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/

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.

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.

Marriott Stanton Hotel South Beach Miami

THE MAKING OF A “BEACH CHIC” SOUTH BEACH HOTEL

Marriott Stanton Hotel South Beach MiamiWith the conclusion of the Marriott Stanton South Beach renovation, hotel guests will now experience the confluence of historical and modern casual.  As the general contractor, renovating and repositioning the oceanfront hotel has been one of our favorite projects.

The main goal was to change the feel of the hotel to offer a modern take on beach chic. In order to remain competitive, hotels reposition themselves every few years to meet the guests’ evolving preferences and demands.

To refresh the hotel’s ambiance, Marriott Stanton used a lot of wood and natural products including bamboo, rattan, reclaimed wood, stone and tile with beach colors such as greens, blues, yellows and pinks.

The renovations transformed the hotel’s meeting room, two pools and decks, the main deck overlooking the pool, main lobby and check-in area, entry and driveway and the spa and gym. We replaced several ground-floor rooms to bring new amenities to the hotel, including three concept-driven restaurants.

A small section of the hotel has been designated historic so we are diligently working with the City of Miami Beach to protect the historic façade while converting the structure from wood to steel and concrete. That part of the hotel will house, once again, Starbucks. The work has been challenging but rewarding as we are honored to play a small part in helping protect and preserve a piece of Miami Beach’s history.

Working at Marriott Stanton isn’t new to us. Back in 2013, we renovated 224 rooms and the corridors from floors 4 to 11. We are looking forward to the opening of the additional restaurants that we are currently building out. Stay tuned for more information.

Nobu Restaurant Miami

BEHIND THE SCENES OF BUILDING OUT NOBU MIAMI

Nobu Miami at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach celebrates its first-year anniversary this month. Under the leadership of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, SPACiO was fortunate to be part of the team that made it happen.

In retrospect, we can proudly say that building out Nobu was one of our Top-10 projects in terms of complexity and sophistication.  One part of the design, for example, involved converting a previous outdoor dining space into an exquisite indoor dining area.  This included fabricating and installing curved wood screens that would separate areas of the restaurant, then installing a complex system of 10-foot wide wood-and-glass doors that open and stack to provide an inside/outside feel to the dining room. Now, when the wood-and-glass doors open, Nobu Miami becomes the largest Nobu restaurant in the world.

Chef 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.

If you haven’t done so already, we suggest that you visit Nobu to enjoy the exclusive Teppan Room and signature dishes such as Yellowtail and Jalapeno and Black Cod Miso.  We are positive that the superb cuisine and ambiance will create an unforgettable dining experience for you and your guests.