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Real Estate Bisnow
January 10, 2013 
WorkSpaces (Left1) SFL
The Ambassador
to Florida

Nobody actually calls Paul Wallace that, but only because Mickey Mouse might sue. He's seeking ways to lure anyone and everyone to Florida. As new chair of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Hinshaw & Culbertson partner tells us that a little more regional cooperation would juice things up.
The region—including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties— should begin exploration of unified regional planning for transportation and infrastructure, economic development, and the protection of the Everglades, Paul says. It shouldn’t be harder, for instance, to take rail or bus from North Fort Lauderdale to downtown Miami than to take the Metro from Dadeland to Downtown Miami. Regional land-use planning must be tied to regional corridors served by a transportation system unified across county lines, he tells us.
Bisnow (PropManage)
South Florida has an edge when it comes to attracting international businesses, and the air and seaports provide easy access to local markets for overseas investors (the beautiful beaches and people certainly don't hurt). But it shouldn’t be taken for granted. “It’s important to generate sustainable jobs from incoming international investment and businesses,” Ed explains. “This will require a competitive level of education and training in our regional workforce to service these businesses.” Or they'll go elsewhere. South Florida might be a prime international gateway, but it isn’t the only one.

New Heyday for Condos
Douglas Elliman Florida prez Vanessa Grout tells us “all of the fundamentals are strong,” and she expects them to remain that way for the foreseeable future. One fast moving sector: the top 10% of the market, still fueled by all-cash and other eager buyers (for a five-bedroom condo in SoFla these days, expect to pony up nearly $2.7M). Distressed condo sales have also been moving in quick-step, Vanessa says, so much so that the inventory of distressed properties is dropping rapidly, and the impact of distressed properties on overall prices is fading (and good riddance to that).
Douglas Elliman’s Q4 '12 report on the markets, released today, reveals that the average sale price for a condo is just north of $362k, up 9.5% since the Q3, and 26% since a year ago. The number of sales is up for the quarter and the year, and the average number of days a condo is on the market is down. Single-family homes likewise saw quarterly and annual appreciation and a quickening of the pace of sales.

Behind Greystar & EQR’s $1.5B Deal
Greystar CEO Bob Faith tells us his firm’s acquisition (with Goldman Sachs) of 8,010 apartments across 27 properties from Equity Residential will close in two tranches by the end of March. Greystar is free to exclude as much as 8% of the portfolio from the deal after more-intense due diligence on the individual properties, but Bob tells us his intention is to take them all. All the parties know each other well, he says. Goldman Sachs owns 20% of Greystar, and as co-founder of Starwood Capital, Bob sold a large portfolio to Equity Residential in 1993, so when Equity said it wanted to sell, it was a logical phone call for Bob to make. He says the portfolio is 95.5% occupied, but he feels there is value to be harvested via improvements that could lead to higher rents.
The best part about buying from a public company, Bob says, is all the property info is “available.” Greystar was able to shop Equity Residential’s portfolio and propose a geographically diverse collection. Bob tells us that South Florida, along with Orlando and Denver, has a big economic-recovery bouncing coming. The deal includes 1,616 South Florida units in Bella Vista at Boca Del Mar (pictured), Grandeville at Riverplace, Savannah Lakes, Stonybrook, and Sunforest.

Bimini or Bust
KW Property Management & Consulting has been in an out-of-state expansion mode lately, inking property management deals in the likes of New York City, Nashville… and Bimini. As much as we like those other two, we like the idea of managing property in the latter even more. KW recently was picked to handle property management for Bimini Bay in the Bahamas, a development with 384 private residences.
Turquoise water, white sand, and Bisnow. Send ideas and suggestions to dees.stribling@bisnow.com.
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