And the MiamiVision Bob Enzyte Big Idea Award goes to...
Click the button for Enzyte theme music.
Jorge Perez, CEO of the Related Group, for his latest and greatest Big Idea: Loft 3, the first really affordable workforce housing in downtown Miami that you would actually want to live in. Starting at $159,000.00 you can live downtown where all the action is. Loft 3 is a 32-story, 495-condo tower at 201 NE Second Ave right across the street from MetroMover and Miami-Dade College. It's just a five-minute walk to Bayfront Park and the American Airlines Arena. A little longer walk will take you to the new Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Can you imagine, by living at Loft 3 you can take the money you save not having to pay exorbitant downtown parking fees and put it toward your mortgage. For the really daring, or those use to living in Manhattan and who work downtown, dump your car and put that extra savings toward your mortgage too. Soon you'll be able to hop the MetroMover, stop by the new Met 3 project, take in a movie, pick up some groceries at the Whole Foods market there and then jump back on board the MetroMover for a short trip home. Can you dig it?
But wait, it gets better. Besides the usual perks you would come to expect for any new project in south Florida such as 24-hour manned security and high speed elevators, its 28th floor recreation deck includes a fully equipped fitness center (including a "cardio theater" and separate weight training room), spa, sauna, a great room, outdoor barbecue area, and a heated swimming pool and wet bar. And, in an effort to remain true to its name, Loft 3 units will come with a minimum ceiling height of 10-feet. Not too shabby.
For those who can't wait to buy a condo-- and who fear like we do that these allotted "workforce housing" units will be scooped up before you know it (70% of the 495 units will be priced under $300,000-- not all of them will be $159,000.00), click here to be one of the lucky first to put your money down (5% at contract, and another 5% at groundbreaking sometime next year).
The award ceremony again took place at Churchill's in Little Haiti. Mr. Perez was serenaded by the Bud Light Singers (and the Churchill regulars sitting around the bar) with a fine rendition of their hit song "Real Men of Genius," modifying it, of course, to squeeze "Jorge Perez and his Loft 3 development" into the lyrics. Trust us, it really was something to see and hear and if you weren't able to make it, you truly missed something special. This time we are also happy to report that, unlike the previous event (see here), Mr. Enzyte kept his pants on throughout the entire evening. Way to go, Bob!
UpDate (10/27): The Herald reports today that less than a week after opening only 80 units are left. 415 condos were sold in less than a week. Amazing!
UpDate (5/1/07): The Herald reports today that 33 of the 102 units set aside as "affordable" (between $99,000 and $216,000) were resold within a year of closing with at least one fellow, Al Lorenzo, who was the campaign manager for Mayor Manny Diaz, flipping it within a month for a markup of $92,100. Of those 102 "affordable" units, only 6 remained in the same hands for more than a year but none of those six list them as their home address within the city. As it turns out, it looks like no one from government cared to check to see if the applicants were buying to live there because it was something they could afford or buying to invest and, in some instances make a quick profit.
MVB finds this so embarrassing and disappointing. In the end, it appears none of these set-asides were bought by people who really need them. The article reminds us that the Related Group got taxpayer's subsidies of $1 million from the City and $300,000 from the county to encourage it to create affordable units in the building which makes this even sadder. When it comes to Miami, don't let anyone tell you it isn't about money. It looks like the greedy can never get enough of it and will even "abuse the system," as Miami City Commissioner Tomas Regalado so rightly said. Let's hope this will encourage the City and County to devise safeguards to assure affordable housing goes to those most deserving instead of those with the best connections. And, we can only hope Jorge Perez, winner of our Bob Enzyte Big Idea Award had nothing to do with any of it.
Other "Big Idea" winners: Shaya Boymelgreen, Carlisle Development Group and Carrfour Supportive Housing, Bruce Rubin.