PROFILEmiami had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Carlos and Martin Melo, founders and principals of The Melo Group, as well as tour their brand-new luxury condo development on North Bayshore Drive, Aria on the Bay. Their multi-generational family business is thriving as they continue to deliver projects across all neighborhoods and price points as their vision continues to drive the city of Miami forward. Find out how they brought Aria on the Bay from concept to reality in just a few short years.
PM: The lot that Aria on the Bay now stands on was such a prime lot on a road with major residential demand, how did you guys get access to such a great lot/ opportunity?
MM: We bought this land about nine years and what we found was a beautiful land in a premier location, so we held on to it until we decided that it was the proper time to develop it. It was also the last piece of land in front of the park and in front of the water. We worked on the design for some years and then we decided it was the moment to start!
PM: How did the concept for Aria on the Bay come about? What was your main goal with the project?
MM: Our main goal was to build a spectacular building, in an extraordinary location with amazing views. It’s situated in downtown Miami’s burgeoning Arts & Entertainment District, which is home to some of South Florida’s top destinations for arts and culture, entertainment, dining and shopping. It’s one block from Venetian Causeway, one block from 395 and it’s very close to the airport, Downtown, the Metromover, Adrienne Arsht Center, the museums, and the arena.
When you live in a crowded city like New York or Buenos Aires, you really know what the location and views mean. We’ve seen the transformation of the city in the last 15 years, and knew that this was a prime location. You have to select what is the best place to build if you are a developer, or to buy if you are a buyer.
PM: What do you think of the recent new developments in Edgewater and the new energy they have brought to the area?
CM: The recent new developments are extremely nice and have changed the area. I think that people now realize the value of the Edgewater location and are starting to see the neighborhood come alive. Residents of all these new buildings and Aria on the Bay will live within blocks of world-class venues such as the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Museum Park’s Perez Art Museum Miami, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, and the American Airlines Arena.
Also, nearby are dozens of luxury retail shops and restaurants in the Miami Design District, Midtown Miami, Brickell City Centre, and the upcoming Miami Worldcenter project. Several public transit and alternative transportation options are within walking distance, with trips to South Beach and the Brickell Financial District only a few minutes away.
The area is new and it is up-and-coming. We are creating a new building that will be part of a new kind of neighborhood that will fulfill necessities for the modern lifestyle and what is coming in the future.
PM: Edgewater has seen some great towers be built in recent years. What sets Aria on the Bay apart from these other developments? What makes it so unique?
CM: It’s the last one to be built in front of the park, and we have a price point that is extremely reasonable for the high-end product we are delivering. We were able to have this price point because we got a good value on the land, when we bought it years ago, before anyone knew what Edgewater was.
We are also a vertically-integrated firm, meaning we handle everything in-house because it allows us to have complete control of our projects – from the design process to the development/construction phase – we typically act as our own architects, general contractors, property managers and developers. The system has worked very well for us over the years, allowing us to complete our projects on time and within budget, control construction costs and move on to the next project ahead of the real estate cycle.
All of the decisions are made by my father, my brother and myself. All of this allows us to reduce the price and give a better product at the best price for our buyers.
PM: What is the best feature that residents will enjoy?
MM: They will be impressed with the units because they are very well designed. Units feature floor-to-ceiling glass, expansive wrap-around terraces, private elevator access, open-plan living areas, designer finishes and fixtures, European-style kitchens, and modern custom-designed cabinetry.
We also have a 14th floor resort amenity deck with two sunrise/sunset-facing swimming pools, a jacuzzi, custom-seated fire pits, barbecue grills and outdoor summer kitchens. Additional perks include a private spa with massage treatment facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga studio, entertainment lounge, and a screening room.
Our location can’t get any better- Aria on the Bay overlooks Margaret Pace Park giving residents access to a host of additional amenities and activities. Situated directly along Biscayne Bay, the 8-acre, the pet-friendly waterfront park offers jogging paths, biking trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, an outdoor gym, daily yoga and fitness classes, as well as barbecue areas, picnic and playground areas.
PM: What will Aria on the Bay mean to Edgewater in the short & long term?
CM: For Miami, it adds value-the beautiful architecture and design of the tower, are the creation of internationally-acclaimed design firm Arquitectonica. We had buyers from 42 different countries making it a very international tower, continuing to position Miami as an international destination and hub.
In the past, when immigrants arrived in the U.S. they would often all choose to live in one neighborhood, where they could feel a piece of their homeland by sharing with other immigrants from the same county. Nowadays, Miami has become so multi-cultural that wherever you go, you feel the urge to want to be interconnected with different cultures and dive into the energetic vibes the city gives off as a whole. The world is moving towards one community and both Miami and this building are a great example of this!
PM: Where do you see Edgewater's place in Miami in the next 5 to 10 years?
MM: I think it will be an extremely desirable residential area in the next 5 to 10 years. Edgewater is an option for residents who want to get away from downtown Miami’s traffic congestion, yet want to live in the urban core. If you want to work in Downtown you can walk to the Metromover and in two minutes be in Downtown. With its waterfront location, luxury buildings and pedestrian-friendly setting in the center of Miami’s thriving urban core, Edgewater is one of the best value-buys in all of South Florida.
About The Melo Group:
The Melo Group was originally founded in 1948 by Armando Ferreira de Melo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Melo Group is one of the strongest family-owned, full-service real estate development firms operating in South Florida today. To date they are behind more than 50 successfully completed projects which offer a combined total of more than 5,000 residential units. The company also remains actively involved in real estate development in Argentina as well as in Montevideo, Punta del Este, Uruguay. Dr. Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo acts as the President and managerial leader of the company along with his sons, Mr. Carlos Ferreira de Melo and Mr. Martin Ferreira de Melo. Their contributions to Miami include Aria on the Bay, Bay House Miami, Flagler on the River, and Melody amongst others.
About Aria on the Bay:
Aria on the Bay is a luxury condo development located on the coveted North Bayshore Drive in Edgewater. Units at Aria on the Bay range from 1 to 4 bedrooms and $400K to $6 million and sold around $550 per square foot. Residences feature floor-to-ceiling glass, expansive wrap-around terraces, private elevator access, open-plan living areas, designer finishes and fixtures, European-style kitchens, and modern custom-designed cabinetry. Amenities include a 14th floor resort amenity deck with 2 sunrise/sunset swimming pools, a jacuzzi, custom-seated fire pits, barbecue grills and outdoor summer kitchens, a private spa with massage treatment facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga studio, entertainment lounge, and a screening room. More than 80 percent of the units at Aria on the Bay have been sold. For more information about Aria on the Bay, please contact Cervera Real Estate at (305) 537-0666 or visit the project’s sales gallery at 250 NE 25th Street, Suite 101, Miami, FL 33137. Learn more at www.ariaonthebay.com.