Buyers required to put down
70 percent of condo unit's price
Foreign buyers, particularly Latin Americans, were hailed as South Florida's saviors during the recession and the slow recovery of the condominium market.
Now, a new breed including Argentine developer Manuel Grosskopf is taking it a step further, making big bets on Miami-area real estate.
Grosskopf, along with his father, Sergio, plan to break ground on the Chateau Beach Sunny Isles at 17457 Collins Ave. in January 2013. The 35-floor, 84-unit oceanfront project is about 45 percent sold, Grosskopf said. He said the final cost of construction has not been determined.
Buyers paying an average of $850 per square foot for units ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 square feet are coming from across Latin America, primarily Brazil and Argentina, as well as from Russia.
Buyers are required to put down a series of deposits during the course of construction for a total down payment of 70 percent of value.
The Grosskopfs, prominent developers in Latin America, have built a number of residential buildings and shopping centers in Argentina and Uruguay. Those include two other high-end Chateau projects similar to the one planned for Sunny Isles Beach: The Chateau Libertador Residence and Chateau Puerto Madero Residence in Buenos Aires.
Their Hallandale Beach-based company, Chateau Ocean LLC, with Manuel Grosskopf as managing member, has been snapping up a variety of prime South Florida properties. They range from the Ocean Palm Motel site at 15795 Collins Ave. to the site of the proposed Paramount Park condo tower at 728 Biscayne Blvd., and an adjacent lot, in downtown Miami.
The Ocean Palm Motel has been torn down and by the end of the year will be the site of the Chateau Beach sales center.
Grosskopf said he's focusing on one project at a time, especially in Sunny Isles Beach, where buyers pay millions of dollars for luxury towers with numerous amenities. At the same time, he said buyers today aren't just investors looking to turn a quick profit.
“These buyers are not paying 20 percent cash down,” he said. They're “much stronger than they were before. … Now you are seeing deposits from 30 percent to 80 percent, even 90 percent” of the cost of the unit.
“The market is real, it's the end user, it's the person that's” going to be living there, he added.
Despite holdings in both northern and central Miami-Dade, Grosskopf said his current focus is on the Sunny Isles area.
“In Sunny Isles, projects were sold at $250 per square foot and now those projects — even if they already are 10 years old — are trading in the $500 to $600-per-square-foot range,” Grosskopf said.
Earlier this year he purchased the Best Western Oceanfront Resort at 93rd Street and Collins Avenue in Surfside for a staggering $50 million — nearly five times the assessed value of $11.2 million.
Grosskopf declined to give details about what will rise in place of the Best Western, saying only that it will be a “very, very high-end condominium, [with] low density, less than 90 units.”
Chateau Beach and the Best Western projects should keep Grosskopf's company busy for the next several years. He said that's exactly the time frame he needs before considering developing the 728 Biscayne Blvd. property or any other holdings in downtown Miami.
The plan is to “put two buildings, one on each site,” he said.
Grosskopf said he won't consider moving forward with downtown projects until nearby developments, including the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, are completed in the 29-acre Museum Park.
“We believe the area is getting better and better,” he added. “Miami is becoming more an international market and the weather, the security will continue to make it attractive for foreign buyers.”