Investment Projects Real Estate

Old Grand Bay hotel to become new residential Tower, Grove at Grand Bay

In its prime, the Grand Bay hotel in Coconut Grove was the place to be, whether you were a businessman meeting for breakfast, a celebrity seeking publicity or a bride celebrating her perfect day.

But the hotel’s heyday was a long time ago. And soon, it will just be a memory.

The only hotel south of Palm Beach to have ever earned the coveted Mobil five-star rating will be demolished to make way for a residential tower designed by an up-and-coming Danish architect, the developer confirmed Thursday.

“Our plans are to do something that’s very one-of-a-kind,” said David Martin, chief operating officer of Terra Group, which bought the property last summer for $24 million. “We wanted to really build something that people felt they could be proud of.”

For the first time since the purchase, Martin provided details on the company’s plans for the site. After a gradual decline, the Grand Bay has been shuttered for nearly four years, collecting mold, graffiti and pigeon droppings.

The project is called Grove at Grand Bay, here’s what is known:

The building will be 20 stories high with about 96 units, all residential.

Lead design is by Bjarke Ingels Group, or BIG, which has made waves for high-profile projects near Copenhagen and in China, New York City and Utah. Ingels, a 30-something “starchitect” in-the-making, was named Innovator of the Year in Architecture by the Wall Street Journal’s magazine.

Raymond Jungles, the landscape architect who designed the grounds at 1111 Lincoln Road and the New World Symphony’s rooftop garden, will handle the outdoor space. And rounding out what Martin called a “design dream team” is Coral Gables architecture firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe and Associates, which has worked on Miami-area residential projects and hotels for years — including the original Grand Bay.

Developed by the late Sherwood “Woody” Weiser and Donald Lefton of The Continental Companies for $30 million, the hotel opened in 1983 in an area transitioning from artsy-hippie enclave and cocaine-cowboy hangout to major tourist destination. The 200-roomGrand Bay, at 2669 S. Bayshore Dr., was immediately hailed for its pyramid-shaped structure, its pristine service and its draw for jetsetters, especially Regine’s nightclub, which sat atop the hotel. The eponymous nightclub queen operated party spots around the world but chose the Grand Bay as only her second U.S. location.”I called it Fantasyland,” said Terry Zarikian, who worked there for 10 years in jobs including public relations director for Regine’s.”It was filled with celebrities. It was very, very classy, very chic.”

Click here to read more about the Grove at Grand Bay as well request to receive more information.
Local power brokers talked business over breakfast. Often.

“I’d go there for breakfast a couple or three times a week to meet people,” said Monty Trainer, a longtime Coconut Grove businessman. “The public areas, the banquet rooms and the downstairs and upstairs, the pool area, everything was absolutely gorgeous, well appointed, well furnished. You felt like you were in New York.”

Michael Jackson stayed there. So did Luciano Pavarotti, Prince and Sophia Loren — and just about everybody who was anybody.

“I remember when Elizabeth Taylor asked for a toothbrush,” Zarikian said. “We sent her stone crabs the night she arrived. Crab meat got stuck in her diamond ring and she needed to brush it out.”

In 1987, the Grand Bay earned five stars from Mobil, a feat that has still not been repeated by any other local hotel.

David Kurland was general manager at the time. He said Weiser and Lefton created a haven for VIPs — something that was then, unlike today, hard to come by.

“There was no Miami Beach, per se,” said Kurland, who now manages the La Gorce Country Club. “There were very few places where one could go and be in that type of environment that was A., so elegant, but B., so hip at the time.”

Over time, however, the sheen started to dull. After becoming the Wyndham Grand Bay, the hotel lost a star in 1999, then fell to three in 2001. Other upscale properties opened nearby and on Miami Beach.

The Merco Group bought the property for $25 million in 2005, planning a major renovation. They closed the doors to make $20 million in upgrades in 2008. The recession hit, money dried up and a foreclosure fight followed. The bank took back the property last March.

Terra Group’s Martin has watched the hotel’s rise and fall; he and his father both spent time at the Grand Bay. His sister spent part of her honeymoon there, and a friend got married in the hotel.

But, he said, given the surrounding neighborhood, a “boutique residential project” rather than a 200-room hotel with restaurants and event space would be a better fit.

“I think that what we’re going to be developing here is really going to be special and much less impact to the community and neighborhood,” he said.

The building’s design and a time frame for demolition and construction are still not final. Martin said concept testing is under way and work will likely begin within the next year.

Ingels, he said, is known for designing to the community he is working in.

“What someone wants to do in Shanghai or New York is different than what you’re going to do in Coconut Grove,” Martin said. “It’s really going to be clean and pure and something I think will really work.”

Public art fans will delight in the news that the ribbon-y red Alexander Liberman sculpture out front will stay put.

And while those nostalgic for the Grand Bay’s glory days say they will miss the building, others are looking forward to the next stage for the property.

“I think that it coming down and a beautiful new building going up in its place is great news for the Grove,” said David Collins, executive director of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District. “It hasn’t helped us sitting quietly and empty.”

Economy Projects Real Estate

Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Pending home sales in Miami are continuing at record high levels, up 15% year on year during the month of August, according to the latest data from the Miami Association of Realtors.
The number of single family and condominium listings that pended in August increased 26.3% and 6.28 percent respectively compared to August 2011.

‘Pending sales in the Miami real estate market remain at historically strong levels, particularly when considering the current shortage of local housing inventory,’ said Martha Pomares, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors.

‘Pending sales continue to reflect strong demand compared to record sales levels in 2011. This activity is driving home prices to rise sooner and stronger than expected,’ she added.

She also explained that increased pending sales are an indication of increased future sales. A sale is listed as pending when a contract is signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

Total cumulative pending home sales, including single family homes and condominiums, in Miami-Dade County currently are 1% above what they were a year ago, up from 11,915 to 12,222, but 1.5% below what they were the previous month, down from 12,210.

Pending sales of single family homes were 10% above what they were a year earlier, up from 4,941 to 5,435, and 0.5% above the previous month, when pending single family homes sales totaled 5,407.

Miami pending sales of condominiums were 5.5% lower than they were a year earlier, down from 6,974, and 3.1% below what they were the previous month, down from 6,803 to 6,587.

The Miami real estate market has experienced rising demand from international buyers over the last year,’ said Patricia Delinois, residential president of the Miami Association of Realtors.

‘Foreign buyers have been and continue to be an instrumental factor in strengthening the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the nation. As a global city, Miami will continue to draw demand from international buyers and investors long into the future,’ she explained.

Nationally, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.6% to 99.2 in August from 101.9 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is 10.7% higher than the 89.6 index reported in August 2011.

Source: Propertywire
Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Projects Real Estate

Terra Group unveils its newest project, Grove at Grand Bay

Terra Group, Miami’s leading real estate development company, is pleased to unveil its most innovative development to date, and one that is destined to be an architecturally-significant landmark in South Florida: Grove at Grand Bay. In collaboration with the award-winning architecture and design firm Bjarke Ingels Group, also known as BIG, and landscape architecture legend Raymond Jungles, Grove at Grand Bay will leave an unmistakable imprint on the prestigious South Bayshore Drive community, redefining luxury and breathing new life into Coconut Grove for decades to come. Upon completion of construction, the project will also receive LEED Certification with a silver designation, the first such structure in Coconut Grove.

“Grove at Grand Bay’s impressive aesthetic and unparalleled service are tantamount to the evolution of Coconut Grove and raises the bar to Olympic heights,” says Pedro Martin, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Terra Group. “Within the next three years, the area will have completely evolved and Grove at Grand Bay will have proven to be the bellwether of profound change.”

Widely regarded as one of the most important architects to watch, Bjarke Ingels seamlessly translates Terra Group’s grand vision of designing an aerie imbued with a unique sense of place. To say the results are stunning is an understatement: two glass towers in a pas de deux appear to float over Raymond Jungles’ lush, canopied oasis, beckoning to Biscayne Bay and beyond. Renowned for his creative and ecologically sensitive landscape architecture, Jungles’ design capture the natural beauty of the neighborhood and magnify it with ample green spaces.

Rising 20 stories over the bay-front, Grove at Grand Bay will showcase 96 elegant and expansive residences with panoramic views from every angle. Whether outdoors in Jungles’ verdant gardens in the shade of the buildings’ twisting facades or inside the glass jewel box-like homes, residents will fully experience and relish living amid the open air. World-class amenities include private butler service, private elevators, two-car garages, wrap-around terraces, rooftop swimming pools, a wellness spa and fitness center, a pet spa and much more.

“The powerhouse design team of BIG and Raymond Jungles makes this South Florida’s most exciting new development,” adds David Martin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Terra Group. “Our ‘think tank’ model embodies a design-driven approach to development, avoiding pitfalls and upending assumptions developers typically encounter when building a residential property. We pride ourselves on creating environments where people are viscerally and emotionally affected by their surroundings; we are about intelligent luxury.”

BIG, led by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels who recently received Wall Street Journal’s 2011 “Innovator of the Year in Architecture” award, is creating the residences and amenity spaces. Raymond Jungles, the landscape architect who designed the grounds at Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and the New World Symphony’s rooftop garden, will produce the outdoor spaces, including terraces, pools and walking paths. Rounding out the group is Nichols, Brosch, Wrust, Wolfe + Associates who provides architectural and planning services.

The interior design of the residences at Grove at Grand Bay will be just as spectacular as the building’s exteriors. With an open flow-through floor plan, each residence will showcase 12′ ceilings and 12′ floor-to-ceiling windows, a first among Florida developments, and spacious outdoor terraces with wraparound balconies that create a continuous indoor/outdoor living environment. Additional residential features include private elevator access to individual units, Italian-designed kitchens, Miele appliances, and Dornbarcht fixtures.

Grove at Grand Bay will be located on the former site of the Grand Bay Hotel, conveniently located just minutes from key areas including the airport, downtown Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, as well as Coconut Grove’s bustling center area lined with fine restaurants, cafes, art galleries and boutiques. Additional areas of interest are nearby schools, hospitals, shopping malls and attractions such as The Adrienne Arsht Center, The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and the Barnacle Historic State Park.

Source: WORLD PROPERTY CHANNEL Global News Center

Projects Real Estate

Porsche Building – A planned Sunny Isles Beach condo, cars and drivers ride elevator home

The latest twist on designer parking garages: a Jetsonesque elevator that whisks residents to their condos while they are still in the driver’s seat.

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Pull over into the designated space. Turn off the engine. And enjoy the oceanfront view as you escalate in a glass elevator that takes you, while you are sitting in your car, to the front door of your apartment.

No, this is not the latest Disney ride.

Porsche Design Tower – The $560 million Jetsonesque tower will rise in Sunny Isles Beach as part of a collaboration between Germany-based Porsche Design Group and a local developer, Gil Dezer. It likely will be the world’s first condominium complex with elevators that will take residents directly to their units while they are sitting in their cars.

“You don’t have to leave your car until you are in front of your apartment,” said Juergen Gessler, CEO of Porsche Design Group.

Here is how it will work: After the resident pulls over and switches off the engine, a robotic arm that works much like an automatic plank will scoop up the car and put it into the elevator. Once at the desired floor, the same robotic arm will park the car, leaving the resident nearly in front of his front door. Voila, home!

The glass elevators will give residents and their guests unparalleled views of the city or of the ocean during their high-speed ride, expected to last 45 to 90 seconds.

“What this is really doing is taking two technologies that have existed for centuries and putting them together,” said Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Properties. “It’s taking the robotic arm and it’s putting it in an elevator.”

The building, to named Porsche Design Tower, was approved unanimously Thursday night by the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission. Before the meeting, Mayor Norman S. Edelcup said he had not heard any opposition to the plan.

The cylindrical building will be erected on 2.2 acres of land at 18555 Collins Avenue. The 57-story luxury tower will have 132 units. Smaller units will be allocated two parking spaces and larger ones will have four, with 284 robotic parking spaces in total. There will be three elevators.

Residents will be able to see their cars from their living rooms.

“So people with fancy cars and antiques, they will actually have a really nice view of them,’’ Dezer said.

Units will range from 3,800 to 9,500 square feet and could cost up to $9 million.

The car elevators are the latest twist on Miami Beach’s burgeoning passion for designer parking garages. The highly acclaimed 1111 Lincoln Road designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron opened in 2009; also planned are garages by London architect Zaha Hadid, Mexico’s Enrique Norten and Miami’s own Arquitechonica.

Dezer said his hopes are that many other buildings in the United States and the rest of the world will be constructed following the Porsche Design Tower model.

But this will be the first and last one in South Florida, he said.

“We want to keep this really exclusive and not have this become a McDonald’s kind of style. The tower is going to change the skyline of Miami Beach,” Dezer said. “This is something Floridians should be proud to have in their state.”

Click here to learn more about Porsche Design Tower

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By Lidia Dinkova

Projects Real Estate

Las Ramblas Country Club, Doral’s new spanish style living community


Miami, Florida – On March 25 and 26, 2011, Terra Group and Shoma Group open the doors to your new home at Las Ramblas Country Club. Country club living awaits you as you embark on finding your place in the sun. Las Ramblas, both elegant and comfortable offers residences surrounded by lakes and picturesque green scenery. Doral’s newest neighbor, Las Ramblas offers the benefits of living in an international city with a backyard country feeling.

Both Terra Group and Shoma Group are two prominent locally based real estate companies that have joined forces to launch a new ground breaking 250 acre residential community, bringing you luxurious and spacious 3 and 4 bedroom single and two-story family residences starting from the $300,000’s. Terra Group and Shoma Group have extensive experience in building thousands of single family homes condominiums, lofts, mid rises, and villas for satisfied home buyers throughout South Florida.
Conveniently located in the Fontainebleau Lakes area, Las Ramblas is just minutes away from the Dolphin Mall, International Mall, Miami International Airport, excellent schools for all ages and accsess to 836 and other major highways.

Las Ramblas a gated community offers security while you are home or away with its convienent 24 hour service. Offering piece of mind and tranquility, this community has many extracurricular activites that everyone in the family can enjoy, such as, a swimming pool, childrens playground, lighted tennis courts, putting greens, walking trails, and over 80 acres of beautiful green landscaping. The clubhouse is a great place to have family get togethers; convienent kitchenette and private party rooms leading to the pool area.

Notable for its originality to detail and rich quality of community life, Las Ramblas is a place you will want to call home. Both family-owned and operated home builders, Terra Group and Shoma Group, know about the simplicity of family living and ranked high amongst their competitors; bringing you the highest quality of living without damaging your wallet. Recently named #1builder for home sales in Miami Dade County by the Miami Herald, Terra Group knows something about satisfying the prospective buyers’ needs. Award winning developers, shoma group, allows for lifestyle, location, and luxury to converge in every development.

Join us on March 25 and 26, 2011 as we open the doors to your new home at Las Ramblas Country Club. Visit our on-site sales center located at Fontainebleau Blvd and NW 97th Avenue. You will be glad you did.

For more information visit:

Source: Las