat restoration.

                                      But Sweeney said more needs to be done to protect the marine habitat and clean up the bay.

                                      �I do still feel that people just really aren�t aware that we have this state aquatic preserve on their doorstep in the most urban part of Miami,� Sweeney said. �I feel like if people knew they might behave in a way that�s more protective, they might teach their children to protect the area to a greater degree.�

                                      IF YOU GO
                                      What: Soiree by the Bay, a �bay chic� evening showcasing the 40-year history of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves with featured artwork by Miami�s eco-artist Xavier Cortada.

                                      Where: Deering Estate at Cutler, 16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay.

                                      When: 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday

                                      Cost: $100 per ticket, $750 for table of eight

                                      Info: 305-795-1256 or www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/Biscayne/40thAnniversary/

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Tobacco Road closing its doors for good October 25
                                      October 1, 2014
                                      By Lesley Abravanel

                                      Tobacco Road closing its original, 100-plus year-old space earlier than planned
                                      After almost 102 years, Tobacco Road, Miami's oldest bar, is closing on October 25 with plans to eventually relocate to another space.

                                      Talent booker Eric Garcia tells us that owner Patrick Gleber got the staff together and said, 'with a really heavy heart,' that because of extenuating circumstances, the place was shutting down sooner than expected. 

                                      Tobacco Road was guaranteed to remain at its landmark location through May of 2015. After that Gleber said there were plans to relocate. 

                                      'We thought we'd stay until at least April,' Garcia said. 'Relocation will definitely happen, there will be a new Tobacco Road,' he said, 'but it won't be the same.'

                                      Although there were plans for anniversary shows, Phish after parties in January and final closing parties, Garcia says, 'We're gonna push the stuff up and compact it. Me and [fellow talent booker] Oski [Gonzalez] will try to have a band every day. If you want to play one last show at Tobacco Road--that sort of thing. We'll just blow it out for the rest of the month.'

                                      � 2014 Miami.com. All rights reserved.
                                    • South Miami-Dade arts center�s a hit with popular and cutting edge shows
                                      October 1, 2014
                                      By: Elizabeth Hanly

                                      As it heads into its fourth season, the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center has quieted skeptics who voiced concerns that deep south Miami-Dade couldn�t support a quality, multi-faceted cultural arts center. Who in the suburban landscape, not known for its cultural or nightlife offerings, would attend cutting-edge jazz performances, off-beat theater productions � and especially, contemporary dance? Quite a few, it turns out.

                                      Under the guidance of Artistic Director Eric Fliss � a veteran of the Miami arts scene who previously headed the Colony Theater on Miami Beach � the Center�s eclectic blend of shows has developed a significant following. In advance of the center�s season kick-off this Saturday, Fliss talked about the initial years, what�s ahead, and the special niche dance holds in the programming.

                                      Q: With so much to choose from, how did you decide which companies to bring first to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center ?

                                      A: First and foremost, I wanted to present dance that would be accessible. But I didn�t want the dance to be predicable. I wanted the community to come to know and enjoy contemporary dance before presenting the traditional en pointe ballet that for many people is synonymous with dance.

                                      That first year we choose to focus on giants of contemporary dance whose work would reach out to our community. Garth Fagan with his Jamaican roots was one. Ronald K. Brown whose work is heavily influenced by Africa and its diaspora was another. We also introduced a relatively unknown Kyle Abraham to the South Florida community. He won a MacArthur Genius award after performing for us.

                                      Q: How were those artists received that first year?

                                      A: Community support was fantastic. This was an area of Miami that had been waiting a long time for an arts center. Apparently, we didn�t disappoint.

                                      Q: What came next?

                                      A: My plan was to work in an arc that would introduce our audience to increasingly diverse and interesting work. My aim all along had been to build up an audience for that work, the boutique work that thrives in the kind of intimate, smallish theater that our center can provide. Sure, any audience loves Broadway titles and traditional ballet. People want to feel part of the outside world. They want to feel there�s a little bit of New York here. We have and will continue to do that. But we can do something else too.

                                      A good example of what I mean is India Jazz Suite, also known as �Fastest Feet Around.� Here, Indian Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das danced in tandem with Emmy-winning tapster Jason Samuels Smith. That second year, we were in early days. Still we brought them here, and the audience loved them.

                                      Q: The audience was increasing all through that second year?

                                      A: Yes. We were having a lot of fun. Word was spreading. Even if the community didn�t recognize an artist�s name, they were coming to performances. They were trusting us to make good choices. Not only that, we made a real effort to survey both our audiences and non-audiences as to what they had enjoyed or not, what our emphasis should be, what they would like to see more or less of. We continue to do that.

                                      Q: Meanwhile, you feel you were building a sophisticated audience?

                                      A: Yes. In our third year, we brought in Complexions Contemporary Ballet. This was the first time a company that included en pointe performed at the center. But their dance uses a contemporary vocabulary. Our audience was familiar with that language.

                                      Q: What�s in store for the fourth season?

                                      A: The Urban Bush Women are coming. While they are certainly known outside of South Florida, not so many people know them here. They�ll be presenting a new work, Walking with Trane, devoted to John Coltrane. One of San Francisco�s premier contemporary dance companies, Alonzo King LINES ballet, will be performing as well. So will Tu Dance, a company formed by Alvin Ailey and New World [School of the Arts] alum Uri Sands. And this year for the first time a traditional ballet company, Memphis Ballet, will be coming to the center. As regards spectacle, the Peking Acrobats will be here. The list goes on and on.

                                      Q: What has made you most proud?

                                      A: My audiences.

                                      ArtburstMiami.comãis a nonprofit source of South Florida dance and performing arts coverage.

                                      IF YOU GO
                                      What: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Kick-off Bash with Spam AllStars, Ribab Fusion and Xperimento

                                      When: 7 p.m. Saturday

                                      Where: SMDCAC, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay

                                      How much: Free

                                      Info: smdcac.org or 786-573-5300

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • Art Basel Miami Beach's 13th Edition Prepares to Break Records
                                      September 30, 2014
                                      By: Carlos Suarez de Jesus

                                      This year, our fall Arts & Eats Guide lists all that's timeless and fresh in Miami, from visual art to delicious food. Theater, dance, music, and drinks all make a much-needed appearance throughout the season as well. Pick up one of our printed guides Thursday, October 2, where you'll find profiles, interviews, and detailed event calendars to guide you through the upcoming cultural season.
                                      When Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) blitzes into town December 4 though 7, the event will likely break attendance records.

                                      For its 13th edition, ABMB will boast 267 of the planet's top international galleries, selected from 31 countries, that will exhibit 20th- and 21st-century works by more than 2,000 artists at the Miami Beach Convention Center and various venues throughout the city.

                                      The zenith of Miami's cultural calendar, Basel transforms our peninsula into a rambling art installation, with upward of 20 satellite fairs and scores of related events, including outdoor murals, installations, and pop-up shops mushrooming from South Beach to Wynwood, Little Havana, and Pinecrest.

                                      The main event at the convention center, now recognized as the art world's biggest block party, is expected to draw about 50,000 international visitors and generate close to a half-billion dollars in sales over its four-day run, according to experts.

                                      This year marks an increase of nine galleries from last year's roster, including a whopping 90 galleries from New York City. By comparison, the Magic City's booming arts scene will have a paltry presence, with the Fredric Snitzer Gallery returning to ABMB's centerpiece Galleries section, while downtown Miami's Michael Jon Gallery will make its debut in the fair's Nova section at the convention center.

                                      It's no surprise Snitzer's gallery is returning. The owner has been a staple of ABMB since its inception and is a member of the fair's selection committee. Michael Jon's selection, however, has raised eyebrows among local dealers because the space is relatively new to a South Florida scene that, for the most part, is steaming over the repeated lack of local representation at ABMB.

                                      Also making its debut is Survey, a new sector of the fair boasting 13 select galleries that will feature art-historical projects ranging from solo exhibits to thematic showcases. New York's Andrew Edlin Gallery will present a two-artist focus on the works of Henry Darger and Marcel Storr, ranking among the top offerings in the section.

                                      Special sectors will also showcase performance art, video art, public projects, and upstart galleries.

                                      The Positions section will feature 16 curated solo booths, including a meditation on 'architectural destruction' by Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian, who is represented by Greece's Kalfayan Galleries.

                                      Among ABMB's popular sectors is Public, an outdoor sculpture showcase organized by Public Art Fund director and chief curator Nicholas Baume, whose inaugural effort last year was hailed as one of the fair's top attractions.

                                      Another returning crowd favorite is ABMB's Film sector, in which curators David Gryn � the director of London's Artprojx and Zurich collector This Brunner embrace the theme of playfulness for this year's edition. Gryn will present more than 70 films and videos by an international compilation of artists. The works will screen at Miami Beach SoundScape on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center.

                                      This year's satellite scene is expanding to downtown Miami with the inaugural edition of the Concept-Fair at Bayfront Park, where 80 exhibitors will feature blue-chip modern works from 1860 to 1980, including painting, sculpture, photography, design, and objets d'art in a tranquil setting far from ABMB's more frenetic scene. The event will be housed in a $3 million spaceship-like circular tent with unobstructed views and a translucent ceiling designed to illuminate the artworks under South Florida's tropical sunlight.

                                      Meanwhile, the 305's top museums will trot out their best shows of the year to seduce visiting art-world cognoscenti and local Basel enthusiasts.

                                      For its first anniversary, Perez Art Museum Miami's (PAMM) Basel bash December 4 will feature a time-based art presentation by Future Brown with Kalela, an underground DJ supergroup. The museum will also unveil a commissioned work by Mexico City-based artist Mario Garcia Torres, whose project 'incorporates photography, film, and objects that explore notions of South Florida as a site for withdrawal from society for the purpose of artistic creation,' according to the museum.
                                      PAMM also will display 'Jardim Botanico,' the first major retrospective of Brazilian abstract painter Beatriz Milhazes. The artist is known for her complex and disorienting compositions bursting with wild, decorative patterns typically rendered in a glowing tropical palette.

                                      Both the Frost Art Museum and Miami Dade College's Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) will showcase influential Chinese artists in their marquee matchups.

                                      The Frost has lined up Wang Qingsong, one of China's top talents, who has earned international raves for his innovative approach to photography. The artist, who began his career as a painter, picked up the camera in the late 1990s and now works in documentary and staged photography, computer-generated images, and sculpture. His solo, 'ADinfinitum,' will feature expansive images capturing his homeland's epic transformation brought on by booming globalization.

                                      At the historic Freedom Tower December 5, MOAD will partner with MDC Live Arts to present 'Shen Wei: In Black, White, and Gray.' The artist's first U.S. museum show will be dedicated to a solo series of paintings in collaboration with site-specific performances. Chinese-born, New York-based Shen Wei is a choreographer, director, dancer, painter, and designer who achieved fame as the lead choreographer for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The artist, who has earned acclaim for his cross-cultural, bold movement-based spectacles, will premiere a suite of 11 theatrical and kinetic paintings while choreographing interpretive performances based on these works, resulting in a series of five public performances.

                                      If you visit the Bass Museum of Art December 4, you'll have to navigate through a maze-like Gregor Hildebrandt installation made from hundreds of strips of tape gathered from video cassettes of the Jean Cocteau classic Orpheus. The meandering opus will be part of 'One Way: Peter Marino,' a sprawling exhibit opening a window on the noted American architect and luxury designer's multifaceted relationship with art.

                                      Marino, whose pioneering cross-disciplinary practice fuses art, architecture, fashion, and creative spatial design, has long been recognized for commissioning original artworks for his architecture and design.

                                      In addition to Hildebrandt's shimmering tape passageways will be major installations by Guy Limone, Farhad Moshiri, Jean-Michel Othoniel, and Erwin Wurm. Works from Marino's personal collection will include paintings by Loris Gr�aud, Keith Haring, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition will also feature sections dedicated to pop art, iconic portraiture, the German spirit, and photography.

                                      Marino worked closely with Jerome Sans, the exhibit's curator, to strike a thought-provoking balance between his architectural work and designs, personal collection, and recent edition of cast-bronze boxes that will be showcased.

                                      Last year, North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) drew sizable Basel crowds for notorious British artist Tracy Emin's first U.S. museum solo show. But this December marks a major litmus test for MOCA, which has been involved in a yearlong controversy. The museum's board of directors filed a lawsuit against the City of North Miami in April before leaving MOCA with part of its collection and the city hiring a new director.

                                      On December 2, the embattled museum's new administration will open 'Shifting Paradigms: The Work of George Edozie,' signaling an institutional shift in focus while hoping MOCA's fresh direction inspires crowds.

                                      Curated by Nkiru Nzegwu, professor of Africana studies at Binghamton University in New York, the exhibit seeks to 'articulate and draw attention to the occurrence of a millennium shift in the epistemological paradigm of art-making and interpretation' while opening 'MOCA, Art Basel, and the world to a new way of thinking and being in the world as truly universal,' says Babacar M'Bow, the museum's new director.

                                      Edozie, a Nigerian artist who explores themes of identity in his narrative-based works, will present 50 works making their U.S. debut, including a series of freestanding sculptures constructed from fabric that will form his exhibit's central installation.

                                      �2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                    • Birds Eye View And Close Up of Miami Beach, Florida 1920's
                                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
                                    • Miami Working to Plant One Million Trees by 2020; Increase Shade Canopy to 30 Percent
                                      October 2, 2014
                                      By: Hannah Sentenac

                                      For a city that's so hot our seawater practically boils, we have an auspicious lack of tree canopy. Our shade percentage stands at a mere 14 percent, when a healthy urban forest should be 30 percent. Less than half is less than impressive.
                                      But the fact has not been lost on Miami's Community Image Advisory Board. Chaired by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, they launched Million Trees Miami in 2011, with a goal of hitting their number by 2020. As of end of 2013, they were at 162,000.

                                      See also: Coral Morphologic Races to Save Corals From Deep Dredge

                                      So why are trees so important? Well, besides the fact that they literally keep us alive (they make our oxygen for us, after all), trees provide a whole host of social, economic and environmental benefits.

                                      They provide shade and protection from UV rays, they absorb noise and block glare, they reduce surface temperatures and minimize the negative impacts of heat, they have a positive effect on our mental health -- there's even evidence linking exposure to trees with better overall health.

                                      'It's been proven trees reduce stormwater runoff and absorb negative emissions -- there are so many great benefits to trees,' says Patrice Gillespie Smith, Community Image Manager for Miami-Dade's Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces department. Hence the importance of upping the quantity of our green benefactors across the 305.
                                      Million Trees Miami has a master tree plan that lays out all the details of their endeavor, including which trees to plant.

                                      'Because our mission is to increase tree canopy, we're going to look at those trees that are shade producing, and always Florida native. They need least amount of maintenance and can survive hurricanes,' Smith explains.

                                      As it turns out, this doesn't include palms. Despite their ubiquitousness in Florida, most are non-native, and they don't throw much shade.

                                      The group works with a whole host of local nonprofits like Citizens for a Better South Florida, Urban Paradise Guild and the Miami-Dade Parks Foundation, among others. Plus, they've received donations from the likes of Stella McCartney, Commissioner, Sally A. Heyman and others. Trees get planted in parks, along roadways, at transit stations and anywhere else deemed an appropriate home.

                                      With 838,000 trees to go by 2020, they could use everyone's assistance. So what can Miami's average Joe or Jane do to help the project? For one, report any trees you plant on the Million Trees Miami website. They can only track trees planted by city agencies, but they want to know who else is putting down roots.

                                      Also, you can volunteer with a local nonprofit that help with tree plantings.

                                      'It's one of the easiest things you can do to offset environmental impact -- it's that easy. We really challenge everyone to identify an area where you can plant a tree,' says Smith.

                                      No trees = no us. No joke. So a million extra in our rapidly sinking backyard sounds like an excellent idea.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                    • The Edge on Brickell launches unit sales
                                      October 1, 2014
                                      By: Martha Brannigan

                                      Developers of the Edge on Brickell project, a 58-story tower planned for the south bank of the Miami River, have launched sales of units.

                                      The 130-unit project is being developed by Mexican-born architect Rafael Aragon�s and developer Alberto Espinosa and will include a 300-foot dock with private boat slips.

                                      The 631-foot highrise � which is to be located at the former site of the Big Fish restaurant at 55 SW Miami Avenue Road � will have a 600-foot illuminated glass mural design by Dutch artist Jan Hendrix on its facade.

                                      The developers expect to begin construction in 2015 with completion projected for the spring of 2017. Amenities include a pool deck on 15th floor, a children�s entertainment room, and a ground floor restaurant.

                                      The Edge on Brickell will include two- and three-bedroom units and two-story penthouses, with prices ranging from $648,000 to more than $4 million.

                                      The project is using the buyer deposit model that has fueled the current boom in Miami. The deposit schedule calls for buyers to put up 20 percent of the purchase price at contract, another 20 percent at groundbreaking, 10 percent when the top slab is poured and the balance at closing.

                                      Veronica Cervera Goeseke, CEO of Cervera Real Estate, which is heading sales and marketing for the project, said prices start in the �very high $400-per-square foot�� range with �a majority of units in the $500-per-square-foot� range.

                                      Copyright 2014 The Miami Herald
                                    • New vacation rental site launches with Miami options
                                      September 30, 2014
                                      By: Hannah Sampson

                                      Faced with increasing demand for hotel rooms that could accommodate families � and competition from short-term apartment rental sites such as Airbnb � the head of Spain-based Room Mate Hotels started brainstorming this summer.

                                      The result of Enrique Sarasola�s musings: BeMate.com, a service that offers accommodation at apartments or houses with some of the amenities found in a hotel.

                                      �Why fight it?� Sarasola said during an interview this week in Miami Beach. �This is the future; the sharing economy is here to stay.�

                                      The site highlights properties located near Room Mate or partner hotels, including the Room Mate Waldorf Towers at 860 Ocean Dr. in Miami Beach. Room Mate Hotels has a portfolio of nearly 20 hotels, mostly in Europe, with more on the way, and Sarasola said BeMate will open its technology to independent hotels that want to participate.

                                      A team from BeMate.com verifies that photos of a home or apartment are accurate and checks that local zoning laws are being followed. Guests who book through the site can opt for hotel services such as housekeeping, concierge, luggage storage, key pickup and help with any issues that pop up. The company gets a percentage of the revenue with each booking.

                                      So far, the site includes 2,500 properties in 10 cities, including Miami Beach; plans call for more than 200 cities to be included by the end of 2015.

                                      Copyright 2014 The Miami Herald
                                    • Miami foreclosure rate keeps falling
                                      September 30, 2014
                                      By: Martha Brannigan

                                      The foreclosure rate in the Miami area fell to 5.9 percent in July, the lowest level since the housing crash, according to CoreLogic.

                                      Still, the rate of foreclosure activity in the area, which includes Miami, Miami Beach, and Kendall, remains more than three times the national average of 1.7 percent of mortgages outstanding, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based data firm.

                                      The foreclosure rate, which reflects the percentage of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 11 percent in the Miami area in July 2013.

                                      CoreLogic said a smaller share of Miami mortgages are turning sour. In July, the delinquency rate for the Miami area fell, as 12 percent of mortgages were late by 90 days or more, down from 17.4 percent a year earlier.

                                      Nationwide, 4.3 percent of mortgages were delinquent in July, compared with 5.5 percent a year earlier, CoreLogic said.

                                      Copyright 2014 The Miami Herald
                                    • Shore Club switching some units to condo
                                      September 30, 2014
                                      By: Hannah Sampson

                                      After buying the Shore Club in Miami Beach for $175 million last year, the new owners have announced plans to drastically remake the 309-room hotel.

                                      Though HFZ Capital Group released few details, the developer said in a press release that the property at 1901 Collins Ave. will change into a �luxury condominium and hotel� with 85 residences and 100 hotel rooms.

                                      Real estate company Douglas Elliman plans to launch sales for the condos during Art Basel Miami Beach in December, though reservations for some units will be taken as early as next month.

                                      Still unclear is what those residences will look like, whether they will be available to rent as part of the hotel inventory, how much they will cost and when they will be finished. Renovations will begin in 2015, but no information was available on how long that project would take or whether the hotel will close while the work is ongoing.

                                      The developers �think it�s too early to answer most of these questions,� a spokeswoman said in an email.

                                      Copyright 2014 The Miami Herald
                                    • New Wynwood Parking Rules Start Today, Including Meters Enforced Until 2 a.m.
                                      October 1, 2014
                                      By: Trevor Bach

                                      Heads up, Wynwood-goers: Three weeks after the Miami Parking Authority announced a new parking program for the neighborhood, the changes are set to take effect today.
                                      The program expands the neighborhood's Pay by Phone parking areas west from the railroad tracks to NW Sixth Avenue, and from NW 20th Street north to NW 29th Street. The meters are enforced from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, with the standard rate set at $1.50 an hour for a maximum of three hours, except evenings.

                                      See also: Waffles and Parking Debate in Wynwood This Morning

                                      The new program also includes an employee parking program, with approximately 260 spaces designated for neighborhood employees at a cost of $30 a month, as well as a monthly program, with at least 85 spaces available for $55 a month.

                                      'In an area that has experienced fast-paced growth in a short span of time, we believe that the new parking program will improve accessibility, safety, and mobility in the Wynwood BID,' Rolando Tapanes, director of planning and development for the authority, says in a release about the new program.

                                      But that rollout hasn't been without some confusion: Linda Robinson, an employee at the Workshop Collective on NW 25th Street, tells New Times that when she first went to the authority to inquire about employee parking a couple of weeks ago, she was mistakenly told the program didn't exist.

                                      Robinson followed up, 'and then they were like, 'Oh yeah, it is $30.' And I went and got all the parking [decals] for our employees.'

                                      Although the program is in effect today, for the next two weeks the authority will issue only 'courtesy' citations. The Miami Parking Authority did not return calls seeking comment about today's rollout.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                    • Miami, See it Like a Native
                                      1935 Miami Novelty Card 
                                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
                                    • Lummus Park Lifeguard Station Headquarters
                                      On 10th St. & Ocean Drive 
                                      Miami Beach, Fla. 

                                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
                                    • Miami commission approves Worldcenter agreement
                                      September 29, 2014
                                      By: David Smiley

                                      The backers of the massive Miami Worldcenter won two key approvals Monday from the Miami City Commission that will allow them to move forward with the $1.5 billion project � but not before watching the whole deal teeter briefly on the edge.

                                      The commission�s unanimous vote in favor of zoning changes and a development agreement modified by 11th hour tweaks � including a frantic backroom huddle with Commissioner Keon Hardemon � means the businessmen pushing the mega-project can move forward and submit actual site plans.

                                      �We�re excited,� Worldcenter principal Nitin Motwani said. �This is just another step forward.�

                                      Motwani and his partners needed the commission approvals Monday for a special zoning plan and new development agreement after sitting for nearly a decade on the land, located in a blighted neighborhood to the west of downtown. Worldcenter has been planned as a massive retail, hotel and residential complex stretching from 11th Street to Sixth Street, and from North Miami Avenue to Second Avenue.

                                      Dozens of residents, real estate reps, entrepreneurs and property owners spoke in favor of the project, saying they�ve been waiting for years to �ride its coattails.� But for all its support, Worldcenter�s backers continued to be dogged Monday by critics who said the city�s planning office has negotiated overly cozy terms that would allow the developer to privatize public streets for free, cluster bars into an intense nightlife district and erect gaudy billboards.

                                      Commissioners were initially dismissive of those concerns, and Planning Director Francisco Garcia said they were unfounded.

                                      But on Friday, Worldcenter�s development agreement was quietly changed to clarify that any signage on site has to comply with Miami�s new zoning code, and to require that Worldcenter pay a fee should it build over or under any public street. Garcia, however, said the changes were more clarification than modification, and noted that while critics have said the developer should pay money to encompass public streets, none of the plans submitted by Worldcenter to date would have incurred that fee.

                                      Those changes appeased some critics, though many nevertheless urged commissioners to delay a vote two weeks so that the amended agreement � which wasn�t made publicly available until Monday night � could be vetted. But the most powerful critic emerged as Hardemon, who surprised some commissioners by slamming Worldcenter for backtracking on a commitment to local jobs and living wages.

                                      �To me it�s disheartening. It�s insulting,� he said.

                                      To keep the deal alive, commissioners paused their meeting and Worldcenter�s team of Greenberg Traurig attorneys met for an hour with Hardemon and city lawyers to craft an agreement that committed more jobs to locals, and with better wages.

                                      The last-minute negotiations, however, only emboldened critics who said the city was rushing the Worldcenter deal through. Some warned that the city was giving short shrift to a deal that would likely be carried out by other developers, considering Motwani acknowledged that Worldcenter principals have always intended to flip some of the project.

                                      �You need to know who you�re doing business with,� said Brad Knoefler, a Worldcenter tenant who has tangled repeatedly with the developer. �Those of us who live and work in the neighborhood could be left holding the bag once this project is flipped.�

                                      It all made for a long, unusual hearing that started not with a presentation by the developer but a soliloquy from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff about why allegations that he stood to benefit from the project were inflammatory. Ahead of the vote, activist Grace Solares sent an email blast noting that Sarnoff�s foundation took money from Worldcenter, and his wife worked as a sales associate with Cervera Real Estate, rumored to be working with the developer. Sarnoff said he reaped no benefit from his foundation. And Alicia Cervera, chairwoman of Cervera Real Estate, said her company isn�t working with Worldcenter, at least not yet.

                                      Ultimately, commissioners voted 4-0 for both the zoning changes and the development agreement. Commission Chairman Wifredo �Willy� Gort was absent.

                                      With approvals in hand, Motwani said Worldcenter�s principals will move soon to submit detailed development plans from Garcia, the planning director. He said he and his partners have always acknowledged that they intend to flip some of the land, but said they will remain invested in some aspects as developers.

                                      He said the plans they have submitted are what they intend to build.

                                      �We didn�t go through all this to show rendering and not move forward,� he said.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald
                                    • YOUR CHEAT SHEET TO A STRESS-FREE MOVE
                                      By: Angie's List

                                      7 tips for making your next move as painless as possible

                                      If there�s a move in your future and you want to hire help with all or part of it, here are the best suggestions to unpack and stow away, all from highly rated movers and satisfied customers:

                                      1. Plan ahead. Start at least six weeks before the move date, and allow time to declutter and pack each room.

                                      2. Choose services. Moving services range from you-rent trucks to �managed moves� in which experts handle every detail, including setting up the new household. In between, you can get help for just the heavy lifting, or hybrid options in which you pack possessions into pods or cubes that a company transports to your new home.

                                      3. Know what to expect. In a standard move, if possessions cross state lines at any point, that�s considered an interstate move that is subject to federal regulation. Costs are typically calculated using a combination of weight and distance. Long distance in-state moves are often assessed the same way. Local moves are usually assessed by hour and per worker. Regulations for local movers and what constitutes a �local� move vary widely by state. Costs reflect the type of move and service level. A you-rent truck might cost $20 to $40 a day with an additional charge of about 80 cents a mile. Expect to pay at least $1,000 for a full-service move across town. Long-distance professional moves can cost a dozen times as much.

                                      4. Time it wisely, if you can. Cut costs by avoiding the busy summer months or choosing a departure date after the first of the month and before its last ten days.

                                      5. Know scam warning signs. Rogue movers plague the industry. Be leery of companies that:

                                      � Won�t provide an on-site estimate. The most accurate estimate comes from a visit to your home.

                                      � Answer calls with a generic greeting, such as �movers� or �moving company.�

                                      � Don�t have a local address, information about registration or insurance.

                                      � Charge differently than the norm, such as by the cubic feet.

                                      � Demand cash or a large deposit before the move.

                                      � Use a generic or rented truck.

                                      � Demand extra money after loading, saying the estimate covered only some charges or possessions weighed more than estimated.

                                      6. Do your homework. If you�re planning an out-of-state move, visit protectyourmove.gov, which lists licensed movers. Many states also have similar sites. Read company reviews on a trusted consumer site, check for proper licensing and ask about the crew�s experience level.

                                      7. Know your rights. You should know if the estimate is binding or if it could change. A binding estimate can�t be changed, even if the actual cost exceeds the estimate. Get a written copy of the estimate. To avoid hidden or add-on fees, ask if it includes charges for fuel, moving equipment and workers� trips to and from the house.

                                      8. Be clear about coverage. The federal government requires that moving companies offer two levels of basic liability: Full value and released value. These are not insurance. Full value protection costs extra and means the mover is responsible for the entire value of shipped items. The released value option adds no cost, but significantly reduces what the mover must pay in case of breakage. Some companies will offer, through an affiliate, insurance policies that require upfront coverage payment and payment of a deductible if you make a claim. Not all states allow movers to sell insurance. You can also choose a third-party policy, sometimes through your home insurance provider.

                                      Copyright 2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
                                    • Wynwood Is Getting a New Park and It Looks Like a Greenhouse
                                      September 25, 2014
                                      By: Trevor Bach

                                      Wynwood is getting a new park, and it will look kind of like a greenhouse. The plan, for a well-manicured space with grass and trees covered by a thin, translucent structure, was the winner in an international competition sponsored by Tony Cho, CEO of Wynwood real estate firm Metro 1.
                                      'We hope that our park will be a place where people come together with nature and art in an urban environment,' the winning team, comprised of artist Jim Drain, landscape architect Roberto Rovira, and architect Nick Gelpi, said in a release, 'where everyone can feel at home and where people and nature thrive together.'

                                      The park is planned for 2825 NW Second Ave., a space that's currently a parking lot owned by Metro 1. The developer is converting an adjacent building into a retail center.

                                      'I thought, why keep this as a parking lot when I can do something impactful for the community?'' Cho told the Miami Herald.

                                      Cho's competition for the 14,000-square-foot park drew 238 submissions from 38 countries, including Spain, Germany, and Australia, and was judged by a blind jury consisting of architect and design leaders. But when the winning design was chosen last week, it belonged to the only local team who had entered: Drain, Rovira, and Gelpi are all based in Miami.

                                      'We are thrilled to announce Greenhouse as the winning design concept,' Cho said in a release. 'It's remarkable the only local team to enter the competition was unanimously selected by a blind jury, but I think that serves as a testament to this talented group's true understanding of the project's significance.'

                                      The park will be just one of dozens of planned projects scheduled that will change the face of Wynwood once completed. The neighborhood's lightning-fast transition from abandoned warehouses to hip artist haven to gentrified residential zone is zooming forward, with the 250 Wynwood loft condo project under construction and several other projects already approved by the city.

                                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                    • Welcome to Miami Attractions Month
                                      During Miami Attractions Month enjoy Buy 1 admission, get 1 admission free and other great offers.

                                      Miami Attractions offer countless choices � from historic to adventuresome, natural to man-made. Attractions so exotic they beckon to be explored. Old World-style villas. Animal and botanical sanctuaries. A River of Grass. Places that capture the imagination and stir the soul. Just imagine swimming with dolphins, posing with parrots and hand-feeding giraffes � just a few of many jaw dropping sights and experiences that make up our kaleidoscope of attractions.

                                      Click on the link below to view all upcoming events for the month of October!

                                      Copyright 2014 Official website Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. All rights reserved.

                                    Develop Solar Power in Florida!

                                    Did you know that Florida is our nation's largest untapped solar market?

                                    Florida is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of a clean energy economy, but your right to solar energy is under attack by the big utilities as they try to limit fair compensation for solar power and suppress the market.

                                    Under current law, Florida residents who install rooftop solar panels on their homes are able to receive fair credit for any excess electricity they send to the power grid helping pay off their investment by providing a clean source of energy to their neighbors.

                                    But if utilities like FPL or Duke Energy get their way, your rights will be limited; homeowners and businesses that invest in solar power would no longer be fully compensated for the clean energy they generate.

                                    Now is the time for Florida to step up and truly own the title of 'The Sunshine State'.

                                    To sign the petition, click the link below

                                    Copyright 2010-2014 cleanenergy.org / Southern Alliance for Clean Energy | All Rights Reserved
                                  • O Cinema To Open New Location in Miami Beach
                                    September 10, 2014
                                    By: Shelly Davidov

                                    Miami Beach is about to get a piece of the city's thriving indie cinema scene. The award-winning O Cinema will open a third location in North Beach this fall.
                                    The third art-house, community-focused cinema was approved unanimously this morning by the city of Miami Beach mayor and city commissioners, who voted for O to take over management of the Byron Carlyle Theater. O Cinema's Kareem Tabsch told New Times the city's quick work on the process was a pleasant surprise.

                                    'We've been in discussion with the city of Miami Beach for a few months now,' Tabsch said. 'It's a theater we've always loved, I have to say. The current administration and staff work really well; the support and dedication has been outstanding. I didn't think it would happen this quickly.'

                                    See also: Miami Beach Artist Deming Harriman Conjures 'Goddesses' at O Cinema Wynwood

                                    The Byron Carlyle Theater first opened as a movie theater in 1968. When the theater closed in 2001 it was purchased and renovated by the city. Over the last decade it operated primarily as a rental venue and live-theater space for a variety of arts groups, most recently Broward's Stage Door Theatre. Tabsch is thrilled O gets to take part renewing arts and culture in the area.

                                    'What I'm most excited about is bringing movies to the neighborhood,' Tabsch said. 'North Beach is a wonderful part of the city, full of wonderful restaurants, really walkable streets; there's always something going on. There's such new focus on revitalizing North Beach. To be part of that is terribly exciting.'

                                    Revamped in the early 2000s, the Bryon retains 35mm film projection from the old days, meaning the only real renovation O Cinema must contribute is digital projection. Located a few blocks off Collins Avenue on 71st Street, between Byron and Carlyle Avenues, the Byron Carlyle Theater will be rebranded as O Cinema Miami Beach and operate seven days a week on a year-round basis. The theater is a single-screen auditorium with seating for 304 moviegoers.

                                    'It's a great space,' Tabsch said. 'It's 300 feet, two levels. It's a great, old, beautiful theater that's been underutilized for over a decade. To be able to inject it with new life is going to be great for the neighborhood.'

                                    Tabsch says O Cinema Miami Beach will follow the path of the Wynwood and Miami Shores locations, bringing in films that should be seen by Miami audiences and programming films based on community response.

                                    'North Beach is one of the largest populations of the Argentinean community in Miami, the largest Brazilian community are located within that area, so I'm sure that is going to inform some of our programming. There's so many wonderful films that are coming from Argentina, Brazil, all of Latin America, that I think are undershown in the city.. It's going to be a little bit of everything. What people tell us they want to see is what we'll be bringing them.'

                                    O Cinema Miami Beach has will open sometime this fall. The Byron is 'in glorious shape' inside from its previous restoration, Tabsch says, so installing digital projection is the next task in the takeover.

                                    'We'll be announcing some films very, very soon,' he said. 'We have some major retrospectives in the works that will be happening there. There's a lot of exciting things happening in this space. People who want to find out more when we open should visit our Facebook page and join our email list to keep updated.'

                                    Miami Beach is already home to one art-house cinema, Miami Beach Cinematheque, located in the former city hall building in South Beach.

                                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                                  • South Florida restaurant chain scores $40M in EB-5 funds
                                    September 10, 2014

                                    The money is allowing the VooDoo BBQ chain to expand quickly

                                    The owners of Florida franchise restaurant VooDoo BBQ & Grill have raised $40 million from investors in 12 countries through the EB-5 visa program. The restaurant is using those funds to open locations in Miami, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Pensacola. �We�re not where we were in �04 or �05 when anybody could get a loan, but the appetite from financial institutions is increasing,� Israel Alfonso, a Miami partner in Akerman, whose annual real estate survey measures economic conditions and investor confidence, told the Daily Business Review. To score the finances, Jafrejo Holdings LLC, the chain�s Florida franchisee, sent partners abroad, spending about $150,000 on travel. �The big misconception is people think this is easy to get. It�s cheap money, but it�s not easy to get. It�s challenging, and you have to make sure you connect to people who qualify and can show the U.S. government that the money they�re investing came from legal sources,� Jafrejo partner Joe Sloboda said. �The biggest part is making sure you�re working with people who fully understand the EB-5 rules and can package your deals in a way that will be approved by the U.S. government and still be accessible to investors. There�s a delicate balance.� [Daily Business Review] - Christopher Cameron

                                    Copyright 2014 at TheRealDeal

                                   Key Biscayne Home With Private Cove Lists for $60 Million

                                  September 9, 2014
                                  By Kyle Munzenrieder 

                                  Oh, there are lots of fancy homes for sale in Miami on the water, but darling, darling, don't you know that's absolutely basic compared to a home with its own private cove? Fortunately, there's just such a home with its own private cove for sale on the tip of Key Biscayne. It's been listed for $60 million, and if it goes for anything near that amount, it would be the single most expensive home ever sold in Miami-Dade. But private cove opportunities come up only every so often.
                                  The property at 775 S. Mashta Dr. has quite the history. The manmade land that creates the cove was created by William John Matheson in 1908. The industrialist at the time owned about two-thirds of Key Biscayne, and this property was his crowning jewel. (Matheson had a thing apparently for manmade bodies of water, as anyone who has visited the lagoon at Matheson Hammock Park knows.)

                                  Forbes notes that Matheson's original home was destroyed in the '50s, and the current home sitting on the property was built in 1991. Its currently owned by unnamed Latin American owners who rent it out for as much as $50,000 a month. Listing agent Jorge Uribe of ONE Sotheby's International Realty stresses that the home could be renovated and that the property has room for up to two more homes.

                                  The property could beat the record for a residential real estate sale in Miami-Dade. That was set last year when a penthouse at the under-construction Faena District in Midbeach went for $50 million.

                                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.



                                  Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native

                                  Publix Where Shopping is a Pleasure 

                                  Courtesy of Alvin Lederer

                                  14 Simple Ways Anyone Can Earn Extra Spending Money

                                  By: Aaron Crowe

                                  The economy is getting better, but money still doesn't grow on trees, so you want to make a few bucks on the side. Whether you need to make money on the side to make ends meet or you're just saving to pay for that dream vacation, there are lots of ways to accomplish your goal without getting a second job.

                                  We've put together some ideas to make money that struck us as reasonably practical for a lot of people, depending on needs, abilities and interests. Many can be done at home in your spare time.

                                  First, a caution: Be aware of scammers. If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Work only with reputable people and companies. Don�t pay someone so you can sell their product, for example.

                                  With that caveat out of the way, here are 14 side gigs to make money:

                                  If you want to try a way to make money that shouldn�t eat up much of your time, try taking online surveys and get paid for your opinion of products and services.

                                  All you have to do is fill out forms. The company will match you up with surveys about products and services aimed at people like you. According to the Penny Hoarder, you can earn $50 a month if you sign up for all nine recommended sites.
                                  Write short articles on a wide range of available subjects. The pay�s not fantastic, so speed is key. This Penny Hoarder recommends several of the better-paying content sites.

                                  If you do a lot of online shopping anyway, why not make money and earn credits for it? Money Saving Mom offers the sites she likes best.

                                  You go into a store pretending to be an ordinary customer, but you�re really there to provide the company feedback, such as how clean and organized the store is and how the employees treat you. You make $8 to $15 per location as a mystery shopper. Ka-ching!

                                  Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and other sites put you in contact with thousands of possible buyers. List the items yourself or sell them on consignment.

                                  If you don�t feel like doing all of that work, drop your stuff off an an eBay consignment shop and let them put it up for sale for you.

                                  One of the best community-oriented sites is Nextdoor. The startup says it�s in 35,000 U.S. neighborhoods. Nextdoor is about a lot more than selling stuff, but it�s certainly OK to do that. It�s super convenient, and dealing with verified neighbors makes both parties comfortable.

                                  This won�t bring in money right away. The key is to be passionate about your subject and persistent in posting new material.

                                  As you bring more eyeballs to the blog, more advertisers will pay to be on your site. The website Christian Personal Finance offers tips on how to do it well.

                                  You know how some websites take forever to load, are hard to read or navigate, or make you smile with how cool they are? There are companies that will pay up to $30 an hour to provide feedback on the user experience at assigned websites, according to the Penny Hoarder.

                                  According to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, the average per-hour charge in the U.S. for this growing service is $16 for a half-hour session. How many you squeeze into your schedule will determine how much you make.

                                  You can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars year on weekends or after work just by being around the sports you love. You might need official certification. Contact your local rec department to find out what they require to get you started on the road to make money with a fun side gig.

                                  Cleaning or helping someone move are some of the tasks available at sites like TaskRabbit and Gigwalk.

                                  You�ll be an online teacher for someone who wants to learn English at italki.

                                  This is a good way to get rid of clutter (yours and your friends� and neighbors�, if you team up) without having to worry about boxing and shipping like you do with eBay and similar sites. But there�s an art to having a successful garage sale, such as clearly marking your prices and advertising well.

                                  An easy way to get some income is to rent out a room. Of course, you have to carefully screen applicants to make sure they have steady work, compatible hours and habits, etc. You can post the availability on Craigslist.

                                  Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. The Credit Solution Program

                                  By: Caylin Harris

                                  Thinking of selling your home...even one day? Real estate experts weigh in on the unexpected little details that could cost you big time in the long run.

                                  1. CHOOSING A CRAZY EXTERIOR COLOR.

                                  �Curb appeal is huge, don�t pick a paint color that isn�t common in your neighborhood or doesn�t fit the style of your home.� -Pam Baldwin Foarde of Al Filippone Associates/William Raveis

                                  2. LANDSCAPING WITHOUT A PLAN.

                                  �Planting trees too close to the house or driveway�without considering how big they're going to get�creates major problems later. Roots can cause breaks in the pavement that might raise your homeowners insurance or make it hard for you get a policy until the problem is fixed. Before you plant anything, think about how it will look in twenty years.� �Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group

                                  3. IGNORING YOUR ENTRYWAY.

                                  �Having a front door lock that doesn�t work properly or hardware that looks old and pitted makes buyers uneasy and puts them on high alert for what else has been let go in the house.� -Donna Marie Baldwin of Coldwell Banker

                                  4. ASSUMING YOU'LL RECOUP EVERY INVESTMENT.

                                  �People spend a lot of money putting in a pool and want to recoup the value when they go to sell their home. Unfortunately, putting in a pool never gets you back the value or cost of the pool.� �Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group

                                  5. FUSSING WITH THE FIREPLACE.

                                  �Be cautious if you�re thinking about updating the fireplace, especially if you want to paint over exposed brick. Depending on what the trend is at the time it could lower the value. People tend to like the aesthetic of exposed brick.� �Chris Winn

                                  6. SKIMPING ON AN AC SYSTEM.

                                  �Always pay for the next system up for your home�s size. Paying more initially will bring down your power bill while you live there and will up the value when you sell.� �Chris Winn

                                  7. GETTING TOO COMPLICATED WITH PAINT.

                                  �It might be trendy to paint the trim a contrasting color, but it distracts the eye. Keep it the same color as the wall to maximize the space.� �Davida Hogan, home stager at Edited Style

                                  8. KEEPING OLD APPLIANCES.

                                  �Pay attention to the brand and quality of your major kitchen appliances. If something is classic and well maintained that�s always a positive. But if you can�t get something clean it needs to be replaced. People don�t want to move in and have to replace all of the appliances.� -Pam Baldwin Foarde

                                  9. NEGLECTING THE SMALL STUFF.

                                  �Buyers have their eye on details you might forget. Keep up with cleaning and maintaining windows, making sure light switches work, or making sure the garbage disposal runs properly�it all shows that the house has been cared for.' �Davida Hogan

                                  10. NOT DOING A DEEP CLEAN.

                                  �Even the tiniest details matter when it comes to cleaning. The tracks of windows, sinks, grout, ovens, and appliances are all looked at by buyers.� �Donna Marie Baldwin

                                  11. BEING TOO TREND OBSESSED.

                                  �Buyers aren�t attracted to trendy�they are looking for kitchens or bathrooms in classic, neutral colors. If you want to add color and personality to your home use bright accessories (that are easy to change) to bring in fun details.� �Pam Baldwin Foarde

                                  12. CHOOSING HARD TO CLEAN SURFACES.

                                  �Make sure you spend money on the correct cleaners for your countertops. Permanent stains on kitchen and bathroom counters mean that the whole piece will need to be replaced.� -Pam Baldwin Foarde

                                  13. THINKING TOO SMALL IN SMALL SPACES.

                                  'Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. That being said, you always want to make a small space feel as big as possible. Don�t re-tile a small bathroom with small tiles; they only make the space feel smaller. Use bigger tiles; they�ll open the space up.� �Davida Hogan

                                  14. NEGLECTING YOUR WOOD FLOORS.

                                  �I recently refinished the floors in my own home and found out that you shouldn�t clean them with water and vinegar because it dulls them over time. Also, instead of a complete overhaul you can have your floors buffed every few years.� -Pam Baldwin Foarde

                                  Copyright 2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
                                • Related Group campaigns for Edgewater promenade
                                  September 8, 2014

                                  The developer hopes to build one continuous waterfront walkway

                                  The Related Group is pushing for a public bayside pedestrian promenade through Edgewater, which the firm is calling the Biscayne Line. The developer has commissioned a survey from Arquitectonica showing waterfront conditions, and suggesting what can easily be implemented in the near future, and what might be more difficult, according to Curbed. The Biscayne Line would eventually run the entire length of Edgewater�s bayfront from Albert Pallot Park, just to the north of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, to Museum Park to the south. The Arquitectonia survey shows that a significant portion of the bay walk already exists. In the southern section of Edgewater, larger properties make implementation easy, while in the northern section development would be more complicated, according to Curbed. [Curbed] � Christopher Cameron 

                                  All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
                                • Miami Dade Transit�s 10-Year Plan is an Abomination
                                  September 8, 2014
                                  By: Felipe Azenha

                                  Miami-Dade Transit has no plan to extend Metrorail nor is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on their radar in the foreseeable future. Take a look at their 10-year plan; complete fluff with no substance, no future transit vision, or measurable goals ( ie. add X miles of BRT or add X bus shelters, Baylink extension). Essentially Miami Dade Transit has no game plan for the next 10 years. See for yourselves.

                                  Copyright 2014 TransitMiami.com
                                • This is was Downtown Miami & Brickell in 1984- Before and After
                                  September 4, 2014

                                  Miami has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. In the photo on the left. The Miami Tower was almost halfway to construction and there were not many high rise buildings. They were also starting construction on South Miami Ave Bridge and the metromover was not built yet. Fast forward to 2014 and Miami looks nothing like it did/ Condos and offices line the Miami skyline on what were previously empty lots. Makes you wonder what Miami will look like in 2044?

                                  Click on the link below to view before and after photos of Miami.

                                  Copyright 2014 by Golden Dusk Photography, All rights reserved


                                Heat's Luol Deng buys waterfront Miami home

                                September 2, 2014
                                By: Eric Kalis

                                Small forward pays $4.6 million for five-bedroom house in city's Morningside neighborhood

                                Luol Deng, one of the Miami Heat's newest additions, plunked down $4.6 million for a waterfront home in the city's Morningside neighborhood, The Real Deal has learned. The small forward closed on the all-cash purchase of the 5925 North Bayshore Drive house on Friday, according to EWM Realtors International senior vice president Nelson Gonzalez, who handled the listing on behalf of seller Saad Mahmoud. Deng signed a two-year contract with the Heat in July. His new home has five bedrooms and nearly 3,400 square feet of living space. Miami-Dade County has not recorded the transaction. The home was listed with a $4.85 million asking price. Mahmoud paid about $1.03 million for the 32,445-square-foot property in June 2001. The home was originally constructed in 1928. Features include a chef's kitchen, heated pool, hot tub with a waterfall, a large dock with a boatlift and a two-story guesthouse. Deng plans to renovate the main house, according to Gonzalez. This is a fabulous lot with a very nice dock and view of the bay, Gonzalez told TRD. Deng wanted something with a larger lot and was looking at things over in Miami Beach. But when he saw this he immediately fell in love with it. Deng was represented by Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Carolina Lara of Fonseca Duek Realty.

                                All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal


                                Interesting panel comparing Miami to other global cities at the Miami New Construction Show.

                                On my way home yesterday from showing my beautiful listing at 5838 Collins Ave. Looks like it's going to be a busy weekend on Miami Beach.

                                Very interesting presentation on a new platform allowing investors to publicly solicit requests for alternative financing for real estate investments!

                                1933 - Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native 

                                New $540M courthouse proposal draws critics

                                August 29, 2014

                                Commissioners disagree about how to fund the project

                                A proposal for a new taxpayer funded Miami courthouse is facing critics. At a recent public meeting, commissioners disagreed over what should be on a proposed ballot question seeking $540 million, according to the Miami Herald. �From the standpoint of need, I understand it completely,� said Commissioner Esteban �Steve� Bovo, chairman of the commission�s finance committee. However, he questioned issuing another $540 million in debt after taxpayers approved $1.2 billion in new government debt for public schools and $830 million for the Jackson Health System. The current proposal would include the costs of building a new courthouse on county-owned property, $25 million in repairs for the current courthouse and refinancing an existing $132 million debt. At a recent gathering lead by Commissioner Xavier Suarez at the historic Dade County Courthouse everyone agreed that a new courthouse is necessary � just not how to pay for it. �We�re going to lose a couple of commissioners, not to mention the general public,� without an incentive, Suarez said. [Miami Herald] - Christopher Cameron

                                All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                              • Downtown Miami's 'Grand Central' Station Will Change It All
                                August 28, 2014
                                By: Curbed Staff

                                Strolling through the western side of Downtown Miami (the area between I-95 and Miami Ave), can be quite a disheartening experience. When you envision the center of a city as well known as ours, you picture dense streets full of people and activity, especially in the immediate vicinity of the biggest station (Government Center Station) in the city's public mass transit rail system! The reality, however, is that this part of Downtown is far from resembling a major urban center at all; endless blocks of fenced in parking lots and decrepit faceless buildings make up a very desolate landscape, but with the new passenger rail train hub being built by All Aboard Florida, often called Miami's 'Grand Central Station', that's all about to change.

                                A quick glance at a map of the land use around Government Center Station, put together by Matthew Toro at miamigeographic.com, reveals the immediate area around the station mainly consists of parking lots and institutional buildings (mainly courthouses); lacking any substantial residential, commercial, or office land use. It is hard to fathom that some of the best connected land in our city is practically abandoned. (as it also is at multiple other Metrorail stations, mostly to the north) The area in need of improvement is vast and it would take a combination of several projects to significantly alter the current landscape. Fortunately, that is precisely what is brewing here. An explosion of change is impending and it will transform this part of Downtown forever.

                                At the epicenter of it all, is All Aboard Florida's Miami Grand Central Station. This massive elevated station will sit on various blocks of parking lots between the Metrorail tracks and NW 1st Ave, connecting to Government Center station. Apart from a 21st century terminal for trains travelling from Miami to Orlando, the station plan includes thousands of square feet of retail and office space. There have also been talks of consolidating a Miami-Dade Transit bus depot into the plan in exchange for county land adjacent to the project expanding the station's already enormous footprint.

                                All around the station, new developments are being planned. To the south east at 70 SW 1st Street, a 51-story tower will sit on top of an existing municipal parking lot. To the north west, at the old Miami Arena site, a Las Vegas-worthy 2000 room Marriot Hotel and Convention center will rise (in previous announcements, the hotel was shown to be directly connected to the station via a concourse, although it seems that plan has been eliminated) as part of the epic, city-within-a-city, Godzilla-sized mega project Miami World Center.

                                To the north east, All Aboard Florida and Don Peebles have teamed up on an Overtown redevelopment megaproject which will include affordable residential and retail space, which as previously reported by Curbed, will be directly connected to the Choo-Choo. This project promises to return Overtown to the vibrant neighborhood it once was.

                                To the south west, HistoryMiami has recently expanded into the old Miami Art Museum space at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, which it will utilize to showcase the thousands of artifacts it has collected to tell Miami's History. In the vicinity, the new Miami Children's Courthouse is about to open, and a push for a new facility to replace the historic Dade County Courthouse at 73 W. Flagler St. is currently in full swing. This would mean the beautiful structure could end up in the hands of a developer with the deep pockets to restore it properly, and be remodeled into a fancy hotel or residential building conveniently located next to the busy station. It is also worth noting, that the court marks the endpoint for the Flagler street re-do, planned to revitalize the historic street all the way from Biscayne Boulevard to the court.�Andy Morales Future FEC Downtown Miami Station [Curbed Miami]

                                Copyright 2014 Vox Media Inc. All rights reserved.
                              • 32 Crazy Things You Will Need In Your Dream House
                                September 1, 2014
                                By: MMK

                                Everyone has a dreaming house, and everyone has ideas on cool things to have in their dream home. We have gathered a bunch of crazy things that you will need in your dream house. Take a look, Outdoor Kitchen, Balcony Pool, outdoor movie theater,Hidden Rooms� what is your favorite?

                                Click on the link below to view images
                              • 25 Simple Clever Upgrades To Make Your Home Extremely Awesome
                                August 31, 2014
                                By: MMK

                                Everyone has a dreaming house, these 25 brilliant ideas will show you how easy it is to upgrade your house into your dream home. They will help get you inspired to start the home upgraded project and the most important thing is that you don�t necessarily have to break the bank.

                                Click on the link below to view images

                                Copyright Architecture & Design 2014

                              We're thrilled to announce Saks Fifth Avenue as the anchor store for Brickell City Centre!
                              MIAMI, FL (August 20, 2014) � Swire Properties Inc, one of South Florida�s leading international developers of urban real estate, and Whitman Family Development, developers of Bal Harbour Shops, today announced an agreement with Hudson�s Bay Company for leading luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue to open a department store in Brickell City Centre. The retailer, due to open fall 2016, is the lead tenant and will occupy three floors with street level access taking 107,000 square-feet of the 565,000 square-foot shopping center.

                              �Miami is a gateway for the international consumer and we know this buyer, understand their lifestyle and their demand for quality and luxury. We envision Brickell City Centre as the nexus of Miami�s cosmopolitan lifestyle and booming economic growth, and want to work with brands that are leaders in the luxury market,� said Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties. �Saks Fifth Avenue is a world-class retailer and a perfect department store for Brickell City Centre.�

                              Brickell City Centre is set to bring urban living to the Brickell neighborhood, a bustling business epicenter which attracts both the high net worth resident and an international clientele. Brickell City Centre is a landmark $1.05 billion mixedâuse development of 5.4 million square feet including office, residential, hotel, retail and entertainment space, and underground parking, currently under construction. The project will span 9.1 acres along South Miami Avenue between Sixth and Eighth Street in the Brickell district of Downtown Miami.

                              �Bal Harbour Shops has a long and storied relationship with Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks caters to their clients by creating innovative shopping experiences that fuse contemporary culture and high fashion,� said Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and chief executive officer of Whitman Family Development. �Saks�s continued growth in Miami is evidence of the continued demand for luxury retail in this market, and it is clear they are a powerhouse in that segment and will offer Brickell an incredible selection of the world�s foremost fashion brands.�

                              About Swire Properties

                              Swire Properties Inc, headquartered in Miami since 1979, is one of South Florida�s leading international developers of urban office, hotel and condominium properties. Known for its $1 billion masterâplanned development of the island of Brickell Key in downtown Miami, Swire continues to shape the Miami skyline with its latest project, Brickell City Centre, a landmark $1.05 billion mixedâuse complex comprising a gross floor area of 5.4 million gross square feet, including an underground carpark and 2.9 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, retail and entertainment space. The Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the publicly-listed Swire Properties Limited based in Hong Kong. For more information, visit www.swireproperties.us.

                              About Brickell City Centre

                              Brickell City Centre is a $1.05 billion mixed-use development in Miami and an iconic representation of the impact Swire Properties Inc has on the city. Strategically and conveniently located in the center of the Brickell financial district, the 5.4 million square-foot development, including an underground carpark, will span 9.1 acres and include 565,000 square feet of shopping and entertainment, two residential towers, 263-room hotel with 89 serviced apartments, a wellness center and Class-A offices. The project is LEED�-registered for Neighborhood Development � currently one of the largest in the U.S. Sustainability elements include the exclusive CLIMATE RIBBON�, an elevated trellis composed of steel, fabric and a continuous surface of glass that will connect all components of the development and create a comfortable microclimate for shoppers. As the largest private-sector project currently under construction in Miami, Brickell City Centre began vertical construction in 2013 and the first phase of construction is scheduled to begin completion at the end of 2015. A second phase of construction will begin in 2016. More information is available at www.brickellcitycentre.com.

                              ABOUT HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY

                              Hudson's Bay Company, founded in 1670, is North America's longest continually operated company. Today, HBC offers customers a range of retailing categories and shopping experiences primarily in the United States and Canada. Our leading banners - Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH - offer a compelling assortment of apparel, accessories, shoes, beauty and home merchandise. Hudson's Bay is Canada's most prominent department store with 90 full-line locations, one outlet store and thebay.com. Lord & Taylor operates 49 full-line locations primarily in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S., four Lord & Taylor outlet locations and lordandtaylor.com. Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the world's pre-eminent luxury specialty retailers, comprises 39 U.S. stores, five international licensed stores and saks.com. OFF 5TH offers value-oriented merchandise through 78 U.S. stores and saksoff5th.com. Home Outfitters is Canada's largest kitchen, bed and bath specialty superstore with 69 locations. Hudson's Bay Company trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol 'HBC'.

                              ABOUT WHITMAN FAMILY DEVELOPMENT, LLC

                              Whitman Family Development is a family-owned, diversified real estate development, management, and leasing company specializing in retail and headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida. Among other interests, Whitman Family Development is the developer, owner and operator of the acclaimed Bal Harbour Shops, ranked the world�s #1 shopping center by the International Council of Shopping Centers, and is the co-developer of the retail components of Miami�s Brickell City Centre.

                              Copyright SWIRE PROPERTIES INC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
                            • Eat, Drink and Be Merry
                              Caption: Jimmy's Hurricane, a popular drive-in restaurant, fed hungry Miami motorists from the 1950 to 1965. Circa 1955.
                              Ellenburg Collection, HistoryMiami, 1996-905-1.

                              To view photo please click on the link below

                              Copyright HistoryMiami. All rights reserved


                            Miami-Dade August 2014 Inventory Report


                            August Miami-Dade Market Share

                          • South Florida resales suffer as new projects move forward
                          • August 26, 2014
                          • By: Peter Zalewski

                            10,100 condos under construction or just completed in tri-county area

                            At a time when South Florida�s condo resale inventory is growing, nearly 10,100 new units are currently under construction or recently completed in the coastal South Florida region during this latest real estate cycle. The number of new units being built or already constructed represents nearly 30 percent of the more than 35,100 units announced east of I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties since 2011, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.) Developers are now constructing 70 new condo towers with nearly 9,300 units and have already built an additional 16 towers with less than 800 units. A supermajority of the condo construction activity is occurring in Miami-Dade County, where 54 new towers with more than 8,060 units are being built. An additional seven towers with nearly 600 units are already completed. Broward County is the next busiest preconstruction condo market, with 14 new towers totaling more than 1,060 units under construction. One additional condo tower with 49 units has already been built. In Palm Beach County, developers have two new towers with more than 165 units under construction. An additional eight condo buildings with a combined 155 units have been completed to date. Overall, the new condo units under construction are primarily being built using buyer deposits of about 50 percent of the presale contract price. In recent months, some ultra-luxury projects already under construction, such as the Oceana Bal Harbour, Faena House and Surf Club Four Seasons Private Residences, have obtained financing tied to the buyer deposits. It is unclear if the other 170 new condo towers with more than 25,050 units that have already been announced will ultimately be constructed. Nearly 100 planned towers with about 13,450 units already have approvals in place and an additional 71 proposed towers with more than 11,600 units are seeking approval to build. A factor becoming clear is that South Florida�s preconstruction condo market could be diverting some prospective buyers away from the tri-county region�s resale market. Condo resales in coastal South Florida are down in each of the three counties between January and July, according to data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange. In Miami-Dade County, condo resales are down nine percent to about 6,358 units this year, compared to more than 7,000 deals during the same period in 2013. Miami-Dade County currently has nearly nine months of condo resale supply on the market. In Broward County, resales are down four percent to about 3,514 in the first seven months of 2014, compared to about 3,659 transactions in the same period of 2013. Broward County has more than six months of supply of condo resales. For Palm Beach County, resales are down two percent to about 3,407 transactions in 2014, compared to nearly 3,490 deals in the same period of 2013. Palm Beach County has less than six months of supply of condo units on the resale market. A healthy condo market typically has about six months of inventory on the resale market. Any additional months of resale supply suggests a buyer�s market, and fewer months of resale supply indicates a seller�s market. The unanswered question going forward is whether enough buyers will enter the South Florida condo market to absorb all of the existing and preconstruction condo units currently available and planned for the tri-county region to avoid any potential for stalling in future months. 

                            All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal


                            New milestone: 35,000 condo units proposed for South Florida

                            AUgust 24, 2014
                            BY PETER ZALEWSKI
                            SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD

                            With new projects continuing to enter the pipeline, South Florida condominium developers are well on their way toward matching a pace of construction last seen during the boom of 2003-06.

                            The difference this time is that the developers are relying less on bank financing and more on pre-construction deposits from buyers � sometimes 50 percent of the contract price. This, developers hope, will insulate them from the effects of any real estate crash in the coming years.

                            Earlier this month, South Florida surpassed the milestone of more than 35,000 proposed units to be built east of Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties when a trio of development companies led by the Related Group revealed plans to build a new condo-hotel tower fronting the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood.

                            By comparison, according to CraneSpotters.com, developers created more than 49,000 units east of Interstate 95 in the region�s seven largest cities before the market crashed in 2007. (Full disclosure: My firm operates the website.)

                            BUYER DEPOSITS

                            Unlike the recent boom-and-bust cycle, the momentum for this condo construction rush is being fueled by developers building with buyer deposits of as much as 50 percent of the pre-sale contract price of units.

                            This dependence on buyer deposits rather than the bank financing model of the last cycle has many in the industry confident that South Florida can avoid a repeat of the events, including an oversupply of new residences, that contributed to the devastating crash of 2007.

                            Obviously, no one knows whether all of the new condos will ultimately be built or successfully sold, but what is clear is the desire by veteran and newbie developers alike to press ahead.

                            RELATED GROUP

                            The Related Group � South Florida�s most prolific vertical residential developer � is leading the push, just as it did last time.

                            With the newly announced Hollywood project, the Related Group is involved with developing at least four new condo towers with more than a combined 1,050 units near the intersection of State Road A1A and Hallandale Beach Boulevard.

                            The Related Group�s first new condo tower in South Florida since the crash � the 24-story Apogee Beach with 49 units on an oceanfront site in Hollywood � was started in 2011 and completed in 2013.

                            A second condo tower � the planned Beachwalk project slated to stand 33 stories tall with 300 units � is under construction on a site fronting the Intracoastal Waterway in Hallandale Beach.

                            Presales for a third condo tower � the planned 41-story Hyde Resort And Residences with 407 units on an oceanfront site in Hollywood � are underway.

                            The Related Group recently announced that the Hollywood highrise is the 34th new condo tower � with a combined 8,400 units � that the Miami-based developer is involved with in South Florida since the current boom began in 2011.

                            By comparison, the Related Group created at least 24 condo towers with almost 9,150 units on locations east of Interstate 95 in the tri-county region during the last boom, according to an analysis of government records.

                            As veteran developers such as the Related Group proceed with their projects, a notable number of proposed units are being planned and built by developers that had not previously built condo towers independently in South Florida.

                            ARGENTINA PRESENCE

                            The pool of new-to-market condo developers now operating in the South Florida market includes a pair of ultra-luxury builders from Argentina: Consultatio Real Estate and the Faena Group.

                            Both developers are proposing a series of condo towers that rank as some of the highest-priced presale units on the market in South Florida.

                            The mix of developers attempting to build in South Florida may have different corporate names from the last boom, but the locations of their projects have not changed.

                            IN SOUTH FLORIDA

                            Miami-Dade County is home to almost 79 percent of all condo units proposed for South Florida. Greater downtown Miami accounts for almost 18,300 units while the barrier island in Miami-Dade represents more than 4,500 units.

                            During the previous boom, Miami-Dade represented about 70 percent of the new condo units. Greater downtown Miami accounted for more than 22,200 of them while Miami-Dade�s barrier island had an additional 12,000.

                            In Broward County, developers have proposed almost 4,450 units, with most of them � 3,250 � announced for sites in the Hollywood-Hallandale Beach market.

                            Back in the 2003 boom, developers created 10,500 condos near the Broward coast with almost 5,000 units in the Hollywood-Hallandale Beach area.

                            IN PALM BEACH AREA

                            Palm Beach County ranks third in the region with more than 3,050 proposed units, including almost 2,125 announced for West Palm Beach.

                            Developers created more than 4,450 units in coastal Palm Beach County during the last boom. West Palm Beach was home to about 3,400 units of them.

                            The question going forward is whether developers, buyers and lenders will be more proactive during the current cycle to thwart the forces that triggered widespread speculation followed by a crash during South Florida�s last pre-construction condo boom.

                            Peter Zalewski is a principal with the Miami real estate consultancy Condo Vultures. Zalewski, a licensed Florida real estate professional since 1995 and founder of CVR Realty and Condo Vultures Realty LLC, advises developers, lenders and institutional investors. Zalewski also runs the pre-construction condo project website CraneSpotters.com in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

                            (By county and status as of 8/18/2014)
                            Market Towers Floors Units Shares of S. Fla. units
                            South Florida 256 5,059 35,132 100.0%
                            Miami-Dade County 173 4,167 27,642 78.7%
                            Broward County 47 461 4,435 12.6%
                            Palm Beach County 36 431 3,055 8.7%
                            Status Towers Floors Units Share of S. Fla. units
                            Proposed (unapproved) 71 1,563 11,608 33.0%
                            Planned (approved) 99 1,856 13,450 38.3%
                            Under construction 70 1,440 9,288 26.4%
                            Completed (since 2011) 16 200 786 2.2%
                            Source: CraneSpotters.com

                            Rank Market Towers Floors Units Share of Units
                            South Florida 256 5,059 35,132 100 %
                            1 Greater Downtown Miami 61 2,583 18,267 52%
                            2 Hollywood/Hallandale Beach 20 235 3,254 9.3%
                            3 West Palm Beach 12 261 2,122 6%
                            4 Aventura 13 215 2,108 6%
                            5 Sunny Isles Beach 14 547 1,924 5.5%
                            6 Miami Beach 27 270 1,355 3.9%
                            7 Bal Surf Bay 30 225 1,286 3.7%
                            8 Coral Gables 9 48 1,133 3.2%
                            9 Fort Lauderdale 15 178 789 2.2%
                            10 North Bay Village 4 93 549 1.6%
                            11 Miami (Coconut Grove) 7 130 435 1.2%
                            12 Pompano Beach 11 45 374 1.1%
                            13 Miami (Morningside) 2 23 230 .7%
                            14 Boca Raton 2 18 217 .6%
                            15 Palm Beach Gardens 5 19 197 .6%
                            16 North Palm Beach 2 44 166 .5%
                            17 Key Biscayne 3 33 165 .5%
                            18 Delray Beach 3 39 158 .4%
                            19 Juno Beach 7 28 121 .3%
                            20 Miami (Design District) 1 0 96 .3%
                            21 Fisher Island 2 0 94 .3%
                            22 Gulf Stream 1 6 34 .1%
                            23 Highland Beach 1 7 22 .1%
                            24 Hillsboro Beach 1 3 18 .1%
                            25 Palm Beach Shores 3 9 18 .1%

                            SOURCE: CraneSpotters.com

                            Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved

                            U.S. Home Sales at Highest Pace of 2014, Says NAR
                            August 21, 2014
                            By: Michael Gerrity 

                            According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales in the U.S. increased in July 2014 to their highest annual pace of the year, as the ongoing decline in distressed sales continued.

                            Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July from a slight downwardly-revised 5.03 million in June. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen four consecutive months, but remain 4.3 percent below the 5.38 million-unit level from last July, which was the peak of 2013. - See more at: https://www.worldpropertychannel.com/north-america-residential-news/home-sales-july-2014-nar-existing-home-sales-report-median-home-price-real-estate-news-lawrence-yun-steve-brown-home-inventory-8449.php?utm_source=WPC+News+Alerts&utm_campaign=0174bdf7e6-WPC_News_Special_Report_August_21st_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_11958aeb79-0174bdf7e6-58027713#sthash.f9ceDqtw.dpufAccording to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales in the U.S. increased in July 2014 to their highest annual pace of the year, as the ongoing decline in distressed sales continued.

                            Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July from a slight downwardly-revised 5.03 million in June. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen four consecutive months, but remain 4.3 percent below the 5.38 million-unit level from last July, which was the peak of 2013. 

                            Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales momentum is slowly building behind stronger job growth and improving inventory conditions. 'The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market,' he said. 'More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue with interest rates remaining low and apartment rents on the rise.'

                            Yun does warn that affordability is likely to decline in upcoming years. 'Although interest rates have fallen in recent months, median family incomes are still lagging behind price gains, and mortgage rates will inevitably rise with the upcoming changes in monetary policy,' he said. 

                            The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $222,900, which is 4.9 percent above July 2013. This marks the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

                            Total housing inventory at the end of July rose 3.5 percent to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 5.8 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.24 million existing homes available for sale.

                            Distressed homes- foreclosures and short sales - accounted for 9 percent of July sales, down from 15 percent a year ago and the first time they were in the single-digits since NAR started tracking the category in October 2008. Six percent of July sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in July, while short sales were discounted 14 percent. 

                            Yun says the deepest housing wounds suffered during the Great Recession are beginning to fully heal. 'To put it in perspective, distressed sales represented an average of 36 percent of sales during all of 2009,' he said. 'Fast-forward to today and rising home values are helping owners recover equity and strong job creation are assisting those who may have fallen behind on their mortgage due to unemployment or underemployment.' 

                            All-cash sales in July were 29 percent of transactions, down from 32 percent in June and representing the lowest overall share since January 2013 (28 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in July, unchanged from last month and July 2013. Sixty-nine percent of investors paid cash in July.

                            According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell for the third consecutive month to 4.13 percent in July from 4.16 percent in June, and remains the lowest rate since June 2013 (4.07 percent).

                            The percent share of first-time buyers in July rose slightly for the second straight month to 29 percent (28 percent in June), but remain historically low.

                            NAR President Steve Brown says the new credit scoring calculation recently announced by Fair Isaac Corp., or FICO, will improve access to homeownership. 'NAR supports efforts to broaden access to credit for qualified homebuyers, especially those who have been shut out of the housing market or forced to pay higher interest rates because of flawed credit scores,' he said. 'A solid credit score is necessary to keep borrowing costs down.'

                            The median time on market for all homes was 48 days in July, up from 44 days in June; it was 42 days on market in July 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 93 days in July, while foreclosures sold in 58 days and non-distressed homes typically took 45 days. Forty percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

                            Single-family home sales increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million in July from 4.43 million in June, but remain 4.2 percent below the 4.75 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $223,900 in July, up 5.1 percent from July 2013.

                            Existing condominium and co-op sales remained unchanged in July from June at an annual rate of 600,000 units, and are 4.8 percent below the 630,000 unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $215,000 in July, which is 3.3 percent higher than a year ago.

                            Regionally, July existing-home sales in the Northeast stayed at an annual rate of 640,000 for the second consecutive month and are now 9.9 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $273,600, an increase of 2.4 percent from July 2013.

                            In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 1.7 percent to an annual level of 1.22 million in July, but remain 4.7 percent below July 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $175,200, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

                            Existing-home sales in the South rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.12 million in July, and are now up slightly (0.5 percent) from July 2013. The median price in the South was $192,000, up 5.0 percent from a year ago.

                            Existing-home sales in the West climbed 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.17 million in July, but remain 8.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $304,100, which is 6.3 percent above July 2013.

                            Copyright 1999-2014 WORLD PROPERTY CHANNEL NETWORKS, INC All Rights Reserved.


                            • New on the Market! 2501 Brickell Ave #703 - Offered at $299,000- 2 Bedroom/ 2 Baths 


                              Aerial View of downtown Miami looking North 1957 
                              Courtesy of Alvin Lederer

                              North Miami makes plans for downtown

                              August 14, 2014
                              By: Lance Dixon

                              North Miami plans to redevelop its downtown area with a new multistory parking garage, retail stores and office spaces. A newly formed downtown advisory committee met last week to discuss the plan for the area�s future and to hear details from city staff.

                              Arthur Sorey, the city�s budget manager, discussed how the city CRA would factor into the downtown development and presented a plan called the three-point catalyst approach. He said the plan was based on the city�s downtown development major corridor master plan and the findings from three downtown redevelopment plan meetings held earlier this year throughout the city.

                              The approach would work in three phases. Sorey said the cost for the garage phase of the project would be about $7 million and would likely be paid for partially by the CRA and through a public-private partnership. City Manager Aleem Ghany said the idea is to keep business and residents in the downtown area.

                              �The idea is to attract middle-class university students, middle-class families, people who will work and live in that area,� Ghany said.

                              Sorey said the other two phases include creating mixed-use zoning for the retail spaces on Northeast 125th Street between Northeast Eighth and Ninth avenues. and plans for an additional parking lot and an amphitheater in the space between the Museum of Contemporary Art and the city�s police department headquarters. Sorey said that the plan is still being developed and is still in its earliest form.

                              �Nothing�s off the table, we�re not even in the design stage yet,� Sorey said at the meeting.

                              The committee also heard from Babacar M�Bow, director of MOCA, who spoke about his plans for the museum and programming following the departure of the board of trustees earlier this month to a new location in Miami�s Design District. M�Bow discussed a plan called MOCA 2020, a plan to develop new exhibits and educational programming by the year 2020, and his hope to develop warehouses near the downtown area so local artists have creative spaces in the city.

                              M�Bow said the city has to find new ways to make the museum profitable and pointed out Jazz at MOCA as an example of a popular event that isn�t necessarily connected to the business community.

                              �We have to keep cultural money in the city and use that to attract outside support,� M�Bow said.

                              Some of the other developments the committee plans to discuss are plans for student housing for the surrounding university students at Florida International University, Johnson & Wales University and Barry University. The city will also have to potentially decide on a Florida East Coast Railway depot on 125th Street.

                              The potential development is also a factor in the plan to extend the life of the CRA. The agreement between the city and Miami-Dade County is set to end in 2016. The city and CRA hope to extend the agreement to 2026 or even further.

                              �We�re really just at the concept stage of how do we sell this to the county so we can extend the life of the CRA,� Tanya Wilson-Sejour, the city�s planning manager, said.

                              The advisory committee plans to meet the second Friday of every month. The CRA Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday at North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th Street.

                              Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
                            • Oceana marks ninth new condo completed in South Florida
                              August 19, 2014
                              By: Peter Zalewski

                              The latest South Florida condo development cycle continues to gain momentum with a ninth new project � the Oceana Key Biscayne complex � completing construction east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region since this boom began in 2011. In the first 10 days of closings, Oceana Key Biscayne has sold 34 units with nearly 97,700 square feet of livable space for more than $139 million, according to Miami-Dade County records. Units in the two-tower complex with 154 units fronting the Atlantic Ocean have transacted at an average price of nearly $1,425 per square foot, with individual condos trading from between about $915 per square foot to about $2,100 per square foot. Oceana Key Biscayne is the first of two new South Florida luxury condo projects being developed by Argentina-based Consultatio led by Eduardo Costantini. The second luxury oceanfront project � Oceana Bal Harbour � is currently under construction, with a $332 million loan funding the 28-story, 240-unit tower on the barrier island in Northeast Miami-Dade County. To date, the only other new condo project proposed for Key Biscayne during this latest South Florida real estate cycle is the 101 Key Biscayne with five floors and 11 units, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.) Oceana Key Biscayne is the first new condo project to be developed in Key Biscayne since nine tiny associations with a combined total of 81 units were created during the last South Florida boom-and-bust cycle from 2003 to 2010. Overall, more than 95 percent of the nearly 5,165 condo units located in 68 condo associations in Key Biscayne were developed between 1964 and 2002. Currently, more than 135 condo units are available for resale in Key Biscayne at an average asking price of about $755 per square foot. In the first seven months of 2014, buyers have purchased nearly 130 condo units at an average price of about $631 per square foot, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange. Of the condos presently on the market, only one unit in Oceana Key Biscayne has been listed for resale at an asking price of more than $2,110 per square foot, representing more than a 30 percent premium over last week�s original purchase price. The unanswered question going forward is whether the rich initial pricing being achieved at Oceana Key Biscayne will encourage other developers to attempt to purchase land � or control of existing condo projects for future terminations � in order to tap into the apparent strong demand for new units in Key Biscayne. 

                              All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal

                            Miami Icon: Espirito Santo Plaza, Brickell's Algebraic Skyscraper

                            August 18, 2014
                            By: Jose Duran

                            San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, New Times web editor Jose D. Duran argues for Espirito Santo Plaza.
                            Yo, Miami Tower, I'm really happy for you. Imma let you finish, but Espirito Santo Plaza is one the best Miami skyscrapers of all time.

                            Clich�s aside, is there any argument that this algebraic curve of a building isn't beautiful?

                            The first time I really noticed the building was in 2006, shortly after moving back to Miami from college. I was driving north of I-95 when the glare from a building caught my eye. The sunlight playfully bounced off the concave arch that adorns the monolithic tower.

                            Later, when I worked in Brickell, I stood in front of it, feeling like I was the early man depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey -- all I was missing was the Richard Strauss soundtrack.

                            The building is elegant it its understatement, which, let's face it, isn't Miami's M.O. In a city that enjoys being tacky and loud, Espirito Santo Plaza is a gentleman. Other buildings dotting the skyline fall under two categories: look-at-me loud or uninspired. This building 'simple' fa�ade proves that a little bit goes a long way.

                            Opened in 2004, the building was designed by New York architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox -- responsible for iconic structures like International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, the Shanghai World Financial Center, and the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Tokyo, as well as renovating the Unilever House in London.

                            So how can a building that's barely a decade old already be an icon? Well, Miami is all about the new, rarely letting history or cultural importance get in its way. And Espirito Santo Plaza was the one of the first skyscrapers that gave the city -- and in particular the Brickell area -- the green light to grow up. It told the city it didn't have to forever live in Miami Vice's version of the '80s under the neon glow and pastel hues.
                            The concave arch is reminiscent of the Gateway Arch, AKA the St. Louis Arch, which reflects Miami's position as 'the Gateway to Latin America.' The building's name comes from its tenant, Espirito Santo Bank, a Portuguese financial institution with heavy ties to Brazil. (Though the bank has fallen from grace in Portugal, the Miami bank seems to be doing OK. However, we wonder if a name change for the building could be on the horizon.)

                            But unlike most commercial buildings in Miami, this one also doubles as a 203-room hotel -- a Conrad to be exact -- and has residencies as well. But thankfully the view from Brickell Avenue is free, because in all honesty, the building is best viewed from outside as the sunlight breaks just above it.

                            Espirito Santo Plaza ushered in Miami's future, and something tells me it will be an exciting thing to witness.

                            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                          • Inside the Vagabond Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard's Restored MiMo Gem (Photos)
                            August 18, 2014
                            By: Ciara LaVelle

                            The Vagabond is back, baby.
                            It feels like forever since construction crews took over the site of the former motel at NE 73rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard, the one where the original Vagabond, the standout property in a string of motels built in the 1950s, once attracted some of Miami's first car-driven tourists.

                            But at yesterday's soft opening, billed as a 'look-see' for neighbors in surrounding communities like Belle Meade, the hotel was looking as swanky as ever -- at least in the parts completed so far.

                            The hotel's massive purple sign, hanging like a title card for a '50s sitcom, foreshadows the interior design.

                            Rooms, for example, blend modern amenities with retro styling.

                            The black geographic design on the wall above the bed was done by hand by Ugandan artist Kenneth Nyakabwa.
                            Standard rooms measure about 280 square feet, with suites adding enough extra space for a pull-out couch. Some feature original terrazzo flooring; others have repurposed original hardwood floors from other parts of the building.

                            Outside, the midafternoon summer sun was scorching, but the Vagabond's pool still drew a crowd. It's no secret why: Bartenders were slinging complimentary drinks for look-seers.
                            Even on a sweltering August day in Miami, it was hard to steer clear of the pristine, kitschy appeal of the pool area, with its funky seating, streams of water arcing in from poolside, and the Vagabond's famous tile mermaid, now restored.

                            We saw all ages checking out the place, including a good number of young children; yesterday would be one of their only chances to see inside the hotel. Due to safety concerns about the swimming pool, Vagabond reps told us, children ages 12 and under will be prohibited from staying at the hotel and even from hanging out on property.

                            The Vagabond isn't a done deal just yet. Its restaurant still sits empty, with an expected opening in early October. The space will serve upscale diner food, we're told, and will be helmed by chef Alex Chang, whose illegal dorm-room restaurant at the University of Southern California was the subject of the documentary Paladar. Talk about a vagabond.

                            The space will be anchored by a central bar and decorated with elements like a 'living wall' of greenery and constellation-like lighting crisscrossing the ceiling.
                            Vagabond reps told us there are guests staying at the Vagabond, making yesterday's look-see a celebration of its soft opening. But it sounded like things won't get into full swing until Labor Day, at least -- that's when the pool bar is expected to open.

                            Tonight, the Vagabond introduces itself yet again with a grand-opening celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. -- an artsy affair featuring talks by developer Avra Jain and guest artists the TM Sisters, among others. Visit thevagabondhotel.com.

                            Click on the link below to view photos.

                            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                          • South Pointe Park Pier Reopens This Week After a Decade of Neglect, $4.8 Million Renovation
                            August 13, 2014
                            By: Sabrina Rodriguez

                            A full decade after it closed to the public, Miami Beach's South Pointe Park Pier is finally set to reopen later this week. The 100-year-old pier has been totally rebuilt after a yearlong, $4.8 million project and offers views of South Beach, Government Cut, and the downtown skyline.
                            The renovations -- which include new viewing stations, shade structures, turtle-safe lighting, entry gates, and pedestrian plazas -- also mean a new chapter for a place legendary to decades of Miami teenagers as a spot to hang out and illegally dive into the water.

                            'I'm delighted to see this landmark pier come back,' said Paul George, a historian at HistoryMiami. 'It was the hangout of all hangouts for decades, and it was sad to see it let go for years.'

                            The pier, which was originally built in the 1920s a couple of blocks north, was demolished in 1984. It was then moved south to its current location, where it became a favorite spot for kids in South Beach.

                            According to George, the pier helped solidify South Beach as a hot 
                            spot in the late '70s, when the Beach was still gaining fame as an art deco district. Even before then, the pier was at the center of many Miami Beach-hosted events during World War II.
                            For youths and other beachgoers, the pier was a place to fish, eat, and dive with friends into the ocean, hoping the local cops didn't notice.

                            'It allowed for the area to look like a bay or beach in California,' George says. 'Everything was surrounding the pier, whether it was hot dogs or Joe's Stone Crab, a mainstay.'

                            In its earlier years, the pier was also located near the Miami Beach Kennel Club, another SoBe hot spot until its closing in 1980.
                            The pier did, however, lose momentum in the late '80s till its closing in 2004. Since then, the pier had been shuttered without any hope of reopening until the winter of 2012. That's when city officials decided they wanted to restore the fading fishing location.

                            This project is a part of an ongoing revitalization effort on the southern end of the beach. In 2009, South Pointe Park, a 30-year-old public park next to the pier, also received a complete revamping with extensive eco-friendly landscaping to beautify the area.

                            City officials and George himself hope it revitalizes the southernmost point of the Beach as it did for decades.
                            'This pier just has layers and layers of history,' George says. 'It's a great place, and I'm sure it's going to attract a lot of people the way it has for decades.'

                            A grand opening for the pier is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and will include art displays, giveaways, and refreshments for visitors.

                            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                          Best of Miami
                          Did you visit any of our famous lifeguard towers this weekend? #miami #beach #fun #sun #summer #iconic #icon #art #deco

                          Courtesy of Best of Miami: Welcome Magazine 

                          Miami Icons: The Welcome To Miami Beach Sign, a Nostalgic Causeway Beacon
                          August 12, 2014
                          By: Travis Cohen

                          San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Travis Cohen argues that the Welcome to Miami Beach sign deserves love all across Miami-Dade.
                          Who doesn't like a nice drive across the Tuttle in the later hours of the night? Once the traffic has died down and you can rocket eastward, basking in the brightly lit cityscape of Downtown in the distance, there's scarcely a drive this side of Old Cutler that offers the kind of joy you can find crossing the JT. And no matter how long you've lived in this city or how many times you've visited, it's impossible to stop loving the sight of the Welcome to Miami Beach sign when you come over that last crest on 195 and see all those palm trees with their glowing neon necklaces. It's a magic little forest, and the only way that doesn't make you happy is if you have no heart. Or if you're from Broward.

                          It may not be half as well-known as the 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign, but no matter whether you hang your hat on the mainland or the Beach, Miami Beach's welcome sign is an image that's inextricably tied to your memories of this city.

                          The sign itself has gotten toned down over the years. Back in the day it was twice as colorful and crazily tropical, but the letters have always been the same and so have the neon rings around the trees. For scores of Miamians who've seen the city evolve as they crossed the Tuttle on their way to one school or another, who've seen the popular hangouts shift from Lincoln Road in front of the movie theater to Wynwood to Downtown, the Miami Beach sign has been a fixed point in the day to day ebb and flow of living in this city for decades. Some nights the trees emanate a solid array of cool blue; on others, they've swayed in a rainbow spectrum of hues that hum in saturated fluorescence. Every year, this town changes, but those palm trees, they keep on glowing.

                          How many of Dade's born and bred degenerates and dilettantes have made the trek through the bowels of 41st street to find their way to that grassy knoll to smoke a joint or suck on bottles of cheap beer or just shoot the breeze beneath those brilliant halos, hidden behind the sign that beckoned us homeward, huddled between the buzzing traffic and the bay? If you haven't taken that trip, do yourself a favor and find someone who has. It's surreal to see that strange little patch of the city from within, and it's a rite of passage that will leave you with an even greater fondness for the all the luminous wonders that make this the one and only Magic City.

                          Some may say that it's hokey. Others may deem it little more than another unimportant banality along their daily commute. But for many, many more, the Welcome to Miami Beach sign and the neon grove of palms that stands behind it will always be one of the most comforting and familiar images that is associated with this unapologetically odd, endlessly interesting place we call home.

                          Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.


                        • Wynwood Brewing's First Anniversary: Block Party and Bottle Release
                          August 12, 2014
                          By: David Minsky

                          One year has elapsed since the opening of Miami's first production craft brewery, and to celebrate , Wynwood Brewing Company is shutting down the block and throwing a party in front of the brewery this Saturday.
                          From noon to 10 p.m. August 16, the party will include food trucks, DJs, art, and (of course) beer. The section of NW 24th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues will be closed during those ten hours. However, the taproom will be open from noon to midnight. Tickets will be available for $5 per pour.

                          See also: Wynwood Brewing Company Announces Expansion, More Brews

                          The one-year anniversary party will also mark WBC's first bottle release -- El Infante, a 9.5 percent alcohol-by-volume wheat wine aged in French oak petite Syrah barrels for seven months. The artwork for the bottle was exclusively done for WBC by renowned local street artist Claudio Picasso (CP1). The cost is $20 per bottle, with a limit of two bottles per person. Vine Club members will be allowed to purchase the bottle beginning at noon. Nonmembers can purchase it beginning at 2 p.m.

                          Twenty-seven additional Wynwood brews will be available to sample as well, including three cask beers -- Wynwood IPA, with pumpkin and graham cracker; La Rubia, with passionfruit and papaya; and Irish Breakfast, an imperial stout with coffee, vanilla, and whiskey.

                          Several guest taps will be available, including taps from Funky Buddha Brewery, Due South Brewing, Proof Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, and MIA Brewing.

                          An art tent will display works by Ivan Roque, Jorge Rodriguez, Danny Ferrer, and Jay Bellicchi, and Jolt Radio will produce an all-day DJ schedule.
                          Four food trucks will be parked all day on NW 24th Street: Jersey Dawg, Poblano's Mexican Fusion, 2 Jive Turkeys, and Liquid Ice Cream, which makes desserts infused with WBC beer.

                          No growler fills, flights, or brewery tours will be offered during the Saturday celebration. Beer tickets will be sold on the premises for consumption.

                          Plenty of parking will be available throughout the neighborhood along the street; however, the RC Cola plant will also offer parking with security for a small fee. The entrance will be on the 23rd Street side.

                          Many changes have occurred since the opening of Wynwood Brewing Company, not only with the brewery but also with the industry within the city. The brewery expanded in April, tripling its production.

                          Owner Luis G. Brignoni reflects on the past year: 'It feels pretty unreal. It's going by real fast. Feels like a blink of an eye.'

                          And since the WBC opening, several other Miami breweries have either opened or are on the verge of opening, including MIA Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, and Concrete Beach Brewery.

                          'Miami needed this, and it's getting to the point where we are getting more breweries,' Brignoni says. 'The city can easily sustain ten more. It's great for the industry; it's great for us.'

                          Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                        • ADD Inc. Updates its Design for Midcentury INS Building Reno
                          August 11, 2014
                          By Sean McCaughan

                          ADD Inc. has updated and expanded the scope of its design for the renovation ('restoration' would be too far of a stretch here) of the midcentury modern INS Building on Biscayne Boulevard and 79th Street, as well as the land behind it. The developers, an LLC, will then call it the Triton Center. Believe it or not, before the Immigration and Naturalization Service bought the building and covered up many of its architectural details (a very glassy lobby, a news ticker around the top), the place was quite fetching. (An historic photo exists in a book called 'Miami Modern Metropolis' edited by Allan Shulman. It was called the Gulf American Building.

                          According to the architects:
                          The new 722,000 square feet residential, mixed-use development named Triton Center will include 317 condo units, 135 key hotel rooms, a rooftop restaurant, 24,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 587 parking spaces.
                          Originally built in the 1960s as the Gulf American, the building was recognized as a vanguard, mid-century modern tower with distinctive anodized aluminum sunscreens and tall transparent glass curtain walls spilling out to the street at its base. INS moved into the building in 1983 and vacated in 2008.

                          ADD Inc will continue the building's vanguard spirit, integrating white stucco and metal panels highlighted with bright Miami accent colors and glass curtain walls. A pedestrian passage within a city plaza-like environment between the condominium and hotel complexes will be added. Each building will have its own pool and fitness center and the hotel will feature a12th story rooftop restaurant with views of Biscayne Bay, Downtown Miami and the Gold Coast to the north. Lush landscape and shading trees will surround street level retail and food outlets. The project will be LEED Silver certified.

                          Copyright 2014 Vox Media Inc.All rights reserved.


                        #FolklifeFeature: Jai-Alai Cesta circa 1982. Gift of Casino Miami Jai-Alai. Since the mid-1920s, ball players from the Basque Country have played the sport of jai-alai in Miami. Tagged as the world's fastest ball game, the sport was especially popular in the 1950s Mad Men era

                        Courtesy of History Miami

                        We saved you a seat.

                        Courtesy of W South Beach


                        Chalk's Ocean Airway's 

                        Courtesy of Ozzie Brown

                         The 20 Most Expensive Cities in the World 2014

                        August 12, 2014

                        1 | London, UK
                        It's the monthly transport costs of �131 and high rent that are causing city dwellers here to struggle, though petrol is also �1.39 a liter � more than double the price in LA.

                        2 | Oslo, Norway
                        Where a bottle of decent red table wine is on average an eye-watering �17.

                        3 | Swiss, Geneva
                        Half a kg of chicken breast here costs �9 on average.

                        4 | Zurich
                        Hot on New York�s heels is Zurich, where 12 eggs costs an astonishing �4.26 and cold medicine for six days is �12. Better take those vitamins.

                        5 | New York, USA
                        Two tickets to the theater here (best available seats) will leave you �197 out of pocket.

                        6 | Lausanne, Switzerland
                        Five miles in a taxi here costs on average �23, so it might be worth buying some running shoes.

                        7 | Singapore
                        A new Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 140 CV 6 vel. here is an incredible �78,806: in Santo Domingo, for example, the price is 86 per cent lower.

                        8 | Paris, France
                        In Paris, rent is high at �2,141 a month � though predictably enough, red wine and eating out are on the lower end of the spending scale.

                        9 | San Francisco
                        Where a bottle of decent red wine in the shops is �10.

                        10 | Copenhagen
                        Where two liters of Coca-Cola costs almost �3.

                        11 | Sydney
                        A pack of Marlboro cigarettes costs �10 here, so it�s a bad place to be a smoker.

                        12 | Hong Kong
                        Where average rent is a staggering �2,840 (though a pair of cinema tickets will only set you back �13).

                        3 | Brisbane
                        Good seats for the theater will cost around �113, while a month of gym membership in the business district is �42. On the plus side, the beach is free.

                        14 | The Hague, Netherlands
                        Where a pair of average business shoes costs �109, is next on the list.

                        15 | Stockholm
                        Where a cocktail can cost you �11: at least you�ll find it easy to cut down on the booze.

                        16 | Honolulu, US
                        Honolulu in the US is beautiful, but far from cheap: utilities here would set you back a steep �200 a month.

                        17 | Amsterdam
                        Where a meal in a fast-food restaurant is �5.70 and utilities for two people for one month is around �140.

                        18 | Melbourne, Australia
                        Here, a kg of apples costs �2.18, while a beer in a neighborhood pub is nearly �4.

                        19 | Tokyo
                        Where the average rent (for 85 m2 furnished accommodation in an affluent area) is �1,778 and a pair of cinema tickets costs upwards of �20.

                        20 | Washington DC

                        Copyright Architecture & Design 2014


                      • Miami's High Line? A Ten-Mile 'Linear Park' Could Come to South Florida
                        August 6, 2014
                        By: Ryan Yousefi

                        If a South Florida group has their way, Miami is about to get a whole lot greener. The Greenlink Project would create the largest linear park ever, one that would stretch 10 miles long from Brickell to Dadeland right underneath the Metrorail.
                        'The vision is to connect eight transit stations to one linear park,' Meg Daly, Greenlink Park's founder, tells CBS Miami.

                        The proposed park, which has been described as Miami's answer to NYC's High Line, has already drawn about $2 million in commitments so far, Daly says. The High Line, to be fair, cost about $180 million to build. In turn, it's generated an estimated $3 billion in real estate investment for the New York area.

                        Beyond funding, others have raised worries that an FPL plan for 100-foot new towers along U.S. 1 could also imperil the idea, though FPL says the two projects aren't necessarily incompatible.

                        'I know some people have suggested that the transmission line would basically rule out the park being there,' FPL spokesman Peter Robbins told the Miami Herald earlier this year. 'That's just flat out wrong. Whoever suggested that, unfortunately is misinformed or they are spreading information that's wrong. Projects just like the GreenLink make sense.'

                        Daly says that in a best-case scenario the project could potentially break ground later this year and finish be done in five-to-ten years.

                        Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.

                    • Pan Am Airlines Flying Boat Boeing B-314 By John T. McCoy

                    •  Great Chamber networking event, Meet One, Reach One, Acheive One, at Smith and Wollinsky with Dan Jacobson, Jon Sastre and Jeff Stay. If you want to enhance your network please contact me

                    • Home of Professor Charles Torrey Simpson 
                      The house built by Prof. Simpson in 1903 on his tropical estate 'The Sentinels' in Lemon City, Fla., and in which beloved house he lived till his death Dec. 17, 1932. His 'den' was to left rear (under house) where he wrote most of his books and pamphlets and magazine articles, and mounted and kept specimens. His bedroom was room with two windows above the center piazza or veranda, on 'third' story. The house faces east, is about 300 feet from Biscayne Bay at Lemon City, Florida 1940 

                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer

                    • Wagon Wheel 10
                      During the summer the storm roll through Big Cypress with such power that it is humbling to realize that even though we humans think we’ve got things under control, nature is far superior. I love being out in the storms. I wasn’t out for long in this one though. There was to much lightening. I jumped out of the car, took the photo and jumped back in as quickly as I could.
                      I will post the b&w at noon today.

                      #clydebutcherphotographing #realflorida #florida #bigcypressnationalpreserve #nature

                      Courtesy of Clyde Butcher

                       Work in Downtown Miami and need an afternoon pick me up? Stop by The Newsstand by Books & Books at 200 South Biscayne Blvd. for a quick caffeine fix and browse through our collection of newspapers, magazines and books!#TheNewsstand


                    • Reserved seating at the International table at the Greater Miami Chamber Trustee Luncheon. By invitation only. I am very honored to be seated at this table.

                      Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors Meeting. Always informative and fantastic networking.

                       Miami-Dade might kill Airport City development

                      August 7, 2014

                      County mayor considering recommendation from aviation director to reject project

                      Miami-Dade's aviation director wants the county to scrap the long-discussed Airport City mixed-use development. Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent county commissioners a memo relaying the recommendation from Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez on Wednesday. Gimenez wrote that he is reviewing the suggestion but has not made a decision yet. He plans to meet with financial advisors for Miami International Airport and get input from a county committee that oversees transportation and aviation issues. My administration's final decision will prioritize what's best for the future positive growth of MIA and making sure it remains one of the world's premier airports, Gimenez wrote, as cited by the Miami Herald. Last month, construction industry titan Odebrecht USA blasted the county for dragging its feet in approving the project. Odebrecht warned it might opt to sue the county if the development is abandoned. Original Airport City plans included a business park with hotel and meeting facilities, office and retail space and restaurants on 33.5 acres. [Miami Herald] - Eric Kalis 

                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal


                    • IKEA Miami to Open August 27: The Top Ten Items for Foodies to Buy
                      August 6, 2014
                      By: Laine Doss

                      It's official!
                      IKEA will open its Miami location Wednesday, August 27. The home-goods giant adjacent to Dolphin Mall will feature 416,000 square feet of stylish, low-cost furniture and home accessories.

                      But did you know that lurking amid those 10,000 items for sale is a foodie paradise? For tricking out a fantasy custom kitchen and stocking inexpensive pots and pans for your first apartment, IKEA is your best friend when it comes to kitchenware.

                      The store also features an entire marketplace where you can buy everything from cookies to frozen meatballs. Speaking of meatballs, the Miami IKEA boasts a 600-seat restaurant serving Swedish meatballs and other specialties.

                      IKEA Miami opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 27, but customers can begin lining up at the store Monday, August 25 -- 48 hours in advance of the doors swinging open. That means you have two whole days to memorize this list of the top ten food-related items you'll want to put in your cart.

                      10. Wine Glasses
                      Once upon a time, I bought expensive wine glasses. They lasted a few months before I shattered every one of them. Some people just weren't born to have nice things. If you're a klutz like me, these glasses do the job for about a dollar each. They're not fine crystal, but they look better than red Solo cups or those promotional thingies you've been saving from all those tasting events.

                      9. Seafood Spread
                      Sure, it's fish in a tube, but the crab actually tastes great. Stock some in your pantry, and if friends arrives without notice, squirt it on crackers and sprinkle some herring roe ($2.49) on it. You'll be instantly fancy, and your guests will be �ber-impressed. Win-win.

                      8. Herring Roe
                      What can you do with herring roe? Anything you can do with caviar -- only cheaper. Use these golden pearls as a garnish on deviled eggs, slather them on a cracker (see above), or simply spoon them out of the bottle and entertain your inner glutton. For $2.49 a jar, you can afford to live big.

                      7. Storage Jars
                      Cereal, pasta, crackers, cookies, doggie treats, bird seed, quinoa -- it can all go in these bug-proof, mold-resistant, dishwasher-safe jars. They're also good for storing office and bathroom stuff, and they're only $4.49 each. Buy them by the dozen.

                      6. Lobster Tray
                      Why a lobster tray? Who cares? IKEA carries some of the most random stuff. Lamp shades with owls, bird placemats, lobster trays. Sure, they're impulse purchases, but for $5.99 each, you can buy something totally loony that makes you happy -- even on a budget.

                      5. . Smoked Salmon
                      The Swedes know how to design good-looking furniture on the cheap. They also know a thing or two about smoking fish. This smoked salmon ($4.99) is pink, delicious, and delicate. Put some in your cart. You'll be glad Sunday morning.

                      4. Lingonberry Preserves
                      Tart and sweet, it's the European version of cranberry sauce. Lingonberry preserves ($3.99 a jar) goes great with Swedish meatballs, but try it with some baked Brie or on a bagel. Beats the crap out of strawberry jam.

                      3. Pickled Herring
                      With so many herrings, how can you choose? There's herring in cream sauce, herring in mustard, herring in vinegar. Buy them all -- they're only $4.99 each. Bonus: They make an interesting addition to your 'hurricane stash.' In case you lose power, jarred herring packs more flavor than canned tuna.

                      2. Swedish Meatballs
                      Make all the jokes you want, but the IKEA cafeteria is pretty awesome. There's chocolate cake for pocket change, lingonberry soda, and a smoked salmon plate for less than five bucks. But you know you're going for the meatballs. Eat some now (you need the energy to tackle the furniture showroom); then take a package of frozen balls home with you.

                      1. The Most Amusing Way to Spend a Dollar
                      We don't know why, but this IKEA fro-yo machine attracts us like moths to a flame. Maybe it's the perfect little twirl of frosty goodness that the machine produces. Maybe it's our love of videogames and robots. Maybe we think a million dollars will spill out instead of yogurt. No matter how many times we slip a token into this contraption, we're always enchanted. Entertaining and refreshing? Totally worth a buck.

                      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                    • New York developers take aim at Wynwood
                      August 6, 2014

                      A Madison Avenue-based real estate investment firm founded by developers Jonathon Yormak and David Peretz is aiming to transform a wholesale shoe warehouse in Miami�s Wynwood neighborhood into a trendy retail plaza with a rooftop lounge. The proposed 23,500-square-foot project by East End Capital and Yellow Side Ventures is among several retail developments being proposed by New York investors, who believe Wynwood is fast becoming Miami�s version of some of their city�s trendiest neighborhoods. �We see it as the next Meat Packing District, Soho and Williamsburg,� Yormak told The Real Deal. �We believe we are coming in during the second inning of a nine-inning game. What you are seeing now is just the beginning of what Wynwood will be in 10 years.� Yellow Side is a partnership between New York developers Chaim Cahane and Dan Arev. Local retail operators and potential tenants from New York and Los Angeles have shown interest in the 8,500-square-foot of the East End project that includes the rooftop lounge and restaurant, according to SKH Realty real estate advisor Shane Davis. SKH was hired by East End to find tenants for the space. East End has Metro 1 Properties marketing the project�s 15,000 square feet of retail space. Considering the price East End paid for the land, the owners must expand the potential tenant base beyond Miami. Industry experts say only national retailers are in a position to afford the potential rents at projects like East End�s. In February, East End spent $5.3 million on the property, which is located on Northwest 23rd Street, just west of North Miami Avenue. The seller, Mega Shoes Inc., paid just $268,000 in 1997. In May, East End bought a 20,911 square foot warehouse a half-block away at 2214 North Miami Avenue for $4.7 million. For New York investors like East End, an opportunity to �create something unique� exists in Wynwood, said Charles Penan, director of real estate finance specialist Aztec Group. Land remains much more affordable than areas like Edgewater, despite a steady increase in Wynwood property sale prices. Penan recently represented New York�s Atlas Real Estate Partners in its $3.5 million acquisition of a 13,853-square-foot warehouse at 2301 North Miami Ave. �They have already leased two of the three bays to a furniture dealer and an art gallery,� Penan said. New York players started flocking to Wynwood after developer David Edelstein staked a claim in the neighborhood last year, when he purchased a 1.75-acre site at 2801 Northwest Third Avenue, according to local broker and developer David Lombardi, one of Wynwood�s pioneers. Edelstein is planning a mixed-use development that includes 264 residential units, 39,000 square feet of retail space and 19,200 square feet of office space. In May, he added to his Wynwood portfolio by scooping up two properties at 2701 Northwest Second Avenue and 187 Northwest 27th Street for $4 million. �Edelstein is 15 minutes of ahead of everybody,� Lombardi told TRD. �In 1998, people thought he was crazy when he was buying property on Lincoln Road at $300 a square foot. Today, he�s selling it off at $2,500 a square foot and buying in Wynwood at $300 a square foot.� Since Edelstein ventured into Wynwood, Harvey Krasner�s Brooklyn-based Forte Capital bought a 22,462-square-foot building at 48 Northwest 25th Street for $5.3 million in November 2013. Krasner is planning a mixed-use project with retail and restaurants. Lombardi warned that some investors are rushing into Wynwood without really understanding the neighborhood, however. �This is not Brooklyn,� he said. �We need more residential to fuel retail and commercial. Some of these guys think they can put high-end retail in Wynwood. It�s craziness.� Some residential development is on its way. New Yorkers Marc Kovens and Shawn Chemtov recently announced plans to build Wynwood Central, an eight-story condo that will also include some ground-floor retail at Northwest Second Avenue between 24th and 25th streets. Fortis Developments is also looking to build a condominium at 250 Northwest 24th Street. But Lombardi believes the number of proposed residential units doesn�t justify how many retail developments are in the pipeline. �We need a few thousand units to really achieve the dream,� Lombardi said. �I think in five years, Wynwood will be a different place.� Until then, the neighborhood should grow organically and retain its creative appeal, he said. �I think we are a great location for tech companies and creative agencies that need office space,� Lombardi said. �But with the prices investors are paying for land, they need to get $50 to $60 a square foot in rent. I don�t think it is sustainable.� 

                      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                    • Water's Edge - It's So Miami - HistoryMiami
                      To view photos click on the link below

                    Networking Is the opportunity to connect and share information, knowledge, resources, and referrals with other people. It's about making connections with other individuals to either enhance your business or enhance the community, and increase your knowledge.

                    Courtesy of Ivan Misner 

                    Morningside Flats. Took this on the way home.

                     New wave of entrepreneurial spaces washing ashore in South Florida

                    August 4, 2014
                    By: Nancy Dahlberg

                    Moving beyond Miami's urban core, entrepreneurial spaces are opening up all over South Florida. Some are tackling untapped markets while others are focused on niche industries.

                    Jordan Melnick found his first investor at The LAB Miami, a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs.

                    LAB co-founder Wifredo Fernandez introduced him to a new member, angel investor Mark Kingdon who had recently moved from New York. Melnick introduced Kingdon to Sktchy, an app he created that has attracted thousands of artists worldwide to create and share their portraits inspired by submitted photos. Kingdon was impressed with the app and the team and further discussions resulted in seed capital.

                    �We feel very lucky to have hit it off with Mark and grateful to The LAB folks for creating a space where connections like that can happen,� said Melnick.

                    Connections � in entrepreneur-speak, they are called collisions � are what these workspaces are all about, and an important ingredient of the entrepreneurial ecosystem South Florida is trying to grow. Many of The LAB�s 160 members are technology entrepreneurs and developers, many working in the creative industries; others are social entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. The popular LAB, in an artsy converted warehouse in Wynwood, is one of a dozen or so such spaces � some for co-working, some for mentoring and �incubation� � that have flourished mainly in Miami�s urban core in the last couple of years. For entrepreneurs, they provide fertile ground to work, connect, collaborate and thrive.

                    As the ecosystem grows, new entrepreneurial spaces are putting down roots and spreading across South Florida.

                    While options in Miami�s urban core from Midtown to Brickell continue to grow, the new wave of spaces is moving into other entrepreneur-rich parts of South Florida, such as Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables and Boca Raton. This new group also includes co-working spaces and incubators that cater to specific industries.

                    Entrepreneurial co-working spaces typically draw a mix of startup companies, consultants and other professionals. Often the spaces provide educational and networking events for members and sometimes, the public. Costs vary, but most run about $200 to $300 a month for full-time use of the co-working space and its amenities; a dedicated desk or four-walled office costs extra. While amenities vary, they all offer wifi, access to conference rooms, generous hours of operation to accommodate night owls and weekend warriors, and of course plenty of java.

                    �But it�s not really about the space, it�s the community inside,� said Juan Casimiro, who heads Casimiro Global Foundation that teaches entrepreneurial skills to students and micro-businesses around the world. He works at Fort Lauderdale�s Axis Space.

                    On Las Olas Way fronting the New River, Axis Space is poised to fully open in early fall. The 21,500-square-foot, four-floor 24/7 co-working center has modern offices, co-working desks, a large event area and a host of amenities including a nap room.

                    The fourth floor, with glass offices and conference rooms in a variety of sizes with river views, is already buzzing. The space will soon have two open floors of communal work space, an event floor and a large shaded (and wired) work space outdoors � this is South Florida, after all. Just as The LAB Miami does, Axis plans to host its own classes and events to benefit entrepreneurs and technologists as well as allow organizations to use the space. Already, Code for Fort Lauderdale, a group that works on technology projects to serve the community, has been meeting there.

                    Axis Space�s founders purchased the building several years ago. Originally the plan called for executive offices. But about two years ago, after learning about the collaborative spaces popping up in startup communities around the country, the team changed focus and started a new design. As part of its research, Sebastian Vela, co-founder and Axis�s �community chief,� traveled to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, visiting co-working spaces and learning about their best practices.

                    The founding team, which also includes Sebastian�s father, Jairo Vela, an architect, and Alex Yokana, a builder, also hired Brett Hudson, formerly business development director at The LAB Miami, as community curator. �We are looking to expand the ecosystem. We want to be part of the larger network � it�s about building it out and expanding the pie,� said Hudson.

                    The downtown Fort Lauderdale area, central to all of South Florida, is swimming with condos and young professionals. But it lacks cohesion, said Hudson, making it an untapped market for Axis Space. �It looks a lot like Miami a few years ago,� he said.

                    By pulling nontraditional workers together, spaces like Axis are becoming ecosystem developers that encourage collaborations, said Hudson. And trends are working in their favor: By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 65 million Americans, or 40 percent of the U.S. workforce, will be independent contractors or solo entrepreneurs. Workspaces that offer educational programming and other opportunities to foster community, innovation, creativity and social interactions will be in demand, Hudson said.

                    Carlos Zamora of Sensation Enterprises, a small marketing firm, is one of the early adopters at Axis Space. When the home office and the library were no longer working for him, he spent about two months hunting for office space before finding Axis. �Seeing co-working and office space together, we were sold. The emphasis is on community. We all like to share knowledge,� said Zamora, who has already made key connections with developers and designers working at Axis. �The way businesses can grow is helping other businesses.�

                    BRICKELL ACTIVE

                    Axis Space�s founders are not the only ones seeing opportunities in new markets. Pipeline, which opened in the Brickell financial district in November, 2012, is now actively scouting for a second location in South Florida, said co-founder Philippe Houdard.

                    Adam Boalt is one of the 250 members in the Brickell location. Since early last year at Pipeline, the serial entrepreneur conceived, launched and grew his current startup, LiveAnswer, a 24/7 business phone support company. He has hired mobile developers, a designer and a lawyer he got to know at Pipeline and received expert advice through his development and prototyping process and while building a sales team.

                    �For everything I�ve needed, there are people here who do that or know someone who does,� he said.

                    Now a team of nine, with seven of them at Pipeline, LiveAnswer could find a larger space elsewhere but is staying put because of the connections, Boalt said. �Every day, you never know who will walk through that door.�

                    Those kinds of connections were exactly what founders Houdard and Todd Oretsky had in mind when they opened the contemporary 14,000-square-foot Pipeline with sweeping views of the city and Biscayne Bay. Their idea was to build a membership that includes young startups, larger companies, serial entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors and service providers. Houdard said about half of the membership is international, such as Latin American entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs looking to grow their businesses in the United States.

                    �We fundamentally believe the way young entrepreneurs benefit most is when they are not only around other entrepreneurs but also seasoned veterans,� Houdard said. �There�s a gentle hand that pushes the people together, and we do this in a variety of ways.� For instance, at its regular PipeUp series where members share their stories and expertise, designer and HGTV host David Bromstad recently gave a talk on creativity.

                    Houdard won�t say yet where the second South Florida location will be, but it is not in Miami�s urban core. Still, like the Brickell location, it will be set in an area with a high concentration of entrepreneurs. Pipeline is also opening a location in central Philadelphia this year.

                    Going where the entrepreneurs are is a key strategy. B�ro Miami, one of the original co-working spaces in central Miami that opened in 2010, last year opened a second location in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood of South Beach. That office now services 150 members, including many startups, said Michael Feinstein, founder of B�ro Group.

                    As Miami�s tech startup scene has grown, B�ro Miami�s flagship center has expanded. In June, B�ro�s three-floor Midtown location nearly doubled in size to 18,000 square feet and serves 250 members, including startups such as Everypost, Futbol Sites, Stepflix and Fish Indie.

                    �We are in expansion mode with plans to open an additional two South Florida locations in 2015,� Feinstein said. Buro has also forged partnerships with co-working spaces around the country, allowing members to work from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities, he said.

                    Meanwhile, more niche players have moved into the market, joining facilities such as The Innovation Center at the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park that offers co-working space and offices plus access to shared wet and dry labs and other services to about 25 life science and health-tech companies. It�s a hub for events too, including the eMerge Americas hackathon it hosted in May.

                    Reportedly in the works is an incubator for cloud technology companies as well as several co-working and incubator spaces geared to creatives and the design community. Last month, Macy�s announced it would be opening an incubator for fashion design in Miami.

                    Recently opened on Coral Way in Miami is the Center for Social Change, a collaborative work environment for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits. The center itself is a collaboration of Charity Deposits Corp., Charity Services Centers and the new nonprofit entity, Center for Social Change.

                    �Social innovation is exploding but Florida is lagging behind. There is so much potential,� said Lauren Harper, one of the center�s founders. South Florida has a number of social entrepreneurial ventures in their infancy that need nurturing and funding to get to the �venture-ready� stage, she said. At the same time, nonprofits need to build new, innovative revenue streams to fund their missions. �We are seeing a real need for a social entrepreneurial ecosystem.�

                    While half the area is still being finished, about a half-dozen organizations with a social purpose have moved in and the space is already taking on a community center feel. When complete there will be nine offices, a yoga and workout room and conference spaces that surround a large open co-working area and kitchen � putting collaboration literally at the center of things, Harper said.

                    Calling itself �part think tank, part community builder,� the center plans to offer an accelerator and host social entrepreneurial and impact-investing events and workshops on site and at larger venues around South Florida, Harper said.


                    Incubators differ from co-working spaces in that they are typically geared to startups and require a startup to apply for membership. In addition to work space, they typically offer below-market rent, some structured programming and a mentor network to help the selected companies grow. Where the definitional lines blur, some co-working spaces offer incubators or incubator-like services, and some incubators accept some co-workers.

                    Venture Hive in downtown Miami is South Florida�s largest space for entrepreneurs. The two story, 35,000-square-foot facility houses an accelerator, incubator and other services for technology startups.

                    Venture Hive currently houses 29 companies in its incubator, which includes 14 mostly international tech companies in the hospitality, logistics, healthcare and creative industries that were in its accelerator classes. The new Microsoft Innovation Center open to the public is at the Hive, and a large �living room� welcomes entrepreneurial events, from Startup Grind to Tech Cocktail to the weekly 1 Million Cups. Taking its ecosystem-growing role seriously, Venture Hive held technology-entrepreneurship summer camps for 2nd- through 5th-graders and will host a program for high school students in the fall.

                    A few blocks from Venture Hive, Miami Dade College�s CREATE incubator in the new Idea Center @ MDC is set to open this fall on the Wolfson campus, serving Miami Dade College�s 165,000 students with entrepreneurial education and resources.

                    And in Broward and Palm Beach counties, incubator options are expanding.

                    Boca Raton�s Technology Business Incubator inside the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University is a 15,000-square-foot incubator serving 20 companies. Each member is assigned a TBI Council of Advisors member as part of an organized program to track success, the incubator said. Last month, it announced a partnership with FAU�s Center for Cryptology and Information Security to help startups in the cyber-security industry, said Andrew Duffell, CEO of the research park.

                    And this fall, Florida Atlantic University will be opening an incubator as part of Tech Runway, where startups will get mentoring, office space and other support. Initially funded with $1 million in state dollars, Tech Runway will help at least six startups this fall but will accept applications from the public starting this fall for a larger spring program.

                    The Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida runs a new incubator in Boca as well as one in Coral Springs. This fall, the nonprofit organization will be opening an incubator with Broward College in west Fort Lauderdale for promising startups, regardless of whether they are affiliated with the college. In Boca, the 12,000-square-foot incubator, located in the technology corridor off Congress, now houses nearly 20 startups. With 34 offices and co-working space, there is room to grow. The EDC also mentors Palm Beach County startups that aren�t in the incubator, said EDC�s CEO Rob Strandberg.

                    The EDC program is a prime example of the growing movement of collaboration among co-working centers. EDC recently expanded to more fully service Miami-Dade County, where it currently assists more than two dozen startups with mentorship, strategy and capital raising assistance.

                    Rather than opening a full-size incubator, the nonprofit is sharing an office at B�ro Miami with the Accelerated Growth Partners angel network and Florida Venture Forum trade group, giving the organizations an opportunity to collaborate on services and events. The organizations are also planning to assist at Miami Dade College�s new incubator. Strandberg said he and other EDC mentors can meet with entrepreneurs at B�ro or go wherever the startups are based. EDC also supports entrepreneurs at the MEC261 co-working center in downtown Miami.

                    �Organizations are becoming location-agnostic, giving the entrepreneurs access to resources wherever they are located. Everybody�s jumping in to help,� said Strandberg. �It really does take an entrepreneurial village to raise these startups.�

                    Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved

                  • Forbes ranks South Florida cities among top spots in U.S. for business, careers
                    July 23, 2014
                    By: Emon Reiser

                    West Palm Beach was listed above all other South Florida cities on a Forbes ranking of best places for business and careers in the U.S.
                    West Palm Beach ranked No. 54, having also made Forbes lists for one of the best places for education (No. 55), job growth (No. 105) and the cost of doing business (No. 142).
                    Fort Lauderdale came in nearly 50 places after at No. 102. The city was listed No. 87 in Forbes' education list, No. 125 on the job growth list and No. 143 on the list ranking cities' costs of doing business.
                    Miami came in last among South Florida cities at the No. 113 spot, having previously ranked as the No. 186 city in Forbes list ranking cost of doing business, No. 58 for job growth and No. 120 in education.

                    Other Florida cities that made the list include Orlando, Port St. Lucie, Lakeland, Pensacola, Ocala, Palm Bay and Tallahassee.

                    Copyright 2014 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved
                  • 32 Amazing Ideas that Will Make Your House Awesome
                    Click on the link below to view photos of amazing ideas


                    • Wolfies Restaurant 
                      21st. Street & Collins Ave. 
                      Miami Beach, Fla. 

                      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer



                    Bayfront Park Yacht Marina in Miami Florida ca. 1920's 

                    Courtesy of Alvin Lederer

                     Miami Icons: Stiltsville, Offshore Escape For Miami's Most Colorful Characters

                    August 4, 2014
                    By: Carlos Suarez De Jesus

                    San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, New Times art critic Carlos Suarez de Jesus remembers Stiltsville, a sneaky, serene escape for Miami's most colorful characters.
                    The first time I saw Stiltsville was on a Zodiac boat I had boosted with some teen-aged buddies from behind a yacht moored at a Key Biscayne marina.

                    It was during the summer of 1974, and our sunset joyride had been inspired by Deep Purple's thundering performance of 'Smoke on the Water' during a concert at the Orange Bowl.

                    Earlier that day my friends Wicho, Hamburger, Jungle, and I had snuck into the stadium to see the British rockers. Afterwards, the thought of torching some weed at the wooden shack archipelago floating on Biscayne Bay seemed like the perfect way to end the night.

                    Hitting Stiltsville had been Wicho's idea. He often visited there with an uncle that had a lobster boat and knew where the spot was located.

                    The Zodiac was powered by a small outboard motor that was sturdy enough to cut across the bay at a fast clip. I remember the ocean spray soaking the satin and rhinestone-studded duds we were wearing as the rubber raft bounced over the water and the mist added to our haze. Soaring high on the effects of a couple of joints and some Valium that Hamburger had filched from his mom's medicine cabinet, our worries about getting busted by a marine patrol quickly dissolved.

                    When the small collection of cabins on stilts appeared in the distance, we all whooped and hollered and began taking off our platform shoes and rolling up our slacks with the anticipation of climbing onto one of the buildings and sparking up a fat bone to celebrate our trip.

                    I vividly remember that as we slowly approached the closest shack, the stillness of the moment magnified the striking beauty of the buildings, cast in an amber glow from the sun lazily shrinking on the horizon. It made an impression that remains unfaltering today.

                    But at the time my mellow revelry was cut short by a barrage of flying beer bottles hurled at us by a group of guys who belonged to the Utes, a local gang that had been using the shack we had pulled up to for a gang initiation. When one of them pointed a spear gun at us and threatened to sink the boat, we tucked tail and sped back toward shore as fast as the raft could take us.

                    Ever since it first cropped up during the Prohibition era, Stiltsville has been a favorite haunt for hard-partying scoundrels and those eager for a brief escape from the vagaries of big city life.
                    An early pioneer, 'Crawfish' Eddie Walker, who migrated to Miami from Key West in 1907, erected his ramshackle lodge in the early 1930s, back when Stiltsville was known as 'The Shacks.' He sold bait, beer and chowder out of his joint, which doubled as a gambling den since it was legal a mile offshore back then.

                    Over the next few decades, Stiltsville became a favorite destination for high-powered politicos, bankers, lawyers and other well-connected Magic City denizens who converged there along with smugglers and gamblers to drink, party, gamble and who knows what else. Florida's Governor, LeRoy Collins, was a frequent visitor during the 1950s, and later Teddy Kennedy---then still a bachelor--hosted a legendary blowout featuring a live band that nearly unmoored one of the shacks from its pilings on the Biscayne flats.

                    Through the years, the renegade retreat boasted several clubs and ersatz casinos while one of the makeshift pleasure palaces even hosted members-only bashes for bikini-clad women and nude sunbathers. The 'Bikini Club' was the brainchild of local scam artist Harry Churchville, AKA 'Pierre,' who in 1962 grounded a 150-foot yacht on the mud flats where he peddled hooch and offered free booze to ladies in bikinis. Churchville's illicit tub was raided and closed down by the Florida Beverage Commission in the summer of 1965 for selling liquor without a license.

                    At its heyday in the 1960s there were more than two dozen houses in Stiltsville. But by the beginning of 1992, only 14 of the 'campsites' remained before Hurricane Andrew struck on August 24, 1992 -- the 18th anniversary of my first visit---when only seven buildings survived the destruction. Earlier that year, before Andrew's arrival, one of the salty homes had collapsed after more than 100 visitors partied inside during a rainstorm.
                    Stiltsville's notorious hoedowns were often wilder than a force of nature, many have said.

                    Stiltsville's history is a fascinating one. It has been the setting in scenes for novels such as Les Standiford's Done Deal and Carl Hiaasen's Skin Tight, Stormy Weather, and Skinny Dip. It has also appeared on the silver screen in films like 1981's Absence of Malice and 2003's Bad Boys II.

                    More recently, Stiltsville served as the inspiration for Perez Art Museum Miami, which was designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron after the Swiss partners first discovered the tiny village during a boat ride while visiting Miami. Their spectacular building is destined to become one of our city's top landmarks as well.

                    Yet for me, Stiltsville represents much more than a mere memory of old South Florida, as our town continues struggling to reinvent itself with an obsession for the new and shiny.

                    With its enduring charm and deep-rooted history, Stiltsville is both profoundly Miami and an iconic symbol of those who have forged it. Whenever possible, I make a point of taking out-of-town visitors there where they can appreciate our skyline while discovering our past.

                    Wicho, Hamburger, Jungle, and I never did get to light up at Stiltsville that long ago summer. In fact, our misguided excursion ended up with a ride home in a police car that night, courtesy of a friendly cop who made us feel pitiful and stupid but mercifully spared us a trip to jail in our sorry state.

                    These days when ever I hear Deep Purple wailing 'They burned down the gambling house, it died with an awful sound,' I'm immediately transported to Stiltsville, and offer a silent prayer that this fading slice of Florida history never goes up in flames.

                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                  • 15 Amazing Ideas For Your Dream House
                    By: Natalie

                    Each one of us have an idea how their dream house will look like. Some of us imagine it as a cosy, little house, big enough for a happy family. Other imagine their house as an enormous place with an infinitive number of rooms. We also wish our house to have a pool, a spa, a hammock etc. Below you will find 15 amazing ideas that you can have in your dream house. Just imagine how cool it will be to have a staircase which at the same time is a bookcase. Or how romantic it will be to watch movie in your backyard on a big movie screen.

                    A multiple shower system is just another great idea that you must have in your dream house. And what do you think about a luxurious balcony pool? I can say, that it will be awesome. Take a look at following pictures to see the 15 amazing ideas for your awesome dream house. Enjoy!

                    Click on the link below to view photos & ideas.

                    Copyright 2014 Top Dreamer | All Rights Reserved
                  • Miami Icons: American Airlines Arena, Home of the White Hot Heat
                    August 5, 2014
                    By: Carolina Del Busto

                    San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Carolina del Busto argues that the American Airlines Arena has earned its icon status.
                    Other cities are often defined by their sports teams and the structures that house these games. One can't think of Boston without thinking of Fenway Park, or New York without Yankee Stadium. In Miami, where one team reigns supreme, it's the American Airlines Arena.

                    It's the kind of building that deserves a love letter. Here's mine.

                    See also: Miami Icons: The Freedom Tower Welcomed Cubans to America

                    Dear AAA,

                    With your pearly-white curves and tall, arching posture, you are like a modern seashell romantically perched by the bay. The way you command Biscayne Boulevard like a knight leading his cavalry into war is breathtaking. You call yourself the home of fire - a heat so scorching it's a wonder your walls still stand.

                    You, American Airlines Arena, are a structure that defines the Miami skyline. Other buildings need to reach higher and higher to get noticed in the cluster of skyscrapers downtown; you simply sit by the sea, your relevance to this city assured.

                    The leafy foliage that adorns your entrance and waves in the breeze reflect our city's vibrant, tropical culture. It blends seamlessly with the blue of the sky and the white of your armor. The Miami palm trees, which distinctly appear on all sorts of traveling posts, beautifully line your entryway.

                    Arena of the airwaves, you are not only relevant a few months of the year, when orange and black balls bounce within your waxy walls. Rather you keep the city entertained 24-7-365. With performers performing, singers singing, dancers dancing: you house only the purest forms of delight. Drivers passing by look to your giant, light-up screen, a true spectacle.

                    Although your tough exterior cannot truthfully be described as romantic, your surroundings are filled with lovers -- of sports, of culture, of commerce. From the bustling Bayside Marketplace to yet another Miami icon that sits across the street from you, the Freedom Tower, you are in good company.
                    American Airlines Arena, your silhouette is iconic. May it continue to reign over Miami forever.

                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                  • Free Events This Week: What If Screening, Yoga of the Mind, and PAMM
                    August 4, 2014
                    By Hannah Sentenac

                    August is upon us, and we're counting down the weeks until cooler weather arrives. How we long for the days of patio seating, sans buckets of sweat! We barely remember what it's like to leave the house without mosquito attacks and sweat stains.
                    In the meantime, we have to hunker down in the AC as much as possible -- or risk heat exhaustion and impossibly frizzy hair. On that note, here's some free stuff to get into this week, mostly indoors.

                    What If screening at AMC Aventura: See Daniel Radcliffe take a turn in a rom-com. He's come a long way since Harry Potter.

                    First Thursday at PAMM: Stay cool and check out their latest exhibitions, from Edouard Duval-Carri�: Imagined Landscapes to Caribbean: Crossroads of the World.

                    Yoga Flexibility of the Mind at The Wolfsonian-FIU: Yoga's just as much of a workout for the brain as the bod. Learn why.
                    Free concert at MOCA Plaza: Say so long to summer (well, that's the theme, anyway) with some South Florida songsters.

                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.

                  Ellen Found the Funniest Real Estate Listings!
                  Click on the link below to view the video
                • Edgewater, Brickell leading South Florida growth
                  July 31, 2014

                  The number of residential units in those markets expected to grow dramatically, study says

                  Across South Florida, Edgewater and Brickell are experiencing the greatest growth in residential units.
                  Edgewater, Brickell, the Central Business District, Arts and Entertainment, Midtown and Wynwood were all identified as the fastest growing submarkets by the Miami Downtown Development Authority�s Greater Downtown Miami Residential Real Estate Market Study, according to Miami Today.
                  Across those six submarkets, nearly 14,500 residential units are in the conceptual and planning phase, according to the report.
                  Edgewater is expected to grow by 67 percent, Brickell by 27 percent � making them the fastest growing markets in South Florida.
                  �It�s kind of miraculous to have such a beautiful area of waterfront property that was so untouched in a city as beautiful as Miami,� said Alicia Cervera Lamadrid of Cervera Real Estate. The focus on Edgewater and East Edgewater in particular is logical, considering that waterfront property has long been snapped up and developed in other locations.� [Miami Today] � Christopher Cameron

                  Copyright of The Real Deal
                • Miami Icons: The Miami Tower, Colorful Chameleon of the Skyline
                  July 31, 2014
                  By: Travis Cohen

                  San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Travis Cohen argues that the Miami Tower's changing colors and eye-catching design make it the perfect symbol for the city at large.
                  When you think of Downtown Miami, there's no shortage of images that your mind might conjure up. From the American Airlines Arena to the big, bold letters of 'BAYSIDE' to wandering crackheads meandering between the shadows and the bright purple lights that glow along the underside of the bridge to the port of Miami, Downtown is an undeniably interesting arrangement of strange layers of sights and sounds and scenery. But more than anything, what you can't help but see when you hold Downtown in your mind's eye is that splendid, sprawling skyline.

                  It's a majestic sight, that skyline, and whether you take it in from the arching lanes of the Julia Tuttle or the seawalls of Watson Island, it's a vista composed of some truly stunning pieces of architecture. Some of them are gaudy and gauche, some are decorated with gigantic gyrating strippers made of light, some are classical stone monoliths of Roosevelt's America, and some are resplendently modern megastructures with skins of glass. And while nearly every one of these buildings are beautiful in their own right, not a one can claim to be more iconically Miami than the old CenTrust Savings and Loan building at 100 SE Second Street, better known today as the Miami Tower.

                  Designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei, the Tower is arguably most well known for its multi-colored LED light system. Every night, the city is treated to a 47-story light show of smoothly transitioning hues that range from tropical combinations of blue and green and yellow to Miami Heat-centric reds and oranges on game nights. It's massively unsubtle, majestically unique, and unavoidably over the top and impossible to ignore. Basically, those lights scream Miami at full volume every single night.

                  But the design building itself doesn't get nearly enough credit for how aesthetically pleasing and creative it is. The soaring mass of black and white bars that make up the building's shell is just as beautiful when lit by sun as it is when it glows under the LEDs at night, largely because of the contrasting curves of the three-tiered sides of the Tower and the sharp squared edges on the opposing sides.

                  And if you have a chance to wander through the building, you'll find another wonderful aspect of how Miami it is. From the gilded elevators to the marble encased skylobby on the 11th floor to the glimmering surfaces of nearly any random hallway between office spaces, the Miami Tower is utterly opulent -- in many cases tastefully so, in some cases, not so much.

                  But what makes the Miami Tower such a completely iconic landmark for this city is how much screen time the building has gotten over the years, and continues to get to this day. From flyover shots on TNT and ESPN between quarters of Miami Heat home games, to being one of the focal points in the opening credits of Miami Vice (which earned it the moniker of 'The Miami Vice Tower' for many years), to featuring prominently in the landscape of Grand Theft Auto Vice City, the Miami Tower is quite likely the single-most recognizable building in the city, and will likely continue to hold that honor until the day they cut the lights when this town goes underwater.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.

                      • Miami Icons: The Freedom Tower Welcomed Cubans to America

                    July 30, 2014
                    By: Rich Robinson

                    San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Rich Robinson argues that the Freedom Tower represents the best of Miami's history and culture.
                    The Freedom Tower in downtown Miami deserves to become the global symbol of our fair city. Its history mirrors that of Miami itself: built during the real estate bubble of the 1920s, offering help to Cuban refugees in the 1960s, and contributing to today's cultural renaissance. It sits in the center of downtown, along the main vein of Biscayne Boulevard, like Miami's own beating heart.

                    Sprouting up around the growing dearth of skyscrapers in Downtown, the building seems out of place, a reminder of how far Miami has come.

                    But to fully understand why the Freedom Tower is the perfect candidate to be the future icon of Miami, you have to look back into the past.

                    The early 1960s were dark years for Cuban-Americans and for Miami. Fidel Castro's rise to power was complete, and his grip on the beautiful island nation was total. President John F. Kennedy's administration failed dramatically to overthrow Castro in the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, and the world hinged on the brink of nuclear annihilation due to the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

                    With the reclamation of private property driving many Cubans into dire poverty, and political opponents of the Castro regime brutally silenced, Congress was compelled to act with the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act.

                    The law provided assistance to political refugees, especially to the flood of Cubans pouring into Miami. The government designated the old headquarters of the Miami Daily News and Metropolis newspaper as the place where newly arrived Cubans looked for help. In operation in that capacity for ten years, the building became known as the Freedom Tower.

                    Built in 1925, the building is 17 stories tall, which made a major architectural statement in those days. It features striking elements that set it apart from other Miami buildings built in that era. If you've only seen the tower from Biscayne Boulevard, you might have missed details that the National Park Service describes: 'oak main doors, a cast iron decorative transom, wrought iron balconies, Corinthian capitals on the columns, groined ceilings, and cast concrete cherubs.'
                    The actual tower portion of the building was based on a famous structure in Spain, the Giralda tower of the Cathedral of Seville. The Giralda is actually an old minaret that was transformed into a church bell tower after Christians won back the territory from Muslim invaders. The Cathedral of Seville is also said to be the final resting place for Christopher Columbus.

                    Today, the Freedom Tower also stands for local arts and culture. It houses the gallery and headquarters of the headquarters of Miami-Dade College's Museum of Art + Design, as well as offices for the Miami International Film Festival, one of the biggest and most well-respected Latin film festivals in the world.

                    Miami deserves a symbol that respects its history and status as a place of new beginnings. The Freedom Tower is the perfect icon for the future of Miami - a city that embraces change, that has sheltered so many whose homes had been lost, and that continues to reach ever higher as it develops.

                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                  • Delayed Miami port tunnel to open Monday morning
                    July 30, 2014
                    By: Glenn Garvin

                    The last issue preventing the tunnel�s use � jet exhaust fans that vibrated themselves to pieces � was declared officially resolved Tuesday after the fans operated continuously for 24 hours without a glitch.

                    Without speeches or brass bands, just � hopefully � a smooth and steady flow of thousands of vehicles, PortMiami�s new tunnel will open to the public at 6 a.m. Monday after 11 weeks of exasperating and costly delays.

                    �No pomp and circumstance, just getting down to business,� said Chris Hodgkins, vice president of MAT Concessionaire, the consortium of companies that built the tunnel and will operate it. �And the only prize for the first customer will be a quick drive time into the port. We�re a tunnel, not Best Buy.�

                    The last issue preventing the tunnel�s use � jet exhaust fans that vibrated themselves to pieces � was declared officially resolved Tuesday after the fans operated continuously for 24 hours without a glitch (Though a just-to-be-absolutely-damn-sure 12-hour test with the fans blowing in the opposite direction was underway Wednesday.).

                    The state fire marshal�s office began a three-day final inspection of the tunnel�s safety systems Wednesday. First task: Making sure the tunnel�s 42 emergency telephones are working.

                    �We�ve already tested and retested and retested that and everything else,� Hodgkins said. �But we need independent corroboration. After that, we just need to clean up a little, and we�re good to go.�

                    The $1 billion tunnel is expected to pull 16,000 port-bound vehicles a day off Miami�s downtown streets by routing them onto the MacArthur Causeway and then under Biscayne Bay for three-quarters of a mile

                    The tunnel was originally scheduled to open May 19, and officials staged a grand ceremony � including a speech by Gov. Rick Scott � even though they knew it wouldn�t be ready for traffic for at least another 10 days or so.

                    But the 10 days stretched into 11 weeks as the exhaust fans malfunctioned and a drainage pipe sprang a mysterious leak. All the while, the Paris-based construction company Bouygues paid a daily fine of $115,000 to MAT Concessionaire � a forfeiture that will total nearly $9 million by Monday.

                    Taxpayers, however, lost nothing except an occasional temper. The Florida Department of Transportation won�t start making its $33 million annual payment to the concessionaire until the tunnel opens.

                    As the opening of the tunnel slipped to late May, then mid-July and finally early August (the precise date changed three times last week), tunnel officials could barely conceal their exasperation. Their confidence in the announcement of a Monday opening could be gauged by the fact that they could actually make some jokes about the delays.

                    �We will deliver no tunnel before its time,� cracked Hodgkins. �Like a bottle of fine wine, we wanted this thing to be perfect.�

                    Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
                  • All Aboard Florida Shares New Images of Miami Station, Tries To Blunt Building Criticism
                    July 30, 2014
                    By: Sabrina Rodriguez

                    Rick Scott's pet project to build a new passenger railway service between Miami and Orlando has lately turned into a public punching bag. Carl Hiaasen calls it a 'future train wreck for taxpayers', while Michael Grunwald writes in Time Magazine that Scott's chief of staff's ties to the firm building the line are 'pretty sketchy.'
                    Perhaps in response to the building criticism, All Aboard Florida went on the charm offensive yesterday, inviting a group of bloggers to a pitch about why the Sunshine State needs a private train line to get from Miami to Orlando in three hours.

                    'We hope to show that a private-public partnership can succeed in rallying the community together behind a project of this kind,' said Julie Edwards, the rail line's chief marketing officer.

                    The line would start in downtown Miami, and would connect with Metrorail and the Metromover. The Miami station, which will be close to the downtown Courthouse and Government Center, will take up 9.5 acres and will include retail spaces.

                    'We want to give the community more options,' said Ali Soule, the project's public affairs manager. 'We want to take more cars off the road and make downtown more pedestrian-friendly.'

                    The trains would run on Florida East Coast Railway tracks, parts of which were built by Henry Flagler, and would take just under three hours to get to Orlando. There would be 16 southbound and 16 northbound trains each day with three stops: Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando.

                    'We know there's a market to turn these three metropolitan areas into a mega city,' Soule said.

                    Of course, some residents in between are none too thrilled with the plans. Residents between the West Palm Beach and Orlando stations won't have any stops on the line, but will have new trains whistling through their backyards.

                    In a video, the firm claimed the trains would add only minimal traffic to the surrounding neighborhoods because trains would pass through urban stops in about 46 seconds. As for noise, the firm says the trains are lightweight yielding less clamor on the tracks. The project will improve existing tracks to reduce sound.

                    The company provided a few new renderings of their planned Miami station and this route map for how the train will operate in town:

                    Edwards and Soule's own surveys suggest the trains would be more a boon to tourists than locals; while the project would boast new retail spaces and jobs, a ridership surveys shows most customers would be tourists.
                    According to Edwards, some of the train cars will be equipped for bicycles, but All Aboard Florida still is not sure how it will help commuters with the 'last mile.' That is, the railway service does not know what type of shuttle or car sharing resources it will offer for people trying to take the train to work.

                    As for pricing, All Aboard Florida has not released the cost for a ticket on the train. It was hinted though, that with the 56 cent federal mile and cost of tolls, a ticket from Miami to West Palm Beach, could be somewhere between $30 to $40. Sum that up for the 235 miles from Miami to Orlando and prices might just be too steep for the average local.

                    The presentation didn't include any talking points about the project's politics, which are at the heart of much of the criticism. Scott, after all, turned down a ready-to-go federal stimulus plan to build a $2.4 billion high-speed line connecting Miami to Orlando, and then offered state assistance to a private firm with deep ties to his own chief of staff to build its project.

                    Either way, Soule says the project is ready to break ground soon and on schedule to finish in mid-to-late 2016.

                    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                  Fendi, Chateau Group partner on Surfside condos
                  July 29, 2014

                  Another South Florida developer formed a partnership with a luxury brand to build a high-end condo project.
                  Italian firm Fendi is joining forces with Chateau Group for the 12-story, 58-unit Fendi Chateau Residences in Surfside, according to Monday�s written announcement from a project spokesperson. The waterfront building is Fendi�s first branded real estate development. The companies hope to finish the 9365 Collins Avenue project by June 2016.
                  Condos at Fendi Chateau Residences range in size from 3,300 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet. Prices run from $5 million to $22 million. Each unit includes a Fendi Casa kitchen, or a full chef�s kitchen with custom Fendi Casa cabinets and Gaggenau appliances.
                  Other planned features include common areas with a private restaurant, a lounge with a gourmet kitchen, a library, business center, ballroom, private cinema and gym. The building would also have multiple beachfront pools with cabanas, reflective ponds and a relaxation terrace with aromatherapy.
                  �Fendi Chateau Residences further consolidate our ties in the luxury private property sector, in particular with a qualitative partner like Chateau Group,� Fendi chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari said. �It fully expresses the codes, history and savoir-faire that characterize Fendi.�
                  Last week, the collaboration between Armani Group, Dezer Development and the Related Group for a Sunny Isles Beach condo project was made official. � Eric Kalis

                  All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                • Miami Icons: The Colony Hotel, the Most Famous Art Deco Building on Ocean Drive
                  July 29, 2014
                  By: Travis Cohen

                  San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Travis Cohen argues that the Colony Hotel's Art Deco history and Ocean Drive location have earned it icon status.
                  For better or worse, when most people think Miami Beach, they don't think about Normandy Isle and seven-one or Surfside or Sunny Isles They think about South Beach. They think about half-naked women with perfectly sculpted bodies coated in deep summer tans. They think of candy colored super cars. They imagine SoBe as a scattershot settlement of clubs overflowing with beautiful people who meander towards the shoreline at 4 a.m., bedecked in barely buttoned Armani shirts and short Valentino dresses that have crawled up a long length of thigh, as they search for a palm tree to vomit on beneath the neon moonlight. And what is the backdrop for this glamorous scene? None but the Historic Art Deco District of Miami Beach and all those lovely pastel palaces along Ocean Drive.

                  And even if the ideas and attitudes towards South Beach that locals and tourists hold don't exactly match up, nobody can contend that the Art Deco architecture is an intrinsic part of the Beach's personality as a city. Most of that style was designed by a man named Henry Hohauser, who was responsible for a great many of the buildings that still stand on Ocean Drive and the surrounding sections of the Deco District. And out of all his classic creations, there's hardly a one that can be said to be more of a well-known staple in the recollections and postcards of South Beach than the Colony Hotel.

                  The Colony, designed in 1935, was one of the early buildings erected during the Art Deco renaissance that revived Miami Beach after the great hurricane of September '26 leveled the city in its infancy. The facade is emblematic of the Art Deco style - simple and symmetrical, with bold geometric elements like the inverted 'T' that bears the hotel's name and the horizontal eyebrows that hang over the windows in order to give a little extra shade to the tenants as they watch people strutting in the sunshine.
                  It's playful and tropical in the daytime, but come the night, it's vibrant and garish and pulsating with the allure that has drawn people to this oceanfront playground since the 1930s, growing all the more atavistic and openly wild over the years. And while the scene itself has undoubtedly changed more than anyone could have imagined 80-some odd years ago, the low-lying face of South Beach has remained intact -- and the Colony's iconic blue glow has buzzed over the bustling sidewalk below without missing a beat.

                  Next time you have a chance to pop into any of the 16-million novelty shops on South beach, take a look at the racks of postcards. Eight out of 10 are going to be pictures of Ocean Drive, lit up in all its nightly extravagance. And almost every one is going to have the Colony Hotel dead smack in the middle, like neon Jesus at a far less somber last supper.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                • NIU Kitchen: Catalan Tapas Spot Shows Promise for Downtown Dining
                  July 29, 2014
                  By Zachary Fagenson

                  Not long after sunset, downtown Miami is so deserted the click of a changing traffic light echoes like a gunshot. Once-bustling cafeterias and shops closed hours ago. In the inky darkness, steel shutters rattle in the wind.
                  But then you turn a corner and a cool-yellow glow pours onto the stained sidewalk. A subtle hum becomes boisterous chatter, clinking wine glasses, and clattering dishes. As you step in front of NIU Kitchen's plate-glass fa�ade, you're sucked off the sidewalk and into a buzzing Barcelona-style tapas restaurant. The musical gurgle of emptying bottles of ruby-red tempranillo fills your ears. The nutty scent of toasting bread invades your senses along with the intoxicating aroma of fruity olive oil. After you settle into one of NIU's 26 seats, a warmth overtakes you, mostly thanks to co-owner Karina Iglesias, who with a devilish grin tops off your glass and then adds nothing to the check.

                  See also: NIU Kitchen: Playful Catalan Cuisine in Downtown Miami

                  After working at the popular downtown Italian restaurant Soya e Pomodoro and Kris Wessel's beloved but now-closed Red Light Little River, Iglesias is a veteran of popular restaurants in shady neighborhoods. Tall with catlike eyes and a square jaw, she's also adept at gracefully chasing off the neighborhood bums.

                  Almost two years ago, she and Deme Lomas, a Barcelona native who worked at Pubbelly's Barceloneta in Miami Beach, met through a mutual friend. Along with partner Adam Hughes, the duo set out to find a space to showcase Lomas' take on Catalan cuisine, which is inspired by the region's Mediterranean flavors and wildly inventive techniques.

                  Without the bankroll for a hipper neighborhood, they settled on a cozy, pocket-size space downtown near Miami Dade College. 'There's gentrification in Wynwood and the Design District,' Iglesias says. 'It's still beautiful there, but it would have been too much money for us.'

                  A puzzle of weathered, reclaimed wooden planks lines both sides of the shoebox restaurant. Mismatched Edison light bulbs hang from long cords attached to the ceiling via open books. Diners often crane their necks to try to read the indecipherable print. A sprawling chalkboard commands you to 'eat with your friends, devour your enemies.'

                  At the far end of the space stands an impossibly small kitchen, where Lomas turns out about 20 dishes featuring trademark Catalan flavors and techniques. There's a bounty of seafood inspired by the hauls pulled from Spanish waters. He makes ample use of base -- ingredients such as picada -- a nutty, herbaceous blend of parsley and hazelnuts used to liven up sauces just before being served. Lomas applies a spoonful to short-grain rice that's toothsome and perfectly cooked in a flavorful combination of sofrito (the tomato and garlic sauce base common throughout the Spanish-speaking world), grated tomatoes, pork stock, juicy slices of sausage, and tender chunks of squid.

                  Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, are unrivaled for spawning creativity and genius. The surrealist painter Salvador Dal� was born and died in Figueres, about 60 miles northeast of Barcelona. Famed architect Antoni Gaud�'s modern yet gothic designs are found throughout Barcelona along with his magnum opus, the towering, terrifying Sagrada Fam�lia. Chefs such as Santi Santamar�a, Carme Ruscalleda, and Ferr�n and Albert Adri�, who own a small cadre of imaginative restaurants in Barcelona, have reinvented the way the world views food -- just as Auguste Escoffier did in the early 20th Century.
                  Despite the haute pedigree, Niu's food is deeply satisfying but still light. It shuns the conventions of Miami's seemingly endless selection of middling Spanish restaurants.

                  'Spanish food is all about grease,' Lomas says. 'I don't have a fryer.'

                  A bowl of cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream is as delicious as it is perplexing. The small bowl of zesty, red-pink gazpacho is bright and fresh, filled with the tomato juices that bleed out after each slice. The mustard ice cream -- made with whole-grain mustard, crushed ice, salt, and sugar -- burns the sinuses but adds the perfect hint of spice to match the delicately sweet soup.

                  A cold, raw shrimp preparation is also deceivingly simple-looking, but it hides complex flavors. A disk of diced raw shrimp rests atop thin layers of aggressively salted tomatoes and potatoes. It's served with the shrimp's head, which is meant to be squeezed over the mixture to allow the crustacean to sauce itself. The seasoning and slight snap of the potatoes and tomatoes pair perfectly with the sweet shrimp, creating a one-of-a-kind dish you'll want to order again and again.

                  For botifarra, a classic Catalan sausage, Lomas grinds pork belly, neck, and shoulder with salt and pepper. He roasts each link until it splits with a deep-brown char and then slices and serves it with escaliva, a cooled combination of tender yet firm slices of roasted peppers, onion, and eggplant. There's also fuet, a staple Catalan dried sausage that's sliced into half-dollar-size disks that shimmer with glistening fat in the low light. Two lines of tangy, chewy sausage slices are placed next to a short stack of pan con tomate, which can be ordered separately under its Catalan name, pa amb tom�quet.

                  A trio of braised pork cheeks, quivering between luscious dollops of potato foam, almost melts into the plate. The foam is one of a few appearances of modernist cooking technique, which is championed by some of Spain's Michelin-starred kitchens. Lomas boils potatoes in salted water with a dash of olive oil and whips them with cream and red and black truffle shavings before loading the mixture into a whipped-cream charger and dispensing it as a rich yet light foam onto the plate. The cheeks are seared, braised with a mirepoix in red wine, and doused in a slightly sweet demi-glace made from their own juices before serving.
                  Potato foam appears again in an egg dish simply called 'ous,' or 'egg' in Catalan. A fist-size bowl is filled with the fluffy white cream, which hides salty slivers of jam�n ib�rico and two soft-poached eggs. The rich, runny yolks mingle beautifully with the earthy flecks of grated black truffle that seem to float magically atop the dish.

                  The unexpected delights continue into dessert with a small tilted glass cup of goat 'cottage' cheese called mat�. The tangy, salty curds rest atop sweet eggplant shards and are crowned with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and honey. It's the ideal dessert for the diner who often rejects the cloying final course. A squeeze of lemon intensifies the cheese's slightly sour notes, counterbalancing the sweet elements.

                  Like the tomato soup, it's a dish with which Lomas wanted to gamble. Along with the rest of Niu's constantly changing menu, these two dishes are winners thanks to elegant preparations that coax the best flavors from each ingredient and then marry them in sensible, easy-to-enjoy combinations. Iglesias' warm service makes you feel like you know her and have visited her restaurant twice a week for a dozen years.

                  The space is perfect for what downtown is becoming. It is intimate enough for a date but not too romantic to visit with friends. It is creative enough to satisfy the thrill-seeking diner but not outlandish enough to limit clientele.

                  It is a bit of light in an otherwise dim downtown Miami. Let's hope it won't glow alone for long.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                • Juan Valdez Cafe Opens Wednesday: Private Tastings and Single Origin Coffees
                  July 28, 2014
                  By: Laine Doss

                  Downtown Miami's first Juan Valdez Cafe opens this Wednesday at 101 NE Second Ave. The coffee shop, which stars the fictional coffee grower in pictures and emblazoned on coffee mugs, features both blended and single origin coffees prepared in a variety of ways.
                  The cafe, one of which is located in Miami International Airport, is the first in the company's major expansion into the Florida market. Another shop is expected to open in a few weeks at 364 NE 1st Ave., with 60 stores planned for the Sunshine State in the next few years. There are currently 270 Juan Valdez Cafes open in 12 countries including Aruba; Bolivia; Chile; Ecuador; El Salvador; Spain; Kuwait; Malaysia; Mexico; Panama; Peru; South Korea, and the U.S.

                  See also: Panther Coffee to open in Coconut Grove

                  The shops were created by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation and named after Juan Valdez, the federation's iconic figure. The cafes will sell only Colombian coffees, and will offer a variety of pastries and light bites.

                  At first thought, you might think the coffee shops are poised to compete directly with Seattle giant, Starbucks. But there are major differences in the two brands. Although the Juan Valdez cafe does offer cafe tables and WiFi (as important to coffee shops as fresh cream), there are no couches to sink into for an entire day and Juan Valdez Cafe has no soft mood lighting. What Juan Valdez Cafe does have that Starbucks lack, however, are serious experiences for coffee aficionados.

                  In addition to purchasing a cup of java on the go, customers can opt to have their coffee custom brewed table side, choosing their favorite single origin coffee and method. Guests can choose a siphon, hot or cold drip, or a Kyoto coffee maker, a giant, handmade beauty that sells for $1,000 and looks like a fixture in a mad scientist's lab.

                  The shop also offers private group cupping sessions, where a senior barista will take you through a tasting of several Colombian varietals

                  We were invited to one of the cupping sessions where Edgardo Texidor, the lead barista for Miami, led us through the process of sniffing and slurping three different coffees. Huila, grown in the middle regions of Colombia, is know for its balance and buttery texture. Antioquia, harvested near the west coast of the country, is subtle with citrus notes, while the Caribe Sierra Nevada, grown high in the mountains, was bold and striking.
                  Coffees range from under $3 for a cup to $16 for a single origin brewed via the Kyoto. Cupping sessions range from $12-20.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                • Miami's Best Eats and Drinks This Weekend: Exotic Staycation Edition
                  July 25, 2014
                  By: Laine Doss

                  Have you taken your summer vacation yet? If you've been meaning to travel to far-off exotic places, maybe this weekend is the time to indulge your inner travel-hog -- right here in Miami.
                  Watch a Bahamian Junkanoo parade while enjoying fresh conch salad; enjoy a delicious Asian brunch; or celebrate Peru's independence -- without that annoying trip through airport security. It's all going down this weekend in Miami.

                  Weekend starts now! Enjoy your summer 'staycation.'

                  Saturday and Sunday Brunch at Khong River House
                  There's only one thing better than Sunday brunch on a lazy weekend and that's Sunday brunch...on Saturday.
                  Khong River House has just launched brunch -- available on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Menu items include 'places and bowls' like the moo shu breakfast wrap ($15), scrambled eggs with ground pork and shrimp served with a Chinese cucumber salad; a beef short rib omelet ($16), wok-fried short rib with potato, bell pepper, and cilantro, served with a Thai Boran salad; and Laotian drunken noodles ($16-20).

                  Want to turn things up a notch? Bottomless Thai bloody marys, classic bloody marys, mango bellinis, and mimosas are $19.99.

                  Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival
                  The Bahamas is Miami's closest neighbor, with its nearest island, Bimini, just a little more than 50 miles from us. The problem, of course, is that those 50 miles are across water.
                  Of course, there are planes and boats that can take you there, but for a quick 'getaway' for some conch salad and a cold Kalik, it's a better idea to head over to Coconut Grove's Peacock Park for the 38th annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival. On Saturday, July 26 from noon to 9 p.m., enjoy Miami's best Junkanoo bands, the Royal Bahamian Police Band, and Bahamian food! Admisison is $10 for adults and kids 12 and under get in free.

                  South Florida Peruvian Festival
                  July 28 commemorates Peru's independence won by Jos� de San Mart�n. How should you celebrate? With lots of music and food at the South Florida Peruvian Festival.
                  On Sunday, July 27 from 11 a..m. to 10:30 p.m. The Miami Airport Convention Center turns into one big Peruvian party with art, music, and dance. Of course, there's also plenty of food. Participating restaurants include Aroma a la Brasa; Aromas del Peru; Sr. Ceviche; Divino Ceviche; Flor de la Canela; Sabor Latino, and Cholo's. Expect lots of ceviche, salchipapas, lomo saltado, and maybe even a taste of cuy.

                  Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at https://www.ticketlatino.com/.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                • Contact Your City Commissioners- Support a Parking Requirement Exemption for Small Urban Buildings
                  July 29, 2014
                  By Felipe Azenha

                  Minimum parking requirements are killing good urban development in Miami. Luckily, there has been a push to eliminate parking requirements for small urban buildings (<10,000 sq ft) in recent months. This is a good first step in the right direction if Miami really aspires to become a walkable and less autocentric city.

                  Minimum parking requirements perpetuate more automobile use and it also makes housing less affordable since the cost of building and maintaining required parking is passed on to renters and buyers. A few months ago Zillow released a housing report that cited Miami as the 2nd most expensive city for renters. The average Miami resident spends 43.2% of their income on rent.

                  Combine expensive housing with lack of public transit and minimum parking requirements that only serve to perpetuate the use of the automobile; its no wonder why Miami is one of the most expensive car dominated cities in the US.

                  Eliminating parking requirements would do the following things:

                  1) Allows small developers to choose how many parking spaces are needed based on what fits and what buyers or tenants want.
                  2) Replaces parking with denser development that generates more property and sales tax for the county and city.
                  3) Allows small property owners to keep their property and develop themselves.
                  4) Levels the playing field for small Miami property owners.
                  5) Allows for the creation of more walkable and denser urban neighborhoods.

                  Below are the details for the reduced parking requirements that are being sought for small urban buildings. This is currently being advocated for at the commission level, so stay tuned for the resolution.

                  The proposed text for T4, T5, and T6 is underlined below. The non-underlined text already exists in Miami 21, a TOD/transit corridor parking reduction that does not apply within 500 ft of single-family/duplex areas (T3). The proposed text does not change that, it does not apply within 500 feet of T3. Below is a map of where the proposed text would apply: orange areas around rail stations, purple areas along transit corridors, but not yellow areas within 500 ft of T3. 

                  �Parking ratio may be reduced within 1/2 mile radius of TOD or within 1/4 mile radius of a Transit Corridor by thirty percent (30%) by process of Waiver, or by one hundred percent (100%) for any Structure that has a Floor Area of ten thousand (10,000) square feet or less, except when site is within 500 feet of T3.�

                  Let�s hope City of Miami Commissioners can come to their senses and eliminate parking requirements entirely, not just for small urban buildings.

                  Copyright 2011 � 2014 MiamiUrbanist.com
                • Residential project underway in southern Miami-Dade
                  July 28, 2014

                  Oscar Barbara's Luxcom begins Mosaic at Venetian Parc development

                  Developer Luxcom began construction of the Mosaic at Venetian Parc residential community in southern Miami-Dade County.
                  Oscar Barbara�s firm is building 301 single-family residences and townhomes at the Southwest 176th Street and 152nd Avenue site, according to Monday�s written statement released by a project spokesperson. The community�s homes have 20 different potential floorplans and three architectural styles: Contemporary, Island Colonial and Mediterranean. Townhome prices start from the $200,000s, while single-family residences start from the $300,000s.
                  �Unlike much of the development of the last cycle, we are developing this land with the end user in mind, not our bottom line,� Barbara said. �By building fewer homes than we are zoned for we are able to implement additional walkways, curved streets and parks � creating a new definition of community.�
                  Mosaic's biggest two-story townhomes total more than 2,400 square feet. The largest single-family homes have more than 4,000 square feet of living space. All residences include a one or two-car garage - Eric Kalis

                  All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
                • Bookleggers Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary With Free Books, Booze, Artists' Flea Market
                  July 25, 2014
                  By: Carolina De Busto

                  Bookleggers Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary With Free Books, Booze, Artists' Flea Market

                  Sandler describes himself as a Miami native with a unique resume. A full time writer, he currently spends his time 'taking care of a gigantic white and neurotic French poodle named Monkey' and binge-watching Grimm. Oh, and planning monthly gatherings for those literary folk in town.
                  'Whenever people want to get on their personal pedestals about how 'Miami isn't literary' or whatever, I invite them to Bookleggers and politely imply they are full of nonsense,' he says. Turns out, 'people love [Bookleggers] - even the ones full of nonsense.'

                  Though he can't recall what initially drove him to start a community mobile library -- 'Books? People who like books? A good party? Take your pick' -- Sandler does say how he never quite imagined Bookleggers would take off the way it has. 'It's flat out crazy to me how much Miami has taken to it.'

                  Bookleggers began two years ago with Sandler and a fellow writer friend, J. David Gonzalez. The concept was essentially built off the historical sense of the word 'booklegger,' which Sandler explains is a term used 'for someone who peddled in illegal publications, particularly erotica...but selling banned books also applies; [basically] anyone who is moving text deemed illegal by the authorities.' Sandler and Gonzalez's version doesn't deal primarily with erotica; rather, it's a cross between a traditional library and a used bookstore.

                  'It's a pretty new model in the sense that it functions as both; you can take a book for free like a library or you can buy books like a bookstore.' And when they're free, they're free - no one is interested in tracking you down, adds Sandler.
                  'The books are all donations from the community and we donate them back to the community.'

                  The birthday party will be happening at Bookleggers' storage space. Sandler admits that everything has not been fully sorted, 'so there are probably some real gems in there to be found.'

                  'We'll part with almost all of them. However, we are going to hold the right to refuse a trade if you pull something really valuable out, like a copy of the Declaration of Independence or a first edition of Moby Dick. Those occasionally fancy or valuable books are sold to collectors and the money goes to funding the library's operations.'

                  To celebrate being around for two years, Bookleggers has planned a 'good old-fashioned warehouse party.' Taking place Saturday at Downtown ArtHouse, there will be books (duh), booze courtesy of Gramps bar, music, and even an artists' flea market that has been organized by Natasha Lopez de Victoria of the TM Sisters.

                  'Come for the free beer, music, and [to] peruse the aisles of weird stuff on sale. It's going to be something I think you'll want to be at,' says Sandler. 'Bookleggers always is.'

                  The event is free and guests will each get two free books. Each additional book will cost $2 or you can trade a book for a book. Bookleggers two-year anniversary party will take place tomorrow, Saturday, July 26, at Downtown ArtHouse (100 NE 11th St., Miami) from 5 to 10 p.m. Follow @bookleggers on Twitter for updates.

                  Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
                Hurricane tax on policies to end 18 months early
                TALLAHASSEE, Fla. � July 23, 2014 � An extra charge on property-insurance and auto-insurance policies to cover claims paid for the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons will end Jan. 1.

                The Office of Insurance Regulation formally issued orders Tuesday for insurance companies to move up by 18 months the end of a 1.3 percent 'emergency assessment' for the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which provides backup coverage to insurers.

                The assessment has hit policyholders for $2.9 billion, which has gone to reimburse insurance companies for claims from the eight hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005, the last time a hurricane made landfall in Florida.

                'It's been nine years since (Hurricane) Wilma,' said Sam Miller, executive vice president of the Florida Insurance Council. 'If anything, the assessment helps us remember how devastating these storms may be.'

                Miller said the industry had been waiting for the orders so it could begin preparing for the new end date for the assessment, which previously had been set for July 1, 2016.

                The orders make official a decision Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet made last month to end the assessment, Amy Bogner, a spokeswoman for the Office of Insurance Regulation, said in an email.

                The assessment, which first appeared at 1 percent in 2007 and was raised to the current rate in 2011, collectively hits policyholders for between $350 million and $500 million a year.

                In addition to the state's near-decade luck at avoiding hurricanes, the early termination is due to claims for Hurricane Wilma coming in $498 million less than what had initially been thought. Wilma hit South Florida in October 2005. Also, the fund received more money than expected due to an increase in policies statewide.

                The charge is imposed on most property and casualty policies other than medical malpractice and workers compensation.

                The catastrophe fund, better known as the Cat Fund, currently has about $13 billion on hand and is expected to be able to raise an additional $4 billion, which is considered solid ground for covering most post-storm claims.

                In addition to the Cat Fund assessment, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. adds an extra 1 percent charge on most policies to cover losses from the 2005 storms. First imposed in 2007, the state expects that charge to be paid off in June 2017.

                Source: News Service of Florida, Jim Turner

                Copyright 2014 Florida Realtors
              • Top 20 World's Most Beautiful Living Areas
                July 25, 2014
                By: MMK

                If you are browsing internet for Home Ideas, Decoration and Remodeling Tips you are on the right place. In today�s article we collected the top 20 most beautiful living spaces around the world. I am sure you will hate your apartment after checking out the images bellow. Starting from Switzerland, across America and up to Australia, there�s no better interior designs that the ones we collected and attached in the gallery bellow. We hope you will enjoy:

                Click on the link below to view photos

                Copyright Architecture & Design 2014
              • Boxelder Craft Beer Market to Open in Wynwood
                July 24, 2014
                By: Laine Doss

                Wynwood is certainly becoming Miami's mecca for beer. Wynwood Brewing Company has been serving up beer and tours for months, while Concrete Beach and J. Wakefield are working on their respective venues. Next on tap, however, is Boxelder Craft Beer Market, a craft beer purveyor set to open in Wynwood this fall.
                The craft beer market and tap room is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Nicole and Adam Darnell, two professionals in the art industry who decided to pursue their mutual lifelong love of beer. Even the name of their market relates to the growing beer scene in Wynwood.

                See also: MIA Brewing Company Opens for Production

                Nicole Darnell explains that Boxelder, a type of maple tree, was placed on Florida's waterbanks because of its quick growth of an intricate root system. She explains that, 'the boxelder would allow other trees and plants to grow quickly. We thought that was a great metaphor for what's happening in Miami's beer scene. A few pioneering places, like Wynwood Brewing Company, are paving the way for Miami's craft beer scene to really flourish.'

                Nicole Darnell, a fourth generation Floridian, says that she and husband, Adam, are both passionate about beer, but Adam is the one with hands-on experience. 'We both worked in the art world for a very long time, but even before that, Adam grew up brewing beer with his father out west. Then, we moved to Miami in 2000, and Adam worked as a bartender at The Abbey. We both tinker with beer at home, and the appreciation of beer culture is something we both love. It was a decision on both of our parts to leave the art world to be a part of the craft beer world.'

                Darnell adds that she loves that Wynwood brings the art and beer world together.
                'This is the epicenter; what's happening in Wynwood is amazing. Wynwood Brewing are the pioneers in the neighborhood, and we are proud to have them as friends. Wynwood went from this edgy, artsy neighborhood to having an amazing craft beer scene. It's the best of both worlds.'

                The Wynwood shop, located on NW Second Ave., is scheduled to open in October, and will feature over 100 bottles of beer and about a dozen beers on tap. Nicole, who calls herself and her husband 'craft beer provisioners,' said Boxelder will feature a beautiful bar where people can enjoy a beer or two as well as taking home beers in bottles and growlers.

                The beer selection will showcase local brewers, as well as interesting craft beers from breweries worldwide. 'We're going to try to be as eclectic as possible. We're going to support a lot of South Florida brewers, because we want them to be as successful as possible, but we also want people to be able to come in and try something they haven't tasted before.' Adam, by the way, will be the primary curator of the beers available at Boxelder.

                In addition to drinking, Nicole wants people to know there's a rich history -- and science -- behind what's in that pint glass. 'We want people to experience everything beer has to offer, and that includes the educational aspect of beer. We love the science behind beer. Adam has spoken to a local professor of biochemistry, because we want to have a talk about the chemical reaction that happens when yeast is introduced. Beer is not just about drinking. It's been around for thousands of years and there's something really magical about it.'

                After all that beer-geek talk, Nicole assures us that there's nothing intimidating about beer -- or Boxelder. 'I don't want to sound too 'hippy-ish,' but we want to be a place that the breweries can highlight new releases and the entire community can come together. We want to be that center point. If you're new to beer, Adam and I will be behind the bar to help you pick the perfect beer. We'll do tap takeovers so people can try something new and different. We're not promoting any one type of beer. We like all beer. If it happens to be from our local buddies in Wynwood or Due South or MIA, great -- but if there's something amazing out there, we want to share it with Miami.'

                Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
              • Finnegan's River in Brickell Closing
                July 24, 2014
                By: Laurie Charles

                'After eight years in business, the iconic Finnegan's River is closing its doors to make room for a high rise condominium.'

                That's how one of Brickell's best bars officially broke the news of its closure via an email sent to New Times.

                Sunday will mark the end of an era of Miami Heat mayhem and some of the wildest Winter Music Conference and year-round pool parties this side of the bridge. And in celebration of its eight years, the Magic City's 'sprawling urban oasis' accessible 'by land or by sea' will be bidding its adieu with a farewell party.

                See also: Mova Lounge Closes: South Beach and Brickell

                Ocean Drive Clevelander, the corporation behind Finnegan's River, sold the poolside bar to CG Miami River for $11.5 million, a condo developer led by the New York-based Chetrit Group, the South Florida Business Journal reports.

                According to the Journal, plans to build four 60-story condos (which equals out to about 1,450 units), a marina, and a hotel are underway.

                Crossfade has contacted Finnegan's for more details on the closing. We'll keep you updated on the situation over at the bar.

                Given the newfound developmental awakening of Brickell, the news doesn't come as a major surprise. Back in May, Mova Lounge announced it was closing both its Brickell and South Beach locations because the Brickell outpost, which was located right above Finnegan's River, 'had been purchased.'

                With the current high-rise construction craze hitting the city, who knows what'll become of Brickell in the next couple of years. For now, Sunday is your chance to say your final goodbyes to your favorite bar.

                Finnegan's River Farewell Party. Sunday, July 27. Finnegan's River, 401 SW 3rd Ave., Miami. The party starts at 2 p.m. and there is no cover. Call 305-285-3030, or visit finnegansbars.com.

                Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
              • Biscayne Landing construction underway in North Miami
                July 24, 2014

                Oleta Partners announces beginning of mixed-use project's first phase

                The developers of Biscayne Landing started construction of the first phase of the North Miami mixed-use project.
                Oleta Partners announced that initial work is underway at the 180-acre development site in a written statement released on Thursday. The entire project calls for more than 4,000 residences, 37 acres of parks and recreation space and more than 800,000 square feet of retail space at Northeast 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. DC Equipment was hired as the designated contractor for the first wave of construction activity, which includes preparations for a spine road on Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 143rd Street.
                �We are extremely excited to move ahead on the Biscayne Landing project,� said Oleta vice president Michael Tillman, a director of the LeFrak Organization. �Biscayne Landing will positive impact the future of the City of North Miami, its residents and nearby communities by creating hundreds of jobs and generating millions of dollars in annual sales and tax revenues.
                Earlier this month, North Miami City Council members voted to begin negotiations to sell more than 50 acres of the project site to Oleta, which wants to build a condo tower on the land. � Eric Kalis

                All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal

              Condo Builders Fuel Land Rush in Miami

              July 22,2014

              Foreign Buyers Fuel Demand for City's Dwindling Supply of Unbuilt Space

              MIAMI-At the height of the real-estate boom in 2006, Ugo Colombo, an Italian-born developer, bought a stake in an empty plot of land along the Miami River, facing Biscayne Bay, in a deal that valued the site at roughly $25 million.

              Last week, Mr. Colombo and his partners sold the same piece of land, now one of the last undeveloped waterfront parcels in downtown Miami, to an Argentine grocery-store magnate for $125 million.

              Miami is experiencing a land rush as condo builders move to grab what remains of the city's dwindling supply of prime unbuilt sites, driving values of undeveloped plots to record levels.

              It is the latest stage in a remarkable turnaround for the Miami condo market, where many of the 22,200 units built during the previous boom sat empty for years after the housing bubble burst. When prices plummeted, cash-paying buyers mainly from Latin America, but also from Canada, Russia and Europe began snapping them up, and the units now have been almost entirely absorbed.

              'We're basically running out of waterfront properties for high-density development in Miami,' said Robert Given, a broker with CBRE Inc. who co-represented Mr. Colombo and his partners in the deal. The price paid for the 1.25-acre plot of land known as the 'Epic II' site because it is located next to the EPIC Miami, a hotel and luxury condo building is believed to be the highest ever paid for a a piece of undeveloped land in Miami in terms of price per developable square foot.

              The price 'beats anything we've ever been involved in or seen' in the city, Mr. Given said.

              A soon-to-be-released study by New York consulting firm Integra Realty Resources for the Miami Downtown Development Authority, an economic-development agency, found that about 90% of the buyers of new residential units are from abroad. Despite steadily increasing prices, their appetite doesn't appear to be waning, said Anthony Graziano, senior managing director at Integra's Miami office and author of the study.

              Prices for condos built during the 2003-to-2008 boom have increased about 75% over the past two years, to $400 a square foot from $230, the study found. Units currently under construction typically cost $450 to $550 a square foot. And those in projects that haven't yet broken ground are averaging $550 to $675 a square foot. Brokers estimate that condos on the Epic site could fetch as high as $1,000 a square foot.

              At the height of the most-recent real-estate boom, the priciest condos sold for $650 to $800 a square foot, Mr. Graziano said.

              The past year has seen a series of deals in which developers have shown a willingness to pay tens of millions of dollars an acre for unbuilt land. Last July, Swire Properties Inc., a subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based commercial developer that is building Brickell City Centre, an enormous mixed-use project in downtown Miami, paid $64 million for 1.55 acres at 700 Brickell Avenue.

              Four months later, the Related Group, chaired by Jorge Perez, a billionaire developer and minority owner of the Miami Dolphins, paid $104 million for a four-acre site at 444 Brickell Ave., a downtown site near the Epic site.

              And a few blocks away, at the corner of Biscayne Boulevard and NE 3rd Street, multiple bidders have offered more than $80 million for two acres of land next to a Holiday Inn facing the water, according to a person familiar with the sale process.

              'These are trades that, three years ago, would have far surpassed anyone's imagination,' said Ezra Katz, a Miami investor and chief executive of Aztec Group Inc., a real-estate brokerage. 'It's a contest now, to see who can control the best sites in Miami.'

              There are now 14 towers with more than 4,000 units under construction in the downtown area, said Peter Zalewski, principal at CraneSpotters.com, which closely tracks condo developments in South Florida. Another 44 towers with roughly 13,500 units have been proposed, he said.

              'The Miami market has turned around 180 degrees in record time,' Mr. Colombo, the developer, said. 'There is a humongous shortage of land. On the waterfront, there's none left. Every hole you see on the map now is being filled.'

              Developers say there is less risk of a steep plunge in the current cycle. They have weeded out speculators, they say, by imposing a Latin American-style financing model that requires buyers to put down at least 50% before closing. As a result, developers are relying more on those deposits, and less on debt, to fund construction.

              But the soaring land values also are having unintended effects on the downtown real-estate market, according to John Sumberg, managing partner of the law firm Bilzin Sumberg, who specializes in commercial real estate. Ultraluxury condo developers are crowding out less-lucrative types of development, including office space, apartment rentals and affordable housing, he says.

              'The other product lines can't compete,' Mr. Sumberg said. 'Any site that could possibly be a condo cannot be utilized economically for any other purpose.'

              Another soon-to-be-released Miami Downtown Development Authority report will point out that the vacancy rate in the Brickell financial district is now 15%, down from 25% in late 2011, when there was a glut of office space. The office vacancy rate is expected to fall further, but little new office space is being built.

              Climbing land values also could impinge on the development of rental apartments, which are in strong demand in Miami. At today's land prices, such projects are impossible, said Carlos Melo, principal at the Melo Group, a developer. His company just completed a new rental building downtown and has another in the works, but it acquired those plots before the escalation in prices.

              'If you didn't get land before, you're not doing rentals,' he said. 'The rental market suffers a lot when there's this distortion in prices.'

              Copyright 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
            • All Aboard Gets Showered With Approvals For Miami Station
              July 21, 2014
              By: Sean McCaughan

              And in yet even more All Aboard Florida news today, exMiami reports (boy are we tired of saying that) that county commissioners basically showered them with praise and approvals last week for their new Downtown Miami railroad terminal megaproject. AAF Rep Jose Gonzalez told county commissioners that this means site work will begin in August and groundbreaking will happen in September, which exMiami points out will lead 'to the loss of hundreds of parking spaces currently on the site.' Because parking is all anyone cares about when building a train station. Right exMiami? Of course, nothing's certain until the ceremonial groundbreaking shovel digs in to the ceremonial pile of dirt for the cameras.

              Click on the link below to view the photos

              Copyright 2014 Vox Media Inc. All rights reserved.


            City of Miami Police Emblem

            Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native


            Authentic Florida River

            Time to #cooldown #AuthenticFlorida#TubesdownthechetuckneeSprings #River#Floridasprings Courtesy of Authentic Florida

            National Hotel On the Ocean at 1677 Collins Ave.

            Miami Beach, Fla. 1962 

            Courtesy of Alvin Lederer 

            Related Group tops off two Miami condo buildings

            July 21, 2014
            Iconbay, Baltus House to bring 460 new units to city's urban core

            The Related Group announced the topping off of two of its Miami condo developments: Iconbay in Edgewater and Baltus House in the Design District.
            Once finished, Iconbay and Baltus House will bring 460 residential units to Miami�s urban core. The 43-story Iconbay is located on Biscayne Bay at Northeast 28th Street. For Iconbay, Related partnered with the National YoungArts Foundation to hold a design competition for sculptures to be displayed in the park component of the project.
            The 15-story Baltus House is expected to include a colorful mural from London-based artist Jaime Gili.
            �We are constantly finding fresh ways to bring works of art to residents of Miami�s urban spaces,� Related founder and CEO Jorge Perez said in a written statement. �I�ve always felt this is one of the most important ways to express our vision for living.�
            Related has more than 12,000 units in development in South Florida through its luxury condominium, rental apartment and affordable housing divisions. � Eric Kalis

            All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
          • Why Miami's Billionaires Are Staying Put
            By Suzanne McGee

            No longer a resort stop on the way to or back from the rest of the world, Miami is becoming the go-to destination for the world�s wealth.

            Miami as a millionaire�s playground? Been there, done that, got the tuxedo. That was the Miami of the 1930s through the 1950s, culminating in the years when Dean, Sammy, Frank, and the rest of the Rat Pack made Miami Beach clubs like Copa City and the iconic Fontainebleau hotel a part of their lives.

            Fast-forward five decades and the wheel has come full circle. This time around, however, Miami�and Miami Beach, in particular�isn�t just appealing to plain-vanilla, single-digit millionaires; it�s an elite group of billionaires who have rediscovered the city. Instead of just dropping in once or twice a year for a few days to see what�s happening at Art Basel Miami Beach and catch up with friends, they�re looking about, liking what they see, and deciding to stick around for a bit longer. They fly into town in their private jets, using one of four South Florida private jet-landing airports, then book a suite at whatever happens to be the hotel of the moment, and perhaps drop $20,000 to rent a Lamborghini Aventador to drive around South Beach.

            While in town, they realize that not only is the weather fabulous, the beach great, and the club scene exciting (none of this has been in doubt), but also that their favorite restaurants are now to be found in Miami, just as they are in New York (Wolfgang�s, Cipriani) or London (Zuma, Nobu). They can find the same stores that they do in Paris or Hong Kong as well as perhaps even some special items they can�t source elsewhere. Here in Miami, the cultural life is increasingly vibrant�a new symphony hall, a new art museum�and yet there�s a laid-back vibe that many other big cities simply can�t offer. So, why not buy a condo�or two or three? And art and furniture? And a car that�s always gassed up (or in the case of the many Teslas down here, charged up) and ready for you.

            The ranks of the world�s ultrawealthy have decided to admit Miami to the list of their favorite cities, boosting it to number seven�ahead of Paris and Dubai�in this year�s annual survey by Knight Frank, a London real estate consulting firm, up from eighth place in 2013. (London and New York constantly jostle for first and second position; Miami is the only other US city to make this year�s list.) It�s the quality of life that this elite group really loves, ranking Miami fourth on that criterion. For them, it�s no longer enough merely to be birds of passage, as they are in so many other cities worldwide; they want to stick around.

            The results can be seen most readily in the frenzy of ultra luxury waterfront condo construction activity. Consider, for instance, the 60-story Porsche Design Tower Miami in Sunny Isles Beach. Already 85 percent sold, the condos, whose price tags start at $6.1 million and range as high as $32.5 million, reportedly count some two dozen billionaires among the buyers. Those moving in will join the likes of Micky Arison, Norman Braman, Jorge P�rez, Edward Lampert, and a handful of other billionaires who have called Miami home for decades. As of 2013, there were approximately 24 billionaires living in South Florida (not including the many mysterious international billionaires who often go unnamed in megaresidential purchases).

            For the ultrawealthy, the prices in the Porsche Tower could look downright modest compared to Manhattan, where iconic apartments like those at 15 Central Park West might start at the high end of that range. At the Porsche Design Tower, when the billionaires take residence in early 2016, they will get plunge pools and summer kitchens on their 15-foot-deep terraces, private wine lockers, an oceanfront ballroom, a car concierge, and yes, car elevators allowing them to park their actual Porsches (or Jaguars or Lamborghinis) in sky garages adjacent to their condos.

            Single-and double-digit billionaires are lining up to sign on the dotted line to purchase these and other ultraluxury homes. Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein snapped up a Miami home for himself and his family at the $1 billion Faena Miami Beach. When he�s at the Rem Koolhaas�designed arts center, he�ll be able to swap Wall Street gossip with Leon Black, the billionaire founder of Apollo Global Management. Maybe Black will choose to hang his recently purchased $120 million pastel version of Edvard Munch�s The Scream on the walls of his new Miami home. �Miami has grown up,� says Richard LeFrak, a New York�based real estate developer with properties around the globe. �It was Grandma�s place to go for a vacation, and then it became a fun mecca for the really young crowd.�

            Now, in contrast, LeFrak says, there�s something for everyone. �My wife is a composer; she loves the Frank Gehry�designed concert hall,� which opened in 2011 and is home to the New World Symphony. LeFrak�s name is intimately associated with the New York real estate scene�so much so that LeFrak City, a Queens apartment complex, is a city landmark. But that hasn�t stopped him from spending more and more time in Miami, a trend that began when he started working on the recapitalization of a troubled bank in 2009. Before long, he found himself as an investor in another financial institution and, as a result, owning a large inventory of unsold condos in Miami. �The world was yelling that this was a 20-year supply, a glut on the market, and we had real-time information that this was nonsense, that buyers were coming up from Latin America and literally inhaling them.�

            LeFrak remains a die-hard New Yorker, but the amount of time he has spent in Miami has doubled, to about six weeks a year, and he now owns four condos in the city. He�s been spotted everywhere, from celebrating 1 Hotel & Homes (a coproduction with Barry Sternlicht, chairman of Starwood Capital Group) to dinner at B�oli. Would he move here permanently? �I could,� he says, slowly. �A lot of my friends are thinking about Miami; they say it�s different than it was or than they thought. More and more, they�re willing to plant a stake in the ground.�

            The more members of the affluent crowd who make the move, the more follow. That�s the kind of chain reaction that LeFrak and others say is spurring the current real estate boom. �People like to be around their peers,� says Don Peebles (net worth: $350 million), CEO of a privately held, multibillion-dollar portfolio of real estate investments and developments. �Increasingly, that happens in Miami.�

            One of Peebles�s own real estate development partners is Steve Witkoff, CEO of The Witkoff Group, which has a portfolio of residential and industrial real estate. �Our offices are 10 blocks apart in Manhattan, but I see him more in Miami than I do there,� Peebles adds.

            Indeed, wanting to hang around with fellow citizens of what journalist and author Robert Frank dubbed �Richistan� is one of the characteristics that distinguishes the world�s 1,600 or so billionaires and its slightly larger group of those able to boast of a net worth in the seven or eight figures. If you have a private jet and use it to hop from art fairs to business meetings to fashion shows, dropping in periodically at one of the four or five homes you may own worldwide, it�s tough to mingle with the hoi polloi. Only that tiny circle of peers really understands your world. And if a growing number of those peers are choosing to spend more of their time in Miami, shopping in the Design District or Bal Harbour (whose stores generate more in sales per square foot than any other mall in the world), then you want to be there too.

            It also makes sense economically. Florida is the ultimate in tax-friendly states: no personal state income tax to pay and no state inheritance tax. �Not only is it a great place to live, it�s also a great place to die,� quips Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. And as long as you�re living, odds are you can do so more inexpensively�even at the ultraluxury end of the spectrum�than you could anywhere else on that Knight Frank list.

            Peebles, who built his fortune doing business in Washington, DC, rattles off the numbers. Buying a condo in a top New York building will cost you $5,000 per square foot; in an ultraluxury apartment, you�ll pay $13,000 per square foot. In Miami? Those figures are closer to $1,000 and $6,500, respectively. �It�s tough to pay more than that,� says Peebles. And in Miami, you get oceanfront views; in New York, if you want ocean, you have to venture out to the Hamptons, where lots on the waterfront start at $30 million for houses that most owners will only use a few months of the year. �A friend of mine paid $100 million for the lot alone�and then he had to build the house,� says Peebles, whose latest Miami venture, The Bath Club Estates�13 ultra luxury, customizable residences priced at $10 million to $55 million�are a bargain in comparison. He points out that in the same time it takes him to make the arduous weekend drive out to his Bridgehampton house from Manhattan, he can hop on his jet and travel all the way down to Miami.

            While Peebles�s target audience is domestic, those bargains are equally compelling to buyers from Europe. Miami also offers a way for ultrawealthy citizens from Russia, China, and Latin America to hedge some of their bets on their still-emerging local economies. As Edgardo Defortuna pointed out, when he first moved to Miami from Buenos Aires three decades ago, it wasn�t just exciting, but safe�he could drive his sports car down the highway without worrying about kidnappers. And that global twist to the tale may mark the biggest change since the last time Miami was this hot, back in the aforementioned Rat Pack days. �If Brazil is booming and Venezuela collapses, Miami benefits,� says Mayor Levine. �If Venezuela suddenly explodes, and Brazil goes south, we�d benefit as wealthy Brazilians choose to come to Miami.�

            All that movement is spilling over into consumption, especially during the height of the billionaire season: Art Basel Miami Beach in early December. That�s when the jewelry and watch stores at Bal Harbour, always flush with one-of-a-kind items, fly in their priciest and choicest offerings from elsewhere in the world to tempt buyers. And unsurprisingly, that�s when top-tier luxury buildings make their most subtle and most convincing pitches to those who come for the art and decide to stick around for the lifestyle. �We try to entertain them, to show them the possibilities,� says Defortuna, �because they�re coming more often, staying for weeks at a time, and they know that trying to get a hotel for Art Basel is almost impossible. They can buy without having to worry about it; they can make another base here, whether or not they ever decide to relocate.�

            Another element that has helped make Miami so appealing to the ultrawealthy today is its diversity. As real estate prices soar, diversity can all too easily evaporate. �If this became a homogeneous society of wealthy people, it wouldn�t be very appealing,� says Mayor Levine, who is focused on improving public-transportation links, �workforce housing� initiatives, and developing subsidized office spaces lining a park near Miami Beach�s new convention center that entrepreneurs can rent inexpensively while they�re developing new business ideas.

            However sunny the weather, the horizon isn�t without its clouds. There�s a hangover effect of the �Occupy� movement and the 2012 presidential election debate, in which the growing national wealth gap emerged as a topic of contention. With the Miami City Commission�s decision to give the green light to a $600 million project that would include berths for billionaires� superyachts, Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm vented his wrath, arguing that Miami seems to exist only to solve �rich guy travails� like trying to �parallel park a 150-foot yacht� as �we fawn, we grovel, we see to the whims of the super rich.�

            That�s one argument. Another is that to the extent that these ultrawealthy individuals put down roots and invest in the community, what we�re witnessing today could just be the earliest stages of a far more dramatic and long-lasting transformation of Miami into another London or Hong Kong. �The Miami of 10 years ago doesn�t resemble what is here today,� argues LeFrak. �A decade from now, it will be radically different again.�

            Copyright of OceanDrive
          • Flood insurance refunds to begin Oct. 1
            WASHINGTON � July 21, 2014 � Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) says that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is continuing to implement the Grimm-Cassidy Substitute Amendment to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

            As a result, insurance companies will begin to issue refunds for applicable policyholders beginning Oct. 1, 2014, and all checks should be sent before Dec. 31, 2014. The refunds will go to homeowners that paid higher flood insurance rates before Congress passed the Act and Pres. Obama signed it.

            The Grimm-Cassidy Substitute Amendment to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370) effectively lowers many flood insurance premium rates. It reinstates grandfathered rates, repeals the home sale/new policy rate increase trigger, provides refunds for people who bought pre-FIRM subsidized homes without being informed of rate increases and caps flood insurance rate increases, among other things.

            Most flood insurance rates will still increase but at a slower rate than before.

            Homebuyers already benefit from the Act. Effective May 1, people who purchased new homes after Biggert-Waters became law, or who didn't have insurance before that date or whose insurance lapsed, were required to paid flood insurance premiums at the rate that was charged on Oct. 1, 2013.

            Copyright 2014 Florida Realtors
          • Billionaire: Homeownership still best investment
            NEW YORK � July 21, 2014 � John Paulson, a billionaire hedge fund manager, says that people who want the best investment possible need to look at homeownership.

            'I still think, from an individual perspective, the best-deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you're the owner-occupier of,' says CNBC and Institutional Investor, Paulson.

            'Today, financing costs are extraordinarily low. You can get a 30-year mortgage somewhere around 4.5 percent. And if you put down, let's say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent, which is the latest data, then you would be up 50 percent on your investment. And you've locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today, the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.'

            Paulson stressed that an owner-occupied home � not a home bought to be a rental � is what he views as the best investment individuals can make right now.

            'To buy it as an investment and rent it out � I'm not so enamored with that concept,' he said.

            Source: 'Paulson: Buying a House Still Best Investment,' CNBC (July 17, 2014)

            Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
          • Freedom Tower looking for memorabilia for Cuban exile experience exhibit
            July 19, 2014

            Miami Dade College and the Miami Herald Media Co. are joining forces to honor the history of Cuban exiles and the historic Freedom Tower.

            Miami�s historic Freedom Tower served as a processing center for Cuban refugees in the 1960s and 1970s. The tower is asking exiles to donate memorabilia from the tower on Saturday for an exhibit that will open in September.

            Miami�s historic Freedom Tower is unveiling a Cuban exile experience exhibit in September and it is asking the community to help them locate memorabilia to tell the story of the building and the refugees who passed through it.

            Sponsored by Miami Dade College and the Miami Herald Media Co., The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom, is a pictorial account of the struggles that the Cuban exile community has endured since Fidel Castro's 1959 rise to power, and the successes they have achieved in the United States.

            The exhibition, overseen by Jeremy Mikolajczak, the tower�s executive director and chief curator, will be part of a permanent collection at the national landmark building.

            Commonly known as El Refugio, the tower is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War. It is also referred to as the �Ellis Island of the South,� Mikolajczak said. Built in 1926, the tower was the original home of the Miami Daily News.

            The tower is asking the public to donate or lend memorabilia for the exhibit and is inviting anyone who wants to contribute to bring items from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, to the tower at 600 Biscayne Blvd.

            Once the exhibit opens in September on the second-floor of the tower, it will be divided into two areas:

            A permanent display will showcase the Freedom Tower�s role as a processing center for Cuban refugees starting in July 1962 until its closing in 1974.

            The second hall will be showcasing different Cuban exoduses, starting with Operation Pedro Pan, which took place between 1960 and 1962 and brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to Miami. Many of the children later received medical care and other services at the tower once they reunited with their parents in Miami. The Pedro Pan exhibit will last about two-years.

            The tower is asking those who took part in that exodus � in any capacity � or who were processed at the tower, to lend or donate their memorabilia to the exhibit. Photos, trinkets, official paperwork, passports, immunization card, toys, clothing worn during the trip to the U.S. are wanted. Anything that captures the feel of the time.

            Helping launch the exhibits are Pedro Pan veterans, along with the Operation Pedro Pan Group Inc. organization, Barry University Archives and Special Collections, the University of Miami�s Cuban Heritage Collection and the Florida International University Libraries.

            Parking will be available next to the tower for those attending.

            For more information on the collection of items, call MOAD at 305-237-7700. You can also contact Luisa Yanez of the Miami Herald at 305-801-3781 or at lyanez@MiamiHerald.com

            Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
          • Midtown land trades for $12.3 million
            July 16, 2014

            Fifteen Group company bought site for $5.3 million four years ago

            A company tied to Miami-based Fifteen Group sold a land assemblage in the Midtown neighborhood at a significant premium from what it paid four years ago.
            Fifteen Midtown Properties completed the sale of nine properties totaling a little more than one acre for $12.3 million in a transaction recorded last week, according to Miami-Dade County records. The company paid $5.3 million for the 3601, 3610, 3630, 3651 and 3701 North Miami Avenue and 17 and 25 Northeast 36th Street parcels in November 2010.
            The 2010 transaction also included an office building at 47 Northeast 36th Street that was not part of last week�s sale.
            The buyer is Aventura Hotel Properties. State corporate records identify Francisco Arocha of Miami as the company�s manager. Aventura Hotel received a $7.5 million mortgage from Midtown 8 Land LLC for the acquisition.
            Adam Greenberg, Michael Lapointe and Krystelle Lopez of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank marketed the property on behalf of the Fifteen Group company. The site�s existing zoning would allow mixed-use construction of up to 20 stories.
            As the buyer�s company name suggests, a hotel is planned for the site, Lapointe told The Real Deal.
            �This sale shows the continued strength of the market and investor demand for the area,� he said. �This property in particular is planned to be a hotel. That reflects the demand for alternative uses in the area around Midtown and the Design District.�
            Another Fifteen Group company took in $15.8 million from the sale of the Baltus building in the nearby Design District in April. Thor Equities paid about $12 million more than Fifteen Group spent on the property in January 2012.� Eric Kalis

            All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
          • Threefold Cafe: Aussie Breakfast All Day Long
            July 16, 2014
            By: Cassie Glenn

            When Melbourne transplants Teresa and Nick Sharp arrived in Miami, they soon discovered a culinary void. While Cuban tostadas, French croissants, and New York bagels run rampant, authentic Aussie eats are hard to come by.
            The couple decided to blend their native city's coffee philosophy with fresh food to hatch Threefold Cafe in Coral Gables. This new spot offers an all-day breakfast menu that's truly unique not only for this area but also for the 305.

            'Where we come from, coffee culture is huge. We missed good coffee and breakfast that's creative,' Teresa says. 'You eat through your eyes, and we wanted to bring something different to the Gables.' The couple teamed up with Colombian co-owner Diana Dubon to open this shop quietly last month, but word is quickly spreading.
            The menu features Australian-inspired dishes such as the 'Phenomenal Funghi' -- sourdough bread topped with pick-of-the-day mushrooms, black or white truffle oil, goat cheese, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon ($14). Though for breakfast you might not normally eat mushrooms in anything besides an omelet, one bite of this or the 'Smashed Avo' might make you reconsider. For the latter, you'll find earthy roasted mushrooms hidden under a decadent layer of creamy avocado. It's unlike any other breakfast dish you've ever tasted and undoubtedly something to try. Both can be topped with a perfectly soft poached egg for an extra $2.

            Other unique dishes are the 'East in the West' -- a Turkish baked egg in a spiced tomato base with dukkah and saut�ed spinach ($16) -- and 'Not So French Toast,' composed of egg-soaked bread filled with prosciutto, basil, and ricotta ($16). Looking for vegemite? Yes, they have that too. Eggs are produced from happy hens residing at Lake Meadow Naturals, bread is delivered by Zak the Baker, and coffee is straight from Panther.

            'Panther Coffee is the best coffee in Miami hands down. The day they roast the coffee is the day we get it,' Teresa says. Although not a barista by trade, she, along with all coffee makers at Threefold, has been trained by Panther. That schooling, coupled with equipment she calls 'the Maserati of coffee machines,' equips them well to brew one of the city's best cups of joe. Ultimately, that is at the top of the caf�'s priority list.

            'Some people have lost focus of what coffee is supposed to be. We want to bring people back to its origin,' she says. For that reason, your server at Threefold will probably ask you upon ordering: 'How do you like your coffee?' That's to make sure you know what to expect from a real macchiato (only a small amount of milk) or a proper cappuccino. You won't find any syrups or flavors on the menu, and you won't need them.

            For nonjava junkies, the shop imports T2 teas from Australia and serves Florida-based Lakewood Organic juices that rotate weekly and come in a variety of flavors, such as pineapple-coconut, lemon-ginger echinacea, pomegranate-lemonade, and cold-pressed mango.

            It's clear this place is popular among families, most likely because of the play area in the back corner. Teresa admits its creation was selfishly motivated. A mom herself, she understands the simple joy of sitting and sipping a coffee without worrying about keeping the children entertained. They even offer kid-friendly options such as vanilla waffles and buttermilk pancakes with butterscotch sauce and vanilla-bean ice cream, served in colorful plastic dishes.
            Open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Threefold also has special lunch offerings, including sandwiches, soups, and salads. Because the caf� caters to the neighborhood's busy business crowd, all the food can be taken to-go. Future plans include hosting high tea, selling house-made muesli in bulk, and participating in the next edition of Giralda Under the Stars with an Australian dinner menu.

            For now, if you're not a breakfast person or perhaps never found a breakfast dish that suits you, it's time to give Threefold Caf� a chance. Perhaps the Aussies can change your mind.

            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
          • Station 5 Table and Bar Opening in South Miami
            July 15, 2014
            By: Ilana Ladis

            About two minutes into speaking with Julia Ning, it becomes abundantly clear that her passion in life is feeding people. The Massachusetts-born Ning is no stranger to the restaurant business -- her family emigrated from China in the 1920s and set up shop with an eatery in Harvard Square.
            Ning is the chef behind 5 Station Table and Bar, slated to open on Sunset Drive in August. 'It's definitely a chef-driven concept,' said Ning, who has worked almost every major restaurant scene in the nation. Her resum� includes Michelin-rated restaurants in Chicago, D.C., and New York. In Miami, she was the chef de cuisine at Khong River House and sous-chef at Area 31 in the Epic Hotel.

            See also: Jerry's Deli Closes: Goodbye Mile-High Pastrami Sandwiches

            Station 5 will be her first solo project. What can you expect when it opens next month? The feel-good atmosphere of a neighborhood restaurant and worldly cuisine at a reasonable price.

            'I wanted to come to Miami because the food landscape is much more open-minded than that of New York or Chicago,' Ning said. 'Everything has already been done there. It's much harder to experiment in a place like that.'

            The Station 5 concept was inspired by the five women who imbued Ning with a warm sense of hospitality and love for cooking. Two of those women were Ning's grandmothers -- one French and one Chinese.

            The restaurant will be an intimate space complete with a bar and high-top tables, as well as a chef's table in the back VIP area, which features a refurbished antique table and sofa.

            'I want this to be a place where people can drop in and feel like it's a second living room, whether they want to come in for just a small bite or a huge meal,' Ning said.

            Florida craft beers and popular national craft beers will be available on tap, in addition to the wine and cocktails that will be served at the bar. Snacks such as duck p�t� and General Tso's tacos will also be available for munching at the bar .

            The menu is based on American classics, with flavors inspired by Chinese and French influences, according to Ning. 'Calling yourself an American restaurant means you can focus on what moves you, because so much of American food is actually foreign.'

            Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
          • Keynote Presentation by Clyde - Fort Myers, FL
            Clyde will be giving a presentation on his adventures photographing Florida plus a book Signing. The Museum will have an exhibit Enchantments: The Photographic Adventures of Julian Dimock and Clyde Butcher is a rare exhibit featuring early 20th-century photographs of Southwest Florida by Julian Dimock paired with select works by renowned modern photographer Clyde Butcher, comparing and contrasting the region�s remote landscapes 100 years apart. More than three dozen pivotal, black-and-white images by these two adroit photographers who journeyed a century apart document the region�s untamed wilderness. Exhibit runs through Sept. 6. Clyde Butcher is scheduled to give a presentation at the museum on Wednesday, August 27, at 6 pm. More information click on this link

            After renewing his love of the sea while living on the Greek island of Santorini, hotelier Costis Psychas finds an even more secluded spot to create his ultimate water world

            LIVING AREA

            Costis Psychas was diving off the coast of Therassia, an islet in Greece's Aegean Sea, when he first spotted his future dream home. Nestled in a cove at the base of a ruddy cliff, the building had been abandoned for decades and was not much more than a pile of rubble. 'I almost didn't see it at first because it was built of red volcanic stones collected from the mountain, so it blends into its environment,' he says. What's more, much of the structure was under water. 'Which,' says this passionate sailor, 'is what makes it so special.'

            The low tables in the living area are family heirlooms that were originally used for making flatbread; the wool pillows and cotton rugs were handwoven in Greece, and the handmade floors are a mix of white cement and sand.


            The year was 1984. Psychas had recently moved from Athens to the Greek island of Santorini to help his mother with the renovation of a group of guest houses. His family has roots in the Cyclades: His paternal great-grandfather was a sea captain who ferried one of Santorini's native wines, vinsanto, over the Black Sea to Odessa in the Ukraine, where his father was born. The family later moved to Athens, though his father fantasized for years about relocating to Santorini. 'He was just in love with the place,' Psychas says.

            A sundeck overlooking the Aegean Sea at Costis Psychas's home on the Greek island of Therassia; the ladder leads to a circular room above.


            When his father turned 80, his parents finally made the move, and his father lived out his final years on the picturesque island with its whitewashed homes, blue domes, and painterly sunsets. After his father died, Psychas--who never felt at ease in the city-moved to Santorini to help his mother turn four traditional Greek houses into a five-star hotel called Perivolas.

            Psychas's golden retriever, Gandhi, outside the house; the wood doors were custom made by local carpenters.


            The fa�ade of the circa-1860 house, a former warehouse for a pumice mine, is constructed of volcanic rock gathered on the property.


            Today, the unique property consists of more than 20 antique dwellings-some built as caves-perched atop a volcanic crater. Together with local artisans, Psychas did much of the meticulous restoration with his own hands, and personally oversaw the decoration of the spare but luxurious interiors.

            The mirror frame in a bathroom came from a local market.

            BATHROOM TUB

            He is the first to admit that he is his father's son. For years, from his perch at the hotel, he would gaze across the turquoise water to Therassia, a speck of an island that was wrenched from Santorini more than 3,500 years ago in what is known as the Minoan eruption of Thera (the catastrophic volcanic event is said to have inspired the legend of Atlantis). 'Costis is quite a dreamer,' says his longtime friend, the photographer William Abranowicz, 'and a seeker of severe solitude.'

            A bathroom features a wood boat made by a friend; the lantern was bought at a local market.


            In an upstairs bedroom, the low window and wood shutters were inspired by naval design.

            GUEST BEDROOM

            Psychas discovered that the object of his desire was a warehouse that had been built in 1860 for the island's now defunct pumice mine (the lightweight material was used in construction before modern gypsum took its place). The building also housed the mine's workers. 'They mined the pumice at the top of the cliffs and then carried it by donkey to this building, part of which was in the water so that boats could easily come and take it away,' he explains.

            The built-in bed in a guest room was designed to take advantage of the seaside views.


            For years, his determination to transform the old warehouse into his home seemed quixotic, to say the least. He learned that there were 24 owners--descendants of the original mine owner--who were scattered from Athens to New York. It took two years just to track them all down and convince them to sell. This was followed by two additional years to obtain the necessary building permits.

            Psychas paddleboarding off his dock.

            At that point, he was only halfway there. The renovation required four more years of painstaking work. He assembled a team of 20 artisans from Santorini--stonemasons, carpenters, and plasterers--to help with the renovation. They rebuilt the submerged foundation and reconstructed the fa�ade, which was made of local volcanic rock. 'It took a long time because everything had to come by water,' Psychas says. 'First we built a pier, then we cleaned up the property, which had been abandoned for more than 60 years, and then we started to build.'

            The dining area's mahogany table was built by local 


            Since the structure was not much more than a shell when Psychas bought it, the interior had to be conjured from scratch. Inspired by the architecture of Santorini's cave houses, Psychas designed an all-white interior with rounded ceilings, wall niches, and wood-framed windows to highlight the sea views. The walls were made of plaster that was built up by hand and finished with a fresco technique; the marble-like floors were made using the traditional Santorini method of hand-pressing cement with beach sand. 'The interiors are quite minimal, like a sculpture inside,' he says.

            A view of Santorini from a terrace; the straw ottomans were purchased locally.


            The kitchen cabinetry and mirror are custom-made, and the marble sink was sculpted by stonemasons from Santorini.


            As with the hotel, he furnished his home as simply as possible, designing much of the decor-from the seating in the living room to the platform beds-to be built-in and low to the ground. He imported African mahogany, which local carpenters carved into furnishings, including a rustic dining table and kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Against this stark backdrop, Psychas added handwoven textiles in his favorite hues of fuchsia and blue.

            A canvas sail provides shade on a terrace. The custom-made table is of local volcanic rock topped with Greek marble, and the floor is a mix of cement, black volcanic sand, and pumice.

            SITTING ROOM

            He might seek out solitude, but the suntanned sailor with shaggy blond hair, while single, is rarely alone. His home's five bedrooms are in constant use by visitors, from his 22-year-old daughter, Sandrine, who is studying hotel management in Austria, to a never-ending flow of friends. By day, they join Psychas on the water--sailing to the nearby volcano and surrounding islands or sea kayaking around the nearby cliffs. In the evening, they gather with their host for dinner on the terrace, with its magical view of the stars and Santorini's twinkling lights. 'It's the dream of anyone who loves sailing,' Psychas says of his hard-won paradise. 'To wake up each morning with your boat right outside your bedroom.'

            A small ladder leads to a sitting room in the watchtower.

            Copyright 2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
          • Architectural Digest
            The reclaimed-wood fa�ade of a Marmol Radziner�designed house.

            Click on the link below to view photos

            Copyright 2014 CONDE NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
            The front entrance of a complex Palo Alto, California, residence by architect Steven Ehrlich and designer Mike Witt.

            ARCHITECT: Steven Ehrlich Architects
            DESIGNER: Mike Witt
            PHOTOGRAPHER: Matthew Millman
            HOMEOWNER: Asher Waldfogel and Helyn MacLean
            ARTICLE: A Not-So-Simple Plan, November 2006
            LOCATION: Palo Alto, California

            Click on the link below to view the photos

            Copyright 2013 CONDE NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
            June 30, 2014

            Mention the term wastewater treatment plant, and most people will either draw a visual blank or picture a drab cube, its primary purpose being to hide what society would rather forget exists. Not so in the South Korean village of Songsan, home to the headquarters of Sun Myung Moon�s controversial Unification Church. No matter what you think of the Moonies, their initiative to turn raw sewage into an opportunity for ecological education and contemplation is unquestionably innovative. �Sewage treatment facilities generally focus on function without consideration for the environment or aesthetics,� UnSangDong Architects Cooperation principal Yoon Gyoo Jang says. The firm handled every aspect of Cheongshim Water Story, from the exterior and interior architecture to furniture and exhibition planning.

            Before the facility went into operation, sewage from church-run schools, hospitals, etc., used to flow to a treatment plant in a wooded valley, then cycled back to the village for reuse. But as development continued, capacity ran out. So UnSangDong, which had completed several projects for the church, returned to design a plant that would share a location with an educational center. A 36-foot-high concrete cylinder of a building, standing out against the trees and fields, it draws visitors to a remote area and proudly heralds the plant buried below.

            The educational center is part conceptual tribute to water, part museum, and part hands-on classroom where visitors, mostly kids on school outings, learn about the importance of clean water. UnSangDong conveys that message in myriad ways�beginning with the shape of the structure. �We see the circle as the archetype of geometry. It relates to many of water�s characteristics, such as the ripples that radiate from a drop of water in a pool and the pureness of water as the essence of life,� principal Hoon Shin Chang says.

            For reasons that have less to do with symbolism than conservation, the exterior of the cylinder is nearly unbroken by windows. Solid concrete helps stabilize in�terior temperatures, which is important for maintaining the machinery that runs around the clock in the underground plant. Light shelves and ducts bring in a certain amount of sunshine, and the galleries and classrooms can be fully lit when visitors arrive�given the location, they�re not a steady stream. Energy savings, related to heating and cooling, therefore more than offset the expense of extra artificial lighting.

            Topping this perfect cylinder, the roof deck is carved out in three sections. Two descend just partway, to a lower deck, with amphitheater seating for outdoor classes lining the descent. The third and largest, which is fenced off, steps steeply down to a void over the front entry. To UnSangDong, these excavations represent the contour lines of an imagined topography. �It�s a metaphor for the mother earth that bears water,� Jang explains.

            Inside the cylinder, a 7,200-square-foot space with the void subtracted, the emphasis is on encountering water in all its shape-shifting manifestations. The young�and the young at heart�are handed raincoats before heading to splash in a pool filled by the �rain� that falls from part of the lobby ceiling. From there, visitors can walk up to an interactive media wall that creates the illusion of their reflections underwater, with bubbles and ripples responding to movement, or take a stroll through the �fog box,� a glassed-in garden where a path meanders between moss and other dampness-loving plants. Hovering in the atrium that unifies the first and second levels, a huge aquarium contains live carp. Water for the rain, the fog, and the fish is, of course, all treated on-site.

            �Experiencing various forms of water makes people realize its importance more effectively than watching documentaries or listening to lectures. That�s especially true for children,� Chang says. But the wizardry required technical dexterity. To cycle water from the treatment plant into the exhibits, UnSangDong had to conceal a complicated network of pipe behind the white walls. To protect them from the constant moisture, they�re coated with mold-beating, antibacterial agents and acrylic paint usually reserved for outdoor use.

            Lessons are more conventional in the classrooms and laboratory. Entirely unconventional, guided tours through the bowels of the building allow visitors to observe the purification equipment itself. Rendering the treatment plant visitor-friendly was actually fairly straightforward. Although up to 5,500 tons of sewage pass through daily, it stays inside the tanks and pipes, so smells, sounds, and disease don�t pose a problem. Small windows in the tops of the tanks provide a glimpse of what happens inside. To make the industrial aesthetic more welcoming, pipes and beams are painted bright colors, and the main circulation route passes between stands of dried reeds.

            �As society continues to urbanize, we have to rethink our attitude toward waste disposal and learn how to live with these facilities in our backyards,� Chang says. That�s a goal well worth the investment: at Water Story, the equivalent of $16 million.

            Project Team: Mi Jung Kim (Project Architect); Kyung Tae Kim; Samuel Ryu; Jae Hyun Shim; Bong Kyun Kim: Unsangdong Architects Cooperation. Elpis Design: Lighting Consultant. Design Tomorrow: Graphics Consultant. Kujo: Structural Engineer. Yoolhyun Engineering: Civil Engineer. Hanil Mec: MEP. Han Glass: Glasswork. Yoolim Timber: Woodwork. Hyomyeong E&C: Concrete Contractor.

            Copyright 2014 Sandow. All rights reserved.

          Downtown Hollywood Gets Artsy

          July 18, 2014
          Written By: Miami Urbanist

          The Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, along with community partners, are beautifying the streets of Downtown Hollywood and creating a sense of place and community through the �Downtown Hollywood Mural Project.�

          Precisely a dozen streetscapes have sprung to life with bold, colorful, and mesmerizing illustrations, outdoor murals, painted by South Florida artists. The latest work was created by acclaimed graffiti artist Daniel Fila, a.k.a �Krave� and can be seen on 21st Avenue and Harrison Street. The sought-out Krave has completed dozens of commissioned murals, both near and far, in such notable places as Madison Square Garden, New York; The Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, FL and Sandals Resort, Turks and Caicos.

          He along with local artists David �Lebo� LeBatard, Jessy Nite, Luis Pinto, Michelle Weinberg, Evoca1, Ruben Ubiera, Edward Mendieta, 2alas and Tati Suarez have been commissioned to revitalize the blighted community of Downtown Hollywood.

          Since the program�s inception in 2012, Downtown Hollywood is thriving with a new creative culture. Art galleries have opened, artists workspaces and studios are now readily available and non-profits dedicated to the arts have emerged. The community has embraced the mural project, and its success has received local, regional and national recognition.

          To learn more about this project visit: https://www.facebook.com/DowntownHollywoodMuralProject

          Copyright 2011 � 2014 MiamiUrbanist.com.
        • Miami land fetches $100 million an acre
          July 16, 2014

          A prime waterfront site in Miami sold for $100 million an acre, a record, as a spate of high-end development transforms downtown.

          Housing market improves for sellers, buyers

          A 1.25-acre site on the Miami River at Biscayne Bay changed hands for a stunning $125 million, a record high for a property of its size in South Florida, according to CBRE, the listing broker.

          The buyer is Riverwalk East Developments LLC, a newly formed Florida limited liability corporation managed through several other corporate entities by German and Gloria Coto. German Coto is the son of Argentine businessman Alfredo Coto, whose family is best known for its prominent Coto supermarket chain; Gloria is Alfredo�s wife.

          The buyer couldn�t immediately be reached for comment.

          The seller was D&P Property Holding, a Florida corporation managed by Miami developers Ugo Colombo and Diego Lowenstein.

          CBRE began marketing the property in April, and touted it in a May press release as �downtown Miami�s last vacant waterfront site.��

          The property fetched keen interest from suitors in Miami, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, according to CBRE.

          �We got 15 offers,� said Gerard Yetming, senior vice president of CBRE, who marketed the property. �We had a very competitive process. We had multiple rounds of bidding with five or six bidding.�

          CBRE said the grassy site, next to the EPIC Residences and Hotel, �holds the potential for over 2 million square feet of gross building area with spectacular views of the bay and downtown. In addition, the property has access to the only private dock downtown capable of accommodating mega-yachts.�

          Maria Alvarez, a Realtor with CWV Realty Group in Miami, who represented the buyers, said: �That land is, I think, the most unique waterfront property that whatever they build, it will be spectacular, very high end.�

          Robert Given, vice chairman of CBRE, said the record price reflects downtown Miami�s emergence as a global city and destination for the wealthy, particularly as several big projects in downtown reshape the city as a live-work-play center.

          He said his firm began advising the sellers last year. �Our sense of the market overall was the timing was right. There was very good development momentum in the area with amenities going in,� Given said.

          Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
        • Choice Hotels reveals plan for Brickell site
          July 15, 2014

          Company to build Cambria Suites on three properties it acquired last week

          Major hospitality firm Choice Hotels International confirmed that it plans to build a Cambria Suites on the Brickell-area site it purchased last week.
          Choice announced its plans for three properties at 145, 155 and 165 Southwest 12th Street in a written statement released on Monday. Cambria Suites is one of the publicly traded hospitality holding company�s numerous brands. Choice paid $9.5 million for the site, as previously reported by The Real Deal.
          Three small apartment buildings on the site are expected to be knocked down to make way for the new Cambria Suites. Choice already operates the six-story, 122-room Cambria Suites Miami Airport Blue Lagoon in the city, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
          �We are excited to bring a new Cambria Hotels & Suites property to the Brickell neighborhood and expand the brand�s presence in Miami,� Choice senior vice president Michael Murphy said. [SFBJ] � Eric Kalis

          All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
        • 60th new condo tower proposed for Greater Downtown Miami
          July 15, 2014
          By: Peter Zalewski

          Developers on pace to equal amount of units created during last decade�s construction boom

          Developers in Greater Downtown Miami are on pace to ultimately build as many new towers and units in this South Florida condo boom as they did during the last cycle.
          The possibility of matching the number of new condos from the last boom moved closer to reality last week, when development group NR Investments announced plans for what equates to the 60th new condo tower � named Canvas � in Greater Downtown Miami.
          Including Canvas, developers in this cycle are proposing nearly 18,000 units in Greater Downtown Miami, which stretches from the Julia Tuttle Causeway south to the Rickenbacker Causeway and Biscayne Bay west to I-95, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.
          (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)
          By comparison, developers created 84 new condo towers with more than 22,200 units during last decade�s real estate boom in Greater Downtown Miami. Less than 375 new condo units created in Greater Downtown Miami during the previous cycle were still unsold as of the first quarter of 2014, according to government records.
          Overall, Greater Downtown Miami now accounts for nearly 52 percent of the more than 34,725 new condo units proposed east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
          The Hollywood / Hallandale Beach market in Southeast Broward County ranks as the second-most active preconstruction condo market in South Florida with less than 3,000 proposed units.
          New condo development in Greater Downtown Miami is so popular right now that builders are now proposing new residential towers in unproven locations away from the water, established neighborhoods and existing retail centers.
          For example, the newly proposed Canvas is slated to be developed upon a nearly 1.1-acre site located in the 1600 block of Northeast First Avenue, between the emerging Edgewater neighborhood to the east and the numerous blocks of vacant lots surrounding the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust�s Homeless Assistance Center to the west in the Biscayne Boulevard Corridor of Greater Downtown Miami.
          During the last South Florida real estate boom, developers that attempted to build in that same area of Greater Downtown Miami had mixed results.
          The Parc Lofts condo project � the first condo tower to come online in the area � was successful upon its completion at 1749 NE Miami Court in 2005, the peak of the last South Florida condo boom.
          The results were dramatically different across the street at 1650 NE Miami Court for the Filing Station Lofts project that stood partially constructed for years after the condo market crashed.
          In January 2013, the Filing Station project was purchased for nearly $8.6 million by NR Investments, which proceeded to build out the 10-story tower as rental apartments.
          Now for the proposed Canvas condo tower, NR Investments announced its intention to revive � and dramatically revise � a previously approved mixed-use project originally planned by a different developer for the site.
          The original project � called the Max Miami during the last South Florida real estate boom � was slated to stand 31-stories tall with 28 residential units, 168 hotel rooms, nearly 50,300 square feet of retail space, about 250,000 square feet of office space and 1,139 parking spaces, according to City of Miami records.
          As part of the new plan, NR Investments � which acquired the site in December 2013 for $7.3 million as a result of a bankruptcy auction � filed an application with the city to revise the original project to allow a 36-story condo tower with 513 units, nearly 10,000 square feet of retail space and 588 parking spaces.
          The Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board is scheduled to hear NR Investments� application for the proposed Canvas condo tower on Wednesday.
          The unanswered question going forward is whether developers will be confident enough to propose more new condos in emerging areas of Greater Downtown Miami, given that more than 80 percent of the total number of new units created during the previous real estate boom is already planned.
          Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

          All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
        • The People of Wynwood Art Walk July 2014
          Second Saturday art walk allowed for attendees to truly consider their choice of footwear during the evening's torrential downpour. Wynwood stayed afloat with fashion, live music in the streets, and of course, galleries buoyant with art. Photos by Monica McGivern.

          Click on link below to view all photos.

          Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
        • Nine of Miami's Greatest Lesser-Known Parks & Green Spots
          July 14, 2014
          By: Sean McCaughan

          Some of Miami's greatest green spaces include its small, lesser-known (sometimes much lesser known) parks and gardens, tucked away here and there and often treasured by the communities in which they are located but invisible and nonexistent to the outside world. They are secret oases, and even with big park wins like Museum Park, the small, surprise parks are what we need more of as Miami grows. And so, we present nine of Miami's best, after the jump.

          1. CRANDON PARK GARDENS An abandoned zoo on a subtropical island, ever since Dade County's main zoological park decamped to way down south, the Crandon Park Gardens, or just Crandon Gardens (both derivations are used) has sat and grown into a hidden, mysterious botanical garden with otherworldly follies (the former animal enclosures) scattered here and there. The Miami New Times called it the best park in 2003.

          2. SIMPSON PARK An original stand of unadulterated South Florida jungle, Simpson Park is a preserve of old growth hammock, the exact same stuff that blanketed South Florida thousands of years ago, just left alone from development. Within stands a simple, serene pavilion designed by architect Chad Oppenheim.

          3. MORNINGSIDE PARK A large park hidden within the enclave of Morningside, the area's namesake park is a great neighborhood park, with tons of room to run and climb trees and a variety sports facilities.

          4. ANCIENT SPANISH MONASTERY Not actually a park, the monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux has a history going back a thousand years, although only the last 75 have been in the United States, and maybe 50 of those in Florida. The Ancient Spanish Monastery sits among a small wood, with formal gardens at the front, and a cloister courtyard within.

          5. FRUIT AND SPICE PARK One of Miami's lesser-known botanical gardens, the Fruit & Spice Park has hundreds of varieties of this and that, massive rows of mango trees, and lots of other goodies.

          6. MANATEE BEND PARK The Little River's very new Manatee Bend Park, where you can spot actual manatees, (six of them are in that picture!) is a small, green space to relax, a communal outdoor living room for the surrounding neighborhood.

          7. VIRGINIA KEY BEACH PARK Consisting of Virginia Key Beach (obviously) as well as a lagoon, a variety of habitats, bike trails, etc. the Virginia Key Beach Park is big. A lot bigger than you'd think by just driving over the island to Key Biscayne.

          8. THE EMPTY PART OF WATSON ISLAND Watson Island already contains one large and elaborate 'park': Jungle Island, and another smaller, and an almost completely unknown Japanese garden next door. What isn't a park is the barren earth across the causeway, a hodgepodge of sand, grass, dirt, asphalt, and a few poetically rooted palm trees. But the views are killer, and the area's emptiness (even with the highway right there) gives it a wonderful, park like serenity.

          9. ALICE WAINWRIGHT PARK Entirely hidden from the nearby MacArthur Causeway, Alice Wainwright Park is a simple waterfront park with swaying palms on a tree-lined residential street, with the added feature of Coral Gables' magnificent cliffs. Yes, cliffs! They go up about ten feet, but they're limestone cliffs nonetheless, part of a ridge of high ground that extends up and down eastern South Florida.

          Copyright 2014 Vox Media Inc. All rights reserved.
        • Argentine investor gets downtown land for $125M
          July 14, 2014
          By: Eric Kalis

          Parcel next to EPIC condo-hotel sold to company linked to Coto family

          A new-to-market player from Argentina is the buyer of the waterfront property adjacent to the EPIC Hotel & Residences in downtown Miami, The Real Deal has learned.
          The partnership between developers Ugo Colombo and Diego Lowenstein sold the 1.25-acre parcel at 300 Biscayne Boulevard Way for $125 million on Monday, according to the CBRE brokers who arranged the sale. Riverwalk East Developments is the buyer. State corporate records link the buying company to the Coto family.
          Led by prominent businessman Alfredo Coto, the Coto family runs the large Coto Supermarkets chain in Argentina.
          Riverwalk East emerged from a group of 15 bidders, CBRE�s Robert Given and Gerard Yetming told TRD.
          �This was really the first waterfront site in downtown Miami or Brickell to come to market in this cycle,� Yetming said. �Interest was really varied.� Groups from Asia, New York, Europe and South America showed interest in the site.
          The brokers narrowed the field to six prospective buyers before selecting Riverwalk East, which did not make the most expensive offer among the bidders.
          �We selected this particular group because of its ability to close and how quickly we were able to agree on contract terms with them,� said Given, who noted the transaction closed within 30 days.
          Maria Alvarez of CWV Realty Group represented the buyer.
          The property was originally set for development as EPIC�s second phase.
          Colombo and Lowenstein�s company received City of Miami approval for a major use special permit in 2004. Under the permit, the property owner could construct a 609-foot building with up to 596 residential units. A new owner could also ask the city to change the property�s zoning so it reflects the current Miami 21 code, which would allow a maximum of 1,250 residential units, according to CBRE.
          Given and Yetming were assisted by CBRE first vice presidents Christopher Apone and Zachary Sackley, vice chairman Charles Foschini and financial analyst Mary Kate Swann.

          All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
        • Panther Coffee Opening in Coconut Grove
          July 14, 2014
          By: Laine Doss

          Panther Coffee is opening in Coconut Grove.
          Coconut Grove Grapevine posted an announcement and Leticia Pollock has confirmed the coffeehouse will open at 3407 Main Hwy., next door to Vinos in the Grove. The space already has a giant red panther logo on the windows, a clue that Panther is on the way.

          Pollock tells Short Order that just a day after she and husband Joel signed a lease on the space, 'they put this big, beautiful panther on it.'

          See also: Panther Coffee Opening in Little Haiti

          Pollock says that even though plans were already announced for Panther Coffee outposts in Little Haiti and MiMo, the Coconut Grove location will actually open first. 'We plan on opening in October. This is a superquick one.'

          Pollock says the Coconut Grove location will be most similar to their Sunset Harbour space, with indoor and outdoor seating and supplies to make coffee at home.

          She adds that she and Joel are eager to open in the Grove. 'It's a beautiful neighborhood, and we're excited to get to know it better. We have a lot of customers who live in the area, and it just seemed like the right moment.'

          In the past, Coconut Grove has struggled with its downtown area. The neighborhood, which was known as a thriving artist and boater community, went through some hard times, with vacant shops. But in the past few years, restaurants such as Lokal, Vinos in the Grove, and Strada in the Grove, as well as a robust real estate market, have made Coconut Grove a desirable place to live, work, and dine. Leticia Pollock agrees. 'It's a very beautiful, historic area that's going through a change, and we thought this was a nice indication that we should be a part of it. We really like our new landlord, who took us around and showed us the neighborhood. We felt it would be a very good relationship. Besides, we've always felt that great coffee can find a home anywhere.'

          In addition to coffee, the Coconut Grove Panther location will offer exclusive sodas, juices, beer, wine, and pastries from the same vendors Panther customers have grown to love. 'We've spoken with our vendors, and they're all excited about our expansion and are on board.'

          Pollock adds that we won't be hearing about more Panther Coffee openings for a while after this expansion. 'Within about a year and a half, we'll have five locations. That was our goal. After we're all settled in with our five Panther Coffees, we can take a breath. Then, and only then, will we talk about doing maybe five more.'

          Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
        • Fort Lauderdale transit hub sparks development
          July 14, 2014

          All Aboard Florida purchased five acres of land near terminal -- and looking for more

          A $30 million train station is transforming the Broward Boulevard area and sparking more development. 
          The terminal for the high-speed passenger train project All Aboard Florida is reportedly fueling interest in the real estate industry and other business sectors. Ultimately, experts say the area could become home to high-rises, new shops and restaurants.
          The company behind All Aboard Florida already bought almost five acres by its station site, which is close to the bus terminal on Northwest 2nd Street. All Aboard�s president and chief development officer, P. Michael Reininger, told the Sun Sentinel that the company is planning to buy more property around there.
          Government officials and civic leaders are optimistic about potential investment, spurred by the nationwide trend of moving toward more walk-able communities that offer mass transit.
          The station is one of four planned stations on the Miami-Orlando passenger rail line that is expected to start running in 2016. [Sun Sentinel] � Claire Moses

          All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
        • Star Island manse fetches nearly $19M
          July 14, 2014
          By: Eric Kalis

          Real estate investor Sam Jacobson paid $4.2M for property in 1998

          A Star Island mansion traded for nearly $19 million, The Real Deal has learned.
          Real estate investor Sam Jacobson and his wife Roni sold their 31 Star Island Drive home in a transaction recorded on Friday, according to Miami-Dade County records. The couple paid about $4.2 million for the 11,000-square-foot house in 1998. The Miami Beach manse was constructed in 1926.
          White Buffalo Partners is the buyer of the 10-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion. The company did not obtain financing for the purchase. It is registered in Delaware, which does not identify corporate principals in state records.
          The buying company lists 30 Star Island Drive as its mailing address. That home is owned by New York hedge fund manager Wayne Holman, who paid more than $28 million for the property in April.
          Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate�s The Jills team listed 31 Star Island for sale. The manse was originally listed with a $23 million asking price. Features include a bar, boat docks, a gym, movie theater and tennis court.

          All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
        Residents join coalition in fight against condo terminations
        July 10, 2014

        Owners in Boynton Beach complex hook up with statewide group

        A group of Boynton Beach condominium owners have joined a new statewide coalition to lobby lawmakers for protection against condo terminations.
        An alliance of about 20 condominium owners Floridians Against Condo Terminations has been fighting against the corporate takeover of their community.
        Residents of Via Lugano filed a lawsuit last month against a Massachusetts-based company to stop them from using a 2007 amendment to a state law to force them to sell their homes at fair market value. The residents claim that Via Lugano became a condominium before the 2007 amendment and is therefore only subject to the laws on the books before then.
        Florida condo law dictates that a condominium can be dissolved if 80 percent of owners agree to vacate. At Via Lugano, in Boynton Beach, Northland Lugano, LLC owns 93 percent of the units.
        Since many Via Lugano residents bought their units at the height of the market, they�d be losing money if they sold the condos at current values. [Palm Beach Post] � Claire Moses

        All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
      • Related releases renderings for Midtown project
        July 8, 2014

        Luxury 'condotel' will sit between 2 Midtown, 4 Midtown

        The Related Group unveiled renderings for its Hyde Midtown project, the �middle child� of the current 2 Midtown and 4 Midtown.
        The Arquitectonica-designed building will rise about the same height as its neighbors at 31 stories tall. Rather than the two buildings, however, the �condotel� tower will sit on the east side of its garage and amenity podium, allowing pool-goers better views of Midtown.
        To top it all off, another pool will be located on the roof.
        According to Curbed, Related just finished the construction of its sales center on the Hyde Midtown site. [Curbed] �Kerry Barger

        All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
      Related releases renderings for Midtown project
      July 8, 2014

      Luxury 'condotel' will sit between 2 Midtown, 4 Midtown

      The Related Group unveiled renderings for its Hyde Midtown project, the �middle child� of the current 2 Midtown and 4 Midtown.
      The Arquitectonica-designed building will rise about the same height as its neighbors at 31 stories tall. Rather than the two buildings, however, the �condotel� tower will sit on the east side of its garage and amenity podium, allowing pool-goers better views of Midtown.
      To top it all off, another pool will be located on the roof.
      According to Curbed, Related just finished the construction of its sales center on the Hyde Midtown site. [Curbed] �Kerry Barger

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • All Aboard Florida to limit stops when rail service debuts
      July 8, 2014

      Trains would stay within tri-county area of South Florida following late 2016 launch

      All Aboard Florida announced plans to restrict its initial passenger rail service to the tri-county area of South Florida as officials prepare to reveal downtown Fort Lauderdale station designs on Tuesday.
      The company initially intended to launch full service from Miami to Orlando. But officials now say the trains would only run between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach when service begins in late 2016. All Aboard Florida plans to begin construction of the $30 million Fort Lauderdale station by summer�s end.
      All Aboard Florida�s Fort Lauderdale station will be built north of Broward Boulevard near Northwest Second Street. Multiple groups are expressing concern that the train�s drawbridge would impede the flow of traffic in the city�s New River.
      When service does begin, All Aboard Florida plans to run 16 daily trains each way from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to the Sun-Sentinel. Fares should range from $30 to $36 for a one-way ticket. [Sun-Sentinel] � Eric Kalis

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Eight Beautiful Ranch Estates On the Market
      To view the 8 beautiful ranches please click on the link below.

      Copyright 2014 COND� NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
    • Estates of the Week - July 7, 2014
      To view the Estates of the week, please click on the link below.

    • Wynwood 2.0
      July 2014
      By Anne Tschida


      The metal outer gate of the Dina Mitrani Gallery on NW 2nd Avenue in Wynwood has been thrown open this Thursday morning, revealing a much more hospitable glass door. Dina Mitrani�s, one of the dozens of art galleries in the Wynwood Arts District, is dedicated to international contemporary photography, and inside the space is a group exhibit, �Freshly Squeezed,� featuring emerging local artists.
      Across the street, construction workers are completing a complex called the Wynwood Block, which will house retail and restaurants. Two blocks north, a Ducati motorcycle showroom opened a few months ago. The sidewalk in front is beginning to fill up with visitors, even on this steamy day.
      Sitting with Mitrani inside her office is her father, Eli, and mother, Aida. They all remember when Wynwood was similarly jumping in the past, albeit in a different way, and then, too, when it was decrepit and dead. Eli, a native of Cuba, and his Argentine wife, bought this warehouse row complex at 26th Street and NW 2nd Avenue back in 1975 to relocate their women�s apparel factory from downtown Miami.
      Back then, local apparel manufacturing and sales, retail and wholesale, was the lynchpin of the neighborhood, recalls Eli. The warehouses on this street and west to NW 5th Avenue were filled with all sorts of goods -- men�s and women�s dresses and suits, shoes, handbags. Eli says that buyers for the local Burdines department store, as well as South American and Caribbean buyers, were all regulars in Wynwood, and among his own clientele.
      Dina remembers wandering around the streets as a child during the daytime with little thought to crime, fetching cafecitos for the adults when business was bustling. Grandma Mathilde handled the accounts, a brother learned Creole to facilitate interaction with the growing Haitian community, and the sprawling warehouse space was filled with rows of women�s garments.
      �This area was the place to shop for merchandise,� says a jovial Eli, whose store was named Mr. Eli of Miami.

      The Mitrani family footprint encompasses a slice of the history of this fascinating, erratic, and unique neighborhood. Mirroring the fate of textile manufacturing around the nation, the local industry fell into decline by the late 1980s, with work shipped off to cheaper factories in Asia. The Wynwood warehouses began to empty. Racial tensions in the area and to the west, starting after the infamous McDuffie Riots of 1980 and more upheavals in 1990, were reaching a crescendo. Miami�s drug trade added its toll.
      Like the Mitranis, Shelly Bloom�s family has been in the clothing business in Wynwood for decades. He remembers clearly when things started to turn ugly for sales, and for the community -- the riot of 1980.
      His father, Nathan, had opened a discount men�s wholesale store back in 1965 on NW 5th Avenue, when there was a Bernie�s deli across the street. Son Shelly took it over as the clientele started to change from Jewish to South American. After the riot, �people didn�t want to come to the neighborhood anymore,� he recalls, �and stores couldn�t make it.�
      The area became blighted, helped along by the cocaine and crack epidemics. By the 1990s, he recalls, most people on the street had shopping carts, but they weren�t buying goods. Still, Bloom stuck with the business, eventually finding new customers in the Haitian community. The original store is still standing. �I am the last of the Mohicans,� he says.
      As for the Mitranis, they kept their women�s apparel outlet open until 2000, when they were finally forced to shutter it. The area�s small houses, with their working-class occupants, for the most part remained, but business disappeared. Even so, the family held onto the property.

      Signs of new life slowly began to appear. Major art collectors Mera and Don Rubell and Martin Margulies, for example, opened up their private collections to the public in restored warehouses in the 1990s (in fact, the 45,000-square-foot Rubell space occupies a repurposed Drug Enforcement Administration facility on 29th Street). By 2000, several galleries took the plunge and set up shop in a still dingy and dark -- literally; there were few working streetlights -- neighborhood.
      After receiving a master�s degree in art history and working in New York, Dina Mitrani returned to Miami and saw the burgeoning possibilities of the area. In 2002 the family starting to rent out cheap studios to artists and eventually carved up the cavernous space.
      Dina opened her gallery in 2008, and her sister Rhonda opened up the video-focused Screening Room next door. At the corner of the Mitrani block, the well-regarded Alejandra von Hartz Gallery has been ensconced since 2006.
      Art began to redefine the area, especially after the arrival of Art Basel in 2002. More galleries poured into Wynwood, whose boundaries are roughly between I-95 to the west and the FEC train tracks to the east; and between 20th Street to the south and 36th Street to the north (excluding Midtown Miami).
      Related developments like the Wynwood Lofts from pioneering developer David Lombardi came onto the grid. And then Joey�s restaurant opened in 2008, an event almost everyone the BT interviewed identifies as a turning point.

      Wynwood had finally moved from off the beaten path onto the main road. Joey�s was the neighborhood�s first major new eating establishment, sitting between the Wynwood Lofts and the Mitrani warehouse on NW 2nd Avenue.
      The restaurant�s success also confirmed the late Tony Goldman as the man who would shepherd the area into a brave new world. His Goldman Properties, which owns Joey�s, had been buying up buildings and land in the area, securing a good portion of the 25 liquor licenses allowed within the city-designated Wynwood Arts District (which Goldman initiated), and signaling that his juggernaut company would try to do for Wynwood what it had done for SoHo in Manhattan decades earlier: turn it into the hippest place, well, south of SoHo.
      �There was a steady trajectory happening in Wynwood,� says Brook Dorsch, who opened one of the first galleries in the area, Dorsch Gallery, in 1999. �And then came Joey�s.� After that, the energy changed, he says.Inspired by the graffiti and mural art that was proliferating on building fa�ades, Goldman opened up the Wynwood Walls outdoor park, filled with large works from internationally acclaimed artists commissioned by him and his partner in the project, outlandish New York curator Jeffrey Deitch. They bookended the park with Joey�s at one end and Wynwood Kitchen at the other. Suddenly, not only were people appearing, they were using valet parking.
      But still it was hard to break a reputation as bad as the one Wynwood had developed. For many people, the enclave was too iffy to visit, filled as it was still with debris and the homeless. Combined with the financial crisis that began in 2007-2008, it was a struggle for galleries and new establishments to attract a steady clientele.

      The Wynwood Arts District Association (WADA) was created in 2009 by some of the neighborhood�s developers and gallery owners in an effort to change those perceptions; it concentrated on increasing security, lighting, and doing some marketing. With the popularity of Art Basel�s mainland satellite fairs, many of which took place in Wynwood, the area did start to burnish its reputation.
      And once the economy itself began to rebound, the flood gates opened. The handful of restaurants and bars gave way to more than a dozen by 2013, followed by retail stores and office spaces. Today there are several major condominium and apartment complexes and a boutique hotel in the works.
      Of course, all this comes at a price. While few want a return to the grim days of the late 1980s, some caution that the rapid and expensive development may change Wynwood�s special character. As Eli Mitrani points to the Wynwood Block across the street and speaks hopefully of the new metropolitan ambiance, he also knows it could come at the expense of the authentic and unpretentious element.
      �I bought my place long ago for cheap, so I can afford to still rent out reasonable spaces,� he says. �Across the street, with what they�ve paid, they just won�t be able to.�
      Last month, the Miami Herald estimated that Wynwood lots are selling for $300 a square foot. A new property owner will likely not be able to give artists or galleries much of a deal.

      Tom Curitore, the first executive director of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID), began his job in March. The BID itself was formed just last year as a vehicle to raise money for improvements in the area and to lobby for business-friendly zoning and regulatory requirements. The Wynwood BID encompasses 47 blocks and includes about 200 property owners at this point. They�re assessed a tax for these improvements, which so far has added up to around $700,000.
      While the BID has a new office on NW 26th Street, Curitore doesn�t seem to spend much time there. He�s walking -- running, really -- around, talking to everyone he encounters.
      Unlike the Mitranis, Lombardi, or Dorsch, Curitore hasn�t seen the dramatic changes of the past decade. He moved from New York for this job and proclaims Wynwood to be the �most unbelievable outdoor museum in the world.� A former director of the Union Square redevelopment project and once a New York Police Department detective, he says his mission is to make Wynwood �clean and safe,� but true to its roots.
      To that end, the Wynwood BID has hired two people who clean the streets five days a week as �sanitation ambassadors.� While walking into one of the most recent hot spots in the neighborhood, Zak the Baker�s kosher caf�, Curitore explains that the association will also add trash cans, long absent, and is working on crosswalks, along with widening the sidewalks. The narrow streets can�t handle parking on both sides, so several one-way streets will be introduced in the next six months to help alleviate parking and traffic issues.
      After saying hello to several police officers and private security officers -- these days they walk, ride bikes, and drive around in cars -- Curitore points out some small but lovely green spots recently introduced along NW 2nd Avenue. One is a rock garden, courtesy of a nonprofit group. 
      The street on which Brook Dorsch�s gallery sits (it is now known as the Emerson Dorsch Gallery), NW 24th Street, is one of those targeted for one-way traffic. Two years ago, Dorsch and his wife, Tyler Emerson, revamped the warehouse space he had purchased in 1999. Unlike gallery owners who rented, Dorsch had the advantage of knowing he wouldn�t be as vulnerable to the vagaries of property prices, and the two decided to invest in the space, and therefore the neighborhood.

      Instead of a protective metal-grate doorway facing the street, the stunning renovation now has a glass double-door entrance on the side of the building, facing a courtyard. It doesn�t look like a place that would close up shop on the spur of the moment. �That was the biggest chance,� says Dorsch, �wondering if people would come in through the side.� But they did, he adds, because it looked like a place you could come in and really look at art -- and not a dilapidated warehouse.
      That run-down warehouse look was an attraction back in the early 2000s, when it shouted alternative and experimental. But as the community grew and more people came, the grunge was no longer so attractive, and certainly not when visitors had to walk blocks over broken glass, when there were no trash cans, when it became difficult to park as the Second Saturday art walks took off.
      Dorsch�s path exemplifies the latest incarnation of Wynwood. He bought into a semi-abandoned block surrounded by crack houses, and now the block is being rezoned to accommodate a ten-fold increase in visitors.
      With a mural from artist Brandon Opalka covering one side of his building, Dorsch explains that he likes the singular aesthetic that grew up here, and of which he was a trend-setting leader. But he�s happy to see the increase in security, including a crackdown on graffiti tagging that he says has gotten out of control, as well as the cleaning and greening efforts.

      As Tyler takes over for him at the gallery, the two agree that improvements are necessary for the up-and-coming neighborhood; but they hope it doesn�t go overboard and end up looking like Brickell. With that, Dorsch says, he�s off to watch a World Cup game at Gramps across the street, a bar that, like so many others, didn�t exist here two years ago.

      Nonetheless, the flurry of recent development can�t help but transform the nature of the neighborhood. The eight-story Wynwood 250, with up to 80 living units that is going up on NW 24th Street, and the proposed Goldman Properties�100-room boutique hotel at 27th Street, will, for better or worse, bring change.
      While the number of galleries and art outlets have remained well above 50 for years (although individual spaces have changed hands), in the past three years or so, Curitore estimates, more than a dozen restaurants and bars, 15 businesses classified as professional services, four beauty and fitness outlets, and eight new design and retail stores have opened, although that number will change even by the end of this month, when several new complexes open. Some businesses, like Wood Tavern on NW 2nd Avenue, have become so popular it can be difficult to squeeze in on a Friday evening.
      There are also a growing number of new spaces categorized as �nonprofit and education.� One of these is the private Metropolitan International School of Miami, opened by Maria Padovan Kindell in 2013. A former biology teacher in Uruguay, Padovan Kindell says she had no preconceived negative notions about the area when she bought the future school building on NW 2nd Avenue. Like Curitore, she saw only a vibrant, centrally located positioning for a school oriented to a culture-related curriculum, for students from pre-school to fifth-grade.

      �I didn�t expect the success we�ve had in this first year,� she says. �I heard no complaints about the location.� In fact, the opposite. �The families with students here know Wynwood and appreciate what it is -- slightly avant-garde.� She wants the students to experience what the neighborhood has to offer, and to take field trips to nearby cultural outlets.
      What she worries about isn�t crime or urban location, but that the �flavor� of an artistic Wynwood will fade with all the new development. �But that�s inevitable,� she concludes.
      That wistful prediction seems to be the consensus. While almost everyone wants to try and keep that flavor, they also know that districts change and nothing stands still, especially when big developers see a bull�s-eye target.
      But Wynwood has always been changing. Once known as the garment district or Little San Juan (owing to its early Puerto Rican population), it has never been a settled place. And there�s always been tension between arts groups and developers about the future of the area. And tension between the original residents and the recent arrivals. While Dorsch decided to plant himself in the area, another heavyweight gallery owner, David Castillo, will leave at the end of the summer.

      Having been active in the early stages of the game, with 40 properties (including Wynwood Lofts and the art storage center Museo Vault), developer David Lombardi says that for the time being, he might sit out this growth cycle, although he�ll continue to work through WADA and the BID to keep development moving while also keeping the neighborhood intact. One project he�s behind, to facilitate the greening of the once-industrial streets, is �a beautiful little garden on 29th Street.�
      After the death of Tony Goldman in 2012, some feared his vision of a funky, mixed neighborhood would be eclipsed by an unbridled commercialism with no sense of place.
      But Dina Mitrani, for one, will be happy to see an end to the lingering perception of Wynwood as a crime-infested neighborhood. �I never feel unsafe,� she says, �but I grew up here.� Still, just recently a collector visiting a gallery had his car broken into and his laptop stolen -- and he made a huge hubbub about it, she says.
      �You know what?� she says in response. �No matter what area of this city or any city you�re in, don�t leave your laptop sitting on the seat! That�s not Wynwood, that�s just common sense.�

      Copyright 2005 - 2014 The Biscayne Times.
    • Developers propose twin condo towers in North Miami Beach
      July 3, 2014
      By Erik Bojnansky

      Key International, 13th Floor Investments want to build two 25-story high-rises

      Two developers are teaming up to build a pair of 25-story high-rise condominium towers near the Oleta River at Northeast 163rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard, The Real Deal has learned.
      Inigo Ardid of Key International and Arnaud Karsenti of 13th Floor Investments plan to develop a 330-unit luxury project on 4.4 acres of vacant land behind Area Code 55 Brazilian Steakhouse and the shuttered Miami Grill restaurant.
      The high-rise project, tentatively named the Harbor and designed by Coral Gables-based Corwil Architects, would be less than a mile away from the Marina Palms Yacht Club & Residences now under construction at 17201 Biscayne Boulevard. Marina Palms� towers are also slated to reach 25 stories. The tallest completed building in North Miami Beach, a 5.2-square mile municipality just west of Sunny Isles Beach and south of Aventura, is the 12-story, 49-year-old Regions Bank building at 699 NE 167th Street.
      Key International and 13th Floor frequently work together. They are also developing the 50-story 1010 Brickell in Miami, the 20-story 400 Sunny Isles in Sunny Isles Beach, the 98-unit Eden House in Miami Beach and the boutique waterfront condo Sereno in Bay Harbor Islands.
      The Harbor site is �a tremendous location with a great view corridor,� Karsenti told TRD.
      Under current plans, prices for the Harbor�s 192 two-bedroom units and 88 three-bedroom residences will range from $500,000 to $2 million. Amenities for would include a natural beach, an infinity pool deck, a spa and 547 parking spaces.
      The towers will be �oriented toward the south and east to maximize views of Lake Maule and the Oleta River,� according to a letter submitted to the city from one of the project�s lobbyists, Greenberg Traurig land use attorney Ryan Bailine.
      Key International spokeswoman Lauren Marks cautioned that the project is still in its early planning stages. Everything could change, she said, including the project�s name.
      �We are moving through the approval process on this project and we are not yet ready to announce anything until everything is finalized and approved,� Marks said in an e-mail to TRD.
      The project must still be approved by the City of North Miami Beach, Marks added. In order to build up to 25-stories, the city will need to rezone the land. Under the parcels� existing zoning, the tallest building that can be constructed is 18 stories. Bailine told the city in his letter that the properties fall within a proposed overlay district that would encourage intensive mixed-use development with unlimited height.
      The spot was originally zoned for restaurants and retail. That changed in 2004, when the city, in search of new sources of tax revenue, rezoned to allow an 18-story, 141-unit high-rise called Blue Palms Condominium.
      Two years later, Blue Palms Development LLC, owned by Gerardo Aguirre and Hector Garcia of SH Communities, bought the land for $3.7 million from LEF/North Miami Beach Village LLC. Blue Palms sought additional density to enable the construction of 320 residential units within two towers: the 18-story Blue Palms Condominium and the 12-story Keystone Grande Condominium. The city approved the request.
      In 2006, the city projected Blue Palms and Keystone would generate an extra $1.4 million a year in property taxes. However, the projects soon drew opposition from the North Miami Beach Citizens Coalition, which sought to limit new development to just seven stories. Environmental group Friends of the Oleta River also expressed fear that the towers would adversely affect the river.
      In 2007, the state�s Department of Community Affairs rejected the city�s plans to approve the towers, after North Miami Beach failed to provide enough information about hurricane evacuation procedures.
      Ultimately, it was a poor economy that killed the project, Aguirre told TRD.
      It isn�t clear who actually owns the land now. The Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser�s website still identifies Blue Palms Development LLC as the property�s owner. Yet Aguirre insisted his company is simply the property�s manager.
      Karsenti declined comment on whether or not 13th Floor Investments and Key International have a contract to buy the land or if the partnership already owns it. �I can�t talk too much about the ownership structure,� he said.

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Miami Top Market as Foreign Buyers Invest a Record-Setting $92 Billion in US Housing
      July 8, 2014
      By: Michael Gerrity

      According to the National Association of Realtors' 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity Report, favorable exchange rates, affordable home prices and rising affluence abroad continue to drive international buyers to the U.S. to purchase properties and make real estate investments.

      For the period April 2013 through March 2014, total international sales have been estimated at a record-setting $92.2 billion, an increase from the previous period's level of $68.2 billion.

      Thumbnail image for WPC News | Steve Brown, NAR 2014 President
      Steve Brown

      'We live in an international marketplace; so while all real estate is local, that does not mean that all property buyers are,' said NAR President Steve Brown. 'Foreign buyers are being enticed to U.S. real estate because of what they recognize as attractive prices, economic stability, and an incredible opportunity for investment in their future.'

      International buyers and recent immigrants purchased homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 55 percent of the total reported purchases - Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. Florida remains the destination of choice, claiming a 23 percent share of all foreign purchases. California comes in second with 14 percent, Texas with 12 percent and Arizona with 6 percent. According to Realtor.com, the top five cities searched online by international buyers in 2014 were Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando and New York City.

      Foreign buyers take many factors into consideration when deciding where to purchase abroad, such as proximity to their home country, the presence of relatives and friends, job and educational opportunities, and climate and location. European buyers are generally attracted to states with warmer climates such as Florida and Arizona while the West Coast tends to attract Asian purchasers. Indian buyers tend to gravitate towards states that are home to large information technology companies, such as California, New York and North Carolina. Within markets in an individual state, it is not unusual to find concentrations of people grouped by nationality, possibly indicating that word-of-mouth and shared experiences influence purchases.

      Twenty-eight percent of Realtors reported working with international clients this year. International sales tend to be handled by specialists and only 4 percent of those who reported having an international client saw 11 or more international transactions in a year. Of those who reported having an international client, approximately 54 percent reported that international transactions accounted for 1to 10 percent of their total transactions, a decrease from 2013 but still in line with past years' levels.

      Click here to download the full report

      International buyers are more likely to make all-cash purchases when compared to domestic buyers. In 2014, nearly 60 percent of reported international transactions were all cash, compared to only one-third of domestic purchases. Mortgage financing tends to be a major problem for international clients due to a lack of a U.S. based credit history, lack of a Social Security number, difficulties in documenting mortgage requirements and financial profiles that differ from those normally received by financial institutions from domestic residents.

      Most homes purchased by foreign buyers, about 42 percent, are used as a primary residence. Non-resident foreigners are limited to 6-month stays in the U.S., so these buyers largely use the property for vacation or rental purposes or as an investment. Approximately 65 percent of purchases involved a single-family home. Nearly half of international clients preferred properties in a suburban area, about a quarter preferred a central city or urban area, and about 13 percent choose to purchase in a resort area.

      International buyers come from all over the world, but Canada, China (The People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Mexico, India and the U.K. accounted for approximately 54 percent of all reported international transactions. Canada maintained the largest share of purchases, dropping from 23 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2014; however, China held the lead in dollar volume, purchasing an estimated $22 billion with an average sale cost of $590,826. China was also the fasting growing source of transactions, now accounting for 16 percent of all purchases, up 4 percent from last year. Mexico ranked third with 9 percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for 5 percent. 

      Copyright 2010 - 2014 WORLD PROPERTY CHANNEL NETWORKS, INC. All Rights Reserved.
    • Using a Credit Card to help your Credit Score
      Credit cards are great to have when you want to buy something, and they can also come in handy when you need to finance a purchase. But even if you don�t need a credit card for these purposes, they can be an invaluable way to establish credit and improve your credit score.
      A credit score is based on several factors, and nearly every one of them can be improved by having at least one credit card.
      According to the FICO credit scoring formula, the largest component of your credit score is your payment history. By making timely monthly payments to your credit cards, you can help to establish an excellent payment history, even if you avoid interest charges by paying your statement balances in full every month.
      The next most important factor is the amounts owed. Here, cardholders need to be careful to keep their balances low, relative to the total amount of credit they have been extended.
      The next most important factor is the length of credit history where, once again, having credit card accounts open and in good standing can substantially contribute to having a high credit score.

      The last two factors, which only contribute to 10% of the calculation each, are the types of credit used and the new credit applied for.
      Although having credit cards contributes to the types of credit used and can help your credit score, applying for many new credit cards in a short period of time will hurt your score. The damage is small and temporary, but will be outweighed by all of the other reasons that credit cards can improve the credit scores of cardholders.
      Becoming an authorized user on someone�s else�s account is one way to help your credit score. When the primary account holder has excellent credit, the scoring models do confer some of those benefits to the authorized cardholder. Just note that authorized users are unable to redeem rewards, dispute charges, or report cards lost or stolen.
      Another tactic is to keep credit card accounts open for as long as possible, even if you are not using them. So long as there is no annual fee, there is no cost to having an inactive account that builds credit history.
      When there is an annual fee, many card issuers will waive it upon request. In addition, having an unused line of credit will lower one�s debt to credit ratio, for a given amount of debt.
      Finally, most credit scoring experts recommend having several credit card accounts open at any given time. Credit cards are easy to apply for, but need not be used to accumulate debt. By having a few accounts open, you can increase your credit history at no cost.

      Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. The Credit Solution Program
    • North Bay Village discusses bayside parks

      Sketches for two small parks on the north and south side of the Kennedy Causeway got mixed responses from North Bay Village residents over the need and feasibility of the project.

      Known as Bay Walk Plaza, the proposed project would convert two unused grassy areas on the eastern edge of Treasure Island and connect them with a walkway that would run under the Kennedy Causeway bridge over the water.

      �This is going to be a place for families, and it�s going to provide access to the water,� said village Commissioner Jorge Gonzalez. �The concept is something the residents need.�

      Manny Cetner, a village resident, said he doesn�t think the village needs it.

      �There is no room for it, and nobody will use it,� he said, adding that he thinks policing the area will be difficult because there is no vehicle access to the walkway.

      Others were less critical, but still skeptical.

      Two residents asked whether a walkway extending out into the water in a similar way has been built in the county, and if the village was likely to obtain the permits.

      George Puig, a landscape architect with Kimley-Horn and Associates, said he doesn�t know of a similar project, but that the firm would accommodate the design to what the village wanted.

      �We are here to get public input,� Puig said. The walkway �doesn�t make or break the project.�

      Approved about two years ago by the Village Commission, the project has sat mostly dormant. A grant obtained by the village to cover the design phase expires in September, and while the village is applying for a one-year extension, it is also rushing to meet the deadline.

      The grant is coming from the Florida Inland Navigation District, and will match the village�s $50,000 allocation for the design of the project.

      During the public-input meeting, residents pressed for an approximate cost of building Bay Walk Plaza, but neither the design firm nor village staff were able to provide it.

      Village Manager Frank Rollason said that once the project is designed, staff will work on determining a cost and bring it up to the village commission for a vote.

      Gonzalez said uncertainty over the cost shouldn�t deter the village from exploring the project.

      �We are at a point that where if we don�t move forward, that question is going to be moot and we will never get the answer,� Gonzalez said.

      Rollson said that despite some negative feedback, for now the village is planning to move ahead with the project.

      He said the land was given to the village by the Florida Department of Transportation. �They gave us the land to do something with it, and if we don�t, we are going to lose it,� Rollson said.

      Al Colleta, who owns property in North Bay Village, said he supports the project and thinks it would enhance a side of the village that gets a lot of traffic.

      �We are already behind other cities. The more people you can get in here, the larger the tax base,� Coletta said. �We have to go forward, not put our foot down on every plan.�

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Parking Ticket Spree Along Wynwood's Main Corridor Has Business Owners Bristling
      July 8, 2014
      By: Rich Robinson

      The City of Miami Parking Authority has been actively ticketing vehicles parked on NW Second Ave. in the heart of Wynwood, according to employees at a handful of local art galleries.
      Parking along Wynwood's busy main drag was formerly free of charge. But in recent weeks, the city has erected 'Pay To Park' signage and, gallerists say, has been going on ticketing sprees during the neighborhood's busiest times.

      No automated parking meters have yet been installed on NW Second Ave., which local business owners feel is unfair and counterproductive to the economic development of the fledgling art district.

      For Robert Fontaine, the director of the eponymous art gallery, it all started a few weeks back.

      'I watched it happen. I saw them give tickets out,' Fontaine said.

      He even got one himself, for $18.

      'It's just crazy,' Fontaine said. 'The city shouldn't be charging for parking when the area is still in transition.'

      While other parts of Wynwood have been subject to the rules associated with parking meters for some time, NW Second Ave. has earned a reputation as a sort of free parking safe-zone.
      'Yes, we do need regulation on parking, but it's a very artsy neighborhood and we should have the freedom to park', said Jessica Bernal, manager of mosaic design firm Fantini Mosaici, located at 2310 NW Second Ave.

      Ariadna Rivero, the assistant director for Alberto Linero gallery (2294 NW 2nd Ave) said that the tickets took her by surprise when an artist from Fort Lauderdale was cited for parking on the street in front of the building, while dropping off some art pieces.

      'The people come here to see the art and they have to pay? Of course, it's going to hurt the galleries,' Rivero said at her desk in a stark white studio.

      While parking meters do not exist on NW Second Ave., there are signs in some locations that inform potential parkers to 'pay by phone' or to download a mobile app. Some of these are close to 10 feet off the ground and are posted on telephone poles, while others look more official.

      Some think that the parking authority did a poor job explaining that people needed to start paying for parking since it had always been free on Second Ave.
      'They need to make it very apparent that you need to pay to park,' Fontaine said. 'It can't be a surprise to the people that work there.'

      Looking at the bigger picture, some see the parking confusion as the latest in broken promises from the City of Miami.

      'The city hasn't done much for Wynwood,' Fontaine said. He acknowledged that the advent of metered parking was inevitable in the rapidly growing neighborhood, but said updated sidewalks, loading zones for emergency services, handicap parking and commercial loading zones should be created before new parking rules come into effect. 'The city should be helping people like myself who have taken a risk to come here. If you're going to be making money on the people in an area, then why don't you at least fix the sidewalks?'

      While multiple reports of parking citations being placed on vehicles has been alleged by local business owners, there does not seem to be an even enforcement along the street.

      For example, Andrea Pasin, the owner of Gum Galleria (2219 NW Second Ave.) says that he has not seen any ticketing near his storefront so far, while cars parked in front of Fontaine's gallery just one block north have received tickets.

      Still, Pasin said he would like to see some of the money collected from parking meters to come back directly to the Wynwood community in the way of investment. 'Where is the money going? We feel that the city has been negligent with Wynwood,' Pasin said.

      'It's a little too early [to crack down on parking],' he continued. 'We're not South Beach.'

      The Miami Parking Authority did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • ARTcade: Art, Craft Beer, and Frogger Meet in South Beach
      July 7, 2014
      By: Laine Doss

      ARTcade, a combination art gallery, arcade, and bar, is set to open in South Beach, and the concept of playing Q*bert while holding a cold brew is totally mind-blowing.
      ARTcade, which features classic games, creative beer, and local art, opens Friday, July 11, at 235 12th St., just off Ocean Drive in a former art gallery. Not that we don't like art in South Beach -- we just like it better with Pac-Man.

      ARTcade is the brainchild of the owners of the Cabaret South Beach, located next door. Partners Edison Farrow, Ed DeCaso, and GM Carlos Rojas were looking for a bar that offered something different from the typical 'velvet rope' scene. Farrow tells Short Order that he noticed arcade-themed bars popping up all over the country and decided Miami Beach needed one as well. He describes ARTcade as 'a mix of an arcade and bar. The collection of games has started but will continue to grow.'

      ARTcade will feature retro games from the '80s like Gallaga, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Ms. Pac-Man. Best of all, these retro games come with retro prices -- they're only a quarter a game. Besides offering stand-up classic arcade versions, ARTcade will boast a cocktail table where you can choose from 60 games, including rare Pac-Man variations.

      Six craft beers on tap are priced at $5 each, including LandShark, Le Freak Green Flash, Blub, Shock Top, and Johnny Apple Seed cider. ARTcade will also have a full liquor bar for those of you wanting to throw back a kamikaze or Sex on the Beach (in keeping with the '80s theme).
      Of course there's 'art' at ARTcade, and the walls will display works by local artists. The inaugural show, 'More than 2,' will feature work by artist Nestor Paz. Art displays will change out every three to four weeks.

      ARTcade will open daily at 7 p.m. beginning Friday, July 11. During the opening celebration, DJ Ray Milian will spin '80s and indie tunes from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Downtown Miami
      Downtown Miami has had its ups and downs. Crowded sidewalks and empty condos have reflected the boom-and-bust cycle of Florida real estate. From the bustling �40s through the moribund �70s to the vibrant downtown of today, the city�s core has bounced back over and over again, shaped by by speculators, hurricanes and exiles. Though the city�s skyline has changed dramatically over the years, look closely and you can still see Miami�s history in buildings that evoke its colorful past.
      Buy photos in the Herald store

      Click on link below to view photos

    • Miami Worldcenter to create 33K jobs: developer
      July 3, 2014

      Firm claims site will give rise to 14K permanent jobs

      One of the largest mixed-use developments in the U.S., Miami�s multi-billion dollar Worldcenter development, is expected to create thousands of jobs in South Florida.
      A study by developer Miami Worldcenter Associates and the Orlando-based financial consulting firm Fishkind & Associates estimated that the 25-acre project would generate some 33,500 jobs. According to the study, 14,000 permanent jobs will be created by the project, including 8,000 full-time positions at the center, in addition to 6,000 indirect jobs created by other businesses.
      Beyond that, the consulting firm determined that a total of 19,500 construction and temporary jobs could be created from the first phase.
      The developers � Miami Worldcenter Associates, the Forbes Co. and Taubman � submitted plans to the city for the first phase of the 25-acre project earlier this week, which includes a convention space, 1,800-room hotel, 1,000-unit residential space and a 765,000-square-foot luxury shopping center.
      The developers expect to break ground on the mall in the fourth quarter, and its slated to open in late 2016. [SF Business Journal] � Sasha von Oldershausen

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
      July 1, 2014
      By: Tim McKeough

      For a much-anticipated museum expansion by a Pritzker Prize�winning Japanese architect, Tadao Ando�s design for a new wing of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, may appear surprisingly reserved. Standing just one story above grade, and hemmed in by monolithic concrete and red granite walls, it doesn�t reveal itself until you step inside. Pass through the entrance, however, and the building opens up with glass walls overlooking a three-tiered reflecting pool and long views to a rolling, bucolic landscape. Larger than it first seems, the building buries more galleries and a caf� underground, flooding them with natural light from above.

      Ando, who completed the museum�s Stone Hill Center in 2008, is best known for quiet, minimalist buildings that exhibit an almost spiritual affection for concrete. 'I was impressed by the 140-acre campus and landscape with rich natural beauty, surrounded by gentle hills, trees, and wetlands,' he says, noting that he wanted his building to peacefully coexist with what was already there. 'We have conceived a museum where art and nature can be simultaneously enjoyed, with expanses of glass and sweeping views as one moves between the gallery spaces.'

      Ando�s wing provides 11,000 square feet of new galleries. The Clark also hired New York architect Annabelle Selldorf to renovate its original 1955 white marble neoclassical building and the Manton Research Building, while landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand reimagined the grounds. In addition, the museum has reinstalled its remarkable permanent collection�including notable works by French impressionists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas, and American painters such as John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer�after years of loans to international museums. Long a destination for in-the-know art lovers searching for a mix of natural and artist-made beauty, the Clark is now more enticing than ever.

      Copyright 2014 COND� NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
    • Architect proposes linear park for Rickenbacker Causeway
      July 1, 2014


      The Rickenbacker Causeway linking Miami to Key Biscayne is a road with varying posted speed limits ranging from 25 to 45 mph. But many drivers view the Rickenbacker as an expressway and race their vehicles down it in excess of 55.

      Such high speeds endanger other causeway users � like the many cyclists and joggers who populate the bike lanes on both sides of the road. The recent death of one cyclist and injuries to others have sparked widespread discussion about ways to slow down traffic and increase protection for cyclists and pedestrians.

      Now, a proposal to reconfigure the causeway radically has been put forward by a prominent Miami architect and avid cyclist, Bernard Zyscovich.

      The plan, supported by the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization�s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, would essentially turn the Rickenbacker from a road where vehicles speed as if on an expressway to a scenic road through a park with lots of trees and other vegetation separating vehicle lanes from bike and pedestrian paths. The causeway, which now has up to three lanes in each direction, would become two lanes from the mainland to the entrance to the village of Key Biscayne.

      �If I had to describe it in just one simple thought, it would be to try and make a safe and secure park out of what is currently a highway,� Zyscovich said in an interview last week at his office in downtown Miami.

      The causeway belongs to Miami-Dade County.

      The change would begin at the approach to the existing causeway toll plaza from U.S. 1. Zyscovich would turn a space into a bike lane and an adjacent path for pedestrians and joggers. The bike lane and foot path would be separated from vehicle traffic lanes by landscaping such as trees and bushes. The bike lane would be painted green.

      After the toll plaza, where the causeway has three lanes in each direction, the road would become two lanes. The third lane would be reserved for the continuation of the separated, landscaped space for the bike and foot paths that would begin at U.S. 1.

      The separated bike-foot path would continue through the Crandon Park area to the entrance to the village of Key Biscayne, where no changes are envisaged.

      Other than the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee�s endorsement, Zychovich�s proposal has not received any formal, official backing. There is no funding for it, so construction would not begin anytime soon.

      Zyscovich said that before embarking on full-fledged construction, authorities should undertake a preliminary project. Zyscovich would like to see delineation of the bike-foot paths with plastic poles similar to those separating the express lanes from the free lanes on Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade.

      Were the full-fledged proposal to be implemented, the cost would be $20 million to $30 million, Zyscovich said.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • 1916 Versus 2014
      98 Years of Miami Downtown Development. Left: 1916 Aerial of Millionaires Row Off Brickell, South Of Miami River. 

      Right: Same Area 2014
    • Looking North over Bisc. Blvd. from Downtown Miami
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native
    • 1949 ~ Miami International Airport, 36th Street

      Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native



    • CHALKS Goose Watson Island Ramp

      [Note ~ Dade County Courthouse Still Visible From The Bay]

      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native

    • 1926 ~ RAY YOUNG
      Was one of Miami Beach's first native's. He had an orchestra, Ray Young and the Young'ns. He lived on Euclid and 8th. This was his first printed music sheet, circa 1926. His daughter Carol Young Meyer relates he was a wonderful man, an amazing songwriter and dad. That is all borne out by early Beach history. 

      Photo & Background Courtesy of Carol Young Meyer. � with Judith Nin.
    • Who remembers this iconic #Miami #Beach #restaurant?

      Courtesy of Best of Miami: Welcome Magazine



      By Rachel Rothman

      Take advantage of these new real estate tools to make house hunting easier

      There�s no way around it: House hunting is stressful (not to mention time-consuming). But, like every other corner of our lives in this digital age, there are apps and Internet tools that can help.

      If You're New to the Hunt
      Doorsteps Swipe, the love child of a real estate app and speed-dating site, is a fun way to get the ball rolling. With its casual, game-style approach, you �swipe to like� newly listed homes, and can start to naturally discover what�s important to you.

      And, of course, before you really dive in, you�ll need to determine your budget. The Mortgage Rates app can help you find the best rate tailored for you, and doesn�t share your information with the lender without your OK.

      When You�re in the Thick of It
      Turn to 'the big three' for more traditional search tools � Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. 

      Zillow is known for its �Zestimates,� which are home value estimates based on data from public records, real estate agents, homeowners, and tax assessors � and they�re getting more accurate as the site expands. Zillow also offers a complete transaction history for each home, and lets users search for current mortgage rates by state. 

      Trulia has �heat maps� of neighborhoods, which show crime statistics, school locations, commute times, and nearby amenities such as banks and grocery stores. You can even look into probability of a natural disaster, like a hurricane or tornado, in a property�s area.

      Realtor.com is frequently updated with new info, so you can get alerts about price drops and foreclosures.

      Redfin is another similar platform for looking for great listings, and is available in few dozen metropolitan areas across the country. Unlike most of its competitors, Redfin agents are not paid a traditional commission, but make money partially off of customer ratings. 

      RELATED: 10 Surprises That Home Buyers Miss �

      When You Need a Fresh Point of View
      Try HomeSnap. The app lets you take a snapshot of a home with your smartphone�s camera, and (thanks to the wonders of GPS technology) instantly get information about the property. You�ll see info on the home�s estimated value, how many bedrooms/bathrooms it has, and if it�s for sale.

      To Keep Track of Every Home You See
      Use the House Hunter app. It will give homes a grade based on how well they match your criteria. You can also take notes, give each home a general score, and add photos to track your faves (or rejects). Try taking helpful panoramic photos with the 360 Panorama app to better keep track of the listings you see.

      When You're Ready to Move
      You did it! But now, make sure you don�t lose any valuables when you�re packing boxes. For my recent move, I used the new Snupps app, which lets you create different virtual shelves to mimic your real ones, so you can make sure nothing is lost in the move. 

      Rachel Rothman is the Technical Director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. This article originally appeared on GoodHousekeeping.com.

      Copyright 2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • New York firm leading South Florida buying charge
      June 30, 2014

      Blackstone bought six times more than second active investor

      New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group has been among the busiest buyers in South Florida, snatching up 1,181 homes for more than $291 million since January 2012 � six times more than next most active investor.
      According to a public records analysis by research firm DataQuick, affiliates tied to the group have bought 411 Palm Beach County properties from January through May 2013. That�s more than double the firm bought during the same period last year.
      The report also shows Blackstone affiliates having acquired 475 properties in Broward County during that same time period.
      Andrew Gallina, a spokesperson for the company that manages Blackstone�s acquisitions, told the Sun-Sentinel the firm has cut its acquisitions by 70 to 80 percent from a year ago in most of its markets, though it still sees Broward and Palm Beach counties as legitimate prospects.
      �The opportunity has move on as the market has healed itself,� Gallina said. [Sun-Sentinel] -Kerry Barger

      All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
    • ArtCenter/South Florida Is Selling Its Iconic Lincoln Road Gallery Building
      July 1, 2014
      By: Carlos Suarez De Jesus

      It's hard to imagine a cultural organization with an historic presence on South Beach letting go of a property that draws untold thousands of local and international visitors each year.
      But that's what's happening with ArtCenter/South Florida which has today listed its 800-810 Lincoln Rd. building for sale to provide the organization with greater resources to expand its programming and services in the coming years.

      The decision to sell the building housing ArtCenter's iconic bubble-shaped storefront gallery was unanimously voted on by the organization and supported by the artists in residence, according to a statement released by the organization earlier today. The Miami office of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate has been selected as the exclusive broker for the sale of the property.

      See also: Van Dyke's Closing: Lincoln Road Has Become the Luxury Mall It Was Meant To Be

      'This is a wonderful opportunity for the ArtCenter to expand its influence in the growing Miami arts scene and broaden its ability to offer the best-quality programs, impacting an even greater and more diverse audience,' chair Kim Kovel says.

      'The timing of this could not have been any better as the organization can now expand its exhibitions and educational outreach programs and increase the resources that are provided to the current and alumnae artists, enabling them to continue to thrive with ArtCenter's support.'

      ArtCenter's genesis sprung from the vision of Ellie Schneiderman, a Grove House ceramist, whose dream was to create an enclave for local artists. During the early 1980s, she persuaded some Lincoln Road property owners to lease space to emerging and career artists at significantly reduced rates.

      Since then, ArtCenter/South Florida has provided affordable studios and workspace to more than 1,000 visual artists from its locations on Lincoln Road while presenting free exhibitions throughout the year.

      This coming November, ArtCenter/South Florida will present '30 Years on the Road,' a retrospective exhibition highlighting its enduring role as a creative hub and showcasing the work of many of South Florida's most celebrated artists who have benefited from working on Lincoln Road over the past 30 years.
      'The mission of our cultural institution remains as it was,' says executive director Maria Del Valle. 'With the help of thousands of talented artists who have been part of our family and the generosity of our supporters, the ArtCenter is proud of the strides it has made in advancing the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts throughout our community.

      'ArtCenter's artists have helped in the transformation of Lincoln Road from a blighted neighborhood to one of America's renowned art deco districts. The ArtCenter is proud to call Miami Beach home,' says Del Valle, who adds that the organization is exploring expansion plans beyond the ArtCenter's 924 Lincoln Rd. property.

      'We are also studying all other possibilities throughout Miami-Dade County and closely looking to where we can best serve South Florida's cultural community.'

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners Miami 2014 - Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performi
      Sure, Miami has the beach, the Heat, and the shops, but if you want to take your visitors somewhere outside the norm for tourists, head over to a show at one of the hidden gems of downtown Miami, the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 1926 as a lavish silent movie palace and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the Olympia still has all the charm of old Miami on display. As visitors enter, they are transported to a European villa under the night sky. The realism of the surroundings creates a one-of-a-kind experience that your family and friends will be talking about for a long time.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Miami's Five Best Music Venues for Local Acts
      June 27, 2014
      By: Pablo Chacon Alvarez

      We know what you're thinking. Does Miami even have five music venues for local acts?

      The answer, our skeptical friend, is yes. It was actually hard for us to narrow this list to only five spots. â¨Because, while it may come as a surprise to the average club hopper, Miami's got a thriving underground music scene and there's plenty of places to go jam out to 305 talent.

      We've got some Miami classics and some Miami newbies. Here are Crossfade's five best venues for local acts.

      The Nestâ¨
      OK, obvious choice. Our most recent Best of Miami pick for the top local music venue has quickly become a staple of the local music scene. Performers love performing there, and fans love the intimate vibe of the small venue. The Nest has also become a frequent stop for touring acts, like Daedelus, in Miami. This may be your best bet if you're looking for a laidback place to chill till closing time.

      This intimate club is not only a good place to catch some great Miami acts, but also world-renowned artists. And the joint's got swag couches. It's like kicking it in your living room, dude. The Bardot folks are known for hosting killer music performances, and they don't discriminate on genre either. From indie bands to DJs and rappers, this spot is unmatched when it comes to quality and diversity.

      The Stageâ¨
      A venue with plenty of room to dance and it's hosted many of Miami's finest. The Stage's actual stage is pretty small. But that just gives performers an excuse to wander into the crowd more often. There's always bands rocking out here, and Miami performers have named it as one of their favorite places to play. National acts, like Ghostface Killah and St. Vincent, have also performed at The Stage when looking for a more intimate venue for their most dedicated fans. There's a huge dance floor, couches to get your rest on, and an outside area to catch your breath.

      Churchill's Pub
      It wouldn't be right putting together a list of the top local music venues in Miami without mentioning Churchill's Pub. Even though the club has undergone a recent change in ownership, the effects on the venue itself have been minimal. At least, so far. But Churchill's is a legendary music venue where plenty of iconic bands got their start. It's grimy, it's grungy, it's loud, it's everything it should be. In the era of megaclubs and EDM, it's good to know there's still a place to mosh to hardcore, punk, and metal.

      Sweat Records
      Now this is not your typical live music venue. It's a record store, in a time when people don't buy records. It's a book store, in a time when people don't buy books. It's a buzzing hive of creativity. Night to night, you might catch a different kind of performance, from noise to comedy. But one thing Sweat definitely does is bring in live bands every week. Performing at this Little Haiti hub has become a rite of passage for local Miami artists. And the annual Sweatstock festival always highlights the best music in the 305.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
      1. . Thanks to the Sky Reflector-Net at Manhattan�s new Fulton Center station, the city�s subway system will see more natural light than ever before.

      2. Refinery29 offers tips on how to keep your white-on-white decor warm and inviting.

      3. Curbed showcases two sculptural Brutalist-inspired concrete buildings at the new campus of Chile's Diego Portales University.

      4. PopSugar Home steps inside SoundCloud's Berlin headquarters, defined by polished-cement floors, minimalist furnishings, and industrial lighting.

      5. BuzzFeed rounds up 13 micro-houses for sale that cost less than a year of college.

      6. Remodelista features a selection of products made from recycled sails, from chairs to bags to lamp shades.

      7. Design Sponge profiles ten lovely (yet overlooked) flowers for summer.

      8. Dezeen explores modular New York homes that could serve as emergency housing.

      Copyright 2014 COND� NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
    • Miami's 16 Best Latin Rock Bands of All Time
      June 27, 2014
      By: Abel Folgar

      While Miami's affinity for pure rock 'n' roll has fluctuated wildly since Hispanic immigration began in the '60s, the genre has still managed to thrive in the 305. As in all instances of assimilation, many first-generation Latinos rebelled against their parents and adopted the sounds of this new country.

      In the '70s, though, an interest in their roots drove many burgeoning musicians to mix mom and dad's music with rock. It's been a sometimes erratic ride, musically, for the last 40-plus years, but Miami's remained at the forefront of the Latin rock in the United States. Though New York City and Los Angeles can also lay claim to leading the scene, Miami's proximity to the many varied sounds of the Caribbean and Hispanic diaspora has certainly kept her several strides ahead.

      Here are Miami's 16 best Latin rock bands of all time.

      16. Origen
      Formed in 2001, Origen's had the pleasure of working with Grammy-nominated producers, released a pair of well-received albums, and enjoyed exposure on Spanish-language television. For a band started by kids looking at music as a hobby, Origen has become a full-time professional gig for this trio.

      15. Pepe Alva y Alma Raymi
      As a roots musician who traveled between Miami's then-nascent Peruvian community and the Space Cadette Records scene, Pepe Alva long maintained a strong presence on South Florida's music scene. He would eventually drop the Alma Raymi and forge on. But he should have left behind a far greater recorded legacy.

      14. Guajiro
      Taking many generations of angst against the Castro brothers and modern Cuban-American living, the boys of Guajiro tossed off a catchy and accessible punk rock racket. Drummer Douglas Mackinnon, who stinted with Slapshot and the Vandals, now owns and operates a boxing gym in Long Beach. Guitarist and singer Will Lopez currently works the stand-up comedy circuit. And guitarist Jorge Gonzalez-Graupera toured with Volumen Cero.

      13. Inmundo Mundo
      These '90s darlings from South Florida did a good job of blending numerous Caribbean sounds into their own individual ethnic ingredients, usually resulting in fun and lively gigs. Another criminally under-recorded outfit.

      12. Elastic Bond
      This outfit has done a great job of blending organic and digital sounds into flavorful and infectious tropical rock. There is a definitive dance mentality behind Elastic Bond's work, but bandleader Andres Ponce's take on Latin jazz and party music is also informed by saccharine pop. Meanwhile, the work of his surrounding cast of musicians -- from the guitars of Buffalo Brown and the horns of David Burgos to Sofy Encanto's delightful pipes -- holds it all together.

      11. Fulano de Tal
      Elsten Torres and Brendan Buckley were the perfect storm of musical chops and underhanded humor at a time when Latin rock needed some fun. Short lived by any measure, Torres and Buckley's Fulano de Tal managed to release two full-length albums in five years before disbanding. Torres has enjoyed a solo career and Buckley famously drummed for Shakira.

      10. Music Is a Weapon
      Whether known as Al's Not Well, All Is Well, or 10 Sheen, this crew's core figures, Brik Brixton and Kala Droid, have maintained a steady presence on Miami's music scene for a very long time. Most recently operating under a name borrowed from Fela Kuti and having become darlings in Amsterdam with singularly energetic performances, this band specializes in electronic rock that's always been rooted in the syncopation and rhythms of Brazil and Afro-Cuban music.

      9. Feneiva
      A newer outfit compared to others on this list, Feneiva has rapidly garnered enough accolades and notice to cement its place in local music consciousness. The self-described 'Latin indie pop-rock dance' quartet recently auditioned for Telemundo's Buscando Mi Ritmo and time will tell what that exposure might yield. Oh, and doesn't the singer look like a Rasta Latino Ethan Hawke?

      8. Bacilos
      Jorge Villamizar and Bacilos were the cream of the crop for Latin pop in the '90s and early 2000s. As Miami's unofficial musical ambassadors of that era, they certainly made waves across the Spanish-language market, winning four Grammy awards before delivering their swan song at Chile's revered Vi�a del Mar Festival in 2007.

      7. Volumen Cero
      Originally known as Orgasmic Bliss, this band's roots can be traced to Miami's goth scene in the '90s and specifically to several alt-rock outfits that had their stop-and-go on the local circuit. In 2001, Volumen Cero was able to land a contract with Warner Records' Latin wing and enjoyed heavy touring with bigger acts for several years. A good fusion of pop and British post-punk with Latino cheekiness, the group quietly went into the good night in the late 2000s after relocating to Los Angeles.

      6. Su�nalo Sound System
      One of the better live acts in Miami, regardless of genre, Su�nalo is infectious and engaging. There's also often somewhere in the vicinity of fifty members to be found on the stage at any given point. But even though the proceedings are carnivalesque, they always remain under control. So far, this notorious 'Afro-Latin, baby-makin' descarga funk' big band has recorded two albums, which thump and hump just as hard as the live show. So if you ever have a bunch of wallflowers over at your crib for a party and it's time to get them moving, Su�nalo can help.

      5. The Antiques
      Of the early Miami bands to incorporate Latin sounds, the Antiques took its cues from Santana and the California scene, producing one gem of an album in 1973's Sincerely Antique. We'd even venture to say that it belongs alongside the first three Santana albums. It is a damn shame that this Miami crew didn't explode into mega-superstar status like the aforementioned Carlos.

      4. Locos Por Juana
      Now in its 14th year, Locos Por Juana's humble beginnings may have been as a jam band, but the group's sound has steadily expanded over the last decade to incorporate dance-heavy styles like salsa and cumbia. In 2005 and 2008, Locos earned Grammy nominations. But Itagui Correa, Mark Kondrat, Javier Delgado, and crew's signature achievemnet is likely the introduction of contemporary Afro-Colombian rock 'n' roll music to the South Florida scene.

      3. Spam All Stars
      Andrew Yeomanson is a personal vinyl hero for us. As DJ Le Spam, he's probably done more to introduce amazing tuneage into South Florida's subconscious than anyone else. With the Spam All Stars, he's managed to bridge his crazy love and thirst for music as a DJ with that of a live player. Effervescent, informed, and usually way more globally referential than an initial listen would suggest, Spam All Stars is also the hardest working band in Miami. What nights do Yeomanson and friends take off again? Oh, that's right -- nearly none.

      2. Coke
      The only thing that prevented Coke, or rather, Los Coke from becoming a household name was its already trademarked moniker. But not even a cease-and-desist order from the soda company could silence what these guys did in the early '70s. Teenagers freshly out of high school when their self-titled 1970 album was recorded, los hermanos de Los Coke recently enjoyed a revival, alongside other South Florida bands of their era from the Open House circuit and the local disco scene. Though they no longer perform as Coke, the majority of the resurfaced members continue to gig around South Florida as Harmony. And that '70 album, now reissued on CD, is an absolute must in any Miami home.

      1. Miami Sound Machine
      Before even thinking about saying anything to the contrary, answer the following: When traveling abroad between 1988 and 1997, what did people say when finding out that you were from Miami? That's right, how awesome it must be to live the Miami Vice lifestyle and that Miami Sound Machine performed at your house. Prior to launching Gloria's award-laden solo career, the Miami Sound Machine bridged the dying disco era with '80 New Wave. Just rewatch that classic 'Conga' music video. And after you're done chuckling over the outfits, tell us with a straight face that you're not shakin' your body, baby, doin' the conga. Go ahead. Try us.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Here's What Beckham's Soccer Stadium Next To Marlins Park Would Look Like
      June 26, 2014
      By Kyle Munzenrieder 

      Sure, most of us are paying attention to what's going on in an existing soccer stadium an entire continent away as of this writing, but the future of a brand new soccer stadium right here in Miami is still very much a floating issue.
      Yesterday, County Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez released his own model for what a 40,000-seat soccer stadium for David Beckham's MLS team might look like if it was located right next to Marlins Park.

      See also: David Beckham's Boat Slip Stadium Plan Is Dead

      Mind you, no one asked Suarez to do this. He just kind of had his staff do it on their own. It's clear these plans aren't quite on the professional level we've scene when Beckham's own team came up with plans for previous sites at the port and Museum Park.

      Despite that, Suarez says his plan has the support of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Chairman Willy Gort, and commissioners Francis Suarez and Marc Sarnoff. Suarez says the his fellow former mayors, Manny Diaz and Maurrice Ferre, also support the plan (for whatever that's worth).

      'As can be seen in the rendering, several small parcels of land would need to be acquired; additionally, minor changes would be necessary on NW 17 Avenue. However, it is feasible and not costly since the infrastructure is already in place,' reads a statement from Suarez's office.
      See also: Rep. Joe Garcia Wants Beckham to Build Stadium in Homestead or Florida City

      'This is the only site with sufficient space which is accessible to public transportation, and also connected to principle roadways. The proposed site also takes into consideration the requirement of the Beckham Group that the stadium be near downtown.'

      Here's, of course, the two immediately obvious points:

      The plans is for a 40,000-seat stadium.
      Beckham's plan for a soccer-specific stadium at Museum Park called for just 20,000 seats. That's inline with other MLS stadiums. The only talk of Beckham's group wanting a larger stadium is if they entered a deal to share the stadium with the University of Miami Hurricanes. The school indicated they'd only be open to it if the stadium held -- you guessed it -- at least 40,000 people. Suarez mentioned nothing of this specifically. The school and team decided earlier this month to not go through with the idea anyway, and the Hurricanes would need the blessing of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to get out of their current lease at Sun Life Stadium. Ross isn't keen on the idea, and with his own stadium deal finalized, the county doesn't have much leverage left. So, yes, a plan for 40,000 seats is odd. Very odd.

      MLS doesn't want to be near Marlins Park.
      'No -- we're not considering that location,' MLS President Mark Abbott told the Miami Herald about land next to Marlins park earlier this month. 'Our strong belief is that, to be successful, it needs to be downtown.'

      So despite the MLS and Beckham wanting a 20,000-seat stadium somewhere in downtown, a county commissioner had produced his own plan for a 40,000-seat stadium just out of downtown. Makes sense?

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Venetian Causeway may get complete makeover including new name
      June 26, 2014
      By: Jacqueline Salo

      Plans to repair a segment of the Venetian Causeway already are underway, but the thoroughfare may end up getting a complete makeover.

      At a public meeting Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that a study has been launched to examine the potential overhaul of the entire 87-year-old causeway.

      FDOT�s 2014 bridge inspection report prompted the study when it rendered all 12 of the bridges along the causeway either in need of rehabilitation or replacement. Ten of the bridges were declared by the report to be �functionally obsolete.�

      �These bridges are designed to last 50 years or so,� said Dat Huynh, project engineer. �The Venetian is well past its service life, but it is also historic.�

      The causeway is the oldest in Florida and since it has historic designation, the study needs to evaluate how to minimize changes to the bridges. With work to the bridge closest to Miami scheduled for this year, FDOT said it is likely that section will not require further repairs.

      In addition to assessing engineering concerns, FDOT will address environmental issues in the study. FDOT representatives anticipate the study will take at least three years before a plan is finalized.

      The study�s launch was met by concerns from the over 70 Miami Beach residents in attendance.

      �My concern is that you maintain the current character of one-lane each way, the look and feel and that you keep a lane open during construction for emergency vehicles,� said Michael Fryd, a member of the Venetian Island Homeowners Association.

      Several residents called for the first change to be one that does not require any machinery - a name change to Venetian Way.

      �This should be a way,� said Mark White, chair of Transportation & Parking Committee. �It has been treated it like a causeway.�

      FDOT plans to continue to host public meetings to involve residents.

      Weekly updates concerning meetings and the project are available at fdotmiamidade.com/venetianbridgestudy.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Michy's Closes Saturday: Last Chance for a Last Meal
      June 26, 2014
      By: Laine Doss

      Michelle Bernstein's Michy's will serve its last dinner this Saturday, June 28.
      That sounds sadder than it seems, as the chef is revamping the space and menu, with the goal of reopening later this summer.

      Bernstein made the announcement in in May, saying, 'It's time for us to change the look and feel of the restaurant and provide our guests with a fresh, new concept. We embrace new projects and feel the Michy's space and our restaurant team deserve something new and exciting.' Yet, the Michy's Facebook page is using hashtag #newmichys. Hopefully, the celebrity chef is simply sprucing up the place.

      Although this marks a new beginning rather than an ending for the restaurant that opened on Miami's Upper Eastside in 2006, we felt a touch of nostalgia and set out to have one last meal there.

      When was the last time you had baked Alaska off a cruise ship? A cloud of meringue surrounds pistachio cake with a side of passion fruit.
      If you want to experience Michy's one last time before her transformation to #newmichys, you've got a few days left.

      Tonight, chef Bernstein is 'cooking off the cuff' with a special menu filled with old favorites and possibly a few new menu items. We're not sure what's on the menu, because the chef likes to shop for service and incorporate whatever is 'fresh and beautiful that day.'

      Michy's is open for dinner tonight through Saturday, June 28.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Sewer System Coming To Miami Shores With Promises of New Restaurants
      June 26, 2014
      By: Rich Robinson

      Miami Shores, the wealthy village wedged between Little Haiti and North Miami, is poised for a commercial renaissance along its main downtown corridor on NE Second Ave., as a long awaited sewer system is planned to be installed in the next two years, according to a municipal official.
      Tom Benton, the village manager said in an interview that he expects construction to begin by January 2015. From there, it could be up to 15 months before the new system is complete.

      The sewer is critical to making Miami Shores a viable economic district, says Todd Leoni, who owns two buildings on the street.

      'I would like it to be a great downtown area where people come to everyday and I think it has the making of that,' Leoni, a Miami Shores native said. 'But I think it's yet to be defined.'

      Leoni said that he owns roughly 15 properties around Miami, mostly bunched on Biscayne Boulevard.

      'There's still a lot of obstacles to overcome, but I've lived in the Shores for 12 years and I believe in it,' Leoni said. 'It's really the last little village that hasn't made it because of the fact that we don't have sewers.'

      As an older community in the county, Miami Shores relies on drain fields and septic tanks, which have to be periodically emptied. This limits the type of business that can come into the area.

      The village classifies its downtown as running along NE Second Ave. from 94th to 101st Streets. It is made up of a series of block-sized buildings (some built in the 1930s) that break up the flow of suburbia that characterizes life here. O Cinema, the independent film theatre non-profit, has one of its two locations on Second Ave. The theater and a handful of other mom-and-pop shops offer a bit of culture to the otherwise bland and sterile street populated with banks, doctor's offices, and real estate fronts.
      Councilman Jesse Walters reports that 81 percent of commercial space is currently full on Second Ave. But it's mostly office-style spaces, he points out; while more people are working in downtown Miami Shores, there's a lack of restaurants and retail outlets that would invigorate the area. Those are the type of businesses the people of the community want, Walters says.

      'The vision is what residents have repeatedly say they've wanted, which is restaurants, maybe a bar or two and some gentle retail like a bookstore,' Walters said sitting on a bench in front of the local chamber of commerce office.

      Leoni, the property owner, recently purchased 9600 NE Second Ave., a wide building with a few unfinished spaces on the bottom floor, which could be turned into future restaurants -- assuming the new sewer system provides the infrastructure to support them.

      But until then, Leoni's stuck operating his business as usual. Which isn't so bad; his new building is 60 percent full, he says. But things would be better if the employees in those offices just had a few more options for happy hour.

      Still, he says he's optimistic about the Shores' post-sewer future.

      'I'm willing to wait,' he says. 'I believe in the town.'

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Citzens votes to lower insurance rates, but not for everyone in South Florida
      June 25, 2014

      The board of state-run Citizens Property Insurance approved a plan that could reduce base rates for about 70 percent of policyholders.

      TALLAHASSEE -- For the first time in four years, Citizens Property Insurance wants to lower rates for nearly 70 percent of its customers while everyone else �mostly South Florida condominium owners and homeowners in coastal areas � will see another year of increases.

      The rate changes were recommended Wednesday at the quarterly meeting of Citizens� Board of Governors and now must go before the Office of Insurance Regulation for final approval.

      Base rates vary greatly from policy to policy, but Citizens is proposing average rate cuts of about 4.3 percent for Miami-Dade County homeowners with �multi-peril� policies � ones that include protection against theft, wind and fire. Similar policies in Broward will see rates drop an average of 7.3 percent; Monroe County homeowners will see rates rise 2.6 percent.

      For condominium owners in South Florida, however, the rate hikes will continue with average increases of 6.4 percent (Miami Dade), 3.2 percent (Broward) and 1.4 percent (Monroe).

      Rate increases will also occur for many coastal area homeowners who have wind-only policies held by Citizens. The average increase for wind-only policies in Broward County will be about 5.3 percent and 7.9 percent in Monroe County. It will remain the same for Miami Dade policyholders.

      The lower rates were made possible primarily because of a decline in re-insurance costs and the fact that the state has not faced a hurricane in eight years, Citizens officials said.

      �It�s important to recognize that for the first time in many years, Citizens has achieved actuarially sound rates for the multi-peril groups of business,�� said John Rollins, chief risk officer for Citizens, at the board meeting Wednesday.

      State law requires that Citizens rates be what regulators determine are actuarially sound, meaning the cost of the policy is based on the risk. Citizens is barred from increasing its customer rates more than 10 percent a year.

      Homeowners who see their rates rise have rates that regulators have determined are below what they should be charged compared to the risk. Condo units, for example, are being charged an average of 74 percent less than the risk associated with their windstorm policies, Citizens data shows. But no condo owner will be charged more than 10 percent as required by law.

      If state regulators approve the board�s recommendation, the statewide average decrease for homeowners will be 6 percent and for renters, 22 percent. Condominium owners will see their rates rise an average of 9 percent � with half of them getting the maximum 10 percent hike. And commercial property owners will see average increases of about 8 percent.

      The proposal to lower rates at Citizens would be the first time in four years the state-run insurer of last resort has sought a reduction and comes in an election year when voters are keen on pocketbook issues.

      Jay Neal, president of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform, a Broward-based coalition of insurance and development companies, said that in the past, when rates were shown to be higher than needed to be actuarially sound, �they would just leave it the way it was.�

      But Neal said he was not prepared to blame it on election-year politics.

      The Legislature allowed Citizens to raise its rates up to 10 percent a year at the same time it increased incentives to private companies to takeover Citizens policies. The strategy worked and as of May 31, Citizens was down to 928,546 policies, most of which are in six counties � Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Broward, Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Pasco � from a high of 1.5 million policies two years ago.

      As the company shed policies, it used the price differential to discourage new customers from choosing Citizens when policies were comparable.

      In a statement earlier this week, Chris Gardner, chairman of the Citizens board, said the board had no choice but to pass on the savings from the low re-insurance costs and hurricane free years.

      �We�ve done nothing more than rely upon the same data we use every year to determine rates and this year that data indicates a decrease is in order for most of our policyholders,� he said.

      Tom Lynch, a member of the board of governors, expressed concern that the rate decrease could lead to people choosing Citizens policies over the private carriers, especially if a hurricane hits Florida again.

      �In 2007, our rates were the cheapest in the market,� he said Wednesday. �My concern is how fast can we recover if the market changes.�

      He suggested that current policyholders be given a rate reduction while new policyholders pay current rates.

      Rollins called it �a very valid concern,� but he didn�t think Citizens had the authority to charge two sets of rates for the same policy.

      Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, a frequent critic of Citizens, said the decision to raise rates hurts homeowners who have to rely on Citizens as their insurer of last resort.

      �Citizens board of Governors needs to stop all rate increases until they have controlled their costs,� he said in a statement. �Citizens and the previous boards have spent over 1 billion dollars in attorney fees [defense and plaintiff] in the last 10 years.�

      The Office of Insurance Regulation sets Citizens rates but uses the recommendations provided by Citizens and its board of directors to guide its decision.

      Also Wednesday, the board recommended keeping rates for sinkhole claims steady except in Hernando County, where rates will rise 10 percent.

      Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway also announced Wednesday that the company was delaying a plan to require homeowners with existing policies to opt-out of having their policies taken over by private companies using an electronic clearinghouse.

      Citizens had planned to shift policies into the clearinghouse August or September, but will now delay the start of that effort until November, at the request of the contractor, Bolt Solutions Inc.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Acknowledgement of Ambassadorship of Good Will
      Bestowed to the City of Miami.
    • EB5 Investor Visa Seminar
      Americas Linkage 2014 Spain
    • Americas Linkage 2014 Spain
      Country briefing by US Embassy
    • Americas Linkage
      2014 Spain
    • Historic Signing
      Sister City Agreement Miami and Madrid 2014.
    • Muse condo tower starts signing contracts with buyers
      June 17, 2014
      By Peter Zalewski

      Planned Sunny Isles Beach project moves closer to construction

      Another new Sunny Isles Beach condo tower took a significant step toward being developed in the barrier island city in Northeast Miami-Dade County.
      Earlier this month, the planned 47-story, 68-unit Muse condo tower slated to be developed on an oceanfront site in the 17100 block of Collins Avenue began converting refundable buyer reservations starting at $100,000 into nonrefundable presale contracts, with purchase prices totaling in the millions of dollars.
      The conversion from reservations, which were first signed back in March, into presale purchase contracts with 50 percent deposits is a critical step in a new project�s evolution. During this process, developers quickly determine the total number of committed purchasers and find out who changed their minds after initially deciding to buy in a particular tower.
      With more than half of the planned units reserved in the Muse condo tower, a high rate of buyer conversions from reservations to contracts would propel the project�s development team � New York City�s Property Markets Group with Kevin Maloney and Aventura-based S2 Development with J. Claudio Stivelman � toward launching construction by the end of the year.
      (For disclosure purposes, my firm had provided some market consulting services for Stivelman�s previous firm, Shefaor Development.)
      A groundbreaking in December 2014 would put the Carlos Ott-designed Muse condo tower on track for completion in early 2017.
      To bolster the marketing efforts for the Muse, which is asking for an average price of $1,650 per square foot, the development team is preparing for the July opening of a new sales center to be located in a shopping center across the street from the project.
      Competition is intensifying in Sunny Isles, where the Muse is one of 14 new towers with more than 1,800 units proposed, planned, under construction or recently completed during the latest South Florida condo construction boom, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)
      As of Monday, one project � the 43-story, 39-unit Regalia tower � has been completed and six more towers with nearly 725 units, including Jade Signature, Mansions at Acqualina and Porsche Design Tower, are under construction in Sunny Isles.
      Another three towers � including Muse � with nearly 400 units are planned with clearance to build, and four towers with more than 650 units are seeking approval to build in Sunny Isles.
      Overall, Sunny Isles has the fourth largest number of new units announced of any markets east of I-95 in the tri-county area of South Florida. The announced unit count represents about 5.4 percent of the more than 33,400 new condo units slated to be developed in the region during this preconstruction boom.
      The unanswered question going forward is whether the developers of the planned Muse condo tower will generate enough sales momentum from the reservation conversion process to stimulate a round of new purchase contracts during what is typically the slow summer season.
      Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Albertype Hand- Colored Postcard
      The Flamingo Pool on Miami Beach, Fla. 1920's 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Eight Miami Life Hacks Everyone Should Know
      June 12, 2014
      By Kyle Munzenrieder

      Despite the (mostly) beautiful weather and fast-paced lifestyle, Miami can be a rough place to live given the traffic, the parking, and the general South Florida insanity. Of course, those of us who've lived here for a while have compiled tips and tricks that make life just a little easier and more enjoyable.
      Now we're passing along those vital Miami life hacks to you.

      Did we leave anything off? Give us your suggestions in the comments or email them to us. If we get enough good tips, we'll be sure to share them with the rest of our readers later.

      8. Get free admission to museums
      It's not just books you can check out at the library, but museum passes too. Seriously, there are a limited number of passes each week at every branch that provide free admission for a family of four to HistoryMiami, Miami Children's Museum, Miami Science Museum, P�rez Art Museum Miami, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Deering Estate at Cutler, and Fruit & Spice Park. They're available on a first-come, first-served basis and are good for one week after checkout. Just bring your library card.
      Several museums also offer free admission to residents certain days. For example, PAMM is currently free the second Saturday of every month and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. the first Thursday. Admission to the Wolfsonian is free every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Check the admission and hours pages on each museum's website to find similar free days.

      7. Enjoy orchestral performance Wallcasts and movies free at the New World Center
      In a lot of cities, experiencing the symphony is a hoity-toity, highbrow affair. In Miami Beach, it's as easy as a picnic. During the fall season, the New World Symphony broadcasts concerts live on the wall of its Frank Gehry-designed building. Throughout the spring, the same state-of-the-art technology is used to screen movies, both recent hits and classic favorites. All showings are free and open to the public. For listings, click MBCulture.com.

      6. Pay-by-phone parking is totally worth it (and sometimes cheaper for residents)
      The only thing worse than having to feed a machine is wrangling with Miami's electronic meters, which seem to work about as often as the Dolphins' draft strategy. Thankfully, several cities in Miami-Dade have instituted pay-by-phone parking that lets you pay for your spot with a call and then lets you renew the spot directly from the app. It's also great when you find an open spot and every meter nearby is busted, a particularly ridiculous problem in the city of Miami.
      Miami, South Miami, and Coral Gables all you use the Pay by Phone app. The app will send you a text message a few minutes before your meter expires. There's a service charge associated with the app, but city of Miami residents can get a 20 percent discount on parking while using the app within city limits.

      Miami Beach, meanwhile, uses the ParkMobile app (to pay for parking) and the ParkMe app (to find available spots). 

      5. See the sun rise over a beach and the sun set over a beach with a quick road trip
      Sure, this one is more whimsical than practical, but it's easy to forget that only residents of certain idyllic islands get to see the sun set and rise over a beach. In Miami it's not quite so easy, but much easier than most places in the world. Just wake up early and hit our beaches before the sun rises. Then after that, you've got plenty of time to hit Alligator Alley or Tamiami Trail for a two-hour drive to a place like Marco Island or Naples to set up on their beaches for the sunset. If you're stressed out or simply need a bit of a break, it's a magical experience to plan a quick weekend trip around.

      4. Get free condoms
      It's Miami. You never know when you might need them. Check Dade Health or Test Miami for locations where you can pick up free jimmy caps. Both sites can also direct you to other free services, but we know that can be a touchy subject. So just go explore it for yourself.

      3. Avoid expensive office or group coffee runs by getting a colada
      This one is not so much a secret, but it may be the single greatest life hack Miami has to offer. In most cities, if your office suddenly needs a fancy caffeine pick-me-up, it means sending some intern to Starbucks for 45 minutes with a mess of cash, credit cards, and complex orders. In Miami it's just a quick trip to your local Cuban joint, and for less than the cost of one Frappuccino, you can pick up a sharable colada and you've got enough caffeine to perk up six people.
      They're also great in certain social situations. Bring a cupful of cafecito shots to your friends during some early get-together and you'll be the most popular person there.

      2. Always find cheap drinks nearby with the Happy Hours app.
      This app is like Tinder for drunks. Yes, it is a product of our parent company. No, we did not include it just because of that. In fact, we might well get in trouble for calling it a Tinder for alcoholics. Sorry, corporate overlords!
      We all know how expensive drinks in Miami can get, but fire up this app and it will show you which bars closest to you have happy hour or happy-hour-like specials going on. It's especially useful in this town. Download it for free here for iPhone and here for Android.

      1. Psst. There's free parking in South Beach
      We'd love to tell you where exactly, are but we can't -- partially because of some unspoken code of honor that the spots' whereabouts remain on a need-to-know basis, but more practically because current construction on Alton Road is always changing what spots are available. They're almost all near east-side residential areas, and you'll find them by looking for signs with blue and red lettering informing you you're about to enter a residential parking area. That means anything along that street before that sign is free game. Two lots near Flamingo Park also allow three free hours of parking during the day (including weekends). And most important, all residential parking areas are open to anyone from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays -- just don't miss the cutoff time or Miami Beach's notoriously evil tow companies will snatch you in a second.
      It's also worth checking to see beforehand if businesses, especially those off the main strips, have free lots available for customers. Sometimes they're easy to miss when you're doing the South Beach parking shuffle. For example, there's free visitor parking at the Miami Beach Marina garage if you're going to one of the restaurants (i.e., Monty's). Yes, we know you know, but you'd be surprised how many people don't.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • June 12, 1913: With first bridge, Miami Beach is open for business
      How big of a deal was the opening of the Collins Bridge across Biscayne Bay? It made possible the creation of Miami Beach as we know it today, with its aura of international glamour, mansions and Art Deco hotels, and it ushered in a wave of development on both sides of the bay so rapid that Miami still refers to itself as the Magic City. 

      At the time, it was the longest wooden bridge in the country -- two and a half miles. It required 2,100 pilings and cost more than $150,000.
      Top: Miamians gather for Collins Bridge dedication, 1913. Below: Collins Bridge in foreground and County Causeway in background in early 1920s. Photos: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
      Developer and farmer John S. Collins financed the construction, with help from a $50,000 loan from automobile parts and racing entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher.

      More than 1,000 attended the dedication, while 200 pedestrians and 145 bicyclists traversed the span, according to the Miami Daily News. An estimated 200 cars drove across, including 100 at once. They had to turn around on the other side, however, because there wasn't yet a paved road to the beach.
      Collins Bridge toll schedule. Photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
      In several lofty speeches, leading businessmen declared the bridge a harbinger of great things to come for Miami. 'We are glad to have the veil lifted between Miami and the Atlantic Ocean,' said Board of Trade representative George A. McKinnon, adding, 'and looking into the future not far distant we see a beautiful residence district on the other side, which this bridge will open up. We see business houses, hotels and other evidences of progress and development which would not be possible if it were not for this great structure which has been flung across this large body of water.'

      Mayor J.W. Watson predicted 'that in two or three years the traffic over the bridge will have grown so large that another bridge, probably larger than this, will be necessitated.' 

      Construction of a second bridge began in 1917 and was dedicated in 1920 as the County Causeway. The modern six-lane version is called MacArthur Causeway.

      In 1925, the original Collins Bridge was replaced by a series of drawbridges and renamed the Venetian Causeway.

      Copyright of Florida History Network
    • Decades in the making, Museum Park in downtown Miami opens to the public
      June 14, 2014
      By: Emma Court

      The much-awaited Museum Park in downtown Miami was inaugurated Saturday morning with the a Coast Guard cutter sailing into the park�s boat slip.

      Museum Park was imbued with a celebratory mood as the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle glided into the park's boat slip to inaugurate the new green space in Downtown Miami on Saturday morning.

      Visitors reclined in grassy, palm-tree-shaded spots by the water and gathered by the slip to take pictures and wave as the cutter pulled in; they jogged and picnicked along the park's winding paths, many with their children and dogs.

      Just days earlier, the fate of the boat slip and part of the park remained uncertain, threatened by David Beckham's proposal for a Major League Soccer stadium on the site. The proposal was announced a no-go by city officials on Tuesday, largely due to an upswell of civic activism by downtown residents and other activist groups.

      More than 150 people showed up at the park�s opening Saturday to celebrate that victory. Posing for pictures with activists carrying �We love Museum Park� signs, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said previous visits to the park convinced him to oppose Beckham's plan for the downtown space.

      �The park is for the city, for the residents, for downtown, but mostly for the next generation,� Regalado said. �It took 14 years, but it�s here today.�

      In response to thanks from park-goers, Regalado said, �Your voices were the ones that made the difference.�

      Over the years, there have been many incarnations of the downtown site.

      In 1976, it was Bicentennial Park, widely considered a failure. Design choices, like walls around the park, along with the lack of a downtown community at the time, limited its appeal. A racetrack ran through it and then a homeless community took it over. Even before Beckham's stadium proposal, it was suggested as a site for the Marlins� stadium. Since then, much has changed in downtown Miami; along with the changes has come a community structure and the formation of organizations like the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance � a group that played a prominent role in the fight for the park.

      Many who gathered to celebrate the park's opening Saturday had worked for decades to see it through.

      Gregory Bush, vice president of the Urban Environment League and a historian at the University of Miami, began advocating for a park in the space in 1998. Nancy Lee, a former member of the Urban Environment League who lives in Aventura, has been fighting for the park for even longer, since 1995. She said Bicentennial Park was �terrible,� and said she was particularly excited about the slip being saved from Beckham�s proposal to fill it in, since she has seen manatees and dolphins swimming there.

      For others, like the residents of condominiums across the street from the park, who turned out in droves, the battle over the park has been shorter but no less pressing. Steve Smith, who lives across the street from the park at 900 Biscayne Bay and supported the movement to stop the stadium, said the controversy has been going on for the entire three-and-a-half years he�s lived there. �It seems like it�s been forever,� he said.

      Smith said the park was a �wonderful� addition to his neighborhood, where he says there is a scarcity of green space.

      �Museum Park gives you the ability to build your community instead of just live in a tower; it lets you meet your neighbors. It�s a fabulous place to gather,� Smith said. �It's really going to change the fabric of downtown and the quality of life.�

      For Helen Hoffman, who lives across the street in the Marina Blue condominiums, the announcement that the park would be saved this week was �just a huge relief.�

      �I would love to see soccer here but I don't think it needs to be on a public park. I can�t imagine walking along here and seeing another big stadium,� she said, motioning to AmericanAirlines Arena adjacent to the park.

      Her husband, Phil Hoffman, said Museum Park will be Miami's Central Park. �If they took this away, we'd never have one,� he said.

      It was a sentiment expressed, too, by Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, a longtime advocate for the park, who spoke to park-goers about the difficulties of carrying through on a plan for this space.

      �You have the bones here for probably what will become the greatest park in any city in the U.S.,� he said. �Let's just stick to the plan. ... Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to stick to the plan.�

      Many on Saturday hailed Museum Park as the triumph of public interests over corporate interests. For others, the fight over Museum Park was about the future of the changing city itself.

      But on Saturday, it was simply a gathering spot for the community. Picnickers spread their blankets out along the grassy space, bikers pedaled along the paths edging the slip and children ran around in the blazing sun, a reprieve from a soggy week.

      �Look, sand!� A pint-sized child toddled onto the sand edging the waterfront, a child-sized soccer ball in her hand.

      Lee, the activist for whom the park was a work in progress for nearly two decades, says she�ll return again.

      �I'll be back a million times,� she said.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Ten Best Restaurants in North Miami
      By Carina Ost
      June 12, 2014

      North Miami may be the place you buy a car, do your Costco shopping, or hit up Yogurtland, but it's probably not the area you initially think of for dining outside cookie-cutter chain restaurants. You're missing out, though, because this suburban city to the north is packed with hidden gems.
      What follows are the top ten restaurants you most likely missed while cruising Biscayne Boulevard or 123rd Street and surrounding areas.

      10. Steve's Pizza
      Steve's has some sweet sauce. Depending upon your preference, that's either a positive or a negative. However, this neighborhood joint has been tossing and slicing since the '70s, and it's a standout in the area. The graffiti-covered walls and classic arcade games are reminiscent of teenage years when all you cared about was pizza and stressing out if the grease would give you pimples. Pizza face or not, this pizza is worth it.

      9. Cane a Sucre
      When the lunch hour rolls around and you don't know what you want, most likely visions of sandwiches, soups, and salads circle your mind. Cane a Sucre carries them all, and they are expertly prepared and well priced. Le Fig, with Gorgonzola cheese, fig confit, fresh oregano, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey on warm baguette is a sandwich standout. You get creamy, fruity, and savory stuffed into a fresh baguette, and it it is spectacular.

      8. Petit Rouge
      For a fantastic French meal in a cozy 24-seat restaurant, Petit Rouge is your neighborhood bistro. The classic escargots, steak frites, and French onion soup topped with melted Gruy�re are all stellar. If you want to wash down the richness, the wine list offers varieties and varietals to match a restaurant three times its size.

      7. Vega's Burger Bar
      The burger bar formerly known as Flip's still gives patrons something to flip over. All neighborhoods need a place for beer, burgers, chili, and mac 'n' cheese. For North Miami, Vega's is that special place. The beer list is insane and handwritten. The burgers are great, but the macaroni 'n' cheese and the chili are some of the best bowls anywhere. Pro tip: You can order a bowl of each and mix together for a killer chili-mac that begs to be washed down with a Belgian brew.

      6. Little Havana
      Visiting Little Havana doesn't always require a trip to Calle Ocho. This large family-run restaurant in North Miami has all the goods in a banquet restaurant setting. One of the best deals is the lunch specials Monday through Friday that start at $5.99. Don't believe us? The sign outside reiterates it. The little Havana steak is a favorite, with a steak so large it hangs off the plate, served with rice and beans, plantains, and the most addictive chimichurri.

      5. Fish Fish
      For a place so nice you have to say it twice, head to Fish Fish. Despite the fish market in front, dine in anyway -- this place is so quirky and homey. They serve plenty of old-school items you thought were long forgotten, like a deconstructed caesar salad and baked Alaska. But here you're glad to see them resurrected. Another item you might be initially unsure of is the crispy hogfish with Parmesan and key lime butter, but it'll win you over.

      4. Cheen-Huaye
      Miami may be lacking tasty Mexican food, but Cheen-Huaye nails southern Mexican cuisine. Food from the Yucat�n has that tropical kick Miamians love. The maya burrito -- filled with cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork wrapped in banana leaves), beans, rice, and pickled onions -- is a favorite.

      3. Bulldog Barbecue & Burger
      Top Chef alum Howie 'Bulldog' Kleinberg has a meatastic joint with dogs (duh), burgers, brisket, ribs, and so much more. If you are feeling extra-devilish, try the Luther, with a Krispy Kreme-inspired glazed doughnut bun. Not hot enough? The Heat is a burger with bacon, jalape�o marmalade, fried pickled jalape�os, pepper jack cheese, and house sauce.

      2. Ricky's Thai Bistro
      Every color of curry shines at this neighborhood Thai restaurant. The shrimp are plump, the noodles are handmade and drunken, and you can swig some Phuket Thai beer while speaking to the Ricky, the preteen son of the owners. His dad is from Italy, and his mom -- the chef -- is from Thailand. Together they create magic in North Miami. Bonus fact: They grow herbs in the back that give their dishes an extra boost of flavor and freshness.

      1. Captain Jim Hanson's Seafood Market and Restaurant
      If you are under the impression that seafood needs white linen and stainless steel crackers, think again. Captain Jim's offers seafood that is fresh off the boat with plastic cutlery and paper plates. In fact, their raw bar is designated with a sign made from butcher paper and colored markers. Who needs fancy when you have fresh claws, oysters, grouper sandwiches and conch fritters? The seafood is the star here and the prices are pretty unbeatable.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • iPic, Luxury Movie Theater Serving Food and Beverages, to Open in North Miami Beach
      June 11, 2014
      By Ciara LaVelle

      Things are looking up for Miami moviegoers. Last month, Miami Beach passed an ordinance that would allow its Regal South Beach theater to sell booze to patrons. And now, North Miami Beach moviegoers are due to get their own luxury film-watching experience.
      iPic, a chain of upscale movie theaters serving food and drinks and offering amenities like large, plush recliners and blankets, will open at the Intracoastal Mall in 2015, developer Michael Dezer told the Miami Herald.

      iPic will go into the former Intracoastal 8 theater at the western side of the mall, requiring a complete gutting and renovation to implement services such as a wine bar and lounge to complement patrons' trips to the theater. It's part of an overall move to take the mall to a higher level of luxury, Dezer told the Herald, which also includes bringing in a branch of Epicure Market and other high-end shopping.

      If you're reading this in Miami, the closest iPic theater to you is in Boca Raton. Patrons there, of course, are no stranger to luxury experiences. So it's probably not a surprise that Boca audiences seem to love the concept, giving it 4.5 stars on Yelp with reviews like 'once you come here you will never be able to watch a movie in another theater again.'

      But as with other upscale movie theaters in the Miami area, such as Cobb Cinebistro at Dolphin Mall, there is one common complaint: the price. Movie theaters are already notoriously expensive; add food and drinks to that experience, especially ones at jacked-up theater prices, and things can get expensive quickly. Ticket pricing has not yet been announced for North Miami Beach's iPic, but today's prices in Boca start at $14 for standard seating (or $12 if you're an iPic member); you can tack another $10 onto that if you want the 'premium plus' experience that includes a recliner, blanket, and pillows. And again, that's before you get to the food.

      But as movie attendance continues its decline across the nation, due in part perhaps to audiences' bad experiences at traditional theaters, maybe patrons are ready to pay a little extra for the premium film experience, saving up and splurging on the movies they really want to see.

      'This will actually transform the movie experience into an ultimate night out,' Dezer told the Herald. 'Now, you go to the movie and have popcorn, and you go. This is a whole different experience.'

      iPic's North Miami Beach location is the first of three luxury theaters the company plans to open in Miami-Dade.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Coopertone Girl
      Sign and Everglades Hotel on Biscayne Blvd Miami at Night
      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native
    • Carnival Cruise Ship Fantasy
      Coming into Port at Dodge Island 
      Miami, Fla. 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Aerial View above Government Cut
      Looking North along the Coastline 
      Miami Beach, Fla. 1925 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
      . . . 1925 - the Olympia begins!

      Courtesy of Olympia Theater at Gusman Center
    • Berni Hotel
      204 Biscayne Blvd. 
      Miami, Fla. 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Venetian Islands ~ Collins Bridge
      Courtesy of Miami, See it like a Native
      Courtesy of Miami, See it like a Native
    • EB-5 designation could spur foreign investment boom in Miami
      June 10, 2014
      By: Andy Kent

      Visa program expected to be particularly popular with Chinese real estate buyers

      Foreign investors now have an added incentive to pursue commercial real estate projects in Miami �a visa program that can lead to permanent residency in the U.S.
      Though the program itself has been around since 1990, the federal government�s recent announcement designating Miami as an EB-5 Regional Center for Foreign Investment makes the city more attractive to developers from other countries. In fact, one local real estate expert believes it could position Miami as a burgeoning New York City of the south.
      �I think the combination of troubled areas or troubled countries where people don�t feel safe keeping their money there is leading them to look elsewhere to invest,� Emile Farah, CEO of A Farah Group of Companies, who represents Miami for the �Sister Cities International� program, told The Real Deal.
      �The growth that is going on here has been amazing,� Farah said. �For instance, the amount of development that has been going on just in the Brickell area, everyone is now calling it a mini-Manhattan.�
      With a minimum investment of $500,000 and proof after two years that the commercial enterprise has created at least 10 jobs, a foreign investor and his or her family can obtain permanent U.S. residency. That incentive, along with Miami�s other attributes like the climate and lack of a state income tax, is expected to increase the region�s appeal.
      First up among the growing pool of foreign nationals expected to take advantage of the immigration status perk from EB-5 are Chinese investors. The timing of the city receiving the special designation comes shortly after major changes in another popular target market � Canada.
      In February, the Canadian government canceled its Immigrant Investor Program and in effect redirected more than 45,000 mainland Chinese investors to the U.S. They have now replaced South American investors as the largest group to utilize EB-5 in Miami.
      One Miami-based builder, Riviera Point Development Group, raised nearly $30 million in EB-5 funding for office projects in Doral and Miramar in 2013. Investors in the developments came from China, Europe and South America, according to the company�s website.
      SkyRise Miami developer Jeffrey Berkowitz reportedly plans to also take advantage of EB-5 to cover more than half of the $430 million cost of the 1,000-foot downtown observation tower.
      �China is the number one user of this program and are pursuing more visas through it,� Liliana Gomez, director of international sales for ISG World, told TRD. �They have come to learn more about Miami and seem to like the number of universities that are nearby and the lack of pollution compared to other big cities.�
      Chinese investors accounted for 3.7 percent of Florida real estate purchases in 2013, up from 2 percent in 2012 and 1 percent in 2011, according to Gomez.
      Gomez recently returned from Beijing and said her sales consultant at ISG World China, Ying Peng, also noticed a significant shift in investment strategy abroad. New York remains high on the list, but the growth potential in Miami and South Florida overall is evident.
      The expansion of the Panama Canal and the deep dredging being done to PortMiami to accommodate larger ships are expected to be big draws, Gomez said. �This is going to help the economy in Miami, create more jobs and impact residential real estate as well.�
      In addition to the Chinese and South Americans, investors from the Middle East are showing an increased interest in Miami.
      Farah and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado hosted Beirut�s mayor last month, as Beirut is now a sister city of Miami. Partnerships with Qatar and Dubai also are in the works. Farah pointed to newly available direct flights between Miami and Doha as an encouraging sign for luring investors from Qatar.
      �We are definitely working together now, trying to start enticing people from the Middle East to come and invest here, so that was one of the subjects that we discussed with the mayor of Beirut,� Farah said. �They would [also] be interested in having some investors go into Beirut and invest. So the sister city agreement was a very important agreement to sign and was actually the first time an Arab mayor visited the City of Miami on an official visit.�

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Infrastructure tops concerns at Greater Miami Chamber�s Goals Conference
      June 9, 2014

      Transportation, infrastructure and sea-level rise were among the concerns on the opening day of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce�s 46th annual Goals Conference, which began Monday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

      About 1,000 members turned out for the start of the two-day conference, where executives from business, government and not-for-profit agencies seek to set the year�s agenda for economic development and community improvement. Much of the event was dedicated to specific areas of banking and finance, healthcare, real estate, education and sustainability.

      But at the forefront were concerns about what Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez called the �backbone� of the county: infrastructure.

      �In order to support our growth in a way that is sustainable, we need effective mobility solutions that will provide greater connectivity throughout our community and beyond,� Gimenez said in an address. �We also need to get people out of their cars, out of traffic.�

      Incoming chamber chair Tony Argiz also spoke about the need to improve transportation. That, along with issues related to rising seas and their impact on the community and economy, will be the focus for his year as the chamber�s leader, he said.

      Creating incentives for employees to use alternative systems, such as Metrorail and People Mover, could help alleviate congestion and traffic issues, Argiz said. More roads will only lead to more cars on the road.

      The words �global city� were often heard at Monday�s meeting. The first step to assuring Miami�s world-city status, said many speakers, is improving infrastructure.

      �People are going to get shocked down the road in two or three years when their insurance companies send them renewal notices of 20 and 25 percent and they are going to have to pay it,� Argiz said. And that could drive both businesses and residents away from the region.

      Also critical, said Gimenez: putting a stopper to the �brain drain.�

      �With over 380,000 students in the metropolitan area, Miami is among the Top 10 college towns in America,� Gimenez said. �The brain power that will drive our future economy is already here. We just need to make sure it stays here.�

      The annual gathering is also part year-in-review, appreciation for the outgoing chair (this year, Alberto Dosal) and part rally. A humorous video caps each year�s opening session; this year�s riffed on Miami�s �awesomeness�' and included a soccer stadium floating in Biscayne Bay � a reference to David Beckham's proposed waterfront soccer stadium.

      �We�d love to have David Beckham with a soccer team in this town,� said chairman Argiz. �In terms of the location, we aren�t going to take a position on that.�

      Other speakers sought to dodge the subject when asked their views. But in an interview, Gimenez said he found a poll published Monday by the Miami Herald indicated split public opinion encouraging because, he believes, many of those who say they don�t want the stadium in downtown Miami want it closer to their own neighborhoods. As to whether the stadium will become a reality, he said, �I don't know.� He will continue to work to bring the stadium to Miami, he said.

      More pressing issues dominated the breakout sessions and general meetings on critical issues. Among the topics raised were the diminishing number of Miami banking institutions, the need for better primary medical care delivery, and recognition of downtown as the county�s primary economic driver.

      The conference will continue on Tuesday with workshops on governmental affairs, professional and workforce development, sports, technology and international business.

      Said chamber president Barry Johnson, �Everything we thought Miami would be, it�s becoming, right before our very eyes. That doesn�t mean we don�t have our challenges � we certainly do � but a lot of fabulous things are happening in Miami. Everything is awesome.�

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Supply of quality housing still weak across South Florida
      June 10, 2014

      Despite an increase in inventory, brokers report a lack of desirable properties

      More properties are hitting the market in South Florida this year, yet buyers and brokers alike are still frustrated by the lack of quality inventory.
      In April, there were 7,326 active single-family listings in Palm Beach County, up 17 percent over the same period a year ago, according to Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches data cited by the Sun-Sentinel. And during the first quarter of this year, listings rose 9 percent, year-over-year.
      Broward County boasted 5,773 active single-family listings in April � up 41 percent over the same period a year ago, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors association. And data provided by EWM Realtors International showed that listings in the $150,000-to-$299,999 price range shot up a remarkable 72 percent in April.
      Nevertheless, houses in the most desirable neighborhoods are scarce, brokers told the Sun Sentinel.
      �There�s a lot of inventory that�s just garbage,� Allyson Sullivan, an agent with Lang Realty in Delray Beach, said. �And there�s a lot of seller greed out there. If the homes are overpriced, buyers aren�t jumping on them.�
      Terry Story, a Coldwell Banker agent who sells in Broward and Palm Beach counties added that �sellers hear that the market is really hot, and they feel like buyers will continue to make offers even if the home is overpriced. But they�re only going to make offers if they perceive it to be a good value. They�re not stupid.� [Sun-Sentinel] - Christopher Cameron

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Miami food trucks are cleaner than restaurants
      June 10, 2014
      By: Evans S. Benn

      New study reveals more violations at brick-and-mortar establishments

      Good news, Miami food truck followers: Your favorite roach-coaches probably have fewer actual roaches than established restaurants.

      A new report that examined 25,463 inspections of Miami restaurants, food trucks and street carts from 2008 through July 2012 found that mobile vendors averaged 3.7 total violations per inspection while brick-and-mortar joints averaged 8.2. 

      (There are always outliers, of course: The worst-offending restaurant racked up 69 violations in one inspection; a food truck picked up 31 in one swoop.) 

      Food trucks and carts had, on average, fewer critical and non-critical violations than restaurants. Critical violations cover improperly cooked and stored food, rodents and the like; mobiles vendors averaged 3.3 critical violations per inspection while restaurants averaged 5.4. 

      The data was provided by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the analysis performed by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian nonprofit that is pushing for food-truck rights. Inspections covered 730 mobile vendors and 3,959 restaurants in Miami. 

      Copyright 2014 Miami.com. All rights reserved.
    • Goals Conference- GMCC
      2 day conference discussing critical issues facing Miami. The most influential people in Miami are here brainstorming. Very exciting!

      Copyright Maji Pace Ramos
    • 40 mile bend 2 miles West of Krome Ave
      Looking West on the Trail 1953 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Day 2 -Goals Conference -GMCC
      Copyright of Maji Pace Ramos
    • Aerial View of Coconut Grove, Florida
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine
      Installed this mural in his office.

      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native
    • Atlantique Resort Motel
      Telephone, Tub & Shower in Every Room 
      16501 Collins Ave. Sunny Isles, Fla. 1960 

      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer

      Courtesy of Miami See it like a Native
      Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native
    • Smoke shuts down stretch of U.S. 27 in Broward
      Miami Herald Staff Report

      A brush fire shut down northbound U.S. 27 from Interstate 75 in Broward early Monday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The road is closed to Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach County.

      The road opened before 9 a.m.

      The haze also is lingering over suburban areas of Miami-Dade and Broward on Monday morning, and people are waking up to the intense smell of smoke outside. 

      The smoke -- heavy in Miami Beach, downtown Miami, West Miami-Dade and along the I-95 and 826 corridors -- also is cutting visibility on the roads.

      Visibility is down to one or two miles in some areas of Hialeah and South Miami-Dade.

      Copyright Deadline Miami
    • Miami Has Seventh Worst Traffic in America
      June 5, 2014
      By Kyle Munzenrieder

      Sky blue. Sun sets. Miami traffic bad. It hardly seems like news, but somehow it's comforting to be reminded periodically that traffic in Miami really is among the worst in America and we're not just imagining it.
      Turns out those TomTom GPS devices do more than help people get from point A to B. They also capture real-life travel times and help the company understand traffic congestion based on hard data. The firm has released its annual TomTom Traffic Index this week [PDF here], and, unsurprisingly, Miami has some of the worst traffic in America. It's ranked seventh worst in the United States and 14th in all of the North and South American countries TomTom covers.

      See also: Miami Ranked 11th Worst Traffic City in America

      The report uses the TomTom congestion level. That means driving time increased by traffic compared to the time it would take to make the same trip when traffic is free-flowing.

      Miami's congestion level is 24 percent, meaning traffic congestion makes your average trip 24 percent longer than it would be without congestion.

      During the morning rush hour, it reaches an average peak of 42 percent. During the evening commute, it reaches a peak of 50 percent.

      Traffic, meanwhile, is usually more congested on nonhighways (32 percent) than it is on highways (just 12 percent).

      The data comes from 2013 and includes traffic data from Broward County as well.

      TomTom found that drivers should be expected to be delayed by 27 minutes for each hour in traffic during peak times. On average, Miami drivers with a 30-minute commute will be delayed in traffic for about 71 hours each year.

      Miamians experience the worst traffic Wednesday morning, while the lightest traffic congestion is Friday.

      In the afternoon, it's a different story. Traffic is lightest Monday afternoon and heaviest Friday afternoon.

      In case you're wondering, the most congested day last year occurred Friday, February 15, 2013. It happened to be a rainy day when a series of early-morning crashes occurred on the Dolphin Expressway. All westbound lanes of 836 were shut down throughout the morning.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
      For four decades AD has shown a spotlight on the creations of one of America�s most innovative and iconic architects. Here are just a few of the highlights

      �La Miniatura desired to justly call itself architecture,� declared Wright. The elevation overlooking the reflecting pond, which was conceived by the architect as the front of the house, eventually became the rear. As for the overall siting, �The whole is so naturally a part of that ravine that no one could even think of that building anywhere else,� Wright concluded. (December 1994)

      Despite the ornamental quality of its patterned blocks, La Miniatura had properties of the austere International Style: the simple massing, the tight plan and the use of the concrete made it not unlike the Bauhaus designs of the same period. (December 1994)

      �The house was in truly dreadful shape,� recalls architect John Eifler, who was responsible for restoring a 1958 Frank Lloyd Wright cottage at Mirror Lake, Wisconsin. The sandstone, glass and wood cottage�one of Wright�s last designs and smallest residences�embodies the essence of his architecture in a diminutive 900 square feet. The soaring cantilevered shed roof, a Wright signature element, frames the views to the west and south and establishes a monumentality that belies the structure�s small size. (February 1993)

      Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, to serve as his own home. The part of the house known as Taliesin III was created in 1925 and later, following earlier stages of construction in 1911 and 1914. Apprentices used the studio (pictured) for drafting until Wright built a larger one for them at Hillside in 1932. John Young-Hunter�s portrait of Wright�s mother, Anna, hangs above the fireplace. (May 2004)

      Realizing Frank Lloyd Wright�s only adobe design became a challenge for Charles Klotsche, who recently completed the 1939-1942 project near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Taliesin Associated Architects� Wesley Peters and Charles Montooth, a former apprentice to Wright, adapted the unfinished plans. Wright called it the �pottery house,� shaping the walls�such as these on the west facade of the bedroom wing�in swelling, convex forms reminiscent of Indian pots. (December 1985)

      Natural textures of brick, wood and plastered adobe are blended in the spacious living room. Repeating the curves of the exterior walls, the large freestanding fireplace becomes the focus of the room. In the foreground of the New Mexico home are Tara Humara pots. The built-in sofa is inspired by Wright�s designs. (December 1985)

      �n 1954, Frank Lloyd Wright presented Mr. and Mrs. Don E. Lovness with four design variations of his Usonian houses for the Lovnesses� fifteen acres of lakefront property in Minnesota. Virginia and Don Lovness soon built one of the houses, which they and the architect called The Studio: a 1,800-square-foot residence with the Living Room and Dining Areas integral parts of one large space. Stone walls, horizontal projections and wood-beamed ceilings decorated with moldings are consistent throughout the house. The Lovnesses also had Wright design all of the oak furniture, which they integrated with the various Oriental objects he favored and the dinnerware he created for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. (November 1982)

      Frank Lloyd Wright described his only skyscraper, built in 1956, as �the tree that escaped the crowded forest.� It has been reborn as the Inn at Price Tower, designed by architect Wendy Evans Joseph. (June 2003)

      The Storer House was the second of Wright�s Los Angeles-area residences to employ his �textile� concrete block construction. Movie producer Joel Silver painstakingly restored the Hollywood Hills Landmark, aided by architect Eric Lloyd Wright, who remarks on Silver�s �extraordinary sense of what my grandfather wanted to do.� (April 1998)

      Frank Lloyd Wright couldn�t design an ordinary-looking building,� says Silver, who restored the little-known Auldbrass, Wright�s 1939 plantation in Yemassee, South Carolina. A crushed red-brick walkway leads to the barn. �By folding the roof down and the corners of the doors back, Wright created something oragami-ike,� Silver notes. (December 1993)

      �There�s not a single window from which the view is not spectacular,� says Silver. His office, in what had been the gun room, is located in a building at the entrance to the grounds. The bench with leather-covered cushions is by Wright; at the desk is a judge�s chair. (December 1993)

      �You see, the final result is going to stand on that hill a hundred years or more,� Frank Lloyd Wright wrote in a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ennis about their Los Angeles home, which he designed in 1924. �Long after we are gone it will be pointed out as the Ennis House, and pilgrimages will be made to it by lovers of the beautiful�from everywhere.� A restoration of this architectural landmark was completed in 2007. (October 1979)

    • Sixth new South Florida condo project completed since crash
      June 3, 2014
      By Peter Zalewski

      A sixth new condo tower was completed in South Florida since the devastating real estate crash of 2007.
      In late May, the 43-story Regalia condominium in the northern end of Sunny Isles Beach concluded construction more than two-and-a-half years after work first began in October 2011, according to Miami-Dade County records. Regalia, which features one condo per residential floor for a total of 39 units with a total �net� of more than 202,300 square feet, is the first new tower to be built in Sunny Isles since developers created more 28 towers with more than 6,200 condo units between 2003 and 2010.
      Less than 50 developer units remain unsold in Sunny Isles Beach from the last boom-and-bust cycle as of March 31, according to an analysis of government records. Regalia is said to be �95 percent sold� under preconstruction contracts, with the minimum asking price of the remaining units starting at more than $1,575 per square foot, according to the latest Developer Pricing Survey conducted by the preconstruction condo project website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)
      For comparison, the Sunny Isles condo market now has nearly 450 units in oceanfront towers on the resale market at an average price of more than $850 per square foot, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange.
      With Regalia now finished, Sunny Isles developers are proposing an additional 13 towers with more than 1,765 units in the 1.02-square-mile city in northeast Miami-Dade County.
      At least six of the proposed towers accounting for more than 715 units are already under construction in Sunny Isles, according to CraneSpotters.com. Overall, developers are proposing 237 new South Florida condo towers with 33,110 units east of I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties as of May 30.
      The six completed towers to date account for only 480 units. An additional 66 towers with nearly 7,475 units are currently under construction in South Florida. This total excludes the proposed Biscayne Beach condo tower in Greater Downtown Miami, which is scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony this week.
      The unanswered question going forward is how the completion of the ultra-luxury Regalia condo tower will impact future pricing of preconstruction condo projects in the active markets of Sunny Isles and South Florida.
      Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Miami Housing Market Starting to Find Solid Footing
      May 28, 2014
      By: James McClister

      Miami�s housing market is finally beginning to fire on all cylinders � though full speed may be a ways away. 

      It�s been a long road for home buyers and sellers in Miami. Much like other major metropolitan areas in the U.S., the real estate market in one of Florida�s most vibrant cities has been scratching and clawing, desperately trying to make it�s way back above the waterline � and it�s paying off.

      Throughout April, not only did Miami agents benefit from a steady, albeit slow increase in home prices, but inventory also rose, according to a collaborative report from MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the local Multiple Listing Service system. Median sale prices for single-family homes, as well as condominiums, increased by an impressive 8 percent, bringing the value to $243,000 � up $18,000 from April 2013.

      Demand and Inventory Working to Strike a Balance
      The report goes on to detail the exact figures behind Miami�s much appreciated April, adding credence to the fact that despite strong demand, the market is beginning to stabilize:

      Single-family homes in the city are being sold quickly, many near or at their asking price. The median number of days on the market is 43, a 2.4 percent increase from April 2013.
      The improvements to the market can be seen in the increased confidence of sellers. At the end of April, active listing were up 32.5 percent from the same time last year.
      Inventory for single-family homes dwarfed last April�s numbers by 23.7 percent, increasing the number of available properties by more than 1,000. Condominium inventory similarly rose by 37.8 percent.
      Is Stability Sustainable?
      While April�s growth marks yet another step in the right direction for Miami, how can we be certain these trends will continue? The short answer is: we can�t. However, there�s good evidence to suggest they will.

      �The Miami real estate market currently offers opportunities for both buyers and sellers,� said Francisco Angulo, residential president of Miami Association of Realtors. �Sellers have recovered equity and confidence lost during the downturn, while buyers have many properties to choose from in all price ranges. Further, Miami real estate remains affordable, particularly when compared to other major U.S. and international markets.�

      With Miami�s residential inventory slowly building to meet the consistently high demand, sellers are being afforded more confidence. It�s certainly not yet a �buyer�s market,� but with a continued influx of properties, price no longer belongs to the seller.

      Copyright at MiamiAgentMagazine.com
    • The 7 Key Things to Know About the New Construction Market
      By: Peter Ricci

      As usual, many media outlets have been focusing on the screaming headlines on construction, but more important trends simmer below the surface.

      By now, you�ve surely seen the screaming headlines � in April, housing starts skyrocketed 13.2 percent from March and 26.4 percent year-over-year to an annual rate of 1.072 million, while building permits rose 8.0 percent monthly and 3.8 percent yearly, according to the latest numbers from the Census Bureau.

      Those are mighty big increases, and given how lukewarm the new construction markets have been so far this year, many media outlets have report on them in rather spectacular terms; of course, there�s more to new construction than a single month�s numbers, so here are the seven key things to keep in mind:

      1. This report was more of the same � Something we should be clear about � though April�s numbers were positive, they did not suggest any change to the status quo in construction. As Richard Moody, the chief economist at Regions Financial Corp, said to the Wall Street Journal, �For anyone tempted by these shiny headline numbers to conclude all the recent worry about the state of the housing market was much ado about nothing, we suggest you curb your enthusiasm, at least for now � [the report] shows more of the same.�

      2. Multifamily owns new construction right now � So what does �more of the same� mean? Simply, a vibrant multifamily housing sector, which is the real reason that April�s new construction report was so positive. In April, multifamily buildings made up 39 percent of starts, the highest share since 1974; even more impressive, the 413,000 multifamily starts was only the third month since 1990 when starts exceeded 400,000.

      3. This year is all multifamily � Beyond April, though, multifamily has been a fixture in 2014. In fact, year to date, multifamily starts are up an impressive 16 percent, so although many analysts have pointed (correctly) to multifamily�s volatile nature, it�s been trending up this entire year.

      4. The recovery has been all multifamily � Even beyond 2014, multifamily has been driving the construction sector in the post-bubble marketplace. See this graph, from the Wall Street Journal, for a stunning picture of just how radically multifamily has been outpacing single family in recent months:

      5. Those multifamily starts, though, are NOT condos � When people think multifamily housing, they�re prone to think of condos, but the vast majority of multifamily housing lately has been for rental units. Just how much does �vast majority� denote, you may wonder? In 2014â²s first quarter, 93 percent of multifamily starts were intended for rent, and for buildings with 20-plus units, that number was 89 percent�and that�s compared to 60 percent during the bubble years.

      6. This does not mean that housing has changed � As Trulia�s Jed Kolko pointed out, though multifamily is very prevalent right now, that doesn�t mean that housing has completely flipped away from suburbs and towards dense urban areas; rather, it�s more a characteristic of our housing recovery.

      7. Single-family construction will return � And on that note, as Bill McBride explained on Calculated Risk, we can expect single-family construction (which remains quite low) to pickup as the economy recovers, and for multifamily starts to move mostly sideways.

      Copyright at MiamiAgentMagazine.com
    • PMI isn�t just an inconvenience � it can harm buyers
      CHERRY HILL, N.J. � June 2, 2014 � Research released by TD Bank and conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion finds that 37 percent of buyers who purchased a home in the past 10 years � 43 percent of those within the last two years � required mortgage insurance (MI). Of those who required PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), 65 percent said that it left them paying a higher monthly mortgage payment than they originally expected.

      The study, an extension of the 2014 TD Bank Mortgage Service Index, surveyed more than 2,000 Americans. The findings indicate the growing impact that PMI � often required when homebuyers can't make a 20 percent downpayment � has on mortgage payments.

      An average PMI payment costs about $100 per month, making it a significant expense for many borrowers who already don't have enough to make a minimum downpayment. To make matters worse, FHA loans now require PMI for the life of the loan, which considerably increases the total cost of homeownership.

      'PMI has had a definitive impact on many homebuyers � including making them rethink or delay the purchase of a home in light of not being able to meet monthly mortgage payments,' says Michael Copley, executive vice president of retail lending with TD Bank. 'While FHA loans may be available, homebuyers, especially first time buyers, may not realize the options available to them that don't require PMI insurance.'

      According to Copley, one example offered through TD Bank's Right Step program calls for only three percent down and does not require PMI. Prospective buyers should meet with a lender or financial institution to find a loan solution that meets their needs and monthly budget.'

      Other survey results

      Twenty-seven percent of those who purchased a home within the last 10 years felt that PMI costs impacted the home they purchased. For those who purchased a home in the last two years, that number increased to 35 percent.
      Fifty-three percent of respondents reported a negative impact because of the additional cost of PMI. Over four in ten cut back on small and daily purchases and/or larger household purchases.
      43 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) did not make a 20 percent down payment and required mortgage insurance compared to 37 percent of Gen X-ers (ages 35-54) and 23 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55 and older).
      Most respondents felt that PMI's impact left them paying more than expected � 60 percent of Millennials, 60 percent of Gen X-ers and 58 percent of Baby Boomers.
      Compared to Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, Millennials requiring PMI felt most impacted in home purchasing decisions, such as delaying the purchase of a home or purchasing a smaller home (30 percent vs. 18 percent for Gen X-ers and 14 percent for Baby Boomers).
      Forty six percent of Millennials said they had to cut back on small daily purchases and/or cut back or delay larger household purchases due to the additional cost of PMI; 38 percent of Gen X-ers and only 26 percent of Baby Boomers experienced similar cut backs related to PMI.

      Copyright 2014 Florida Realtors
    • It�s here: The 2014 Fla. hurricane season
      TALLAHASSEE, Fla. � June 2, 2014 � The 2014 Hurricane Season began yesterday and runs for the next six months � until Nov. 30.

      'Now is the time to prepare your family for Hurricane Season,' says Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. 'Prior to a disaster, create an emergency plan for your family and pets, identify locations of special needs shelters and prepare an emergency supply kit with first aid, healthy meals and water.'

      Recently Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 5601 that creates a nine-day sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies, which started Saturday and runs through Sunday, June 8. Floridians will be able to purchase items such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios and other essential items.

      An emergency supply kit should include healthy, nonperishable foods and supplies that meet a family's and pet's health and medical needs.

      Under a federally declared emergency, residents can get an extra 30-day prescription supply with no price increase, even for recently filled prescriptions. Talk with a health care provider and pharmacist about emergency medication supplies.

      Other items to include in an emergency supply kit

      Water � at least one gallon per person, per day, for a minimum of three days
      Healthy foods like canned vegetables, fruits and nuts. Store at least a three-day supply of foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water
      Prescription medications and equipment/supplies like syringes, coolants alcohol wipes, etc.
      First-aid kit.
      Glasses, hearing aids and medical devices, along with extra batteries if required
      If a family member needs daily medical assistance � routine nursing care, help with medication, oxygen therapy or electricity for life-supporting medical equipment � pre-register for a special needs shelter. FloridaDisaster.org offers a county-by-county list of special needs shelters.

      For more suggestions on medical-related items to include in an emergency supply kit, and for tips on how to prepare for an emergency, visit the Florida Department of Health website.

      Copyright 2014 Florida Realtors
    • Do little fixes boost home sales?
      NEW YORK � June 2, 2014 � Porch, a real estate website that tracks home-improvement projects, says that almost 50 percent of all home-improvement projects involve handyman services during the six months prior to a home sale.

      When it comes to home improvement projects undertaken by new the new owners in the six months after a property sale, most involved replacing water heaters, updating the plumbing and repairing sewers.

      According to Sotheby's International Realty agent TJ Paradise, sellers in his market of West Hollywood, Calif., generally shell out up to $4,000 to prepare their homes for sale; but new buyers undertake some $20,000 in projects afterward. Thus, many experts say sellers should concentrate on smaller repair projects and upgrades, which are more likely to get the home sold.

      Porch's study of 675,000 projects was submitted by various real estate professionals and compared to listings and sales data from its partner, Realtor.com. Sellers generally recruited handymen to tackle minor repairs in the Northeast and Midwest in the six-month period prior to a sale.

      Meanwhile, sellers in the West often hired general contractors to undertake larger improvements; and sellers in the South were more likely to perform electrical upgrades and repairs themselves.

      Source: Wall Street Journal (05/16/14) P. M11; Tanaka, Sanette

      Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
    • Foreclosures drop to lowest level since 2007
      NEW YORK � June 2, 2014 � Over the last 12 months, completed foreclosures have fallen to the lowest level since the Great Recession began in 2007, according to CoreLogic's April National Foreclosure Report, which shows completed foreclosures at 599,000 nationwide.

      Completed foreclosures � the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure � was 46,000 nationally in April, down 18 percent from April 2013.

      However, foreclosures still remain elevated by historical standards. Before the housing decline in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006. Since September 2008, there have been about 5 million completed foreclosures nationwide.

      In April, about 694,000 homes were still in some stage of foreclosure, known as foreclosure inventory. Inventory levels are down 35 percent year-over-year. The foreclosure inventory in April represented 1.8 percent of all homes with a mortgage, according to CoreLogic's report.

      At the current pace, 'it will take 14 months to move all of the foreclosed inventory through the pipeline,' says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic.

      'We have now registered two and a half years of continuous decreases in the number of homeowners who are in some stage of the foreclosure process,' adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. 'This consistent decline means fewer Americans are experiencing the distress of delinquency and default.'

      Every state � except for New York and the District of Columbia � reported double-digit year-over-year decreases in foreclosures, according to CoreLogic.

      The following five states have the highest foreclosure inventory (as percentage of all mortgaged homes):

      New Jersey: 6 percent
      Florida: 5.4 percent
      New York: 4.6 percent
      Hawaii: 3.1 percent
      Maine: 3 percent
      Meanwhile, the five states with the lowest foreclosure inventories are Alaska (0.4 percent); Wyoming (0.4 percent); North Dakota (0.5 percent); Nebraska (0.5 percent); and Minnesota (0.5 percent), according to CoreLogic's April report.

      Source: CoreLogic

      Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
    • Miami�s Population Increases Amidst Losses
      May 28, 2014
      By: James McClister

      Population dynamics are changing all over the nation and you might be surprised to see which major metropolitan areas are on the rise and which are struggling. 

      See more at: https://miamiagentmagazine.com/miamis-population-increases-amidst-losses/#sthash.NcwVswvD.dpuf

      Quite frankly, the rapidity with which many major American metros are gaining population is startling. According to recently released U.S. Census data, an impressive 40 percent of U.S. metro areas � of which there are 383 � have posted population increases, considering both domestic and international migrants, topping the national average, which currently hovers around 2.4 percent. Even more impressive, 51 metros have doubled the national rate and 13 managed to triple it.

      As quickly as some cities are growing, however, others are having less luck convincing outsiders to relocate and current residents to stay.

      A Hot Spot for International Migrants
      People already in the U.S. might not necessarily being taking a second look at one of Florida�s most popular cities, but that doesn�t mean Miami isn�t still a go-to destination for outsiders moving in.

      The U.S. Census Bureau found that between 2010 and 2013, Miami lost approximately 10,000 residents to domestic migration. Many might say this is cause for concern, but those numbers have been greatly offset by the international interest Miami has become known for garnering. Since 2010 and estimated 53,000 international migrants have found their way into the city � second only to New York City � and the trend doesn�t seem likely to slow down.

      Gateway to Latin America
      It was the financial crisis that first stunted Florida and, ultimately, Miami�s rise to population prominence. When asked about the halted growth by the local Miami Herald, Stan Smith, the director of the University of Florida�s Bureau of Economic and Business Research�s Population Program, claimed that had it not been for the housing collapse, Florida may very well have surpassed New York as the reigning champ.

      In recent years, however, Florida, particularly Miami, has gotten back on track. Despite the 10,000 domestic residence who have left the city since 2010, Miami has still seen significant population increases, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

      Brian Bilzin, co-foudning partner of Bilzin Sumberg, a commercial law firm, attributes Miami�s appeal to international migrants and investors to the city�s unique makeup and pace.

      �Not only does Miami function as a gateway to Latin America and other domestic and international destinations,� Bilzin writes in the firm�s �New Miami Investment Survey.� �But it offers a range of attributes on which many investors insist, including cultural diversity and a truly desirable quality of life.�

      Copyright at MiamiAgentMagazine.com
    • Related could pick up waterfront Hollywood property
      May 27, 2014

      Buys $15.5 million foreclosure judgment secured by former condo project site

      A company tied to the Miami-based Related Group and New York-based Related Cos. is on the verge of acquiring more developable land in Hollywood.
      PRH 4000 South Ocean, which was formed by the Jorge Perez and Stephen Ross-led companies, purchased a $15.5 million foreclosure judgment secured by a waterfront parcel at 4000 South Ocean Drive. It acquired the judgment from PNC Bank, which initiated foreclosure proceedings against Chicago-based MCZ/Centrum. The 2.4-acre property was originally planned for condo development but is now being used as a hotel parking lot.
      A foreclosure auction of the property was scheduled last year before getting postponed, according to the South Florida Business Journal. The Related company can bid up to the judgment amount when the auction finally occurs. [South Florida Business Journal] -- Eric Kalis

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
      Pedigree: In 1893 Frank Lloyd Wright made his solo design debut with the Winslow House (named for its original owner, businessman William Winslow). On the market for the first time in over 50 years, the suburban-Chicago dwelling brims with well-preserved Arts and Crafts woodwork. Horizontal bands of Roman brick and terra-cotta tile clad the exterior.

    • 49 downtown high-rises set to start
      Written by Scott Blake on May 28, 2014

      Tallying what�s on the drawing boards of real estate developers, greater downtown Miami appears to be on the verge of a condominium explosion.

      There are 49 projects with a total of 16,843 units in the preconstruction phase in the greater downtown area, according to data compiled by Cranespotters.com, a website affiliated with the Miami Association of Realtors that tracks condo preconstruction projects in South Florida.

      Greater downtown covers the downtown area north of the Miami River and the Brickell area south of the river.

      The totals seem to represent another condo boom, although the number of units that actually are built is usually less than the number listed in preconstruction, said veteran Miami real estate broker Ron Shuffield.

      �What ends up being built is certainly a lesser number,� he added.

      Preconstruction figures often include projects that have not yet been submitted for official review and those that are trying to raise money by selling units in advance of construction. Sometimes the list also can be outdated, as some projects listed as being in preconstruction have already gone into construction.

      For instance, the Related Group�s 28-floor, 192-unit MyBrickell project is listed in preconstruction by Cranespotters.com, but most of the building already has been constructed and all of its units reportedly have been sold.

      Still, such lists are a good indicator of general activity in the region�s condo markets, said Mr. Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors. In addition to those units in preconstruction, he said, about 4,500 units currently are in construction in the Brickell area alone.

      As the situation stands, Brickell may be facing an oversupply of condos that could cause prices to stagnate, according to Mr. Shuffield, who has worked the local real estate market for 39 years. He said the situation should become clearer in four to six months, when many of the projects being built now should be completed or be nearing completion.

      He estimated that once those units are completed, Brickell will have an inventory of condos that should take about 15 months to be absorbed. He said an eight- or nine-month absorption period is preferred because it signals a balance between supply and demand that can keep prices increasing steadily, but not at too fast a pace.

      �Generally,� he explained, when there�s an absorption period of �12 months or over, prices begin to stagnate at some point.�

      If all or nearly all of the nearly 17,000 units listed in preconstruction now in greater downtown are built and placed on the market in the next five years, he added, it probably would create an imbalance that stagnates or even drops prices.

      Prior to the last housing meltdown, about 23,000 condo units were built in greater downtown from 2003 through 2008, according to Mr. Shuffield.

      �I don�t think we could absorb 17,000 units now,� he said, �but I don�t think we�re going to have that many� in the end.

      Mr. Shuffield called Miami-Dade County�s condo market as a whole a �tale of two cities� � one, greater downtown, where prices have been rising steadily and construction is heavy, and another in the outlying suburbs, where prices and construction in most locations have been stagnant or close to it.

      Meanwhile, South Florida�s other big �downtown� condo markets � downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach � are showing just a fraction of the preconstruction activity that downtown Miami is showing.

      Downtown West Palm Beach has seven projects listed with a total of 2,122 units. Downtown Fort Lauderdale has 11 projects listed with a total of just 596 units, according to Crane

      Mr. Shuffield said he isn�t surprised by the disparity between Miami and Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach, given that Miami has developed a �global brand� and appeal that far exceeds the other cities.

      In Miami-Dade, he said, about a third of all buyers come from outside the US � a very high percentage compared with other major US metro areas.

      In greater downtown, the percentage of foreign buyers is even higher. He also estimates that only 15% to 20% of greater downtown buyers make their units their primary residence, and many of them never live there at all, instead opting to rent their units.

      Either way, it helps keep the local economy moving, as whoever lives in the units makes related purchases.

      �I�ve lost track of the number of people I�ve referred to furniture dealers and car dealers,� he added.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Today. All Rights Reserved.
    • 1960�s postcard issued by the Chalk�s Flying Services Inc. of Miami
      Scene show a split view of Grumman G73 Mallard seaplane with Port of Miami and Downtown in the background 

      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
      Don�t let Congress take away your Home Interest Deductions!

      Right now, there is a discussion going on in Congress that could have a huge impact on your home and your wallet.

      How? Congress is considering eliminating income tax deductions for our homes.

      If some lawmakers in Congress have it their way, we could see big changes not only to federal income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes, but also a change to the homeowner�s capital gains exemption. What that means is that current and future homeowners would pay more taxes every year!

      In these tough times, we can�t afford to lose important deductions. By signing our petition and sending a letter to your representative, you can tell Congress to keep our home interest deductions intact.

      Petition to Congress:

      As a homeowner and constituent, I urge Congress to oppose any changes to income tax deductions on my home.

      Making changes to the Mortgage Interest and Real Property Tax Deductions will harm the financial stability of American families.

      Right now the tax system encourages home ownership and investment. Widespread home ownership has contributed greatly to economic security, helped build a more stable society and strengthened the middle class. A loss of deductions makes a significant impact on my family's budget.

      My home's value is finally beginning to increase. Don't slam the door to recovery by changing the tax rules. As a homeowner and constituent, I urge Congress to oppose any changes to income tax deductions on my home.

      Congress, don't take away our home tax deductions!

      Letter to Congress:

      Dear Representative,

      I am writing to you concerning our federal income tax system. Tax reform ideas are always worthy of discussion and consideration. Indeed, the reform of anything as important as the U.S. system of taxation deserves long-term deliberation.

      Making changes to the Mortgage Interest and Real Property Tax Deductions will harm the financial stability of American families.

      Any tax reform proposal must be balanced and preserve the effective provisions that American families have relied on for a century to help build wealth through home ownership. Widespread home ownership has contributed greatly to economic security and helped build a more stable society and strengthened the middle class.

      My home�s value is finally beginning to increase. Don�t slam the door to recovery by changing the tax rules. Now is the time for you to be a voice for me and all of America�s 75 million homeowners.

      Thank you,

      [Your Name]

    • Royal Palms in Florida
      Looks like Cocoanut Grove, Fla. 1909 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Miami Worldcenter Quietly Reveals New Website, Renders
      May 20, 2014
      By Sean McCaughan

      Miami Worldcenter has gone public with updated renderings and a new website. And by public we mean the website went live and somehow exMiami found out, with not a press release or launch party yet in sight. The new renders show an updated master plan with a multilevel mall along the project's eastern side, a new jumble of towers, a tall rotunda-atrium thing made of suspended walkways, Bloomingdales, amenity decks, the convention hotel on the far end, etc. The site has a presentation with more info (PDF!), annnnnnnnnd, nails a groundbreaking of 'late 2014' for the whole shebang.

      Copyright of Miami Curbed
    • Miami-Dade County Deserves New Thinking on Transit
      May 29, 2014
      By Felipe Azenha

      Source: Miami Dade County
      By: Eli Stiers, Esq. and Leah Weston, J.D.

      We were disappointed by dismissive statements of Miami-Dade County Commissioner and Chair of the Finance Committee, Esteban Bovo, at the recent public meeting on the County�s annual budget. Bovo�s comments have been memorialized in a YouTube video posted by Ms. Weston. In response to a request that the Commission prioritize funding for better public transit, Commissioner Bovo displayed an outdated perspective that is out of sync with the needs of our ever-growing community.

      While acknowledging his own frustration with the paucity of our transit options, compared to cities like Paris and Washington, D.C., Commissioner Bovo lamented that living without better access to transit is a �sad reality about Miami.� We could not agree more. We further contend that lack of better public transit is preventing Miami from joining the roster of world-class cities.

      Where we strongly disagree with Commissioner Bovo is with his indifference to the status quo. His statements that Miami�s �car culture� is �in our DNA,� and that it would be difficult for people to leave their cars and �stand in the hot sun� to wait for a bus are problematic. We think that Miamians choose to sit in cars for hours on crowded interstates because they lack other options. Indeed, when the only option is to wait for a bus in the Miami heat, most will choose a car. Those who cannot afford a car, on the other hand, are left to cope with our chronically underfunded and underperforming transit system.

      Commissioner Bovo�s comprehension of how transit inadequacies affect immigrants and retirees is similarly flawed. The Commissioner dubiously claimed that immigrants and retirees come to Miami seeking the freedom of the open road after leaving other parts of the world that usually have better transit options than we have in Miami. To the contrary, immigrants and retirees, frequently of low and moderate incomes, are more dependent on transit than any other demographic. This is bad news for Miami � an area recently documented by the Center for Housing Policy to be the least affordable place in the country for middle-to-lower income families, due to combined housing and transportation costs, which account for a whopping 72% of income!

      Offer the public something better, like an expanded Metrorail service that truly links our community, and our guess is that many Miamians will abandon the stress of the daily commute on I-95, US-1, 826, and 836 for the comfort of an air-conditioned train car, and the chance to read a book, answer e-mails, or take a nap on the way to work or school. It is not a �small segment� asking for better transit in our community. To the contrary, Miamians are desperate for better transit. Don�t blame the culture and concede defeat�find a way to move this city forward.

      In his final comments on the video, Commissioner Bovo segued into a discussion about road construction, undoubtedly to allocate more millions from the budget for an ever-expanding morass of highways, which are antiquated and overcrowded from the moment they are opened. This kind of thinking is outdated, and this method of addressing transportation in our rapidly-expanding metro area is unsustainable.

      We agree with the Commissioner: our transit woes stem from a lack of leadership and vision for our community. We are frustrated, however, that despite recognizing the problem, and being uniquely situated to address it, he seems unwilling to fix it. We challenge Commissioner Bovo and the rest of the County Commission (who also make up the majority of the MPO Board) to change their thinking about public transit in the County. With better leadership and vision, Miami-Dade County can have a real mass transit system in Commissioner Bovo�s lifetime, contrary to his belief. As an elected official, you cannot throw hands up and claim that the dreadful status quo will never change. You must be the impetus for that change.

      Copyright 2011 � 2014 MiamiUrbanist.com.
    • Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada
      Respect for whoever did the structural design for this back in the 1960s - 

      Photo Courtesy Amazing Facts and Nature
      Introducing my new construction website where you can access the best projects around the world with just one click.
    • Banks paid $9B to Florida mortgage holders
      May 22, 2014

      Around 92,000 homeowners received money as part of state and federal agreement

      Five national banks indicated today that they have finished paying $9.1 billion to Florida homeowners are part of a settlement with the state and federal officials. 
      Some of the $9.1 billion in relief came directly from a $26 billion settlement program between the federal government and five of the country�s largest mortgage servicers. The money was divided among 92,000 Floridians.
      The national settlement, signed in 2012, involved Bank of America N.A., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citibank, Ally Bank and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. The five were charged by state and federal investigators with breaking the law by signing foreclosure documents outside the presence of a notary public. The investigators also charged that key information in the documents was often not verified or double checked.
      A separate deal was negotiated between Florida and Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. The three banks ended up paying around $4 billion in relief to homeowners in the state.
      �The guarantee we separately negotiated with the three largest servicers in Florida was crucial to ensuring that the servicers focused their efforts in Florida, one of the states hardest hit by the mortgage crisis,� said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
      According to the Daily Business Review, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo provided $5.22 billion, $2.48 billion and $1.42 billion to homeowners respectively. About 49 percent was from writedowns on first and second mortgages. Another 15 percent was for refinancing, and 35 percent provided other relief. [Daily Business Review] -- Claire Moses 

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Massachusetts Home
      The home�s main entrance.

      To view all the photos of this lovely Massachusetts home click on the link below

    • Miami receives EB-5 designation
      May 21, 2014

      The program will facilitate foreign investment in South Florida

      Miami has received an EB-5 Regional Center for Foreign Investment designation, making it easier for foreigners � especially Chinese investors � to park their millions in South Florida.
      Mayor Tomas Regalado said the approval by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service is a �tremendous vote of confidence� and would help position Miami as a hub, according to the Daily Business Review.
      The program allows the city to assist foreign nationals who inject capital in to the U.S. economy by granting them special immigration status. To be accepted into the program, investors must spend at least $500,000 and prove in two years that they created 10 jobs. [DBR] � Christopher Cameron

      All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
    • Florida Banking May 2014 Page 12
      Click link below to view pdf
    • Bayfront Park Promenade
      Miami, Fla. 1935 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Protect Miami Beach Historic Homes
      so very happy that the City Commission today, in a unanimous vote, requested the City Manager to file a 'Request for Rehearing' of the Community Church's application to build a retail building in its courtyard sanctuary. Big win for history today. Thank you to all who wrote letters. Hopefully we will come to a solution that is a win-win for EVERYBODY! I think Jane and Carl Fisher would be proud

      Courtesy of Protect Miami Beach Historic Homes
    • 1958 ~ Miami News Building
      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native
    • 1942 ~ Haulover Beach Closed
      Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native
    • 1927 ~ Cars On New Tamiami Trail
      Courtesy of Miami, See it Like a Native
    • This is fantastic!
      We are #8 soon to be in top 5!
    • Great Marketing Conference
      Tons of info on the new projects coming to Miami @ Parrot Jungle.
    • Miami New Golden Age
      Very informative!
    • Contact me for a copy
      New Miami Magazine
    • Indian Creek showing Lake Pancoast & Roney Plaza Hotel
      Miami Beach, Fla. 
      Courtesy of Alvin Lederer
    • Miami Orange Bowl Stadium
      #FBF Who remembers the #Miami Orange Bowl stadium?
      Courtesy of Best of Miami: Welcome Magazine
      Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native
    • Saxony and Versailles getting a complete restoration.
      #protectmiamibeachhistory #restoringhotels #old2new
      Courtesy of Protect Miami Beach Historic Homes
    • Six plead guilty to fraud in Miami
      May 16, 2014

      The men attempted to purchase condos using straw buyers, prosecutors claim

      Six men have pleaded guilty in federal court to hatching a scheme to sell condos to straw buyers.
      The Justice Department claims that straw buyers were paid to submit false loan applications to lenders to buy condos, according to the Miami Herald. Often, the straw buyers defaulted on the loans after their co-conspirators stopped making mortgage payments, �causing millions of dollars in losses to lenders,�� prosecutors said.
      Seven other people were indicted in March on charges of participating in the scheme, but they have all pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial. [Miami Herald] � Christopher Cameron

      All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
    • Churchill's New Owners: An Open Letter
      May 16, 2014
      By: Brian Franklin

      In the early '80s, Pepsi had begun seriously encroaching on sales of Coca-Cola, even outselling the latter in supermarkets.

      In an effort to rejuvenate sales, Coke outright replaced its formula with what would be known as 'New Coke' -- an 'improved' version of the formula that would replace the original for 77 days before the company relented and re-introduced the old Coke as 'Coke Classic.'

      As the new owners of Churchill's Pub, you're already running into a similar dilemma.

      Perhaps what's most interesting about the New Coke story is that consumers in taste-tests actually favored the fresh formula -- and the initial sales jumped in most of the country. This wasn't an arbitrary decision made by their executives, who actually verified that most people thought it tasted better before launching it.

      Unfortunately, the problem was not with 'most people.' A smaller but more vocal group of Coke aficionados loudly objected to the tampering with the old brand and taste, and managed to undermine 'New Coke.'

      Coca-Cola's President Donald Keough at a press conference said: 'The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people.'

      As for Churchill's Pub, Dave Daniels didn't just run a bar -- he ran a brand, and that brand involved a particular, anything-goes ethic that led to a cult-like following among its patrons. If there's one thing you can say about Churchill's fans, it's that they have a 'deep and abiding emotional attachment' to the formula.

      Dave's approach -- allowing the place to be an incubator of music without the frill or amenities of modern bars -- probably didn't look good on paper and cost some sales. Going to Churchill's has been an adventure, and not always in a good way. But every once in a while, you'd see the Best Show You've Ever Seen -- or the start of a band or artist that would go on to international fame. It was consistently unpredictable and sometimes explosively, outrageously cool.

      The fact that he would allow Rat Bastard and others to promote (literal) noise on Thursdays -- two decades before he'd actually start to make money on the International Noise Conference -- was either amazingly prescient or crazy, depending on how you want to view the overall return on investment.

      Most bars opened 30 years ago are long gone. Churchill's just sold for a boatload of money.

      New owners, I don't believe you would have bought Churchill's Pub if you didn't value the brand. We're hopeful that the Death of Churchill's is not nigh, and that you'll see this challenge as different than, say, a restaurant or bar on South Beach.

      But at the same time, this could easily be one of those 'New Coke' scenarios. I'm sure when you ran the numbers, you figured that if you make a few tweaks here or there -- increase turnout a few percent here, bump prices a buck or so there -- Churchill's started to look like a good business. Yeah, there'll be some backlash, but you'll make it up on the other end. And you may.

      But that deep and abiding attachment among the small, vocal minority could also destroy your investment (and with it, the bar we love). Part of what is maintaining Churchill's brand is its enduring credibility among a few groups of thought leaders, including aging part-time punk rockers and some seemingly insane (but actually quite astute) promoters.

      It would be easy to dismiss the negativity and criticisms that you're hearing from us in the same way that Facebook plods on, despite objections to every new format change. We'll get used to it, right? We might even think it's better. And sometimes it is.

      That's certainly possible with Churchill's. You might masterfully thread the needle and maintain the purity of Churchill's brand while making modest tweaks that bring in more people. Dave gave us a stage -- and we have a deep love for Dave and his work -- but it's too early to rule out the possibility that the place (or its marketing) might actually be improved. People who love Churchill's should to be open to that possibility, remote as it may seem to us.

      But any changes will have to satisfy more than a taste test. They will have to be perfect -- and that's a much harder lift than simply keeping the place going as it has been. It will mean making only the most essential modifications necessary to survival until the purists trust you.

      We've been lucky to have Churchill's (and Dave and the staff's) support around as long as we have. We are thrilled to see Dave will get to comfortably enjoy his retirement. We really want you to succeed, because we love the place. Churchill's is where the Most Amazing Shit Happened.

      But in the end, we're more than people who love the bar. We're people with decades of allegiance to the brand and the people who built it. So please, tread carefully.

      Honestly, we're happy you're redoing the bathrooms. But there are only so many changes you'll be able to make without it becoming 'New Churchills.' The road is strewn with the corpses of brands that got tweaked too drastically, too quickly. And we're not sure you'll get the chance or have the resources to reintroduce 'Churchill's Classic.'

      -- Brian Franklin

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • 'Dig In' Mondrian's Saturday Brunch: Bloody Mary Bar and Eggs for Days (Photos)
      Brunch -- it's the most wonderful meal of the week. What's not to love about the combination of breakfast and lunch that's not only an excuse to eat anything and everything bad for you, but happens to be accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol? Nothing. We love everything about brunch. Especially when we don't have to wait till Sunday Funday to have it.
      At the Mondrian, brunch comes a day early. So head over on Saturday and munch, all while hanging out poolside and sipping on Mary's the entire bloody day.

      'Dig In' brunch is on Saturday's only. 'We didn't want to compete with the already established Sunday brunch crowd,' said Mondrian Food and Beverage Manager Mariana Loumiet. 'So we thought why not make Saturday brunch our thing?'

      Walk through the Mondrian's lobby and you'll immediately notice the Bloody Mary bar, designed for you to create your own libation. Pick from one of three sizes of Absolut -- half ($50) or full carafe ($75), or splurge on a bottle for $200. Then take your booze to the smorgasbord-style bar where you can pick and choose from spices, pickles, peppers, tomatoes, meats, and a variety of olives to spruce up your concoction. A plethora of hot sauces let's you heat things up to whatever degree you find tolerable.
      Other drinks include a strawberry basil lemonade with Grey Goose Le Citron that's as refreshing as it is boozy and a cucumber cooler with Bombay Sapphire, muddled cucumber and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. All drinks will set you back $16.

      As you sit outside and jam out to the soulful beats by the rotating selection of DJs, dig in to the menu. The name, 'Dig In' actually came from the DJs, and on our visit, there were talks of changing things up to serving food on records -- that would be an interesting way to spin the food.

      Talking about food, Mondrian's brunch is egg heavy, and that's a good thing. Turkish eggs, eggs benedict, and egg white frittata all grace the menu. We were intrigued by the smoked pork belly croquette ($11) though. Though there's no mention of egg in the name, this bad boy tops a smoked pork belly colossal croqueta with olive oil poached eggs. Underneath, there's cheddar cheese grits. It's the brunch dish you've been looking for your entire life.

      More eggs, Cuban style. No croqueta here, but the 'Cuban eggs' ($11) showcases fried eggs elegantly. Salsa roja and saffron aioli make it saucy, and the eggs are perfect. What more could you ask for out of a Cuban egg dish? That's right, beans. It's got that too.

      No brunch is quite complete without waffles, especially when said waffles are paired with fried chicken. Mondrian's version fries their chicken in harissa buttermilk and tops it with ricotta and a honeycomb so scrumptious that it would attract bears ($12).

      More of a pancake person? Opt for the lemon ricotta variety with warm Florida honey ($8). There's also fried peanut butter French toast with BBQ pork ribs and salt and vinegar chips.
      With the most expensive menu item at $14 (the Mondrian burger), the Saturday 'Dig In' brunch is truly worthy of, well, digging in.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
    • 8 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Google Drive
      Google Drive is here to make your life easy, but we're here to make it even easier.

      The multifaceted feature that allows you to create documents, photos, spreadsheets, drawings and more has boundless abilities. However, with Drive's constant updates and added hacks, we're only scratching the surface of what it can really do.

      Here are eight tip and tricks to maximize your Google usage.

      Click on the link below to view all 8 tips & tricks

      Copyright of Mashable.com
    • Iconic Little Haiti bar Churchill�s to change hands week of May 19
      May 16 , 2014

      When asked how he feels about selling Churchill�s Pub, the 35-year-old landmark club in Little Haiti, Dave Daniels replied, �I�m ecstatic!�

      Daniels, 73, said he has wanted to retire for the longest time. He was about to put the live music venue, at 5501 NE Second Ave., on the market when he suddenly received an offer from an undisclosed buyer in February. The prospective new owner, whose identity has not been made public, had 60 days to do his due diligence. On April 7, the deal was finalized; the ownership will change by the end of May.

      Daniels, a veteran of the British music scene who has featured countless local bands on the Churchill�s stages since opening the club in 1979, will be missed.

      �Dave Daniels gives any band a chance,� said Andurio Chisena, a lyricist for the local rumba-ska band Askultura. �Our band wouldn�t be where it is today if it weren�t for Churchill�s.�

      Askultura is set to play its first show under the venue�s new management on June 14, but Chisena feels the pub may not have the same rowdy environment he has grown to love.

      �If the new place doesn�t feel right, we�re going somewhere else,� Chisena said. �They call punk rock a subculture, and like all subcultures, it�s gotta have a place to breathe.�

      While Daniels is convinced the new owners will keep the location as a live music club that televises English soccer matches during lunch hours, he acknowledged there will be a change. Revamping the restrooms and making over the menu from pub grub are on the agenda, he said.

      �It will definitely be more corporate, at least from the point of view of the people who work here.�

      Christopher Hubbard, 54, the Churchill�s doorman, known as �Mr. C,� has been collecting money and distributing wristbands at the English pub for 10 years. Hubbard, who donned camouflage pants and a Coldside �Hooligans� band-tee on a recent Thursday night, was a bit apprehesive about the impending change.

      �I don�t know what the new owner�s policies are,� he said. �Will I still be able to wear pants like these?�

      Hubbard said the staff has been told very little about the changes that will occur over the next few months. But from what he�s heard, the new owners will be more �posh.�

      �Hopefully, I�ll work with the new people,� Hubbard said. �I�ve hung around because of Dave Daniels. He�s like a father to most of us.�

      Daniels, originally from a small town in England called Leek, attended Staffordshire College in the �60s. He was good at soccer and his college team wanted to do an end-of-the season tour. To raise money for the team, Daniels suggested to run some dances. He went to one of his favorite jazz bars, the Embassy, and arranged for a band to play at the dance. The promotions were simple: Daniels got rolls of toilet paper from the janitor, and wrote the date of the dance and where to get tickets with a felt-tip pen on the paper. The dance sold out in advance.

      �It was a great success, and I made a lot of money for them,� Daniels said.

      By the time Daniels had graduated, he had decided he wanted to book entertainment for a living. Early in his career, Daniels had booked big names, including Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton and Steppenwolf for pop festivals he helped orchestrate in England. He and his friend, Mike Gold, bought a number of clubs and business was booming.

      In 1976, Gold persuaded Daniels to move to Miami. Three years later, on Jan. 1, 1979, Churchill�s Pub was born.

      At the time, there were many other competitors from the �40s in the neighborhood. But Churchill�s had more to offer than just beer and wine. Churchill�s served English-style pub food, provided a gathering space for English soccer fans and, most of all, opened its doors for musicians of any genre to play experimental shows.

      Daniels figures that 20,000 bands have played at Churchill�s since its opening. Some of those bands, including Social Distortion and locals Marilyn Manson and The Mavericks, performed there before their fame.

      Said bartender Nicky Bowe, 43: �It�s been 12 years of a lot of fun and a lot of music. You can�t replicate it ever again.�

      As Churchill�s enters a new phase, so, too, will Daniels. He plans to write a historical novel set in a small British town.

      �It will be early 1800s � I�ve got my characters and plots already figured out,� he said.

      Over the next few months, Daniels says he will help the new owners with anything they might need. He will enjoy watching the World Cup in mid-June and July, and then he is off to Europe. He hopes to visit Italy and Iceland before returning on a repositioning cruise back to Miami.

      �I�ve had an interesting life,� Daniels said.

      Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
    • Miami named top luxury destination
      May 14, 2014

      And brokers say South Florida remains a bargain

      For the second consecutive year, Christie�s International Real Estate included Miami in its list of the top ten luxury property destinations. Other cities included Cote d�Azur, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and Toronto.
      But even among those dazzling destinations, brokers say Miami stands out in terms of relative affordability.
      Homebuyers get more for their money in Miami, Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of EWM Realty International, told the Miami Herald.
      In fact, Miami�s average square foot price for luxury homes was just $559 in 2013 compared with $4,683 in London and $829 in San Francisco.
      �Several things distinguish Miami from the other markets: our cultural offerings, the beautiful weather and the values we offer,� Shuffield said. [Miami Herald] � Christopher Cameron

      All rights reserved Copyright 2014 The Real Deal
    • Michy's to Close, Will Reopen as New Concept
      May 14, 2014
      By: Laine Doss

      Michy's, Michelle Bernstein's flagship Miami restaurant, is closing.
      The restaurant, which opened in 2006, is closing Saturday, June 28, after eight years on Miami's Upper Eastside.

      See also: Top Ten Influential Figures in Miami Dining

      According to a release, the restaurant will then be renovated and 'turned into a new restaurant by Chef Bernstein and [husband David] Martinez that will have a whole new look, feel, and food.'

      Bernstein said, 'It's time for us to change the look and feel of the restaurant and provide our guests with a fresh, new concept. We embrace new projects and feel the Michy's space and our restaurant team deserve something new and exciting.'

      In an email, Bernstein said the expected opening for the new project is end of summer. 'David, [business partner] Steve Perricone, and I decided we have had such a great run but, as with everything, you have to change and reinvent to keep going, and we want to have a long future together.'

      For patrons wanting a last taste of the celebrity chef's famous chow at Michy's, Bernstein will offer her Fried Chicken Wednesdays, featuring all the fried chicken and fixings you can eat with a chilled appetizer and slice of pie � la mode, beginning today, Wednesday, May 14. The all-you-can-eat fried chicken bonanza is priced at $39 per person.

      Her other restaurant, Crumb on Parchment, which is located in the Design District, will remain open.

      Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
    • Jon Favreau on Chef: 'Inspiration Came From Visiting Miami'
      May 13, 2014
      By: Carolina de Busto

      The lights were dim. Gray-haired musicians in linen guayaberas filled the small stage, and the hips of every man and woman, young and old, moved to the rhythm. It was an exhilarating moment in one of Miami's most seasoned hangouts, Little Havana's Hoy Como Ayer. And there, right in the middle of the swaying hips and Cuban percussionists, stood Jon Favreau, taking it all in.
      The director/actor was in town filming Iron Man 3, and between takes, all he wanted was an authentic night out in the Magic City. 'I wanted to really experience Miami. I wanted to taste the food, I wanted to buy a real guayabera, I wanted to hear real Cuban music,' he recalls. Favreau wouldn't find any of that authenticity on South Beach, locals insisted. So instead, guided by a native, he explored Calle Ocho. The Cuban culture he experienced at Hoy Como Ayer inspired him to write again.

      'I thought how [Hoy Como Ayer] would be such a magical place to put a scene. I didn't know what movie I would do there -- or if I would do it at all -- but when I started writing Chef months later, it popped into my head.'

      Chef, opening this Friday, recalls Favreau's earlier work, the '90s cult favorite Swingers, at least in its writing process; both films took just a few weeks to write. 'When you write like that, you don't know where it's coming from,' he says. 'But you know it's very sincere.'

      Unlike Swingers, however, Chef isn't a story of bros sharing cocktails. The film takes the classic coming-of-age tale and flips it on its head by centering on a character in the middle stages of his life who undergoes a journey of self-discovery.

      Favreau's character, Carl, is a chef working at a restaurant in Los Angeles. After lashing out at his boss for creative food differences, Carl is left unemployed and with few options. He goes on a trip to Miami with his ex-wife, Inez (the voluptuous Sofia Vergara), a frequent Miami visitor; and his 10-year-old son, Percy (newcomer Emjay Anthony). After experiencing the nightlife on Calle Ocho and ending the evening eating a Cuban sandwich at Versailles, Carl is motivated to launch his own food truck making Cuban fare. Miami cuisine sure has a way of changing people's lives.

      Carl's truck, called 'El Jefe' and portrayed by real-life Miami food truck Jefe's Original Fish Taco and Burger, serves a classic Cuban sandwich as a main dish, alongside yuca fries, pl�tanos, and arroz con pollo -- if your abuela can say it, he can make it.

      But Carl's time in Miami is just a brief vacation. He soon begins the trek back to Los Angeles with his son and assistant cook. Together they take El Jefe across the country, making stops along the way in New Orleans and Austin, two other food meccas. Favreau insists, however, that despite the stimulating foods native to Louisiana and Texas, his biggest inspiration 'came from visiting Miami.'

      'I wanted to present this guy as a man whose marriage and whose fatherhood have been a casualty of his career, and because of that, he's lost his passion for cooking food,' he explains. The food truck gives Carl a second chance, allowing him to 'start from scratch and reconnect with his love of food and with his role as a father.'

      If that sounds schlocky, well, you're not wrong. Favreau isn't the first writer or director or actor you'd think of for your earnest, emotional indie film, and most of the 'reconnecting' his character does is conveyed through montages and catchy music. The film is most successful when it shows off its well-written dialogue. Clearly, Favreau is committed to the idea of his character's butterfly moment.

      'The hero's journey, in the Joseph Campbell sense, is a character who starts off very broken, and you want him to go through a transformation and grow and change over the course of the film,' he says. Carl is that hero, a man who evolves into 'somebody he is more happy to be than he was at the beginning.'

      And Favreau should know, having recently gone through a version of that story himself. Writing Chef, he says, renewed his passion for filmmaking. Like Carl's food truck, the film was a vehicle to contentment. It's like Eat, Pray, Love minus the praying.

      'It's been almost 20 years since I wrote Swingers, and it's nice to know I still have the ability to do it, and that's exciting,' Fav�reau says. 'Much like in the film, when Carl starts the food truck and feels very much renewed and reconnected to what made him excited to get into the business to begin with, I feel the same way with this film.'

      �2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
    • Live Long and Prosper in This $35 Million 'Star Trek' Mansion
      This Internet mogul wants to sell his house, and he's asked his real estate agents to make it so.

      Former CEO of the networking site FriendFinder Marc Bell is selling his gorgeous Florida home to the tune of $35 million. His incredible Mediterranean mansion includes eight bedrooms, 16 bathrooms and a couple of Star Trek-themed entertainment rooms � including a detailed recreation of the Starship Enterprise that serves as a home theater.

      SEE ALSO: Beam Them Up, Kitty: Artist Draws Adorable 'Star Trek' Cats

      'We built this house to have fun. We wanted the home to be hands on and all about enjoying life,' Bell states in a listing from Douglas Elliman Real Estate. 'My philosophy is that you only live once, so why not make the most of where you live?'

      If your spouse is forcing you to move here, don't worry. There are plenty of rooms for non-Trekkies to seek refuge, including some that pay homage to some other nerdy fandoms.

      To view photos of mansion please click the link below

      Copyright of Mashable.com
      See what's currently trending this week�May 9, 2014


      In an Upper East Side dressing room, an Arne Jacobsen Swan chair, a Swedish desk, a custom-made mirror, and vintage insect prints fill the space.

      �2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
      See what's currently trending this week�May 9, 2014


      In an Upper East Side dressing room, an Arne Jacobsen Swan chair, a Swedish desk, a custom-made mirror, and vintage insect prints fill the space.

      �2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • Coldwell Banker
      Top 10
    • 5 Good Things Happening Right Now in Housing
      May 12, 2014
      By: Peter Ricci

      There�s been quite a bit of negative press swirling around housing lately, but we�ve got some pleasant developments to hang your hat on. 

      There�s no two ways about it � the last few weeks, at least by headline standards, have been a pretty rough period for the housing market. From faltering home sales to slowing home-price increases, there�s been a negative story on housing lurking around ever corner thus far in 2014.

      Is housing really doing that poorly, though? And are there grander trends taking place that bely the urgent tone of those headlines? Here are five things currently going on in housing that we can be proud of:

      1. Home sales are finally balancing out � Yes, home sales are technically down from last year, but the make-up of those lower homes sales is markedly better than in years past, with distressed sales becoming less and less common. In just the last three years, for instance, distressed properties have gone from 40 percent of total existing-home sales to just 14 percent. Housing cannot fully recover until distressed sales return to their pre-recession levels, so such a decline is great news for the market.

      2. Delinquencies are way down � Delinquent mortgages were perhaps the most visible sign of the housing downturn, but here in 2014, they are but a shadow of what they were at the height of the downturn. As of March 2014, 7.6 percent of mortgages were delinquent, which � though still historically high � represents a massive decline from the 14.4-percent peak of four years ago.

      3. Negative equity is also way down � The change in the nation�s levels of negative equity has been nearly as dramatic. In 2013 alone, nearly four million properties returned to positive equity, with the number of properties in negative equity falling from 10.4 million to 6.5 million.

      4. What mortgage rate increase? � Everyone has learned by now that last summer�s jump in mortgage rates was quite the shock to the housing market, but at this point, the impact of those increases has dissipated. As Bill McBride explained on Calculated Risk, economists have found that such shocks to the market last for three to four quarters, and considering that rates increased from May 2013 to July 2013, we�re almost near the end of that shelf life.

      5. Nowhere to go but up � Finally, we should keep in mind that though lending standards remain tight and new home sales remain historically low, they only have one way to go � up. It may seem difficult to imagine now, but lending standards will loosen as the economy improves (they technically have improved in the last year, albeit slowly); additionally, the U.S. population will continue to grow, and people will continue to need housing � hence, home construction will commence.

      Copyright of Miami Agent Magazine
    • House-hunters find more choices � and higher prices
      MIAMI � May 12, 2014 � When people ask Miami Realtor Javier Gonzalez how South Florida's housing market is doing, it often makes him laugh.

      'It's a real complex question. Every market is a micro market,' said Gonzalez, an agent with RE/MAX Advance Realty. 'A lot of people don't understand.'

      South Florida's sprawling and diverse market includes homes ranging from a new two-story penthouse in Sunny Isles Beach with a $50 million asking price to a decrepit, 354-square-foot foreclosed apartment for $9,900 in the Freddie Mac HomeSteps program. And thousands of options in between.

      Each neighborhood, each price range and each type of residence � townhouse, condo or single-family home � has its own dynamics. In some price categories and neighborhoods, the choices are plentiful; in others, they're still hard to find.

      Ask first-time homebuyers Russell and Katherine Dodson. They scouted neighborhoods from Sunny Isles to the Design District to South Beach for more than a year before finally signing a contract in April for a house in the Little Gables.

      'We found it incredibly competitive and difficult to land a place,' said Russell Dodson, who, like his wife, works in advertising.

      The Dodsons were close to making offers more than once, only to be outflanked by another buyer. 'A lot of what we looked at, we thought was overpriced for what you're getting,' he said.

      For more than two years, home prices in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have spiraled sharply higher off their recession lows. But now, with the spring and summer house-hunting season in full swing, sellers and buyers are confronting a shifting market in South Florida.

      The frenzied buying scene of last year has settled down.

      On the heels of the roaring gains, housing prices are leveling and the volume of sales is moderating, as if the market is catching its breath.

      Some like to say South Florida's housing market is returning to 'normal.' But after more than a decade of roller-coaster prices and radical swings in sales, it's hard to define 'normal.'

      Besides, nothing is normal about a market in which 48 percent of single-family home sales and 72 percent of condo sales are cash deals � as was the case in Miami-Dade in the first quarter. Cash was still king in Broward, too, accounting for 45 percent of the single-family home sales and 77 percent of condo sales in the same period.

      Investors are still a major force in the market, although they have been pulling back as the bargain prices have disappeared.

      'It's a strange market,' said Doug Mayer, a first-time homebuyer who has been shopping since late last year. He made offers on several properties that didn't pan out before signing a contract recently for a 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath townhome in Miramar.

      South Florida home sales and prices, so far, have been outperforming most of the nation, where many indicators point to a slow start in 2014.

      In Congressional testimony last week, Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen sounded a cautionary note on housing. 'Readings on housing activity � a sector that has been recovering since 2011 � have remained disappointing so far this year and will bear watching,' Yellen said.

      Like many Realtors, Lisa Dority of RE/MAX Advance Realty has noticed a slowing from last year's hectic pace of sales. Still, she said homes priced right in desirable areas continue to move fast. A renovated 1950s-vintage house at 6290 SW 50th Street in a popular unincorporated neighborhood drew three offers the day after an open house in April and is currently under contract, Dority said.

      In South Florida as elsewhere, shoppers are finding that one popular source of discounts � short sales, in which lenders agree to accept less than the mortgage amount � are getting more scarce.

      That is primarily because a federal tax exemption on forgiven mortgage debt expired at the end of 2014. That means any sum a bank agrees to forgo in a short sale or loan modification becomes taxable income to the mortgage holder. (A bill pending in Congress could change this if passed.)

      For the first quarter of 2014, short sales in Miami-Dade and Broward fell 43 percent from a year earlier, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

      After a long stretch with limited inventory available in both counties, a growing number of for-sale signs are sprouting for homes and condos in various price ranges.

      The balance of power in negotiating home sales � which has been squarely with the sellers for two years � is shifting toward the buyers. But it's not yet a buyer's market in most cases.

      In recent months, buyers are asserting themselves more, says Jaime V. Rodriguez, principal loan originator at MVP Mortgage Company in Miami.

      'People were willing to overpay. I have seen homebuyers negotiating more,' Rodriguez said. 'I see it converting more to a balanced market. I wouldn't say it's a buyer's market, but people are negotiating more.'

      Buyers and sellers often have divergent views of the market.

      Shoppers in the hunt for a great deal are stunned how much prices have rebounded from the dark days of 2010 and by the keen competition, including from cash-wielding investors. Sellers, meanwhile, often use the bubbly peaks as their benchmark.

      'The gap between what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers expect is getting harder to bridge,' says Riley Smith, who heads The Riley Smith Group boutique brokerage at EWM Realty International, focusing on Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and the Brickell area. 'That will slow sales.'

      With home prices up sharply from two years ago, many buyers are stretching. Household incomes haven't kept pace, so a growing number of people are getting sidelined.

      'There is sticker shock going on,' EWM's Smith said. 'We deal with 20 different buyers at any different time; most are reaching the upper levels of what they are comfortable paying.'

      While the overall inventory for sale in South Florida remains tight by historic standards, some areas are tipping toward a buyer's market.

      For example, an analysis of housing inventory by municipality conducted by EWM Realty International shows that the pickings are slim in cities such as Hialeah and Miramar. Similarly, homes priced under $1 million in Coconut Grove remain in tight supply.

      'Inventory is very low, and there's pent-up demand,' said Ivory Cooks, a Coldwell Banker agent who sells a lot in the Grove. In a recent 30-day period, he said, three of his listings there sold, and 'all had multiple offers.'

      On the flip side, Sunny Isles, for example, has a large supply of high-end condos on the market relative to the pace of sales.

      And the western suburb of Doral � which has been a center of new home construction � has seen a rising supply of both single-family homes and condos recently, according to EWM's analysis. 'The increase in supply that stands out in the analysis is the Doral area,' said Ron Shuffield, president of EWM.

      With the housing market in flux, real estate agents are facing tougher challenges in educating buyers and sellers about the realities.

      'People ask: 'Can you find me a bargain?' I say: 'You're two years too late,'' said Carlos Ruiz de Quevedo, an agent with EWM in Coral Gables. 'I say, 'I can find you a good home that still has some upward potential.''

      Out-of-town buyers often have the biggest learning curve. 'Local buyers realize the days when you could buy here under $200,000 are gone,' Ruiz de Quevedo said.

      On his first few tries at buying, Mayer, a 41-year-old commercial pilot, figured that if an appraisal came back lower than the contract, it would open the door to whittling down the price.

      'I thought it would be a negotiating tool if the appraisal didn't come in at [the contract price],' Mayer said. His agent, Denise A. Madan, set him straight.

      'He told me, 'I'm not paying one dollar over appraised value,'' said Madan, who works at RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami. 'I said, 'Doug, if you don't wrap your head around what kind of market we're in, you're never going to buy a home.''

      After missing a few deals, Mayer relented and agreed to pay, if necessary, up to $10,000 over appraisal, she said.

      Mayer said he wishes he bought a year ago, but he's convinced that even with the run-up in prices, his timing is still good. 'It's a great time to lock in a nice interest rate,' he said.

      Buyers' expectation that a home appraise at the contract price sounds fair enough. But many sellers � emboldened by the strength of the market � are demanding that buyers waive the condition.

      The sellers' rationale is that appraisals, which are based on comparable sales in an area, tend to trail the market. In a fast-changing market, they can be particularly dated.

      More to the point: If the sellers have a property that is in strong demand, they know that another buyer � probably with cash � is waiting in the wings.

      Realtors say sellers' expectations, by the same token, have also become unrealistic. With a battalion of cash-wielding investors and foreign buyers ramping up demand, many sellers have swagger. In the wake of two years of sharp price gains and a tight supply that spawned the return of bidding wars, homeowners sometimes figure they can set prices where they want.

      That was probably a bit truer a year ago than it is now.

      'Sellers think they can get what they want,' said Francisco Angulo, who manages Coldwell Banker's Coconut Grove office. 'It's not what you want � it's what the market will bear.'

      'They're probably over-confident at the moment. Each new seller wants to reach a new high for their neighborhood. Sellers are getting a little too greedy,' EWM's Smith said.

      If a Realtor can't persuade a seller to be realistic about pricing, it isn't uncommon to agree to list a property at a lofty price � with the proviso that if it doesn't sell or at least draw lookers after a reasonable period, a price cut is in order.

      'It takes a very strong agent to say, 'Hey, you're nuts,'' said Gonzalez, the RE/MAX agent.

      With more choices coming on the market, buyers are freer to say 'no thanks' and move on. Several things are fueling the rise in inventory that will eventually tip the scales from seller toward buyer.

      In some cases, homeowners who have been stuck in homes that were financially underwater during the downturn now have the flexibility to consider selling without the specter of ponying up cash at the closing table to satisfy a mortgage obligation.

      Real-estate investors, big and small, who bought during the downturn and have been renting the properties are seeing an opportunity to cash out at a substantial profit.

      Many condo owners in the Brickell downtown area are looking to sell into the strong price gains of the past two years, rather than risk a correction. A huge pipeline of pre-construction units is starting to be delivered to owners this year, with much more coming in 2015 and 2016.

      Since most buyers are foreign nationals, they are widely expected to either put the new apartments for lease or to list them for sale at a profit to their pre-construction contract prices.

      Despite the rising inventory of residences on the market, it can be tough to find homes in a certain price range.

      When Tessa and John Hernandez were looking to move up to a house, their West Kendall townhome sold so fast � within a month of listing � that they ended up moving in with his parents.

      They found a lot of competition for homes in their price range of $300,000 to $325,000 before finally signing a contract this month on a 4-bedroom house in the same area.

      'It's a very popular price range,' said Tessa Hernandez, a 35-year-old hospice worker.

      Tessa Hernandez, whose husband is a police officer, said the variety of homes in their price range was wide enough, but the competition was keen.

      'They go from one extreme to the next. Either the whole house needed to be fixed up or it was really nice,' she said. 'We're getting 'Ew!' and 'Oh!''

      They made an offer on one house, but it went to another buyer, and in a second instance, they found a problem with the roof that the seller wasn't willing to accommodate. Finally, last week, the couple, who have an 8-year-old son, landed a contract on a 2,100-square-foot home built in the late 1990s.

      'It was not easy to show the house. It took two days to be able to show it, and the gentleman told me we were offer No. 4,' said Florence Saade, a Coldwell Banker agent who has been helping the Hernandez family to find a home. All the buyers were offering 20 percent down with 80 percent financing. Saade added: 'It was just a question of price.'

      Copyright � 2014 The Miami Herald, Martha Brannigan. Distributed by MCT Information Services.
    • Trendy tourism rentals raise legal questions
      MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. � May 12, 2014 � For $50, travelers can stay the night in a 'cozy room' at a cottage across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and chat over breakfast with the home's owner about the best place to watch the sunset.

      At Channelside, a luxury condo overlooking Tampa Bay rents for about $200 a night, while a spacious four-bedroom home at Madeira Beach can be reserved for $400 daily.

      These are a few of the options on the Airbnb website available for visitors to the Tampa area who prefer to save money or to experience an alternative to a traditional hotel room or long-term condo rental.

      Listings for vacation rentals have multiplied on the Web in recent years, and their owners say they're drawing a new market of tourists to town every week.

      But more than a few permanent residents don't feel very welcoming toward this revolving door of new people week after week in their tight-knit neighborhoods.

      City leaders and area tourism officials say many of these short-term vacation pads run afoul of residential zoning rules, and some owners who post properties online may also be dodging the 12 percent sales and bed tax required on overnight stays.

      Madeira Beach Commissioner Elaine Poe says an alarming number of these rentals are appearing in her own neighborhood.

      After combing the Web for the past six months, she's found that more than 1,800 rental listings in this town of about 4,000 people are being used as rentals.

      She blames a 2011 state law that prohibits cities from passing rules specifically restricting short-term rentals, but the ease of advertising on the Web with little interference from zoning or tax officials also may be fueling the trend.

      For Poe and other longtime beach residents, there's more at stake than tourism.

      'They're moving in and out like we're a Motel 6,' she said. 'I'm not willing to turn my residential community into tourism dollars.'

      A bill that passed last week in the Florida Legislature would restore some powers to local governments for regulating short-term stays, something property owners contend would squelch an estimated $31 billion a year spent by tourists who prefer vacation rentals.

      In small waterfront communities such as Gulfport, with virtually no hotel rooms, renting homes by the week is about the only way to keep more overnight guests in town, especially in the summer, homeowners say.


      The fast-growing vacation rental website Airbnb has been the subject of enthusiasm and controversy across the country in recent years. The site offers people an easy way to put their homes, rooms or possibly just their couches up for rent online at whatever price travelers are willing to pay.

      The San Francisco-based company attracted $200 million in venture-capital investment in the first quarter of 2014, the second-highest amount of all startups in the nation.

      It has also run into legal trouble in New York, where the state's attorney general claims its users are violating rules for short-term rentals and skipping out on sales taxes.

      In the Tampa region, the emergence of vacation rentals in traditionally residential neighborhoods appears to be concentrated along the beaches and other tourism hot spots.

      While there are numerous listings in Tampa for nightly and weekly rentals in bayfront condominiums, the city gets a relatively small number of complaints about vacationers lodging next to full-time homeowners, said Tom Snelling, director of the city's planning and development department.

      In Pinellas County and other coastal communities across Florida, the issue seems to be reaching a head. The proliferation of online listings has kept Pinellas tax authorities busy. Every day, the tax collector's office uncovers condos and homes being rented for the weekend without registering to pay the county's 5 percent tourist development tax or the 7 percent sales tax due to the state.

      Anyone who rents without a formal lease of six months or more is required to register with the county and pay taxes, but many people aren't aware of the rule and others intentionally flout it, said Erin Sullivan-Colt, the county's chief tax auditor.

      The tax collector shows leniency to those who come forward after learning about the rules, but penalties can be steep for those looking to evade the costs.

      Some websites notify users in various locations to research what taxes they may owe. Airbnb is taking steps to incorporate tax collections into its booking site, Sullivan-Colt said.

      For now, it's difficult for the tax office to track how thousands of properties are being used from one week to the next, so it falls mostly to condo associations or neighbors to report suspected violations.

      'We get neighbors giving us information that next door is being treated like a hotel; there are people coming and going,' Sullivan-Colt said.

      The problem is a growing concern for condo associations, which often have rules against short-term stays.

      'A lot of owners are just rather cavalier about it all,' said Bill Priakos, who runs rental units at Barefoot Beach Resorts in Indian Shores. 'They say, 'I'm not a business, so I guess I don't have to pay the tax.''

      Those who rent without paying taxes also undercut the hotels and condos that make up the county's larger tourism industry, bolstered by millions of dollars in bed tax revenue used to advertise the destination, says Priakos, a member of the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council.

      'If this were reined in, not only would tourists be directed to the right place like hotels and the proper condos that are in this business legitimately, but we would see a real increase in tourist taxes generally,' Priakos said at a recent TDC meeting.

      Short-term rental laws

      Concern about tourism money is what drove the state's vacation rental industry to push for the 2011 law that places limits on what cities can do to regulate short-term stays. The law prevents a city government from passing ordinances that would apply only to short-term rentals rather than all properties.

      The Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association maintains that overzealous city governments will cripple the valuable short-term rental market if they're allowed to pass restrictions meant to drive them out of residential communities. The association recently published a report that estimates vacation rental properties generate $31 billion in tourism spending each year.

      'So many other industries depend on vacation rental tourism, it is imperative that governments do everything possible to leave those protections in place for private property owners and managers,' Paul Hayes, association president, wrote in an email.

      Restrictions on the books prior to 2011 still apply, as a large group of property owners in Gulfport found out last month.

      An anonymous complaint about rowdy vacationers prompted the city to investigate rentals on the website VRBO.com and send letters to more than a dozen property owners for violation of local zoning rules. Many of them appeared at a recent City Council meeting saying they were unaware of an ordinance dating to 1993 that restricts short-term rentals of less than one month to only three times per year.

      Renting for weeks at a time has become a common practice in this small town, prized for its old-fashioned shopping district and waterfront and the absence of towering hotels.

      Vacation rentals are the only option for most short-term visitors.

      'There's no place to stay here,' said Ric Joyner, who started renting out a two-bedroom home near downtown on VRBO.com in January. 'In this town, the tension is, do you stop folks coming in?'

      Joyner and his wife, Mary, switched their property listing to a monthly rental after being informed about the city rules, but they expect to lose a lot of guests in the summer months, when travelers tend to take shorter vacations.

      The Joyners are selective about who they rent to � no one under 25, that is, no spring breakers � and they say most people willing to pay $1,200 for a week in Gulfport aren't likely to trash the property or keep the neighbors awake with all-night parties.

      At a recent workshop in Madeira Beach about regulating vacation rentals, City Manager Shane Crawford said many weekend visitors aren't necessarily causing a ruckus.

      'These are not spring breakers. These are mom and dad with three kids coming down for the weekend,' he said.

      While the city can tamp down on noise violations and other nuisances, there aren't many options available for specifically regulating rental properties, some of which are owned by absentee landlords, meaning full-time residents may just as soon be subjected to college students as quiet families, Poe says. The commissioner is reviewing ordinances in Key West, Miami and other cities that lay out steep fees for people who rent in neighborhoods zoned for permanent residents.

      Until stronger rules can be enacted, Poe has taken it upon herself to root out the unlawful rentals and is seeking to bring several cases before a magistrate.

      'It is a very, very serious problem. We are losing our neighborhoods,' she said.

      The prospect of government scrutiny decimating what's becoming an increasingly popular mode of travel across the world worries fans of Airbnb and other rental websites. Airbnb's representatives have called the subpoena a 'fishing expedition' that would violate the privacy of people who haven't broken the law.

      It might also give pause to people looking to join the so-called 'sharing economy,' an easy, less formal way for homeowners to make extra money while giving travelers more options.

      Stuart Pollack, who rents a home in Gulfport, credits the big growth of vacation rentals with revitalizing the downtown's business district, which relies on residents and tourists alike.

      'Most of these people had never heard of this town; 95 percent of them had never heard of Gulfport,' Pollack said. 'Without these vacation rentals, you're not going to have tourists at all.'

      Copyright � 2014 Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.), Jonathon Boatwright. Distributed by MCT Information Services. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    • Fla.�s housing market shows strength in 1Q 2014
      ORLANDO, Fla. � May 12, 2014 � Florida's housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and a slight uptick in inventory during the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors�.

      Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 50,251 in 1Q 2014, up 2.3 percent over the 1Q 2013 figure.

      'The first three months of 2014 show a strong housing market in Florida, with diminishing distressed property sales,' says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. 'More jobs are being created, putting more Florida residents back to work, and our population continues to increase. All of these factors are bolstering the state's economy and providing a solid foundation for a strong housing market.

      'Statewide, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 12 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 8.2 percent. Home sellers, whether in the single-family home market or the townhouse-condo market, received more than 92 percent, on average, of their original listing price during the first quarter of this year.'

      The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2014 was $168,000, up 9.1 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties during the quarter was $135,000, up 16.9 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

      Looking at Florida's townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 24,860 during 1Q 2014, down 0.8 percent compared to 1Q 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month: Short sales for condo-townhome properties declined 55.8 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 52 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

      'The first quarter statistics reflect the fact that Florida, in part a derivative market, has felt the sting of the northern winter.' said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. 'Yet, the market is showing some positive movement. Sales are up, particularly for non-distressed properties. Other data indicate that this is a market that is settling down and returning to more stabilized conditions.'

      In 1Q 2014, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell during that time) was 58 days for single-family homes and 56 days for townhouse-condo properties.

      Inventory was at a 5.7-months' supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 6-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.

      According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36 percent for 1Q 2014, up from the 3.50 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

      To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center and look under Latest Releases, or download the 1Q 2014 data report PDFs under Market Data.

      � 2014 Florida Realtors�
    • Survey: More owners think it�s a good time to sell
      WASHINGTON � May 8, 2014 � Americans' outlook toward the housing market continued to improve in April � and perhaps foreshadow an increase in housing activity in the coming months � according to results from Fannie Mae's April 2014 National Housing Survey.

      The share of respondents who believe it's a good time to sell a home increased for the third consecutive month to an all-time high of 42 percent, an encouraging sign since many potential homebuyers will need to sell a home before entering the purchase market.

      In addition, the share of respondents who say it's a good time to buy a home remained steady at 69 percent following a gradual climb since the beginning of the year. Notably, although consumers remain generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage, fewer respondents are concerned about losing their job � which may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market.

      'Consumer attitudes about the current home selling environment have improved and now are at the most favorable level we've seen in the survey's four-year history,' says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. 'These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season.'

      � 2014 Florida Realtors�
    Five Advantages to Owning a Home
    April 21, 2014

    Your home is your castle, but there are also many financial advantages of owning a home. Here are five ways that owning can be better than renting.
    1. As a Hedge Against Inflation
    Your rent will go up on a regular basis, while your payment on a 30-year fixed mortgage will always remain the same.
    Let�s say your monthly rent is $1,800. Assuming inflation (your rent increase) is 3 percent, in five years your monthly rent will be $2,026. By then, you will have paid about $115,000 of your landlord�s mortgage.
    2. To Build Your Personal Wealth
    Stop paying your landlord�s mortgage. When you own your home, your mortgage amount is going down and your property value is going up.
    No other investment, asset or debt is as misunderstood as a home. A home can be a wonderful and lucrative investment, but like any investment, it needs to be regularly reviewed, maintained and, when appropriate, sold. Even if your home is paid off, you still pay costs for repairs and upkeep, taxes and insurance. But like any investment, if you own it long term, take care of it and sell when the market is right, you stand to make a great gain.
    3. Tax Savings (Federal and State)
    Under Section 163 of the IRS code, interest on loans used to acquire, construct or improve real estate is deductible on up to a $1,000,000 mortgage.
    Interest on loans tied to real estate for any reason is deductible on up to a $100,000 mortgage. For example, interest on the first $100,000 of a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is tax deductible.
    Let�s say you make $100,000 per year and rent a home for $1,800 per month. You would have to pay taxes on your entire income of $100,000 when you are renting that home. If you purchase a home with a monthly payment of $1,800, you only have to pay taxes on $78,400 of your annual income because the interest you paid on your mortgage can be used as a tax deduction.
    4. Asset Diversification
    Unlike with a 401(k) or IRA, when you invest in a home you can live in it while the investment grows.
    Owning a home over an extended period of time is usually more lucrative than renting. With good planning and execution, you can learn to minimize the cost of homeownership and maximize the ability to create real wealth. Many small business owners have a home office and can use the home office as a tax deduction while they are earning income. Other homeowners will rent out a bedroom and use the rent to pay down their mortgage and gain equity faster.
    5. Forced Savings
    Monthly mortgage payments lower your mortgage, essentially creating a forced savings account.
    In five years with a $1,800 monthly mortgage payment, you will have paid $29,331 of the principal on your mortgage. That would be money in your pocket if you choose to sell. For this example we use a $345,000 mortgage loan amount at a 4.75 percent interest rate, 4.881 percent APR and use a standard amortization table to come up with the principal pay down.

    � 2014 NewsGeni.us. All Rights Reserved
  • Related�s MyBrickell already sold out
    May 9, 2014

    Developer completes closings at colorful 192-unit condo tower

    The first condo project completed in Miami�s financial district since last decade�s real estate collapse is sold out.
    Related Group sold all 192 units at MyBrickell about four months after finishing the 30 Southeast Sixth Street project, according to a written announcement from a company spokesperson. The company collaborated with prominent interior designer Karim Rashid on the colorful condo tower. Related began construction of the 27-story building in early 2012.
    A few blocks away, Related finished exterior construction of 1100 Millecento. The 42-story, 382-unit project at 1100 South Miami Avenue was designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott and Ferrari designer Pininfarina. Plaza Construction is the project manager. � Eric Kalis

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • Watson Island project receives city approval
    May 9, 2014

    State still must sign off on massive mixed-use development by June 2 deadline

    Miami commissioners approved the long-delayed Island Gardens development planned for the city�s Watson Island.
    Developer Flagstone Property Group still needs the state to sign off on the project, which would include a mega-yacht marina, retail center and two hotels on the city-owned island. The company would pay the city $2 million in annual rent once they finish the project, along with a portion of retail and hotel room revenue. Project opponents claim the city is short-changing itself by leasing land at a fraction of what it would be worth on the open market.
    Flagstone�s latest lease extension requires the company to start construction by June 2. Brian May, a lobbyist for the developer, said work on the marina portion would be underway by the deadline, according to the Miami Herald. Some city commissioners said they would potentially move on from the development and consider new proposals if the deadline is missed. [Miami Herald] � Eric Kalis

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • 1923 ~ Star Island
    Courtesy of Miami See it Like a Native
  • Deadline looms for massive Watson Island project
    May 7, 2014

    Construction of $640 million mixed-use development must begin by June 2

    Flagstone Property Group must start construction on the long-delayed Island Gardens development by June 2, as required by the company�s latest lease extension.
    But Flagstone has a hurdle to clear before the $640 million project planned for Miami�s Watson Island can begin. State officials have to sign off on the latest version of the company�s agreement with the City of Miami.
    The state gave the island to the city many years ago. Its 2011 approval of modifications to the uses allowed on the land expired in January 2012, according to Miami Today.
    City commissioners are expected to address the project�s status during their Thursday meeting.
    Island Gardens would include a five-star hotel, four-star lifestyle hotel, fractional ownership residences and retail and restaurant space on the 6.5-acre site. [Miami Today] � Eric Kalis

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • That Giant SkyRise Miami Thing Could Actually Break Ground by Next Month
    May 6, 2014
    By Kyle Munzenrieder 

    When we first saw plans for the oddly R-shaped SkyRise Miami, we filed it away with all the other ostentatious development plans that never made it past the concept stage. Well, SkyRise could actually break ground by next month pending a vote by Miami commissioners.
    Though, the structure would still need to be approved by voters in a referendum to be held either in August or November.

    Championed by developer Jeff Berkowitz, the idea behind SkyRise is to give Miami a signature observation tower somewhat akin to Paris' Eiffel Tower and Seattle's Space Needle. The 990-foot structure would sprout from land behind Bayside Marketplace and include a restaurant, ballroom, and two amusements (a Tower of Terror-like ride and a bungee-jumping feature).

    According to exMiami, however, developers have until June 12 to begin construction before the FAA clearance to build the megastructure ends. Before that, the Miami Commission would need to pass a resolution approving a deal that would see Bayfront sublease the space, and voters would get the final say in either August's primary election or November's general election.

    Of course, the tower's design, meant to evoke a wave pointing toward Latin America, has been divisive, as has the potential loss of revenue that could be generated from other options for the land.

    The tower would also become Miami's tallest structure, dwarfing the Four Seasons Tower by more than 120 feet. (However, plans for the 1,049-foot Bayfront Plaza have also been approved but have been long delayed.)

    �2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
  • Big project could be coming to Brickell Avenue
    May 7, 2014

    Owners of adjacent properties filed to form a unified development site

    A 3-acre parcel along Brickell Avenue could be a part of a major development play.
    Tigervest and Pacific National Bank own the properties, which currently house the headquarters of Pacific National Bank and Fortune International Realty. The companies have issued a joint request to close an alley dividing the properties � 1300 and 1390 Brickell Avenue � to form a unified development site, according to Exmiami.
    Together. the properties would make a full developable square block on Brickell. This isn�t the first time the sites have sparked the imagination of developers. Back in 2004, Fortune had planned a 950-foot tower on the Tigervest site, which later fell through. [Exmiami] � Christopher Cameron

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • La Gorce Island home sale sets pricing record
    May 6, 2014

    Buyer pays $611 per foot for property, expected to raze existing house

    A La Gorce Island home in Miami Beach broke the sale price per square foot record for Miami-Dade County, according to the property�s listing agent.
    The 34 La Gorce Circle residence sold for $14 million on Monday, broker Danny Hertzberg told the Miami Herald. Built in 1941, the six-bedroom, six-bathroom house is expected to be razed by the buyer, who was not disclosed. The 4,846-square-foot home is located on a nearly 23,000-square-foot property with wide bay views.
    Miami-Dade County has not recorded the transaction.
    Hertzberg, the son of luxury broker Jill Hertzberg, is part of Coldwell Banker�s The Jills Team.
    The buyer paid $611 per square foot for the property, or $2,889 per square foot for the home. The previous price per square foot record sale occurred in December 2013, when 2550 Bay Avenue sold for $529 per square foot for the land and $2,230 per square foot for the house. That was also a teardown. [Miami Herald] � Eric Kalis

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • Borrowers in federal program face big jump in rates
    May 6, 2014

    End of Home Affordable Modification Program could hit homeowners hard

    With loan modifications dating back to the housing crisis set to expire this year, hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the U.S. will face higher mortgage payments.
    About 900,000 borrowers benefited from the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, which reduced interest rates to as low as 2 percent. But after five years the program will begin to expire in September, according to the Palm Beach Post.
    Monthly payments could increase by as much as $1,168 in Florida, with interest rates increasing at a pace of 1 percent per year until they reach their original level.
    �We�re trying to raise awareness that interest rates are going to go up for these homeowners and while they are incremental increases, they can really add up,� Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP, said. �Unfortunately there are still many homeowners not yet back on solid footing financially.� [PBP] � Christopher Cameron

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • Hardies Bathing Casino
    1921 ~ Miami Beach,

    Photo: Florida Archives
  • Microsoft plans Miami-based Innovation Center
    Mat 2, 2014

    Company to occupy 5,000 square feet in downtown's Venture Hive incubator

    Microsoft intends to launch its first U.S.-based Innovation Center in a downtown Miami incubator next month.
    The software giant is slated to announce the new center on Friday. Microsoft plans to set up a 5,000-square-foot facility within downtown�s Venture Hive, a hub for tech startups. The Miami center is expected to be the first of many Microsoft opens throughout the nation.
    Miami�s Microsoft Innovation Center would provide services to startups, governments, students and the broader community, company executive Sanket Akerkar told the Miami Herald. Technology training programs and other workshops are expected to be held at the center.
    �There�s a great commitment to the local economy in Miami, and it�s a vibrant community,� Akerkar told the Herald. �We also see a lot of alignment with the universities there. It�s also a great hub and launching off point for Latin America from a business-building standpoint.�
    Microsoft has operated a Latin American headquarters in Fort Lauderdale for about 20 years. The company employs 400 people in those offices. [Miami Herald] � Eric Kalis

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • 462-unit apartment tower rises in downtown Miami
    May 2, 2014

    Pre-leasing for the Montage at Met 3 will begin in the fourth quarter of 2015

    The Montage at Met 3 is on the rise a month after the project�s developer ZOM secured the building�s air rights for $23 million.
    Suffolk Construction has poured several of Montage�s levels since late March. Renters can pre-lease one of the building�s 462 apartments beginning in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to exMiami. The project is one of two buildings ZOM has planned for Downtown Miami.
    Construction is scheduled to begin on the developer�s 420-unit Brickell Baview Center next year. ZOM purchased that property for $17 million. [exMiami] � Kerry Barger

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • Eastern Miami-Dade to get six commuter rail stations
    April 30, 2014

    Tri-Rail Coastal Link to be up and running by 2020

    The Tri-Rail Coastal Link train service will bring six stations to the eastern side of Miami-Dade County when it opens in 2020.
    The commuter rail service would connect Jupiter and Miami, with a total of 25 stops. The train stations will likely be set up near 36th Street, 79th Street, 125th Street, 163rd Street and Aventura Boulevard, Miami Today News reported. Tri-Rail Coastal Link is expected to cost at least $800 million, which includes costs of constructing a station structure and acquisition of land.
    �There�s been years and years of work with the cities� planning staff to site these locations,� Amie Goddeau of the state Department of Transportation�s Planning and Environmental Management Office told Miami Today. [Miami Today] � Mark Maurer

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal
  • Craft Beer-Killing Bill Passes in Florida Senate
    April 30, 2014
    By Kyle Munzenrieder

    The good news first: The Florida Senate passed a bill today that clears the way for craft breweries to sell 64-ounce growlers directly to customers. The bad news: the bill places so many other regulations on Florida's booming craft beer industry it could kill it before it gets a chance to blossom.
    Florida has long had some of the toughest regulations on the size of bottles beer can be sold on in the United States. It's why we have to settle for playing Edward Thirty-two-hands here instead of Edward Fortyhands. Except for kegs, 32 ounces was the largest volume of beer you could buy in a single bottle here in Florida.

    Forty-seven other states allow for the sale of growlers, 64-ounce glass jugs popular amongst local and crafter breweries.

    The burgeoning industry has fought to remove the ban on growlers for years now. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, in turn sponsored legislation to lift the ban ... but it came with a lot of other regulations. Breweries that produce more than 2,000 kegs of beer a year would be prohibited from selling more than 20 percent of their stock directly to costumers. They'd be forced to sell the rest through beer distributors who would then sell to customers at a markup.

    The bill also includes a clause that limits sales of kegs to one per customer per day.

    The bill has attracted supporters and opponents alike from both sides of the aisle, a bit of a rarity for Florida's often-polarized legislature. Senators on both sides have expressed the need for better regulations and guidelines for the new industry, while others have painted the bill as a jobs killer.

    A version of the bill in the House has not yet made it to the floor.

    Either way, if Floridians are allowed to buy growlers this year it may affect the overall craft beer industry. If the bill doesn't pass, that it may be a whole year before the issue is finally decided.

    �2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
  • Section of old Miami Herald building demolished
    April 28, 2014

    A section of the former Miami Herald building near downtown was demolished Monday morning.

    The site, between the MacArthur and Venetian causeways on the bay, is being cleared for a resort and residential complex.

    The Malaysian gambling giant Genting in 2012 pulled back on its plans for a mega-casino resort on the t after facing a backlash over the project's proposed size. Last year it proposed a more traditional mix of condo towers, about 500 hotel rooms and a ground-floor cluster of shops and restaurants.

    The property is near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts to the west and the new Perez Art Museum Miami to the south.

    The Miami Herald Media Company moved to Doral last May.

    Here is a statement from Christian Goode, President of Resorts World Miami.

    'Demolition of the former Miami Herald building's exterior walls has begun as expected, marking the first step in the transformation of one of downtown Miami's most important waterfront sites. Once completed, Resorts World Miami will be a critical anchor for downtown, combining residential, hotel and retail uses and providing public access to Biscayne Bay and Museum Park.'

    Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
  • Miami Heat Wants $121 Million in New Taxpayer Subsidies to Stay at American Airlines Arena
    April 25, 2014
    By: Tim Elfrink

    A jubilant email landed in the inboxes of Miami Heat season ticketholders yesterday signed by owner Mickey Arison and trumpeting an agreement with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez for a new ten-year deal to keep the team at the American Airlines Arena. 'We thank Mayor Gimenez for his vision,' Arison crowed. Only problem: Gimenez hadn't actually signed off on the deal yet. That small detail erupted into a bizarre war of words between the two men.
    But the real takeaway for residents is this: The Heat front office is expecting taxpayers to pony up for $121 million in new subsidies.

    See also: Tricky Micky: Arison's Heat Doesn't Pay Rent for County-Owned Arena

    On its surface, the details of the Heat's new proposed lease seem friendlier to taxpayers. For the first time, the Heat would agree to pay a fixed rent to the county, which owns the property. The team would pay the county up to $1.5 million annually to use the arena under the new package.

    That would indeed eliminate one of the most absurd parts of the county's current deal with the team.

    Back in 1997, the Heat persuaded the county to use a $38 million piece of bayfront property to build a $221 million arena (replacing the Miami Arena, which, never forget, was only eight years old). Their tactic: the time-honored sports franchise tradition of threatening to move away, this time to Broward County. The blackmail worked, and the team got its new digs on the bay.

    In exchange, the team was supposed to hand over 40 percent of profits that exceeded $14 million to taxpayers. Guess what? Year after year, Arison claimed that profits never quite passed that benchmark, even after the arrival of the Big Three brought skyrocketing ticket and merchandising sales. (He eventually paid about $300,000 to the county, a piddling figure that earned a rebuke two years ago from the county's inspector general.)

    So the fact that the Heat is now ready to pay fixed rent for its lease is great! Except that the team would like that rent to be coupled with a new, $147 million subsidy drawn from hotel taxes. Even with full rent being paid up, that would put a $121 million dent in taxpayers' wallets.

    In Arison's letter to fans, he pitches the new subsidies as the only way for the team to put a competitive squad on the floor while keeping the AAA in shape.

    '[It] will allow us to continue doing what we've always done: reinvest in the County-owned AmericanAirlines Arena in order to maintain the level of excellence you've come to expect,' Arison writes.

    But just in case fans didn't get the message, one county commissioner helpfully spelled out to the Miami Herald the consequences of what might happen if they refused: The team, like the Florida Panthers, could pack up for greener grass in Broward. 'What's it going to mean if we don't have a guaranteed team here?' Sally Heyman asked the Herald.

    Arison's letter claims Gimenez signed on to the new deal and that it will be presented to the county commission May 6. But that now seems unlikely, with Gimenez angrily denying he agreed to the terms and with most of the commission telling the Herald they're skeptical.

    Still, expect Arison to return sometime soon with the same playbook: The team can't possibly compete without millions from taxpayers, and if they're not willing to pony up, he'll just have to pick up and take his franchise elsewhere.

    Oh, Arison's net worth, in case you're wondering: just shy of $6 billion.

    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved.
  • Proposed Florida law would turn small brewers� profits to froth
    Beer fans line up every winter at Intuition Ale Works in north Florida for the annual release of Underdark, a world-class stout aged for a year in bourbon barrels that sells out quickly even at $15 a bottle.

    Ben Davis, who owns the 4-year-old local craft brewery in Jacksonville, counts on Underdark�s two-day spike in revenue to grow his small business.

    But a bill moving through the Florida Senate that would cut into Underdark's profit has craft brewers crying foul.

    The law would force craft brewers to sell their bottled and canned beer directly to a distributor. If they want to sell it in their own tap rooms, they would then have to buy it back at what is typically a 30 to 40 percent markup without the bottles or cans ever leaving the brewery, according to Joshua Aubuchon, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Florida Brewers Guild.

    The rule would not apply to draft beer.

    �That to me looks like racketeering,� Aubuchon said.

    While other states nurture craft breweries, the smaller craft brewers say politically influential national distributors have drawn a line in the sand in Florida to slow the growing popularity of independents who offer an alternative to the standard American light lager fare.

    U.S. craft brew sales grew 18 percent by volume in 2013, while overall beer sales dropped about 2 percent, according to the national Brewers Association, which defines craft breweries as those producing fewer than 6 million barrels annually that use traditional ingredients and are independently owned.

    Still, the craft industry remains small, accounting for about 8 percent of all beer sold nationally but as high as 20 percent in craft brew-friendly Oregon and in the double digits in states like Colorado, California and Washington, said Brewers Association director Paul Gatza.

    In Florida, where craft brewers say their market share remains under 6 percent and most breweries produce under 3,000 barrels a year, the small beer makers are outgunned in the legislature. Influential politicians have vowed loyalty to the national distributors, who make the bulk of their money from major brands like Budweiser, Miller and Coors.

    The bill�s economic impact in South Florida would be particularly noticeable because of the growing number of startup breweries in the region and ones about to open, said Luis G. Brignoni, founder of Wynwood Brewing Co. in Miami.

    �We don�t have a marketing budget like the big guys, so the tap room is the place for us to communicate our message, talk with people one-on-one about our beers, and grow our business one customer at a time,� said Brignoni, who recently tripled the brewing capacity of his brewery. �A lot of the money we put back into our business comes from the tap room. If this bill passes, we would not be able to expand or grow as quickly as we�d like to.�

    Mitch Rubin, lobbyist for the distributors' Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, said his group�s goal is to re-write the state's rules governing the craft brewing industry to create strict lines between manufacturers, distributors and retailers, which he said would preserve competition.

    Craft brewers say the distributors' clout has resulted in odd regulation in Florida, including a ban on the use of 64-ounce (half gallon) �growlers,� which are reusable jugs that can be filled directly from a beer tap and sealed for sales to-go.

    Florida allows the use of quart and gallon growlers, but the 64-ounce size is the most popular in 47 other states where it is legal. Craft brewers are trying for a fourth straight year to overturn the ban.

    �It's not going to be that big of a deal (to distributors),� said Joe Redner, owner of Tampa's Cigar City Brewing. �But their response is always to come over the top with a nuclear option.�

    The result was a Senate bill filed without a named sponsor that permits 64-ounce growlers but forces direct sales of all bottles and cans to a distributor, Aubuchon said.

    The bill passed its first committee hurdle last week by 10-0 vote.

    By contrast, the Brewers Association counts 37 craft brew-friendly states � Texas and Michigan most recently � that permit beer makers to distribute their own beer under various limitations.

    �What it's doing is it's allowing all these new breweries to pop up. We're seeing more than a brewery opening per day,� Gatza said.

    Miami Herald staff writer Evan S. Benn contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co. All rights reserved
  • Quattro Extends Lunch Hours, Adds Lower-Priced Special Menu
    April 21, 2014
    By: Carla Torres

    Eating out can get expensive, especially when you don't cook. It can be tough when you want a decadent meal but you don't want to break the bank. Quattro Gastronomia, Lincoln Road's upscale Northern Italian eatery, has introduced weekly lunch specials to the menu, giving guests the option of enjoying the award-winning cuisine in a more relaxed and far less expensive way.
    Italian twins Fabrizio and Nicola Carro are sharing the love Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., extending lunch three hours past the usual 3 p.m. cutoff due to the demand of diners who wanted a little longer to linger over a bowl of pasta. With specials priced well below items on the regular menu, it's sure to align with your budget. Short Order was invited to sample the offerings and chat with the twins on managing two babies: Quattro and Via Verdi.

    See also: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica Lends Italian Charm to the Upper Eastside

    The menu is broken into three parts -- antipasti, pasta, and secondi. Italians love a hearty meal, so they usually opt for all three regardless of the time of day (lunch or dinner). We Americans are easy to please, so just a pasta dish will suffice, but we recommend an antipasti for the table. Oh, and a glass of prosecco or wine. They're just $7 for lunch and will make the rest of the day that much better. There's also people watching, so sit outside and make lunch entertaining. Who knew Mondays on Lincoln Road were so eventful?

    With the recent opening of Via Verdi on the Upper Eastside, the twins are moving between the two locations, acting as owners of Via Verdi and still operating as executive chefs of Quattro. So, has Quattro changed now that they have their newborn? 'Quattro has remained unchanged. The menu is still Northern Italian cuisine with seasonal changes. Via Verdi is a rustic approach to our Italian cuisine,' Fabrizio says.

    'Very few dishes cross over from one restaurant to the other,' Nicola adds. As far as opening for lunch later, the twins thought it made sense for the area. 'We are already open all day Saturday and Sunday. We extended these hours to the rest of the week due to popular demand and people not wanting to go over the bridge to Via Verdi.'

    Prosciutto e melone ($15) is a thing in Europe, especially Italy. A healthful and fulfilling dish, it pairs parma prosciutto with slices of cantaloupe. It's a hefty portion too, so if you're watching what you eat and pasta doesn't agree with your diet, this dish is a far better alternative to the grapes and turkey you'd planned to take to the office. And it keeps lunch under $20.
    It's also offered only as a lunch special. 'The fresh cantaloupe and prosciutto, spaghetti alla carbonara with crispy guanciale and pecorino romano, and grilled mahi-mahi with salsa verde and garden vegetables are the highlights of the lunch menu,' Fabrizio explains. 'They are also new additions, so you can't get them on the regular menu. The grilled beef battuta you can only have during lunch too.'

    There's also a salad, in case your diet is so strict that even prosciutto is out. It includes roasted beets and cucumber with multicolor tomatoes, asparagus, and a zesty lemon dressing ($14).

    Those who love pasta will be thrilled to see carbonara on the specials menu. Quattro is heavy with guanciale, pecorino cheese, and egg yolk sauce ($18). It's enough to fill you up and have leftovers for dinner.

    Copyright 2014 Miami New Times, LLC, All rights reserved
  • Art House!
    ARTHOUSE Officially open!! 
    Come by to visit.

    Courtesy of ArtHouse
  • BNI Network Nights
    Great networking event at Shulas.

    Courtesy of SnapHappy Photos
  • Goodyear Blimp
    Goodyear Blimp at it's Miami Base for Winter Season on Watson Island 1973

    Courtesy of Miami, See it like a Native
  • Worldcenter holds public meeting ahead of pivotal vote
    April 24, 2014

    Miami commissioners expected to cast initial vote Thursday on street closures

    Miami Worldcenter�s Nitin Motwani touted the benefits of closing off sections of three downtown streets in advance of a City Commission vote on the proposed closures.

    The Worldcenter team is asking Miami commissioners to approve closing a chunk of Northeast Seventh, Eighth and Ninth streets to vehicular traffic, as previously reported by The Real Deal. The commission is expected to hold the first of two public hearings on the request during Thursday�s meeting.

    Motwani told a crowd of about 150 people on Tuesday that a pivotal goal of Worldcenter is to help downtown evolve into an area less reliant on cars and safer for pedestrians and cyclists, according to the Daily Business Review. Worldcenter representatives were previously criticized by a Miami board for �bad communication� with neighbors about the mixed-use project�s impact. The open meeting was a step towards rectifying that.

    �When we started this project 10 years ago, the idea was we�re going to have a great downtown and we�re working to make sure that the pedestrian experience is great,� Motwani said.

    Motwani also revealed previously undisclosed Worldcenter details during the meeting. For instance, the project would include a 40-story tower on Northeast Second Avenue and Ninth Street. [Daily Business Review] - Eric Kalis
  • Codina Partners gets $20.6M Downtown Doral loan
    April 23, 2014
    By: Eric Kalis

    Short-term mortgage covers portion of $1 billion mixed-use development

    Codina Partners obtained a short-term $20.6 million construction loan for a portion of its Downtown Doral project, The Real Deal has learned.

    Ocean Bank gave Codina-managed Downtown Doral Townhomes the mortgage on Thursday, according to Miami-Dade County records. The loan, which matures in April 2016, is secured by 7.2 acres within the 120-acre Downtown Doral site. Codina can obtain future advances of up to $42 million over the next 20 years

    Codina received a $6.6 million subordinate land loan for the site from Koala Miami Realty Holding Co. in October 2013. Last month, the company filed a commencement notice with the county indicating roadway improvements, landscaping and other site work would begin within three months.

    The $1 billion Downtown Doral mixed-use project is Codina�s first venture with Armando Codina�s daughter Ana-Marie Codina Barlick at the helm of the company. She was named CEO in December 2013.

    A phased project to be developed over the next five years, Downtown Doral spans from Northwest 87th Avenue to 79th Avenue and from Northwest 54th Street to the Trump National Doral Miami. Development plans include more than 2,800 residences and four office buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet.

    All rights reserved � 2014 The Real Deal