Property Biz Canada

Miami developers woo underserviced Canadian condo buyers


Toronto condominium marketer Hunter Milborne recently bought a condo at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach in Miami, Fla., which led to a strategic partnership that will now enable his company to cast a wider net.

Milborne Pordes

Left: Fendi Chateau Residences, Right: Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach

Milborne Group is working with Miami’s Pordes Residential to serve the Florida real estate market, starting with the high-end Sunny Isles Ritz-Carlton and Fendi Chateau Residences in Miami.

“I probably looked at 40 different communities up and down the Florida coast over a period of about a year, and we settled on purchasing a home at the Ritz-Carlton at Sunny Isles,” the founder and chief executive officer of Milborne Group said Monday at a Toronto event to introduce Canadian journalists to the partnership as well as the first two projects and developers it has been asked to work with.

“And that’s what led to our association with Mark and the principals at Pordes. It’s easy to help market and sell something if you’re personally involved with it and motivated.”

Canada is top country for Miami real estate searches

Statistics cited at the event showed more than four million Canadians visited Florida last year, 32 per cent of foreign home purchasers in the state were Canadian, and Canada has become the top country for searching for Miami real estate online. Canadians buy more than $2 billion worth of real estate a year in Florida.

“We feel that Canada has been a little bit overlooked in terms of the marketing efforts from the various sales groups like mine,” said Pordes CEO Mark Pordes, who added his team members, as well as representatives from the developers, plan to be in Toronto frequently and will involve the local brokerage community to provide an opportunity to sell something new and different to their clients.

“Business has been booming over the last few years in Miami, heavily weighted toward South American buyers. But we see Canadians buying and hear about it, but no one has been coming up to this market and putting any effort forth.”

While Milborne said the business plan is to ultimately have a broader spectrum of properties to market, his company and Pordes have decided to start at the top and then broaden the product line as they progress. Fendi Chateau Residences is complete while construction is just starting on the Sunny Isles Ritz-Carlton, a few miles to the north.

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“We sold the Four Seasons private residence here and the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal,” said Milborne. “On a 10-point scale, if you say the Fendi building is a 10, I would say that the best buildings in Toronto are a 7.5 or eight.

“There’s a big gap in my mind between what you get here in terms of the top of the market and what you get there. It’s just more advanced. You almost have to see it to believe it.”

Miami’s selling points

People from around the world are attracted to Miami due to its warm climate, low taxes and multitude of amenities and lifestyle enhancers, including high-end restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Pordes vice-president of operations Adam Kaufman cited a report that said Miami has become the sixth most important city in the world to ultra-high net worth individuals.

“We don’t build buildings for ourselves, we build them for our customers, and more than 70 per cent of the pre-construction customers in Miami are foreign buyers,” said Edgardo Defortuna, president and CEO of Fortune International Group, which is developing the Sunny Isles Ritz-Carlton project with Chateau Group.

“Twenty years ago people went to Miami to die, and now they go to Miami to live,” he added, noting a high-end, 200-unit Miami condo will usually have residents from 20 different nationalities.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles

The Sunny Isles Ritz-Carlton will feature 212 residences in a 649-foot, Arquitectonica-designed curvilinear building on a 2.2-acre beachfront site when ready for occupancy in the fall of 2018. Residences range in size from 1,605 to 3,640 square feet, while penthouses reach 6,320 square feet.

Suites offer ocean, city and Intracoastal Waterway views and feature laundry rooms, smart home technology and kitchens with Italian cabinetry, stone countertops and top-of-the-line appliances.

Amenities include a private beach, restaurant, two pools to maximize sunlight, play facilities for children, wellness and fitness centres, a breakfast area, underground parking and a car wash. The 33rd floor will feature a lounge, bar area, private dining area with kitchen, business centre, media room, library and eight suites for guests of owners.

Prices start at $2.5 million and a full-floor penthouse on the 51st floor has already sold for $21 million. The pet-friendly property will be managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and feature a wide range of its services, but won’t include a hotel.

Fendi Chateau Residences

Chateau Group was represented at the event by the head of its United States operations, Manuel Grosskopf. He outlined what his Fendi-branded, 12-storey, 58-unit building on 300 feet of private beach in Surfside includes.

Suites range in size from 3,400 to more than 7,000 square feet. They have private elevator access, 10- to 12-foot ceilings and ocean-view terraces. Bathrooms and kitchens have high-end finishes and appliances. Three penthouses include private rooftop sundecks and swimming pools.

Indoor amenities include valet and concierge services, a private restaurant, a lounge with a gourmet kitchen, storage spaces for each residence, bicycle storage, a library, a business centre, a private cinema and media centre, a kids’ club, a fitness centre, and a spa with thermal pool. Landscaping includes gardens with cypress trees and ponds, while there are two swimming pools with cabanas, a Jacuzzi, and a gazebo with an outdoor kitchen.

Pordes said a $25-million penthouse at Fendi Chateau Residences, for which he believes there’s a Toronto buyer, will be put on the Toronto MLS system.

“It’s a super unique duplex unit with an amazing finish level, a Fendi Italian kitchen, a 4,000-square-foot roof deck with a private pool and a sauna in the master bedroom. It’s one of the most unique residences that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot in 25 years of selling condos.”

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Steve McLean

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Steve McLean is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot Canadian Bands and has taught reporting to college students.

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