Helping Transform Little Haiti One Building At A Time

Increasingly rundown warehouses in Little Haiti – the next Wynwood – are getting a new lease on life. Drive along its streets and you will see a lot of construction going on, as old buildings are being repositioned into new uses, including art galleries, showrooms and more.

Our client, Innerspace Custom Closet Storage Solutions, is a perfect example of the quality of businesses that are choosing Little Haiti as their new home. Innerspace, which is relocating from Wynwood, is a premiere designer of organized closet systems in South Florida. We’re currently renovating for Innerspace a 24,000-square-foot warehouse and reinforcing the existing structure to withhold new loads for our client to move in next month. The build-out of the space includes a 5,200 square foot interior office and a unique showroom.

Our goal with this project is to make the building relevant to the emerging neighborhood, which is attracting new businesses to the area. We’re already starting to see an influx of new neighbors, including a French catering business across the street and a future art gallery next door.

It’s exciting to be a part of Little Haiti’s transformation, helping to turn visions into reality through quality craftsmanship. We’re looking forward to working more in the area as it begins to develop into one of Miami’s hottest neighborhoods.

Custom Home Miami Beach: A class of its own

This $10 million dollar residence is truly in a class of its own.  SPACiO meticulously crafted every gorgeous facet of this modern home. The contemporary design featured an open floor plan with white oak flooring, a professional chef’s kitchen, and a massive master suite with an adjoining office. And it features a rooftop deck for breathtaking views of downtown Miami.

This is the type of custom home project that the SPACiO team takes immense pride in bringing to life.

SPACiO makes the process of building a home simple and convenient to the homeowner. It all starts with a visit to SPACiO’s showroom, where we display samples of materials. Our entire team is also there to help the owner make decisions on the spot. We assign a team leader to communicate and coordinate with all the subcontractors’ schedules so the owner always knows where we are in the process. One thing we realized over the years is that one can never over report with a homeowner, who eagerly waits for the completion of his/her home. We provide our clients with a detailed timeline and weekly update including photos or videos as needed. Honoring the timeline is a key priority to us so our clients can arrange travel plans for milestone walk-through visits.

While SPACiO is committed to quality work, we are even more committed to helping owners have a positive experience when building their homes or building out their luxury condo units. We are always glad to get on a call to discuss how we can help you.

Q&A with Guest Contributor: Coral Gables Architect John Perez talks Innovation/ Experiential Architecture

Q&A with Guest Contributor: Coral Gables Architect John Perez talks Innovation/ Experiential Architecture

SPACIO sat down with talented Architect John Perez for a Q&A to hear about his experience remodeling, updating and building new hotels across the country and how the hospitality industry is rapidly embracing innovation and experiential architecture.

1 – When you work with hotel operators/owners to extensively remodel a hotel, what advice do you give your clients when they first reach out to you?  

One of the first things we discuss is the target market the client is aiming to reach. There is a wide range of guests, and this translates into styles, finishes, levels of service and facility requirements. Different sectors of the market have diverse needs and expectations from their guest experience. For example, a business traveler will require different amenities than a resort guest.

2 – What are some of the architectural trends in the hospitality industry that we will see in 2017?

Most new hotels these days are being designed with technology in mind. Travelers want to be connected, and need information to move as quickly as their devices do. Things such as checking into your hotel using your smartphone and using your phone as your room key will become more widespread. Features like setting your desired temperature when you arrive to your guestroom, setting the time the blinds are raised and lights turn on… all of this you will be able to control from your phone, just the way people control in their homes.

3 – What are some of your favorite projects and why?

The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside – West was a fun project. I am especially pleased with the four-story frameless glass atrium featuring a full height media wall. The small footprint of the lobby required a special identity, and I believe we were able to achieve a unique and eye catching check-in experience for the guest.

 

Growing Rapidly and Steadily

GROWING RAPIDLY AND STEADILY

January 2017MiamiReal Estate & Construction |

Alex Wertheim

Invest: Miami speaks with Alex Wertheim, President, SPACiO Design Build

What demand is currently driving design services?

Over the years, we have seen significant growth in residential demand. Developers can execute large-scale projects, as the cost per square foot in South Florida is still much less expensive to buyers than in many other major cities within the U.S. This region offers a competitive cost of living as well as an advantageous tax structure. Growth in the residential segment has caused growth in the commercial segment as well, to the point that we are seeing more activity in the commercial real estate sector than in the residential market when it comes to construction in Miami.

What are the main profile trends of the client base for contractor and design services in Miami?

There was an important change in the profile of the clients after the crisis of 2009. We have started to see more Latin American clients reaching out to us to build-out their recently purchased high-end condos since then. This is expected to continue, as Miami is a melting pot for Latin Americans. However, in the past few years, we have begun to see an increase in the number of clients from the U.S. retaining our services, which makes me think the domestic market is coming back. Miami is attracting many retirees from the Northeast that are looking to take advantage of the lower cost of living. We have also seen an increase from international clients from other regions of the world such as Asia and Europe.
Miami is growing rapidly and continuously. In 2017, we will continue to see such growth driven by international and American buyers. We are also going to keep seeing continuous repositioning of real estate properties. As we run out of developable land, developers are rapidly buying up existing Class B and Class C properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods to turn them into Class A properties, from hotels to retail space. As a full-service general contractor, we are seeing – and we will continue to see in 2017 – an increase in retail space construction. We are currently involved in building out Breitling and very soon Swarovski in Brickell City Centre. The demand is a direct result of Miami’s evolution as a high-end shopping and dining destination.

Which sectors are expected to be the growth engines for design and contracting services the upcoming years?

Even though both residential and commercial sectors are growing simultaneously, commercial will
start to see an important increase in the hospitality sector, especially restaurants. Miami has developed its culinary offerings extensively over the past couple years.  These new restaurants have made significant investments in design services because they understand the importance of aesthetics for their businesses. The Nobu restaurant in Miami Beach is a perfect example. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa sought the “best of the best” to build out the space.  For example, the stone flooring was imported from Italy, the oak flooring from Denmark and many other finishes are derived from around the world. Nobu truly adds an extra level of sophistication to the iconic Eden Roc. We were very fortunate to work under Chef Matsuhisa’s leadership building out that amazing space. Hotels – both new and existing – have also made important investments in design with an important emphasis on quality and that will continue to happen in Miami

What would you identify as the current major challenges in construction?

From a business perspective, one of the main challenges for the developers is making sure they hire the right architect and designer. Doing all the correct due diligence and pre-construction work is extremely important. Not many people realize the amount of work that goes into pre-construction and its importance. When done poorly, this ends up being a problem for developers as they execute their projects. The way to tackle this issue is by making sure their pre-construction work is handled by highly qualified professionals.  Another challenge is finding qualified construction workers, especially when you are working on high-end projects. We make sure we take good care of our people because we see value in loyalty and having an A team that we can move from job to job.

 

To see this published article and to learn more about Invest: Miami, a publication of Capital Analytics, please visit this link.

Softening Your Exposure To Miami’s Fluctuating Real Estate Market

Softening Your Exposure To Miami’s Fluctuating Real Estate Market

MIAMI—With the condo construction market slowing down, general contractors are finding ways to soften their exposure to Miami’s fluctuating real estate market. That is key to a healthy market since they are an important generator of construction jobs. SPACiO Design Build president Alex Wertheim sat down with GlobeSt.com to discuss how his firm is adapting as Miami’s real estate cycle evolves.

GlobeSt.com: How are you adapting to a slowdown in the condo construction market?

Wertheim: As a boutique full-service general contractor, we benefit tremendously from an active condo construction market. But knowing how cyclical the Miami real estate market is has helped us diversify our operation so we can equally focus on commercial and residential projects. (Read about three safe construction bets during economic volatility.)

For example, when the condo market was very active, we were busy doing the build-out of sales centers, including the sales center for Residences at Armani Casa. As many of the new luxury condo high-rises are delivered, we are focusing on building out individual units at projects such as the Grove at Grand Bay, Oceana Bal Harbor and SLS Brickell. But as the condo construction slows down, our commercial projects keep us busy.

In the last five years, Miami has become a destination for high-end shopping and dining. As a result, we are increasingly getting involved in building out retail stores for Breitling and Swarovski in Brickell City Centre.

We have also turned our attention to hotels and restaurants such as Nobu Restaurant, Nobu Hotel, Marriott Stanton South Beach and others. Also, emerging areas like Little Haiti are generating a significant amount of work as old warehouses are being turned into trendy spaces to accommodate businesses relocating from Wynwood, where rents have skyrocketed.

GlobeSt.com: How did you survive the last recession?

Wertheim: SPACiO was created during those dark years as a response to market demands at the time. As newly-built buildings were sitting empty with buyers unable to come to the closing table, developers began to convert unsold condos into rental units. Back then, the units were sold ‘decorator ready,’ which means the buyer was responsible for building out the units in terms of flooring, wall finishes, closets, et cetera.

So when the developers had to turn the units into apartments, they called us to do the build-out of their high-end units. Since then, we have built out nearly 1,600 luxury units in the Greater Downtown Miami area. The work was interesting and challenging. While developers were putting tenants in those condos, their exit strategy ultimately was to sell the units when the market came back so our work had to meet pretty high standards.

Tere Blanca is pointing to one big trend in Downtown Miami. Read about it here.

Nobu Hotel Lobby and Bar

Construction and Design Trends to watch in 2017

With 2016 behind us, general contractors are heading into the new year with increased optimism despite the fluctuating real estate market. As a full-service General Contracting firm based in Miami, SPACiO Design Build has benefited tremendously from an active condo construction market. Yet, as the real estate cycle evolves, new opportunities and trends will arise in 2017. Here are a few trends that will be important drivers in the general contracting space this year. 

Retrofitting Existing Spaces
In South Florida, there is a lack of developable vacant land. As a result, in 2017 SPACiO expects to see owners increasingly reposition and retrofit older properties, many of which have historic value – this especially holds true in South Beach and Downtown Miami.

In the last two years, investors have acquired $1.5 billion of real estate along the historic Flagler Street in downtown Miami, where properties have been neglected for decades.

A significant number of investors are coming from New York and are familiar with the process of preserving and restoring buildings in an effort to create trendy districts. Due to these recent acquisitions, SPACiO predicts an uptick in construction retrofits. Investors proactively are looking for specialty retailers and concepts that will require more experiential designs, ones that dictate a high level of creativity and innovation in the build out.

The Hospitality Industry is on Fire
Miami-Dade County has approximately 50,000 hotel rooms in its existing supply. About 5.3 percent of those rooms are currently under construction, and an additional 7.8 percent are in the final planning stages.

This year, general contractors will be busy building out the new rooms and upgrading existing hotels in order to compete with the newer generation of hotel rooms.

Many of the hotels delivered in 2016 resulted from the repositioning of historic buildings that were previously office buildings. This trend began last year when the former Miami National Bank in downtown Miami was turned into The Langford, a 126-key boutique hotel.

Further north in Miami Beach, Hyatt Hotels acquired and rebranded the former 363-room Thompson Hotel and added the property to its roster of the upscale Unbound Collection, The Confidante.

The repositioning and rebranding of hotels has kept us busy in the last two years. In 2016, SPACiO worked on the renovation of the world-renowned Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach and turned a portion of the existing rooms into the Nobu hotel. This represents an evolving trend of “building hotels within hotels.”

We also renovated 224 hotel rooms at the Marriott Stanton South Beach and upgraded its amenities to refresh their look and keep the property competitive. The renovations transformed the hotel’s meeting rooms, two pools, the main deck overlooking the pool, the main lobby and check-in area, the entry driveway, and the spa and gym. We replaced several ground-floor rooms to bring new amenities to the hotel, including three concept-driven restaurants.

Continued Evolution of Miami’s Architecture
As starchitects like Bjarke Ingels, Herzog & de Meuron and Jean-Louis Deniot’s and luxury brands like Armani, Aston Martin, Fendi and Porsche enter the South Florida market to design and develop properties, we anticipate an evolution of Miami’s architecture into an exponentially greater level of sophistication.

This transformation is being reflected in extremely complex designs and in how the space is built out. Another trend that will gain momentum in 2017 is the introduction of imported design-driven materials favored by many renowned international architects and designers. SPACiO became familiar with this movement when we built out the celebrated Nobu restaurant in Miami Beach last year. That project required using products from Japan, stone flooring from Italy and oak flooring from Denmark. In many instances, we were required to gain approval from city planners and officials to utilize the newly introduced products and materials.

The evolution of Miami’s architecture scene has added a layer of challenges that will require general contractors to be experts at troubleshooting complex issues. This skill will be paramount to meeting clients’ strict deadlines.

For example, we received the opportunity to work under the leadership of the legendary fashion and design icon Giorgio Armani to build out the sales center at the Residences at Armani/Casa. In this instance, we had to replicate one of the most expensive units in this high-end condo tower. When working with luxury designers, it’s critical to protect their brand while managing costs and executing a highly detail-oriented design.

The materials used in these projects are often very expensive, requiring general contractors to hire highly skilled artisans. This is unique to what we’ve experienced in the past, as this was our initial foray into working with designers of this caliber.

As the real estate cycle evolves, we will witness an array of trends arising in the market. It will be up to us, the general contractors, to capitalize on the new opportunities.

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Alexander Wertheim is founder and president of Miami-based SPACiO Design Build. The full-service general contractor is behind some of Miami’s most defining commercial projects, custom homes and condo build-outs.