PROFILEmiami had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with the masterminds behind Biscayne Beach, Edgewater's newest waterfront, luxury high-rise. Biscayne Beach was developed as a joint venture between the South-Florida based Two Roads Development and the New York Based GTIS Partners. The 52-story tower features 391 units priced between $400K through $9 million and opened last week (June 2017). We were able to catch-up with Reid Boren and Taylor Collins, partner's at Two Roads Development as well as Robert Rediker, the managing director of GTIS Partners to find out how they delivered the "beachfront" lifestyle to Edgewater.
RR - Robert Rediker (GTIS Partners, Managing Director)
RB - Reid Boren (Two Roads Development, Partner)
TC - Taylor Collins (Two Roads Development, Partner)
PM: The lot that Biscayne Beach now stands on was such a prime lot but in an area/ corridor that was yet to undergo much development, how did you guys get access to such a great lot/ opportunity?
TC: We started looking in Miami in 2012, we were doing some workout work for some other developers down here. We met with a land holding company called the Fifteen Group and we approached them and asked them if they had any assets that they bought during the last cycle in the downturn. They mentioned this piece of property, which was basically 5 abandoned apartment buildings. We drove down to look at the property, literally turned around, went and put a contract and put up money. After that we went out to the markets to find a strategic partner to help us develop it.
PM: How did the concept for Biscayne Beach come about? What was your main goal with the project?
RB: We were very cognizant of the great developers that have been here in Miami. We wanted to make sure that as new to the market we were, GTIS and Two Roads were going to deliver something of amazing quality. We had to bring in the best of brands but I also think that we had a different sensibility and that the market could use something that was different then some of the other buildings we had seen. There was a move towards a minimalist, starck, but clean, beautiful design and we thought that bringing in Thom Filicia could add a little more warmth and bridge the gap between the north and the south. I think what we got is a really chic, but livable beachy atmosphere that still speaks to luxury.
PM: A lot of New York and Miami has been in a crossover market. Everything people have up north is now down here. Do you see that the New Yorkers feel more comfortable living here full time as opposed to five, ten years ago?
RB: I think they are coming sooner rather than later. I think that the New Yorkers, and also New Englanders, have to deal with the cold winter weather for a good portion of the year, higher taxes and a cost of living that’s almost three times as much as compared to Miami. A very basic unit in New York is 2,500 - 3,500 SF and that is not prime, on the water perfect location like we have at Biscayne Beach. To be in the $600, $700 per foot range and be on the water and close to everything, you will see more people moving down here. As the world gets smaller and technology drives these business more and it's not as common to walk next door to see your lawyer or your banker, there are many good reasons to be in Florida as opposed to the northeast.
PM: Do you guys find the commercial development and industry to be lagging behind the residential development?
RR: The service sectors are already here, you have accounting, law, financial services. They are very strong in Miami. You are seeing more family offices open up as more Latin Americans are beginning to spend more time in Miami in their homes. I believe they are going to be moving more of their assets to the U.S. and becoming larger institutions and that will grow over time.
PM: What do you think of the recent new developments in Edgewater and the new energy they have brought to the area?
TC: Edgewater is new to the development scene. Downtown Miami itself is kind of new. Downtown’s residential market really started growing in 2007 when you saw Ten Museum Park and 900 Biscayne go up in the last cycle, and then things really took off. The commercial market was ahead of it which you typically don’t see because Miami had gained this traction with the art and the culture scene – and with that, you had the Design District basically become the Rodeo Drive of Miami, you had Midtown pop-up with great restaurants and shops, and you had Wynwood come alive as a haven for artists and creatives. Edgewater was a natural next step – it’s location on the water in the middle of Miami’s thriving urban core with access to all of these surrounding amenities and trendy neighborhoods made it a no-brainer on the investment side. This is what people come to Miami for. In ten years Edgewater is going to be the most popular neighborhood in this entire area because this is where you are going to have the newest, highest-end buildings that are located directly on the water.
PM: Edgewater has seen some great towers be built in recent years. What sets Biscayne Beach apart from these other developments? What makes it so unique?
RR: I think Thom Filicia’s aesthetic and what we have done with our amenities really makes us stand out. It drives a unique element to the property. Some of our neighbors are projects on the larger side with very large shared amenity spaces. I think this building will live in a smaller, more comfortable way. What we tried to accomplish was the idea of bringing the beach element to the city side of Miami and I think that that won’t be replicated. I think you will see, as our residents start living here, people tanning on the beach and enjoying their days as if they were on Miami Beach.
RB: In terms of location, Miami Beach and Brickell are just a few miles away. Broward and Palm Beach Counties are just a hop away. I think that the city is generally moving itself here. What is interesting is that the prices still do not reflect that. On the beach you see $1,500 - $2,000 SF, in Brickell it is getting close to $1,000 SF. Edgewater is still in the high $600’s for new construction. I think that there is a great value proposition. When I grew up in New York and you were on the Upper East Side you didn’t go south of Midtown. Now, nobody wants to live uptown. I think so goes Miami. It started where it was just the beach and there were the tourists. Now, if you walk in Brickell at any time midday you will think you are in Madrid, or New York or Paris where everyone is in suits and elegant and going to nice lunches. It is a very vibrant urban core.
PM: Do you think Biscayne Bay will end up being to Miami real estate what Central Park is to New York.
RB: There is a story that we get from our brokers all the time, and we hear it especially from the people who have been here since the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, “the bay is part of everyone’s lives.” Everyone talks about swimming in the bay. On that island there are tents and jet skis and boats. If you are in Florida you want to be on the water. It is crowded out there and I think it is already similar in to a park. If you look at New York, they (GTIS) are doing a beautiful building that overlooks the park on 78th street; that’s prime real estate in New York and this is prime real estate in Miami.
PM: What is the best feature that residents will enjoy?
RR: The double level of amenities and the ability to sink your feet into the sand without leaving the property. You can only get that in Miami Beach.
RB: I think when people thought about it they may have thought it was gimmicky, but now that it is built, it is very usable. It really is like a beach. They will be pleasantly surprised when they come see how well done the amenities were done.
PM: What will Biscayne Beach mean to Edgewater in the short & long term?
RB: We have very good competitors that we highly respect, like the Melo Group, Related Group, etc. Our team at Two Roads is also working on developing our second East Edgewater project, Elysee Miami, which will be located right down the street from here also along Biscayne Bay. We’re all bringing very different projects to the market but the thing they all have in common is that they are all high-quality, well-built buildings that are going to collectively continue to make Edgewater one of the greatest neighborhoods to live in Miami. I think like any big city you should have choices and different aesthetics. The more we see these other developers working on new buildings the better it is for the neighborhood and Miami. In the long term Miami is going to be on par with New York and Paris, it’s just a younger city. At the end of the day Edgewater will be at the center of it all.
About GTIS Partners:
GTIS Partners is a global real estate investment firm headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, São Paulo, Brazil, Paris, France and Munich, Germany. GTIS Partners was founded in 2005 and is managed by President Tom Shapiro and Senior Managing Directors Josh Pristaw, Rob Vahradian, Tom Feldstein and Joao Teixeira. GTIS Partners currently has approximately $3.6 billion of assets under management. The firm pursues opportunistic real estate investments through direct equity investment and non-traditional lending activities. To date, the firm has committed capital to residential, retail, industrial, office, hotel and mixed-use projects in the U.S. and Brazil, and is among the largest real estate private equity companies in Brazil.
About Two Roads Development:
As one of the emerging leaders in the development of residential communities, Two Roads Real Estate Group has quickly established itself as a premier developer of multi-family and residential communities. Two Roads Real Estate Group has set the standard in luxury housing by developing, building and managing residential properties with the best location, architecture, amenities and services in the industry. Two Roads Real Estate Group is a leader in developing, constructing, and managing successful and innovative retail, office, residential and mixed-use communities. Two Roads Real Estate Group is about performance, imagination and experience from a broad service real estate development team. Their portfolio includes Biscayne Beach and Elysee, which is soon to break ground in Edgewater.