Zaha Hadid Is Designing A Skyscraper In Downtown Miami
According to Curbed Maimi, Zaha Hadid, the internationally acclaimed Pritzker Prize winning star architect, and one of the most revered architects of our time, is designing a condo tower at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard, her first skyscraper in the western hemisphere.
Curbed Miami has learned via email from Gregg Covin, one of the developers of the project, the other is Louis Birdman. The building will fill a gap in the section of the “Biscayne Wall” of condo towers across from Museum Park in Downtown Miami. The site is currently occupied by a BP Station, which Curbed Miami had theorized months ago might soon be built upon. The tower’s designs will be unveiled early next year and will be the “most iconic tower ever to be built in Miami.”
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Reducing the amount struggling homeowners owe on their mortgages is proving to be a more effective way to prevent foreclosures than other methods, such as reducing interest rates or postponing payments, a new report finds. In a report presented this week, Amherst Securities Group said that when principal reductions brought mortgages near the home’s market value, borrowers were substantially less likely to fall behind on payments again and lose their homes.
Only 12% of borrowers who received principal reductions re-defaulted in 2011, Amherst found. That’s compared with 23% of borrowers who received mortgage modifications with interest rate reductions (but no principal reduction) and 30% who received forbearance, which postpones their debt repayment. “[Modifications] with principal forgiveness are apt to be most effective, as the borrower no longer owes the money — so he is no longer hopelessly underwater,” said Laurie Goodman, Amherst’s housing market analyst and one of the authors of the report.
The success these principal reductions have had in turning delinquent borrowers back into paying clients has led many lenders to step up debt forgiveness on the loans in their own portfolios.
So far this year, principal reductions have accounted for 40% of the modifications done by the banks, up dramatically from 25% in 2011 and 11% in 2010, according to Amherst.
The mortgage servicers cannot forgive debt on loans that are owned or backed by one of the two government-controlled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae (FNMA, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE), however, and they are limited in what they can forgive on loans owned by investors.
That means, of the vast majority of loans — 6 million since April 2009, according to the Treasury Department — only a fraction have received debt forgiveness. That may be changing, though.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which controls the majority of outstanding mortgages through its oversight of Fannie and Freddie, has thus far prohibited the mortgage giants from including debt forgiveness as part of their mortgage modifications. See also: Most affordable cities to buy a home
Last month, however, Fannie and Freddie announced they would participate in two programs in California and Nevada that will use part of a $7.6 billion Hardest Hit Fund to pay down loans the companies own or back.
However, the move will not cost Fannie and Freddie anything and is a far cry from the principal reduction that private mortgage servicers are extending to borrowers.
“My guess is that eventually, [Fannie and Freddie will] go down that path, but there’s still a lot of reticence there,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “People have problems with principal reduction. They think it’s unfair.”
Even if Fannie and Freddie remain on the sidelines, Amherst said it expects to see a continued increase in principal reductions.
Several years ago, I happened to pair up with someone I hadn’t previously met at the Santa Fe Country Club, where I usually play. After a few holes, we discovered common professional interests: He was about to buy a local magazine and—after editing a travel magazine for several years—I was looking for a new opportunity. We had a lively discussion, with both of us thinking: ‘Mmm, kismet?’ Then a curious thing happened. He preferred to drive his cart at top speed between shots and holes, whereas I liked to walk the course and take my time lining up each shot. At the end of 18, we exchanged numbers, but we both knew we’d never collaborate.
Why? Because the way we played golf spoke volumes about the way we approached our professions.
This weekend, golf is once again on our minds as the Master’s—perhaps the premiere golf tournament in the country—enters its second round of play. The other day, in an interview with a national newspaper, 2011 US Open champ Rory McIllroy was briefly embarrassed when his phone rang, an awkward moment on a course where handheld devices are strictly forbidden. However, it’s a good reminder, for all of us weekend duffers who are taking our clubs out of the closet for the first time this year, how important etiquette and good manners are to the game.
It may be a canard that more deals are struck on the golf course than in any other venue. But if you want to be a walking cliché, I humbly offer a few pieces of advice.
1. Take Lessons
Face it: You stink. Luckily, it’s not necessarily a life sentence. Living in the Rockies, where golf is a seasonal pursuit, I need all the help I can get when the snow melts. Starting the season by hitting two thousand balls on the range will not improve a flawed swing. So take a couple of lessons, but avoid the Pro who gives you 87 things to remember on your backswing. Don’t combine golf and business until you’re playing competently. Otherwise, your clients will rightly assume you’re an idiot.
2. Follow the Rules
A couple of years ago, I read about pro golfer Camilio Villegas being accessed a penalty for removing some debris from around his ball before taking his shot. He seemed genuinely surprised at having broken the rules. What’s shocking is that he didn’t know the rules. You don’t have to be the rule-book Nazi in your foursome, but take some time to read it before the season starts. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve forgotten—or never knew.
3. Observe Dress Codes
One of the best things about business golf is getting invited to play at a client’s or colleague’s club for the first time. Don’t show up in cargo shorts and your vintage Beck tee shirt. Call ahead to the pro shop and ask about the dress code. Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson are good golf fashion icons: conservative but with a little individual flair. Forget the lime green or cranberry red ensembles. It works for Rickie Fowler. It doesn’t work for you.
4. Play Fair
Golf is self-policing. There are no refs, umpires, or line judges. Just you and your conscience. If your client sees you kicking your ball out of the rough for a better lie, do you think he’ll consider you a go-getter who doesn’t let anything stand in his way—or a lying, self-deceiving sleaze? Mmm. I was playing with a retired chief operating officer a few years ago and I remember him saying, ‘It’s too bad the ethics of golf don’t apply to business.’ That’s just the kind of guy who is perplexed by the public’s attitude toward Wall Street.
5. Observe the Etiquette of the Game
Golf etiquette requires a couple of volumes to detail, from determining driving order to conceding a putt. It boils down to erring on the side of good manners. You don’t throw your briefcase across the boardroom when a deal goes sour (if you still have a briefcase, troglodyte), so throwing your clubs and cursing when you overshoot the green is going to tell your business golf partner that you’re a bad-tempered, tantrum-throwing moron—just the kind of business connection to avoid. Accept failures with grace and victories with humility.
6. Don’t Bet on It
My father imparted two pearls of wisdom when he introduced me to the game. First, never play against anyone, just yourself. Second, if you get frustrated, just enjoy the view. Tournaments are one thing, but putting too competitive an edge on a business golf game can get ugly. You really want to have to watch someone you’re hoping to do business with resentfully write out a check to you in the clubhouse? Conversely, are you willing to trash all sense of honor by five-putting the last hole so your client can walk away $105 richer? If your answers are yes, I suggest you take up trout fishing with dynamite.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive, Let Alone Putt
Until the final putt on the 18th, don’t even think about a cold one. My regular foursome includes a communications executive, an electrical contractor, and a chef. We don’t talk business; we talk smack. So a couple of tall boys in the cart is appropriate. But when you’re doing business on the course, the last thing you want is for things to get sloppy. The clubhouse after play is the appropriate venue—and if you’ve done your prep correctly for the last 18 holes, it’s the right place to close the deal.
8. Know When to Talk Business
One of the oldest maxims of the game is to never talk business the first time you play with a new colleague or client. Pushing your business agenda when you’re supposed to be enjoying leisure time is unseemly. When business does enter into things, observe these four nevers: First, never discuss business before the third hole; second, never after the 15th; third, never when someone is preparing to shoot; and fourth, never on the green. Personally, I like to walk a course—not just for the exercise, but for the stroll between shots that actually gives you and your partner time for a leisurely chat.
9. Play Charitable Tournaments
Yes, local tournaments for charity are possibly the best venue for networking ever devised. If run well, they’re also usually a hell of a lot of fun. Also, at the end of the weekend, you’ve helped raise money to help someone’s life other than your own.
10. Take Advantage of Reciprocals
No doubt you’ve gone to your club’s general manager or pro and asked for help with a reciprocal—the gentlemen’s agreement by which you’re allowed to play as a guest at another club. The problem with this is that if your club pro is not well respected—or your club is not at a certain tier—your request to play at Pine Valley, N.J., will probably be turned down. About eight years ago, a number of online ‘reciprocal clubs’ sprang up that offered a matchmaking service for private club members. You still might get turned down because your own club isn’t up to snuff, but the advantage is they come up with lots of clubs you’d never think of playing and they can reach out internationally to clubs at which your own would never have connections. If you travel abroad frequently, membership is a bargain, but they’d still never let you into Pine Valley.
The Ten Commandments of Business Golf By Kent Black Businessweek.com
It’s not that Miami isn’t welcoming to Americans, or that developers prefer Brazilians. They don’t. But in this global city today, the big real estate buyers are all from abroad. And one of the reasons, especially when it comes to new developments, is the sales model.
“Latin Americans and Europeans are used to paying in cash for real estate. American’s are not. What we’re doing with our Brickell House property in Miami is telling people that they can pay us quarterly while the project is being built so that by the time it is done in two years, you have paid for almost 70% of your home,” says Harvey Hernandez, chairman of the Newgard Development Group, a luxury property developer in Miami.
“This is the best way to buy it. Or you can wait for the project to be complete, like Americans do, and pay about 40% more,” he says.
They pay-as-they-build sales model is popular in Latin America. It’s not unusual to see new residential high rises going up in São Paulo with floors being sold before the roof of the building is even in place. For Brazilians, in particular, Miami is their second or third home. Real estate prices in upscale beachfront property in Rio de Janeiro, for example, is more expensive than it is in Miami, a city in a developed country with all the bells and whistles.
Hernandez says that within just 90 days of trying to sell Brickell House’s 374 units, 190 of them have already gone, 90% of them to Brazilians, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Russians, Chinese and Europeans. One bedroom units cost around $300,000, chump change in Europe thanks to a favorable exchange rate.
The sales success at Brickell House is the result of the world’s rekindled love affair for South Beach and new, ultra-mod American luxury in a glam global city. South Florida is in the early stages of a new development wave to cater to the foreigners, with 22 newly-announced projects accounting for more than 4,000 units in a section of the city that’s basically sold out.
“The fact that Brickell House has reached the fifty percent sales mark in just four months is further proof that Miami’s condo market is back,” says Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, Managing Director of Cervera Real Estate.
Today, fewer than 1,500 condos in the Brickell Financial District are on the market, according to a June 2011 market study by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. With the continuation of this sales velocity, the remaining unsold inventory could be sold-out in the next year leaving an inventory gap in Miami.
“Miami’s existing condo inventory has been absorbed at a faster rate than anyone could have predicted,” says Hernandez. “We are still seeing strong interest from international buyers who appreciate Miami’s status as a global business and entertainment hub and see value in the city’s Brickell Financial District. We see our sales momentum continuing through our groundbreaking this summer and we expect to be sold out by the end of 2012.”