Pavilion from the Ocean

Pavilion from the Ocean

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No letup in downtown #Miami population surge

A new report by the Miami Downtown Development Authority confirms what the restaurant openings, cranes and traffic snarls already tell us: Young professionals are still moving to downtown Miami in droves, and new businesses are following them.

According to the Miami DDA’s Demographics Report that will be released Tuesday, downtown Miami’s full-time population has soared to nearly 90,000 residents. That’s up 32 percent since 2010 and 150 percent since 2000.

Young professionals between the ages of 20 and 44 make up about half of this population, helping to fill the more than 20 new residential towers that have been built since the last real estate boom. More than half of downtown residents have obtained some form of college education, the report said.

“A report is one thing to study and see on paper, but if you go downtown in the evening you will see a different downtown than 10 years ago,” said city of Miami District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell, who is also chairman of the Miami DDA. “You can feel it, there’s an energy.”

Indeed, being in the center of it all is what appealed to Whitney McLees. The 30-year-old moved to the new Melody Tower, at 14th and Biscayne in the Arts & Entertainment District, in May. Within a couple of weeks of her move she began working as marketing and public relations manager for the Intercontinental Miami, so she rarely takes her car out of the garage anymore. McLees, who rents, says she can walk to work or take the Metromover, and Publix is right around the corner. “There are restaurants and stores popping up all over, and I feel like millennials are really driving that energy.”

According to the DDA report, per capita income is also on the rise in downtown Miami, increasing nearly 30 percent since 2010. Within the DDA’s boundaries — roughly between the coast and I-95, and 24th Street to the north and Rickenbacker Causeway to the south — average household income exceeds $110,000, and in the Brickell neighborhood, it’s $127,758. The average household income of downtown Miami is nearly double that of national averages and 83 percent higher than that of the city of Miami.

There are restaurants and stores popping up all over, and I feel like millennials are really driving that energy.

Whitney McLees, a new downtown resident

Yet it takes these much-higher-than-average incomes to afford a place in the downtown corridor. Miami-Dade is one of the country’s least affordable housing markets and Miami is one of the toughest cities for renting, recent studies showed, but the majority of the units selling or renting downtown are pricey. Russell acknowledges that is a challenge.

“Rather than concentrating solely on development and finance and construction, we have to make sure downtown is livable, enjoyable and sustainable. We have to make sure it is affordable so that the people who have made it a vibrant area can continue to live here,” Russell said. “What I want is for someone who works downtown to not have to commute in from very far away. ... It’s about the well-being of the entire city,” he said, noting that the biggest cause of traffic is the commute into and out of the core.

He said the city and the DDA have held roundtables on the topic and discussed ways to incent developers to build more affordable options.

Miami Worldcenter, one of the largest retail and residential developments planned for the urban core, is among the developers looking to offer smaller apartments, as the DDA report showed that household size has decreased, from 1.97 persons per household in 2010, to 1.92 percent this year.
“We’ve broken ground on apartment rentals because more and more people are opting to rent, even if they have the means to buy,” said Nitin Motwani, principal and managing director of Miami Worldcenter Group and a DDA board member. “They like the flexibility, the access to the arts culture and entertainment ... and they love transit,” Motwani said. “That is why we are moving forward on 863 apartments ... with more studios and smaller units.”

Restaurants are also following the influx of young professionals. In 2015, nearly 40 new restaurants opened across downtown Miami, and more than a dozen high-end eateries have opened or will open in 2016, according to the DDA.

Still, continuing to make investments in infrastructure is key, Motwani and Russell said. The DDA is working to implement a number of measures to make downtown Miami streets more livable and walkable.

For example, “the city and the DDA, hand in hand, are trying to open up projects like the Bay Walk and the River Walk that are not fully accessible,” including looking at legislative ways to open it up sooner, Russell said. “You will be able to jog or bike from one end of the city to another along the waterfront, and that is going to be a big transformation for downtown.”

Philippe Houdard, co-founder of Pipeline Workspaces, a Brickell-based company offering shared workspace, moved into a Brickell condo about a year and a half ago and gave up his car. He said about half of the 250 members at Pipeline’s Brickell location also live in the downtown area.

“I have Pipeline right there, all the restaurants and cafes are in immediate proximity, but most importantly it is extremely easy to coordinate with friends and for work-related activities. My life has become more simplified because I am in a part of town where everything I need exists. I Uber everywhere I go.”

ALERT: City of Miami Beach: End illegal construction in condominiums

Condominium Information
City of Miami Beach
Please find more information with regards to the latest Letter to Commission (LTC) that was submitted Tuesday, September 27. This letter was sent out to your Condominium Managers requesting assistance in City of Miami Beach Building Department's initiative in ending illegal construction in condominiums citywide.

Click Here to Read Letters

Miami Beach tourism takes a hit from Zika: demand drops, cancellations rise

#Miami Is there room at top of luxury condo market to bargain?

Miami-Dade launches first blow in fight against condominium fraud

A tripled Zika zone has #MiamiBeach wary of the next step

On Monday, Miami Beach could be the only place in the U.S. with active Zika transmission, leaving locals and tourists alike wondering what’s next for Miami’s tourism hotspot.

Although Miami Beach’s Zika zone has tripled in size, the space the city will aerially spray for mosquitoes has not.

A statement from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Saturday confirmed that the spray of controversial pesticide naled will be relegated to the original 1.5-square-mile zone from Eighth to 28th streets. The next spray is planned for 6 a.m. Sunday.

“We will review the epidemiological and trap data over the weekend, and consult with our health and environmental experts, and the City of Miami Beach, before making further decisions about the best way to break the cycle of transmission in the expanded area,” he wrote.

Friday saw five new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 93 locally transmitted cases. Two were in the original zone and three were in the expanded zone, which stretched up to 63rd Street.

The county is monitoring 19 mosquito traps around South Beach. A fifth trap with Zika-positive mosquitoes also was identified Friday. Of the five, the only positive location identified was the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.

The Miami Herald filed suit against Miami-Dade County on Friday to find out where the other traps are.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said that truck spraying of larvicide was to begin Saturday, and code enforcement started sweeping for standing water in the new zone shortly after the news broke.
The county fought the spread of the virus from the start with aggressive marketing and pesticide spraying campaigns. But it’s the airplanes misting the city with the insecticide naled that are drawing the ire of residents.

In Miami Beach, anti-spray protesters have packed City Hall twice to express their displeasure and fear of the spray. Their actions delayed a second spray by 24 hours.

Even outside of the organized protests, locals are wary of the spray, at times calling the cure worse than the disease.

On Saturday, Miami residents Stefano Delpuppo, 26, and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Alexis Polanco, said they wear bug spray everywhere they go.

“It’s getting closer and closer,” Polanco said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Delpuppo said the virus is common in Brazil, his home country, but he thinks that the county is already taking care of Zika well enough here without the aerial spray.

“I mean, how many deaths have there been?” he asked sarcastically. “It’s not that bad.”

What worries them both is the effect on tourism in Miami Beach, which had already taken a sharp downturn when the zone was a third its size. The Fontainebleau hotel has had its worst three weeks in 15 years.

Miami Beach resident Gaylene Horsefall, 55, said Saturday that her northern friends and relatives want to talk about Zika more than anyone she knows in Miami-Dade.

“It’s not a dinnertime conversation down here,” she said.

Horsefall, who works in the medical field, said she’s reading studies on the effects of naled to determine her position, but she worries for her friend’s daughter, whose asthma gets worse every time pesticide is sprayed.

Her husband, 43-year-old David Horsefall, said he’d be interested in the effects of the “GMO mosquitoes” of Monroe county. The male insects are bred so that when they mate with infectious female mosquitoes, their offspring die before they reach adulthood, stopping the spread of the virus.
“I think it’s a good idea in the long run,” he said. “In the short term you’ll still get bit.”
For 80 percent of people infected with Zika, a bite is all they’ll ever feel. The minority who show symptoms have fevers, red eyes and rashes. That is, unless you’re a pregnant woman or a woman trying to be pregnant.

Two Vero Beach OB-GYNs walking along the boardwalk Saturday said that it’s all their gynecology patients ask about.

“Mainly I’m trying to talk them down from the ledge,” said Lindsey Bruce, 38. She said that the virus is so new, it’s hard to keep up with the latest Centers for Disease Control recommendations.
Her colleague, Lindsay Goodman, 34, said she’s amazed how quickly doctors are responding to the crisis, but it could be better with more money.

“There’s a disproportionate amount of media coverage and political coverage, and not enough government funding,” she said.

Along with the news that the Miami Beach Zika zone has grown, Scott allocated $10 million in state funds to combat the virus, bringing Florida’s total bill to $36.2 million. Congress has yet to approve any money for the mosquito-bourne illness.

However, spraying alone isn’t the solution. As the county and CDC’s campaigns advise, residents must drain standing water, cover themselves with long sleeves and use insect repellent.
As 54-year-old Rigo Franco put it, “It’s not only in the zone. It’s the people in the zone who carry it outside the zone.”

Franco, standing outside his Miami Beach condominium, said, “I think it’ll spread, eventually.”
On the mainland, things are looking up.

Wynwood, the first spot in the continental U.S. to have local transmission of the virus, may no longer be a transmission zone by Monday, Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday. Zones are considered clear after 45 days with no new infections.

ALERT: ZIKA zone in #MiamiBeach stretches from 8th Street to 63rd Street

The Zika virus transmission zone in Miami Beach has been expanded to an area including the famed Fontainebleau Hotel, Florida governor Rick Scott announced Friday night.

The zone in the city was expanded to a new area stretching from 8th Street to 63rd Street -- for a total area of around 4.5 miles where officials believe Zika transmission is occurring.

The Florida Department of Health says five people -- two males and three females -- in the expanded area have experienced symptoms within a month of each other.

"One of these cases has already been announced by DOH earlier this week and was under a normal investigation process," the announcement said. "The investigations of the other four were completed today."

"Aggressive mosquito control efforts" were taking place in the expanded area, which has experienced 35 non-travel related Zika cases. There have been 93 non-travel cases in Florida.

"While we’ve learned that we’re expanding the impacted area in Miami Beach, the good news is that we expect to lift the zone in Wynwood on Monday because of our aggressive mosquito control measures, outreach to the community, education efforts and the vigilant actions of the residents and businesses in Wynwood," Scott said in a statement.

Scott blasted Congress for inaction on funding and said he authorized $10 million in additional funds to fight Zika.

He also renewed calls for the federal government to give more lab staff, 10,000 Zika prevention kits and a plan on how Florida can work with FEMA to fight the mosquito-borne disease.

Apartment hunting? Miami-Dade rents rose 9 percent over last month

Feeling the rent squeeze? Chances are you aren’t alone.

Miami-Dade County experienced the highest one-month rental price increases in the nation,

according to a report by Abodo, an apartment rental listing platform. According to Abodo’s report, rents for a one-bedroom apartment in Miami-Dade rose 9 percent between August and September. The average rent on a one-bedroom in Miami now is listed at $1,739, up from $1,599.

But if this is any consolation, rents were higher this spring. According to Abodo’s data, an average one-bedroom in April was $1,870 a month, and rental prices dipped downward until the August low.

Nationally, apartment rental prices this month decreased in high-rent locations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston and Seattle, according to Abodo’s report. Nationwide, the average rent for a one-bedroom in September for $940, up from $932 in August.

Abodo tracks listing prices through its own platform as well as others. For Miami this month, Abodo analyzed 2,965 rental properties.

Middle Eastern Buyers Investing in #Miami Area

Middle Eastern investors have their eyes on Miami.

The Miami area was the 10th most popular global destination for Middle East investment over an 18-month period ended in June, according to CBRE Inc. The foreign investors poured $517 million into Miami's real estate market during that time, making it the fifth most sought-after market in the U.S.

Investors from the Middle East were active buyers during the first half of the year despite a slowdown in global investment turnover. They spent about $9.8 billion on commercial real estate, representing 20 percent of all global cross-regional investment, according to CBRE.

A good chunk of these investors is looking for long-term holds, and South Florida property fits the bill. The region's "growth and demographics create very strong positive trend lines for long-term holders," said Charles Foschini, vice chairman of South Florida markets at CBRE.

Recent deals include the former Viceroy Miami hotel, which was purchased by a Qatar-based conglomerate in June. Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Co., the international hotel investment and hospitality subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding Co., purchased the property for $64.5 million and rebranded it as the W Miami.

Late last year Kuwait-based KFH Capital dropped $120 million on hundreds of apartments and townhouses at the Modera Town Center in Miramar.

"The launch of a direct Miami-to-Qatar flight has increased Middle Eastern interest in South Florida real estate," said Teresa King Kinney, CEO of the Miami Association of Realtors. The association will be promoting South Florida real estate at a property showcase event at the Dubai World Trade Centre this month.

The top markets capturing Middle Eastern investments were New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris.

#Miami Condo Manager Claims Retaliatory Firing

When Denise August was named property manager of the Courvoisier Courts condominium in Miami's Brickell Key in 2014, she began tackling issues plaguing the condo association: Reserves were depleted, an insurance policy was due to expire, and the garage needed immediate repairs, according to a complaint filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

August was employed by KW Property Management & Consulting, a Miami-based company that describes itself as one of the largest high-rise property management providers in Florida.

Early in her tenure, August allegedly noticed suspicious activity taking place at the posh 27-story tower at 701 Brickell Key Blvd.

When she reported violations to KW and the association's board, she was met with "indifference and then hostility," according to the complaint filed last year.

August claims the board had not maintained the legally required reserves for a condo, and proceeds from a $750,000 special assessment were used for unintended purposes, according to the complaint.
The condo board didn't notify new buyers and tenants that the garage had been deemed "extremely hazardous" by an engineer and lost its insurance coverage, the complaint said. She also alleged insurance fraud, closed-door board meetings, failure to promptly approve full funding for garage repairs, delaying repair to a damaged generator and keeping former tenants' deposit checks without legal justification.

Her objections led to her termination, prompting her lawsuit against the company and condo association under the Florida Whistleblower's Act.

In the complaint filed May 2015, August alleged KW Property Management LLC and Courvoisier Courts Condominium Association Inc. took retaliatory action against her for objecting to the alleged violations at the Brickell Key high-rise. She tacked on a count of tortious interference against the association, which Courvoisier moved to dismiss July 14.

KW general counsel Frank Simone said the company had "legitimate, nonretaliatory reasons" for firing August. He said, "There were a lot of things going on in [August's] life" at the time.
"We have claimed that she was terminated because she did bad work," the Miami attorney said. "These are issues that are going to be ligated, and a court will decide. There may be counterclaims brought against her for things she did as well. We don't believe that KW did anything wrong."
Following her termination in January 2015, August also filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, saying she was fired for raising life-safety concerns about the garage and generator.

In a response to the OSHA complaint, Simone said the property and equipment at issue is owned by Courvoisier Courts and controlled by its board, not KW. He added, "There were no recognized workplace hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to any KWPM employee."

"Among other things, [August] failed to execute directives including a directive for the very remedial work complained of by claimant ..., was rude to customers and coworkers, failed to follow procedure and exhibited unprofessional conduct," he wrote.


Another battle is brewing against KW Property a few miles north. A virtual petition asking the condo board to consider other management firms when KW's contract expires this month has circulated at Venetia, a tower on Biscayne Bay at 555 NE 15th St. in downtown Miami.

ARGENTINIAN NEWSPAPER: Mal momento para los alquileres temporarios en Miami Beach

A quienes pensaban visitar Miami Beach y alquilar un económico apartamento a través de, por ejemplo, Airbnb, no les será tan fácil: la ciudad del estado de Florida está implementando mano dura contra la epidemia de alquileres de corto plazo.

Miami Beach es centro de una polémica luego de que la ciudad multara por 1,59 millones de dólares a propietarios y a plataformas online como Airbnb, Homeaway y, entre otras, por alquilar -o en su defecto promocionar la renta de- viviendas a corto plazo.

En estos días, la policía incluso desalojó a turistas que se estaban quedando en 31 propiedades que fueron multadas, según un memo del administrador municipal Jimmy Morales del 17 de agosto, divulgado recientemente.

Norma clara

Los alquileres de menos de seis meses y un día están prohibidos en buena parte de Miami Beach, con playas turquesa y la dinámica vida nocturna de esta parte de Estados Unidos, que recibe millones de turistas al año.

Las autoridades argumentan que el ambiente "festivo" de los inquilinos las 24 horas es una gran molestia para los residentes. También aseguran que muchos de estos arrendadores, básicamente, suelen evadir los impuestos.

En estos alquileres de corto plazo "se amontonan cinco a diez personas en una habitación y están de fiesta toda la noche", dijo a AFP Michael Grieco, comisionado de Miami Beach.

"No es un asunto de turismo. Es un asunto de calidad de vida para los residentes. Y en segunda instancia es un asunto de evasión de impuestos".

Desde marzo de este año los propietarios y las páginas web de alquileres de corto plazo fueron multados por cifras que van de 20.000 a 80.000 dólares, de acuerdo al memo divulgado por el diario local Miami New Times.

Dieciocho de las citaciones fueron "para compañías que publicitaron alquileres de corto plazo como Airbnb, Homeaway y", detalla el texto.

Actualmente hay cientos de investigaciones en curso sobre "miles de viviendas listadas", detalló Grieco.

Razones de peso

El endurecimiento de las medidas comenzó cuando, en marzo, la ciudad aumentó de unos cientos a 20.000 dólares la multa por alquilar viviendas a corto plazo.

Antes los propietarios pagaban felizmente esta multa como si se tratara de un impuesto, dijo Grieco, para explicar la razón de este empinado aumento. Ahora los propietarios lo pensarán dos veces antes de listar su propiedad.

Los propietarios, claro, no están muy contentos. Argumentan que la ciudad está favoreciendo a los grandes hoteles y que el turismo y las inversiones en el área van a sufrir las consecuencias.

Ross Milroy, un agente de propiedades de lujo en Miami Beach, dijo a AFP que evalúa presentar una demanda colectiva argumentando que estas redadas son ilegales.

Su fundamento es un estatuto estatal de 2011 que prohíbe a los gobiernos locales regular la duración o frecuencia de los alquileres vacacionales.

Benjamin Brait, vocero de Airbnb, dijo que están "deseosos de trabajar con los líderes comunitarios y los propietarios en los próximos meses para crear normas justas que permitan compartir hogares".

Airbnb es la firma la más afectada, con multas que ascienden a 80.000 dólares.

Zika Update September 4, 2016

Starting in the early hours of Tuesday morning at approximately 2 a.m., Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control will deploy Buffalo Turbine trucks in various areas of the designated Zika zone on Miami Beach (between 8th and 28th streets).

These state-of-the-art trucks provide greater uniformed ground coverage to effectively target breeding areas and reduce the mosquito population. They do so by applying Baccillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (Bti) - an environmentally-friendly, organic material.

Bti is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that works by destroying the digestive system of mosquito larvae. Bti specifically targets only the larvae of mosquitoes, fungus gnats and blackflies. According to the U.S. EPA, "Bti has no toxicity to people, so it can be applied safely to mosquito habitat without a detrimental impact on food crops or water supplies. In fact, Bti can be used for pest control in organic farming operations." Click here for the EPA fact sheet on Bti.

It is important to note that there will be no Naled sprayed from these trucks.

Truck spraying will take place over the next four weeks.
  • Late Monday/Early Tuesday: West of Washington Avenue between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Late Tuesday/Early Wednesday: East of Washington Avenue between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
While the trucks are a great tool in the mosquito mitigation efforts, they do mimic the sound of a lawn mower. Please do not be alarmed when you hear them.

We greatly appreciate the County's efforts in helping rid Miami Beach of the Zika virus.