News articles of SPACiO Design Build, a South Florida general contractor specializing in luxury commercial and residential design build construction.

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.

 

SPACiO Builds Out Breitling’s New Store at Sawgrass Mills Mall


As Sawgrass Mills continues to bring in new stores, SPACiO Design Build completed a full interior build-out of Breitling. The Swiss watch retailer just opened a new store in Sawgrass, located in Broward County. It was an honor to be retained by Breitling, which is known for making precision-made chronometers useful to aviators, to help build (literally) their brand in one of America’s busiest malls. The classy and luxurious design of the 1,000 square foot store truly reflects the high-quality timepieces that Breitling is known for.

Our job as the general contractor on the project required running the daily construction activities, coordinating with the mall operations department as well as ensuring the designs were true to the finish. The store was a vanilla shell. We had to build the walls, drywall the ceilings, install flooring and work with the artisan behind the installation of the millwork display, which was imported from Canada. There were also a lot of electrical components, including the HVAC, that needed to be installed.

Getting the job done required finding quick solutions to unexpected challenges. The biggest challenge involved the weather. When the mall closed for three days as result of flooding, we managed to get inspectors into the store and finish the job despite the rising water surrounding the mall. Another challenge involved coordinating the logistics for deliveries, which we had to arrange before or after mall hours – same with making any loud noise such as cutting concrete.

The SPACiO Design team successfully completed the project in 5 weeks due to SPACiO’s core values of transparency and open communication with the client. We also worked quickly to make any last-minute changes the client had following the project’s completion.

Time is money so delivering a finished product on time and on budget is the best way to keep our clients happy.

 

 

 

Forbes Features Wine Cellar SPACiO Built at 321 Ocean

In case you missed it, Forbes recently published an article featuring a wine cellar we built out in a condo at 321 Ocean, an exclusive collection of 21 luxury residences in South of Fifth, one of Miami Beach’s most upscale neighborhoods. The Forbes article, titled “5 Luxury Homes with Exquisite Wine Cellars,” features five of some of the most impressive in-house wine rooms in homes that are currently on the market across the United States.

Building out the 50-square foot, climate-controlled wine cellar was a treat. It required us to work closely with the interior design firm Associated Design Co. to ensure that we could build out the design and execute the project without a hitch. We built the insulated glass enclosure, using customized acrylic and thermal metal framing, which was power-coated with a matte black finish to match the custom black finish on the rack.

The wine cellar was part of the build-out of the entire condo, which involved installing hardwood flooring throughout the condo, trim window coverings, staircase handrails, millwork and more.

It was a privilege to work with Associated Design Co. on the wine cellar. We’re looking forward to working with this very talented interior design firm again in the near future.

Click here to see the other wine cellars that made the list.

 

Q&A: Prestige’s Broker Tony Rodriguez-Tellaheche Strives to Be Different and Finds Success

Tony Rodriguez-Tellaheche, co-founder and managing broker of Prestige Realty Group, sat down with SPACiO Design Build to discuss today’s luxury real estate market in Miami. The boutique brokerage firm focuses on luxury homes and high-rise condominium sales. As a Miami native, Tony has seen the transformation of Miami from a beachside destination into a bustling and sprawling metropolis attracting buyers from all over the world.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN BROKERAGE FIRM?

My business partner Christopher Hodgson and I wanted to create more of a boutique real estate firm, offering clients personalized services that the larger firms don’t offer. When someone hires Prestige Realty, they are hiring our entire team of over 23 agents that are available 24/7 to serve our clients. We also wanted to create a firm with an international reach. My partner is from London and I’m from Miami so we really have a global reach. Our approach seems to be working. Last year, we sold more than $50 million in real estate and I was recognized by Real Trends and the Wall Street Journal as one of the America’s best Realtors.

WHAT SHOULD CONSUMERS KNOW ABOUT MIAMI’S REAL ESTATE MARKET?

People always ask me how the market is doing and I always ask which one. Most real estate consumers assume Miami- Dade County is one market but in reality it’s composed of many different markets, all of which have their own character. I take a neighborhood approach to real estate, mostly focusing on single-family luxury homes and condominiums in Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, downtown, South Miami and Miami Beach. Every market is its own special ecosystem. One may be booming while the other is down. Overall, in the submarkets I focus on, the market hasn’t slowed down significantly. It’s a healthy slow-down with plenty of inventory available. People need to realize that the pre-construction condos are different from single-family homes and a slow-down in that particular sector is not an indicator of the overall housing market. Miami’s luxury real estate is very dynamic and can’t be generalized. For example, we have noticed that demand for Mediterranean style homes has decreased while modern and turnkey homes remain hot with buyers.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE FOR SELLERS?

The most important piece of advice for sellers is to hire a brokerage firm that’s tech savvy and will invest in their listings. You don’t want a realtor who is taking photos of your property with an iPhone. At Prestige Realty Group, we hire professional photographers and videographers who often use drones to get the best visuals possible for our listings. We want prospective buyers to have a 360-degree view of the property they will want to purchase. Sellers should also work with brokers who are advanced on social media. Technology is a major part of our lives now and should be an integral component to any realtor’s strategy for marketing and selling a home.

Another important piece of advice for sellers is to keep their homes clean and free of clutter when it’s on the market for sale.  Many underestimate the power of staging, which is not the same as decorating. You need to stage your home into a place that potential buyers can envision living in. Remove all your personal items including family photos, books and other items that may distract your potential buyer. You want your house to be known as the one with the beautiful kitchen, not the one with the overbearing collection of crystal figurines.

Capitalizing on the shifting real estate markets: Look for opportunities — and always network

5 Luxury Homes With Exquisite Wine Cellars

By: 

For true oenophiles, building a beautiful wine cellar isn’t just about aesthetics. Other features such as placement, security, temperature and humidity control plus different bottles’ shapes and sizes must be considered as well, according to Richard Rosenthal, a real estate agent at Halstead in Manhattan.

Using a variety of materials ranging from wood to glass, some of the most impressive in-house wine rooms are works of art themselves.

Here are a few gorgeous examples on the market right now.

357 West 17th Street (New York, New York)Rich Caplan Photograph

357 West 17th Street (New York, New York)

#1: 18 FRICK DRIVE (ALPINE, NEW JERSEY)

Behold, here’s a classic wine cellar decked out with a solid mahogany double door, dark tiled floors with metallic accents and custom plaster ceilings. Yet, don’t be mistaken: there’s much more to this 4,000-bottle dual zone, temperature-controlled wine cellar than its traditional details. With a tamper-proof, biometric entry security system programmed to accept the fingerprint of selected individuals, numeric pass codes and RFID bottle authentication, the most impressive feature here is the smart home technology. Actively monitoring who and when someone accesses the wine cellar, this security system can quickly notify the owner of entry and departure via email or text.

What you can find in the spacious octagonal wine room at 18 Frick Drive are mahogany display cases and shelving lined from floor to ceiling, with some lined with rope lighting and others made to pull out for convenient access to bottles. Each room has its own cooling systems that can be used individually, giving the options of different climates or working together to keep the 4,000 bottle wine cellar uniformly chilled.  Evan Joseph

What you can find in the spacious octagonal wine room at 18 Frick Drive are mahogany display cases and shelving lined from floor to ceiling, with some lined with rope lighting and others made to pull out for convenient access to bottles. Each room has its own cooling systems that can be used individually, giving the options of different climates or working together to keep the 4,000-bottle wine cellar uniformly chilled.

#2: 321 OCEAN, UNIT 201 (MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA)

Style meets function in this 50-square-foot, refrigerated wine room. Boasting an open, more transparent atmosphere, the climate-controlled room features a sleek, insulated glass enclosure, customized acrylic and thermal metal framing, which is powder-coated with a matte black finish to match the custom black finish on the racks.

Sophisticated yet minimalistic, this beautiful wine room at 321 Ocean, Unit 201 has a storage capacity of 440 bottles.Evan Joseph

Sleek and sophisticated, this wine room at 321 Ocean, Unit 201 has a storage capacity of 440 bottles.

#3: 357 WEST 17TH STREET (NEW YORK, NEW YORK)

Reflecting the best of modern and country styles, this stunning wine cellar is one of the biggest highlights of this $36.8-million house. (That’s saying a lot considering the 11,000 square-foot house comes along with a White 2016 Bentley Mulsanne!) Each bottle within the climate-controlled space is tastefully illuminated by backlit LED walls, combined with a rustic brick wall and arched ceiling to create an effortlessly chic look.

This beautiful wine cellar at 357 West 17th Street holds about 500 bottles.Rich Caplan Photograph

This beautiful wine cellar at 357 West 17th Street holds about 500 bottles.

#4: 795 HIGHCOURT ROAD (ATLANTA, GEORGIA)

Inside a six-acre European-style estate is an extremely well-manicured, 2,000-bottle wine cellar. Consisting of a high-velocity, self-contained cooling system that keeps the temperature at 59 degrees, the most impressive detail here is the barrel-vaulted, hand-laid Italian tile ceiling, which uses a centuries-old technique to ensure even weight distribution in the design.

The ceiling’s installation spanned two weeks and required such intricate precision that the homeowners flew in an installation specialist from Italy.Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

The ceiling’s installation of 795 Highcourt Road was so intricate that the owners flew in a specialist from Italy to complete the two-week process.

#5: DARLINGTON (MAHWAH, NEW JERSEY)

Dubbed by many architectural enthusiasts as the American Versailles, this rare estate (sold furnished) has a wine cellar—with separate temperature controls for red and white wines—connected to a squared shape 27-by-27-foot wine room. While everything in the wine room is beautifully custom made, the pièce de résistance is certainly the wine wall displaying 326 bottles. Along with two blue chairs that once belonged to Sir Elton John, the entire combination works like a well-curated art installation many cultural aficionados would die for.

The room’s design started with the purchase of a slab of a very unique blue marble which was used for the tabletops – then everything else was brought in and designed around that to matchSpecial Properties/CIRE

The room’s design started with the purchase of a slab of a very unique blue marble which was used for the tabletops – then everything else was brought in and designed around that to match.

The Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey, a 55,000 square foot single family home built by architect James Brite in 1908. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed of Indiana limestone and Harvard brick, the home is also named "Darlington."Special Properties/CIRE

The Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey, a 55,000 square foot single family home built by architect James Brite in 1908. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed of Indiana limestone and Harvard brick, the home is also named “Darlington.”

the wine storage cabinets have separate temperature controls and they are ran by two separate coolers, which allows for the proper storage or red and white winesSpecial Properties/CIRE

The wine storage cabinets at the back have separate temperature controls run by two separate coolers, which allows for the proper storage or red and white wines.

Read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eustaciahuen/2017/06/30/winecellars/#bce7b704e89e

BEHIND THE SCENES: Building out SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences

SPACiO Design Build recently completed the build out of several units at SLS Brickell and looks forward to the completion of several more. We are proud to be offered the opportunity to add value to one of the most recognizable towers in Miami.

Four weeks after receiving the permits, we completed the job on time and on budget. The SPACiOs team installed interior and exterior flooring throughout the condos. Some interiors featured white 32” x 32” porcelain tile with 10” x 40” light gray porcelain tile on the exterior that resembled wood. Other units included 21” x 42” porcelain tile, resembling Carrara marble, installed on both the interior and exterior. Our clients’ choices reflect the contemporary trend of choosing flooring that harmonizes interior and exterior colors and patterns.

We also installed solar blinds in the living areas, blackout blinds with side channels in the bedrooms, custom closets in the master bedrooms and other bespoke touches. In many of the units, the tile and paint colors complement the existing cabinetry and countertops delivered by the developer – giving the unit a warm, cozy look. Each unit also includes stunning custom finishes that express the style and personality of the owner, creating a lush backdrop for the exquisite details in the décor that accent each room.

And we won’t forget the view! A sleek 55-story tower that features floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, SLS Brickell combines panoramic views with the comfort and convenience of a 5-star hotel. In fact, we are noticing an emerging trend: owners transforming their high-rise condominiums by creating a polished look that resembles a hotel suite. With all the amenities offered by SLS Brickell and the unrivaled view, SPACiO is proud to have once again been chosen to deliver custom luxury, on time and on budget, to one of Miami’s most impressive towers.

 

The Real Deal: A sit-down with Alexander Wertheim: Spacio founder on his business, SoFla’s construction challenges & more

“You’ve got guys that show up today, and three weeks later, they’re gone.”March 23, 2017 10:30AM
By Doreen Hemlock

Alexander Wertheim is founder and president of Spacio Design Build, a general contracting firm with clients such as Nobu Miami Beach, the Related Group and the Marriott Stanton South Beach. A former pro tennis player on the ATP whose coaching gig got him into the construction and property management business, Wertheim now oversees a firm of about 20 employees with revenues of about $20 million.

Wertheim spoke with The Real Deal about building a business, challenges facing South Florida contractors and the latest construction trends.

“I’m a guy who believes you go with the curve,” said the 45-year-old Miami native. “You have to adapt.”

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

Q. How did you get into the construction business?

After retiring from professional tennis, I coached. One of the guys I was coaching owned 30,000 apartments across the United States. I was up at his house one day and said, “I need a career.” So he hired me. He started to buy in Florida in the early 1990s. He bought a couple thousand units in west Fort Lauderdale and offered me a job there as a social director. So now, I’m doing bingo, fitness at the swimming pool, handing out bagels…I looked at it like school. I was there six months and stuck my nose everywhere. I found out what the property manager did, the leasing agent, the superintendent, the sprinkler guy, everything. Then, he says to me, “Do you want to move to Connecticut and be my son’s right-hand man?” I left the following week. I was 23 years old, director of operations of a company with 52 employees, about 10,000 apartments, half a million square feet of industrial space and four condo associations.

I learned construction, punch-out work, leasing and managing apartments, budgets, due diligence on new buys. Later, I went out on my own. With a partner, we did a bunch of condo conversions, and then, I came up with the current concept.

Q. When and why did you start Spacio?

We started in Coral Springs in 2007 to go after homeowners who wanted basic renovations. We built a beautiful showroom, and the recession came, so we went lean, down to my partner and myself. Back then, you’d call me and say, “I have a dry-wall repair,” and I’d be there.

After the recession hit, we landed our first building in downtown Miami, the Ivy. The majority of developer units are what they call “decorator-ready,” with a finished kitchen and finished bathroom. But if someone wants to move in, you need to do the floor and baseboards, window coverings, painting, closets and lighting. We came in and did those upgrades on more than 400 units.

From that, we went across the street to The Mint and changed our business model. We opened up a design center to offer a turnkey package, a one-stop shop. We did construction and even worked with furniture providers if you wanted. Mint was 532 units. Our average ticket at Ivy was $10,000, and at Mint, about $30,000. So, we ended up doing seven other buildings at the same time. We became known as the condo contractor.

Then, we landed Paramount Bay in Edgewater, and those units had $80,000 to $100,000 tickets. Next, we did 224 rooms at the Stanton South Beach Marriott. That was our first big commercial project.

Q. How much business did you do last year, and what do you project for this year?

Last year, about $20 million. This year, I have almost $14 million on the books, and it’s only March. So, it should be more.

Q. Tell us about some key projects.

We just finished Eden Roc Nobu, which is a hotel within a hotel. We took the existing restaurant, gutted it and added about 3,000 square feet of exterior space to make the largest Nobu in the world. We also did the lobby, common areas and the hotel rooms – around 150. At the Marriott Stanton at 161 Ocean Drive, we started out with the rooms, then common areas, the front and façade, the entrance, lobby. Because they couldn’t build new, we literally had to rebuild the entire structure from the inside outside, including the roof – all with the hotel in operation.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you face as a contractor in South Florida?

The workforce here. It’s laid-back, and that makes things take longer. And it’s very transient. You’ve got guys that show up today, and three weeks later, they’re gone. You hear a lot of horror stories. We’re very careful about the subcontractors we work with and develop long-term relationships with them.

Q. What trends do you see in construction in Miami?

One is incorporating exterior space into the interior. People are adding collapsible window-doors that open to one side to bring exterior space inside. You’re seeing this in homes, restaurants and hotels, because so many people love to be outside. In houses, people are putting bars, kitchens, TV rooms, sitting areas and fire pits outside to continue the experience of their great-rooms inside. It makes the space seem bigger and more welcoming.

ARTICLE LINK: https://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/03/23/a-sit-down-with-alexander-wertheim-spacio-founder-on-his-business-soflas-construction-challenges-more/

If I Knew Then…

IF I KNEW THEN…

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy. See the article featured in Crain’s Miami here.

By: NicoleMartinez |@niki_frsh

The Mistake:

I was getting a lot of new business continuously and not focusing on my past clients as an added source of revenue.

When I first got started, I was letting the business run me, instead of me running the business. One of my most common mistakes was that I would land a client, and this would happen especially with some of my bigger clients, and I would do the job and just move on after that. I wouldn’t necessarily continue maintaining a relationship with them, whether that meant through person-to-person contacts, e-mail marketing or regular follow-up phone calls and meetings to see how they were enjoying the new space.

In the construction business, you’re only as good as your last job. In my space, you have huge general contracting firms and those guys have a pipeline for years of work. A firm our size, however, doesn’t have a tremendous pipeline, so you’re always working on trying to get that next job.

Over dinner with other business partners one night, one of them had mentioned to me that it seemed like I was not focusing enough on my existing clients. He said that I needed to keep extracting them for additional work.

“The majority of my clients that I have today are friends, because I do maintain monthly contact, whether that’s something as simple as a phone call.”

The Lesson:

Throughout the years I’ve learned and we’ve grown tremendously from taking our clients and extracting them for additional business. So if you’re not following up continuously and reminding them about who you are and what you do, they forget about you.

It doesn’t just stop at traditional marketing initiatives. Whenever I meet a client I try and figure out what they like to do. For instance, I take my clients to play golf, dine with them, or take them fishing. We become friends. The majority of my clients that I have today are friends, because I do maintain monthly contact, whether that’s something as simple as a phone call. I try and stay on top of their business, and at the top of their mind, and that’s become a failsafe way to continue having lasting business relationships that allow my own business to grow.

This approach, coupled with quality craftsmanship, has helped SPACiO grow from $9 million in 2014 to nearly $20 million in 2016.

Follow SPACiO Design Build on Twitter @spaciodb.

SPACiO Tells Invest:Miami Magazine What’s Trending in Miami Real Estate

In case you missed it, Invest Miami Magazine sat down with SPACiO president Alex Wertheim to discuss what he expects to see in Miami’s construction and design industry this year.

Alex discusses some factors that are driving demand for construction and design services, based on his experience as a general contractor building out some of Miami’s most iconic residential and commercial projects. He states that residential demand growth in Miami will continue, due in large part to the lower cost of living compared to other major gateway cities across the U.S. and Florida’s advantageous tax structure.

While construction in the residential sector is clearly slowing down, Alex continues to see an increase in construction activity in the commercial real estate sector, especially in the restaurant and hospitality areas. This reflects a trend in which restaurant owners/operators are increasingly allocating resources to upgrade the aesthetics of their facilities to match the level of service and culinary experience. For that reason, he expects to see more complex designs and build outs as new restaurants enter the market. SPACiO recently built out the Nobu restaurant in Miami Beach, which is a great example of this trend. Hotels are also recognizing the importance of investing in aesthetics to remain competitive and provide an ‘experiential’ atmosphere. This trend is fueling the renovation and repositioning of several Miami hotels, including SPACiO’s latest project: Marriott Stanton South Beach.

Alex concludes by highlighting the importance of restaurant and hotel owners/operators as well as developers hiring the proper architect, designer and general contractor to ensure that pre-construction work is handled by highly qualified professionals. If the selection process is executed poorly, the construction phase will probably create unplanned challenges to the final vision of the hotel and restaurant owners/operators.

To read more about Alex’s predictions for 2017, you can view the entire article here.