Swarovski Hires SPACiO to Build-Out Store in Brickell City Centre

SPACiO Design Build has been retained to build-out high-end jewelry retailer Swarovski’s new home in Brickell City Centre. Founded 1895 in Austria, Swarovski designs, creates, and markets high-quality crystal product collections such as jewelry, accessories, ornaments, figurines and decorative items for the home. The luxurious design of the new 520-square-foot store is a significant addition to one of South Florida’s most spectacular mixed-use projects developed by Swire Properties. We look forward to completing the build-out by mid-August.

We are honored to play a role in the evolution of Brickell City Centre, which opened last year and continues to welcome high-end retail tenants. The 150,000-square-foot mixed-use development includes retail, residential and office space strategically located in the Brickell area. The retail component is home to restaurants, luxury retailers, an Italian food hall and Cinemex movie theatre. The new Swarovski store will serve the growing number of residents moving into the new luxury condos in Miami’s urban core. Many more towers are currently planned or under construction as the Brickell area continues to evolve into a world-class destination.

Swarovski adds another international brand to our portfolio of international clients/designs. That includes working with the Nobu Hospitality brand (hotel and restaurant) and building the sales center of Armani/Casa Residences. As a general contractor, we are the artisans behind the scenes turning design into reality. It is rewarding to be closely involved in projects that highlight Miami’s international appeal, unique architecture and design sophistication.

Transforming History into Lolo’s Surf Cantina

Building out Lolo’s Surf Cantina located inside the Marriott Stanton South Beach provided us the opportunity to do what we love best: breathing new life into amazing historic buildings.

Turning a portion of the Marriott Stanton into Lolo’s – a bistro serving inspired Mexican cuisine – was an experience that enriched our team’s craftsmanship.

Lolo’s is a concept by Plan Do See, a global hospitality brand based in Japan, and Richard Ampudia, the renowned “Godfather of Mexican Street Food.” Ampudia has made his mark in many popular NYC restaurants over the years such as La Esquina, Café Habana, and Bar Bruno.

As the general contractor, we were entrusted to transform the space into a Baja-Style, Mexican eatery while preserving a historic three-story building.

Our previous work renovating and repositioning the hotel helped us to create the blueprint for building out Lolo’s, which required a phased demolition process. We demolished everything in the interior of the property and were able to preserve the perimeter walls. At that stage, you could look up three stories and glimpse the sky.

The repositioning of the historic property required a sequential floor-by-floor rebuilding of the building’s skeletal system to accommodate two new full-service restaurants – including Lolo’s – and other amenities, including a new spa, gym, public restrooms and other guest features for the existing hotel. Those features were required to complement the newly remodeled lobby, meeting rooms, two pools decks and other amenities SPACiO had previously renovated. Due to the building’s designation as a historic building, we also worked diligently with the City of Miami Beach to protect the historic façade.

We couldn’t have accomplished our goals without our team’s vast wealth of construction knowledge, commitment to quality and ability to quickly meet the final inspections. It was our honor to transform the Lolo’s concept into a reality and deliver a top-notch Mexican eatery to Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood.

Stay tuned as we are building out additional restaurants at the Marriott Stanton South Beach (a secret sushi restaurant and an American bistro). Names will be revealed soon! Be the first to know by following us on all of our social media channels.

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.

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.


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.

Nobu Restaurant 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.