Exploding growth and increased challenges have become a mixed blessing for Miami’s real estate landscape, driving industry leaders to diversify their ventures. Preserving communities through revitalization plus multi-use, workforce and affordable housing projects can be positive sources of income. Those were some of the insights shared during REact 2023, the premier real estate conference hosted by FIU Business November 3.
The annual conference, now in its third year, brought together more than 200 attendees and focused on “Miami on the Rise: Managing Growth and Preserving Community,” the theme of the event.
At The Related Group, three divisions launched in 2008 includes one, Related Urban, dedicated to affordable and workforce housing as well as mixed-income projects, president Jon Paul Pérez, explained in a fireside chat with Lorenzo Perez, president of Premier International Properties.
Can a luxury developer play a role in affordable housing and help?
“Yes. You have to think creatively,” said Perez. “You can’t just replace public housing with public housing because it will fail again.”
At Related Urban’s River Parc community project in Little Havana, Robert King High Towers now houses 315 apartments for seniors and the mixed-income Paseo del Rio added 182 affordable housing and workforce housing residences. The 16-block Liberty Square will eventually include 2,500 units, school and mixed-income units.
Perez cautioned that it’s a complicated business, but it requires very little equity because it’s highly subsidized and it can be a good income stream.
“You have more pride, you’re more emotional because you’re giving back to the community and people are so thankful for what you’re doing,” Pérez said.
At the conference, Malcolm Butters (MSIRE ’83), president of Butters Construction & Development, received the Hollo School of Real Estate Lifetime Achievement Award. “His unwavering dedication to real estate education, paired with his commitment to giving back to our students and faculty, exemplifies the true spirit of community,” said William Hardin, dean of FIU Business, in presenting the award.
Another fireside chat showcased Goldman Properties’ visionary strategy of revitalizing historic neighborhoods by marrying real estate and public art, without losing the area’s DNA. Goldman’s star in South Florida is Wynwood.
In Miami’s defunct garment district that became a land of abandoned warehouses taken over by artists and squatters, the Goldmans purchased a total of 18 properties, determined to develop a center for the creative class.
“It was purely gut instinct, purely fascinating,” said Jessica Goldman-Srebnick, co-chair of Goldman Properties and CEO of Goldman Global Arts. “We’re not the kind of developers that go in fix and flip. We like to effect change.”
Scott Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, noted that in 2008, coming out of the great recession, the Goldmans invited street artists to showcase their work on the buildings, giving birth to outdoor street art museum Wynwood Walls.
“Art become a forethought and created something iconic for the neighborhood, which makes life better,” he added.
Rounding out the afternoon, Eli Beracha, director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU Business, offered an overview of the U.S. as well as the Miami real estate market, forecasting that prices in the residential market will remain flat or show a slight increase while commercial real estate is likely to post an additional modest decline of between 5% and 10%.
His advice: “Don’t rely purely on spreadsheets to make decisions in real estate. Some have to be from the gut.”
The 2024 REact Real Estate Conference will be held in November 2024.