Among the Southeast’s major metros, Miami’s construction market has stood out in recent years, both for its frenetic pace and its string of dynamically designed projects. More recently, the region has been maintaining its construction news-making trend, with a string of construction-related headlines including celebrities, lawsuits, legal settlements and even speculation from South Florida’s “Condo King” about a potential housing bubble.
Beckham Shoots and Scores Arguably the biggest name headlining the latest Miami construction news is former soccer player David Beckham, whose MLS group Miami Beckham United announced in early December that it has finally picked a 9-acre site in Miami’s Overtown area on which to build a 25,000-seat stadium. The Beckham group may still have to win over skeptical Overtown residents, though, the Miami Herald reported.
Other New Developments Contract activity in Miami and the surrounding South Florida area appears to be maintaining momentum for now. Some of the latest examples include the plans of an Israeli developer to build a 60,000-sq-ft mixed-use project in the Buena Vista neighborhood. And Coral Gables commissioners have cleared the way for a mixed-use project to move forward that would feature residential, hospitality and commercial spaces. In March, Miami Beach voters are poised to decide the fate of a proposed $400-million convention-center hotel project, which hinges on approval of a referendum allowing the city to lease the land to Atlanta-based Portman Holdings, developer of the proposed 30-story hotel. Further down the line, Miami Beach’s mayor, Philip Levine, says the city will “immediately take steps toward bringing a light rail/wireless streetcar system to operate within our city,” the Miami New Times reported. Levine’s announcement, posted to Facebook, coincides with the city’s authorization of $417,000 to fund a study related to the Beach Corridor Transit Connection project.
Housing Market Slowdown? Miami, in particular, and South Florida, in general, were often held up as bad examples of the previous housing bubble. Lately, despite the surge in multifamily developments, experts and contractors alike have espoused that this latest increase in housing construction is more sustainable than the last. The leader of the region’s biggest multifamily developer, Related Group’s CEO Jorge Perez, recently noted in an interview with Bloomberg that a market slowdown may be happening now. “Perhaps we’re getting a little bit ahead of demand. Nevertheless, there is almost no speculation, because the buyers we’re selling to right now, are all cash buyers," Perez said in a video interview. "Will there be a decrease in demand and a market slowdown? Yes, it could happen. We’re seeing it now. In fact, it’s one that I really like happening. Because it’s taking some of the (developers) out of the market. So we’re starting to have less competition.” That said, the Miami Herald is reporting that Miami-Dade County should break its annual sales record for single-family homes, set last year when more than 13,500 existing homes changed hands.
Legal Dustups A trio of lawsuit-related stories popped up recently involving South Florida developments. In early December, the Miami Herald reported that lawyers representing a pair of condominium associations had filed a federal lawsuit that fire-sprinkler systems used in some South Florida condos used plastic pipes that could fail during a fire. On a lighter note, the Herald reported a Miami-Dade judge rejected a $225-million lawsuit filed by developers whose legal complaint argued that a group of homeowners located near their Aventura project, the Prive at Island Estates, were “doing everything in their power, legal or not,” to stop the project. The developers attempted to make the case that the homeowners had signed a contract agreeing to the project, but the judge dismissed that argument. Finally, in a legal settlement, Miami-Dade commissioners in early December approved a measure allowing developer Grass River Holdings to move forward with a $196-million mixed-use project planned next to the Coconut Grove Metrorail station.