Habitat Group breaks ground on Brickell condo project

judith South Florida Business Journal

By Brian Bandell – Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
Habitat Group broke ground on the first phase of its Smart Brickell condo/hotel project in Miami, and revealed a significant change for a future phase of the project.
The first and second phases of Smart Brickell will each have 50 condos and 50 hotel rooms, but the third phase will no longer have 70 condos and 50 hotel rooms.
Habitat Group CEO Santiago Vanegas said the third phase will have 100 apartments because the company wants to hold onto that rental tower as a long-term asset.
Vanegas said the change was not related to the pace of sales in the Miami condo market.
Each tower, at 229, 239 and 243 S.W. 9th Street, will have 10,000 square feet of retail space, he added.
“You have two types of product today,” Vanegas said. “You have the super luxury and then the alternative product. Smart Brickell is the alternative product because of the use of the units and the size of the units.”
The condos will range from 558- to 1,117-square-feet. Prices start in the low $300,000s.
In addition to living in their units or leasing them, owners have the option to do a short-term rental for up to 24 days a year, or lease the unit back to the developer for a fixed rent.
The developer would put the leased-back units into its hotel pool. Vanegas said these options will provide maximum flexibility for investors, who make up the bulk of his buyers.
The first phase condos of Smart Brickell is sold out, and it should be completed in the first quarter of 2021, Vanegas said. The second phase is about 66 percent pre-sold and Vanegas hopes to break ground in the third quarter of 2019.
The third tower should break ground in early 2020, Vanegas added. It has been redesigned so its common areas will be separate from the condo/hotel towers, he said.
Designed by Gensler, Smart Brickell has a furnishing package that comes with every unit. The building has modern technology features, such as Nest smart thermostat control, Lifx smart lighting controls, Amazon Echo and an iPad with each unit.
Amenities will include two pools, a spa, a fitness center, a business center, and a rooftop lounge.
“Smart Brickell is setting the tone for the type of developments Miami needs,” said Alicia Cervera Lamadrid of Cervera Real Estate, the broker for the project. “Selling out Tower 1 and reaching the 60 percent sales threshold for Tower 2 in a short amount of time is proof that Miami has a demand for this type of product.”
Vanegas said Smart Brickell required 50 percent deposits from buyers, with the amount paid in stages during the course of construction. He plans to sign a construction loan to help complete the project.