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Boom Time Barons

Washington DC

Things are happening around town. But projects take people. Here are some of the most interesting of both we've visited recently.

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Fortified by lunch at Perricone’s with 13th Floor Investments principal Jake Roffman, we walked across the street and snapped him in front of 1010 Brickell, the luxury condo 13th Floor is developing with Key International (started Q3 last year, delivering Q2 ’17). What’s incredible about it is not just that it will be 50 stories with 387 units, a rooftop pool, an outdoor running track and a mini-water park for kids, but that it’s long been fully sold. And they have other condos to keep them busy: 400 Sunny Isles (230 units in two 20-floor towers) and boutique Sereno (38 units on Bay Harbor Island) are also under construction. The Notre Dame and Wharton grad came down from Chicago in 2007 and began his real estate career after stints in investment banking and private equity. He's hoping the recently announced behind-the-scenes Showtime series on his Fighting Irish hasn't killed their season before it starts.

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Ultra high-end condos are the specialty of NY-based Property Markets Group, whose Florida chief, Ryan Shear, we snapped at his office in the Four Seasons tower. Behind him: a model of Echo Brickell, which they’re doing with JDS, and funding from Canyon Capital. It broke ground in October and is due summer '17. At 57 floors, 180 units and 650 feet tall, it’s set the record for most expensive price per square foot in the neighborhood ($2,300) and priciest one-bedroom ($1.4M). Sales have been brisk, but there’s still time to nab the penthouse: 11k SF for $40M.

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Ryan says the 25-year-old company, with 100 employees, skews young and entrepreneurial: “We’re a $6B real estate firm run by young hungry minds.” Muse Sunny Isles (pictured), on the bay at 171st and Collins, for which they just closed the construction loan, is another specimen: 68 units in only 47 stories, $7M or $8M apiece. But consider the touches: Not just 11-foot ceilings, or Wolf and SubZero, but also robotic parking, facial recognition in elevators, biometric safes, 75-inch in-wall TVs, and Teslas for penthouse buyers. Piles are being drilled and 44 units have sold. They’ve also been doing hot properties in Aventura and Hollywood. As if the condo frenzy doesn’t keep Ryan busy, the Coconut Grove native can also be found boxing at 7am twice a week.

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Mast Capital founder Camilo Miguel (here in his office last week) likes to buy off-market, highly coveted assets in high barrier-to-entry markets that are difficult to replace. So he's developing 12 condos called Louver House at 311 Meridian, South of Fifth; has a two-acre site at 4000 Alton near the Talmudic University where he'll do 78 condos; and with Rockpoint has acquired West Isles and Ocean Walk in Key West—500 rental units they'll renovate.

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For Louver House, he's using architect Rene Gonzalez, who’s dramatically connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, including rooftop terrace and pool and on-site art installation.

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Still to come: Camilo last year bought that Coconut Grove office building in the foreground that we snapped last week, which observers note is perfectly situated for another luxe condo enclave to join Bjarke Ingles’ Grand Bay, Rem Koolhaas’ Park Grove, the Ritz-Carlton, Terra’s Summer Hill apartments on Tigertail, and a new park and reimagined harbor across Bayshore.

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Thank goodness for the money guys to keep the boom going. At the Thompson Hotel’s Seagrape restaurant, we snapped longtime financier Robert Kaplan, who in 2011 opened the now nine-person Miami office of big-time NY financial brokerage Ackman Ziff, go-to operatives for complex real estate investments, developments and sales. Their secret sauce? Relationships with world-class equity and debt funders like Starwood, Apollo, Fortress, CIM and Colony. As such, they’re called in by owners who are wondering if it’s time to sell and what prices they can expect. They’ve set records for sales on Ocean, South of Fifth, Lincoln Road, Washington Avenue, Biscayne Boulevard, Edgewater, the Design District and Wynwood. A Miami Beach native who lived on Hibiscus Island and went to Miami Beach High, Robert practiced law at Greenberg Traurig in the '80s, then became a dealmaker, most recently at HFF for nine years. His biggest deals? Raising five kids ages 10 to 27, three of whom he’s helping set up apartments for this summer.

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Another figure on the front line of real estate lending: Sabadell EVP Steve Cohen, who joined the bank in 2012 after 24 years with SunTrust. He was recruited to build a department combining vets of big bank experience with entrepreneurial community bankers. With four relationship managers and underwriters, they do around 36 deals a year and can lend up to $75M, recently helping projects like Melo’s Melody Tower and Related Group’s Paraiso Bay. The bank's not-so-secret weapon? A large and iconic parent bank in Spain of the same name. Although Steve sees pre-sales of condos slowing down a bit, and some less experienced and non-Miami-based developers entering the business, he still sees tremendous upside potential in the market given transformational projects ahead like FECI’s All Aboard Florida, and continued hot development in Sunset Harbor, Surfside, Sunny Isles, the west side near Doral and Lincoln Road, which he says is becoming more and more Miami's own Michigan or Madison Avenue. He personally loves nothing more than walking and biking around the city to see it (though he's pictured above in an uncharacteristic moment of rest).