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Real estate developers ran out of waterfront property. Now they might want to buy yours

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald on

Published in Home and Consumer News

"There's more supply than demand in the market at the moment, so if you live in an older building and you're trying to sell, it's going to be harder to compete with newer units," Yetming said. "If you can sell your condo for more than it's worth, that's a great deal for anyone."

Hurricane Irma's close call in September was a reality check for many waterfront property owners, who were braced for a worst-case disaster scenario and worried their buildings might not even be left standing after the monster storm.

"When Irma came through, a number of waterfront communities suffered damage and are still dealing with repairs and deciding how they're going to proceed," said Steven Wernick, a land use attorney and partner at Akerman LLP and past chair of the city of Miami's Waterfront Advisory Board. "Some of these older properties, especially buildings from the 1970s, often don't conform to recent building codes and are not well prepared for sea level rise. They're in flood zones.

"Irma has spurred some condo associations and owners to assess whether they want to spend the time and money to make upgrades to aging structures. In some situations, it might be in the best interest of current owners to just sell the property."

Una is the latest luxury tower to be built on the former location of an outdated building, but it's far from the first. Edgardo Defortuna, president and CEO of Fortune International Group, said his company is currently developing a new project on the former site of the Playa de Varadero condo at 18801 Collins Ave., which was built in 1965.

Other examples include the Residences by Casa/Armani in Sunny Isles Beach and the upcoming 17-story luxury condo at 5775 Collins Ave., which will be built on the site of the Marlborough House condo by Brazilian billionaire Jose Isaac Peres.

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While Defortuna won't go as far as to call it a trend, he said you can expect to see more of this kind of strategy used in the industry as Miami's next real estate cycle gears up in the coming years.

"This kind of development is a thing of the future: It's actually here now," Defortuna said. "Real estate in Miami is almost a new game now, because it's very very difficult to find a site that is readily available. Developers have to be creative and figure out a way to solve that issue. And this way of developing is a win-win, because the old condo owners are making a nice profit on their property."

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