Behind the Scenes: Building an Urban Oasis in the Heart of Miami’s Brickell Financial District

Surrounded by the elegant and majestic high rises of Brickell Ave, stands 1525 S. Miami Avenue, a luxury custom home we built in the heart of the Brickell Financial District. It was an exciting and challenging project for our custom homes division since it required not only the demolition of the previous residence but also building the exterior and interior of the new house. We never would’ve been able to build a modern home that’s warm and charming in the heart of the concrete jungle without the great creativity of our team and amazing relationship with our client. This job required a lot of coordinating and collaborating with the client, architect and sub-contractors from demolition of the old structure to the completion of the new 2-story home with a rooftop. The challenges we conquered included building a 6,000-square-foot home on a very narrow 7,500-square-foot lot. This called for the SPACiO team of experts to analyze the set backs required by the city to produce a luxury home of this size. Miami’s urban core is running out of land, which makes it increasingly difficult for general contractors to do more with little space.

The planning was crucial in this project, which allowed the team to accomplish the project more efficiently. Another crucial component was being the liaison between the client, architect and sub-contractors to ensure that everyone was on the same page and ensure that SPACiO was turning everyone’s vision into reality. This involved holding weekly meetings from the pre-construction stage all the way through to post-construction stage.

The next step in the project involved building out the interior. We used Porcelanosa products  throughout the entire house, including the flooring, bathrooms, cabinetry, faucets, wall coverings and fixtures. We also built a stunning glass atrium in the entryway. Following the interior, we built the pool and pool deck as well as the rooftop that is surrounded by the Brickell skyline. It has an outdoor kitchen and a seven-person Jacuzzi. The team also installed an intricate AV system throughout the house and customized electronic gates on the outside of the house. It’s truly a gem among the skyscrapers and condo towers that line Brickell.

Building custom homes often turn into nightmares for owners if they don’t hire the right general contractor. We take pride in producing high quality craftmanship and are committed to helping owners have a positive experience. Our entire team is there from the beginning to help the owner feel at ease to make decisions. We assign a team leader to communicate and coordinate with all the sub-contractors’ schedules so the owner always knows where we are in the process. We over communicate and report the project’s status and provide our clients with a detailed timeline and weekly update including photos or videos as needed. We are here to make the process as painless as possible.

Give us a call to find out how we can help you build your dream home.

Tips for Rebuilding Following Weather-Related Events

As Puerto Ricans, Floridians and Texans begin to rebuild their homes and communities from the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, we’d like dedicate a blog post offering advice to homeowners and business owners on how they can rebuild following catastrophic weather-related events. Although no one wants to get hit by a hurricane, having to rebuild or do major repairs is an opportunity to upgrade your home and, in some instances, your quality of life. Here are some tips from General Contractor Alexander Wertheim, president of SPACiO Design Build.

 Remove Sheetrock, Insulation and Flooring Immediately

If your home is damaged by flooding or storm surge, you need to remove your sheetrock and insulation as soon as the water recedes to prevent mold. You should also remove flooring such as carpet or hardwood floors if you can’t dry them out. Tile is the best since you only need to clean it. If you’re on a tight budget, you can rip out the drywall yourself but we would recommend hiring a professional general contractor to tape and float it.

Hiring a General Contractor

While you can do some of the work yourself such as ripping out the drywall, you will most likely need to hire a general contractor to help you rebuild. You should be careful of scams that often follow hurricanes. Everyone and their mother will slap a magnet on the side of their truck and say they are a general contractor. We suggest checking licenses online, asking for references and even doing a site visit to look at the contractor’s prior work. Make sure the contractor holds liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and you are added as an additional insured on any policy while work is being done on your site. If a bank is involved, it should name the bank as well.

Opportunity to Renovate and Upgrade

You can upgrade to higher-end cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms if they suffered from water damage. If you need to remove the sheet rock, think about adding French or sliding glass doors to the backyard or throughout the house where there used to be a wall, or expanding the kitchen and closets. It’s also a good time to update to PVC piping if your current home or business has lead, copper or steel pipes as well as renovate the electric wiring throughout your home and adding an AV system. Lastly, you can think about creating a smart home.

Fortifying your Home and Business

As you rebuild and renovate your home or business, you should consider updating your home with the latest storm proof materials. It would a good time to install hurricane impact windows and reinforced and wind resistant garage doors. For a comprehensive list of the products available, read this article titled “8 ways to protect your home against tornadoes and hurricanes.”

The Iconic Metro Mall in Downtown Miami: A Diamond in the Rough Ready for a New Beginning

Having built out high-end luxury jewelry stores across South Florida from Breitling at Sawgrass Mills mall to Swarovski in Brickell City Centre, we are excited to hear that Metro Mall in the downtown Miami’s Jewelry District is up for grabs and with potential for redevelopment.

Our good friend Investment Broker Mika Mattingly, with Colliers International South Florida’s Urban Core Division, is marketing the property. The new owner could turn the aging building into a state-of the art diamond or jewelry retailer. Not many people know that the neighborhood is one of the top three jewelry districts in the United States – generating more than $850 million in sales during 2016 alone. This signals the continued upward trend of consumer spending and investment in downtown Miami.

Downtown Miami is experiencing unprecedented transformation, and the Metro Mall listing is another example of how the neighborhood is reinventing itself into a major metropolis. The SPACiO Design Build team is already talking with some of the new owners of commercial properties along Flagler Street to reposition their retail space on the ground floor. They expect to attract specialty retailers capable of helping to build a true community, where area residents can live, work and play. In the last two years, investors have acquired $1.5 billion of real estate along the historic Flagler Street, where properties have been neglected for decades.

A significant number of investors are coming from New York and familiar with the process of preserving and restoring buildings in an effort to create trendy districts. As an experienced general contractor working on buildings of historic value, we can’t wait to help retrofit some of the amazing spaces in downtown Miami after decades of neglect. The work will require a high level of creativity and innovation in the build-out of that space but we are up to the task.

This is an exciting time for downtown Miami and Metro Mall, one of the few remaining developing sites to hit the market. It will play an important role in the area’s transformation. We’re looking forward to the wave of new development that will reinvent the urban landscape into a thriving metropolis.

Building A Decorator Ready Condo To Win Budget-Minded Tenants



MIAMI—As condo buildings get completed, the last units are always the most difficult to sell. At the same time, investors putting their newly built units on the market are facing competition from the condos coming on line.

As a result, many sellers are choosing to position their units as rentals to generate an income. GlobeSt.com sat down with general contractor SPACiO Design Build’s Alex Wertheim to discuss how to build-out a “decorator ready” condo to attract tenants on a tight budget in part one of this exclusive interview.

GlobeSt.com: With so many luxury condos on the market, how can developers and investors position their condos to generate income?

Wertheim: When a developer nearly sells out a project, there are always a few units in the building that are difficult to sell. Increasingly, developers are calling us to turn those ‘decorator ready’ units into livable spaces. Investors who are unable to sell their newly built units as fast as they had planned are also moving in that direction.

We go into those units and install the flooring, paint the walls, build a closet system, create storage space, enclose dens and—from time to time—upgrade the kitchens and bathrooms to turn the condo into rental units. This strategy works well for units in luxury buildings. These units tend to attract affluent renters who want to experience the luxurious amenities of Miami’s high-end condo towers but don’t want to deal with the burden of owning a condo.

GlobeSt.com: What advice can you give developers and/or end-users who are turning their units into rentals?

Wertheim: There are hundreds of new luxury units nearing completion or under construction and hundreds of new condos hitting the rental market simultaneously. Many of the buyers closing on units in recently completed luxury towers across South Florida are investors.

While some of the investors are domestic and others are foreign, they all share the same plan: renting the units out until the time arrives to execute an exit strategy. If the newly-built unit comes “decorator ready”—which means the floor, walls, closets are finished—you should recruit a general contractor before the closing date to start planning the build-out of the unit. This way, a general contractor can start work as soon as the unit is yours, saving you weeks of ‘waiting time’ and placing a tenant in the unit much faster.

Other advice I would recommend would be to stick to neutral colors if you’re painting the walls and using basic standard materials to build-out the unit. The tenants are not going to treat your investment with the same quality of care, so don’t overspend.

For flooring, we recommend porcelain tiles because they are stylish, durable and low maintenance. If the unit seems small, consider knocking down walls to open up the floor plan, which usually involves combining the kitchen, dining and living areas into one large space. This will increase the natural light and create the perception that there’s more square footage.