The Real Deal - South Florida
April 1, 2015
Spinning The City
By Katherine Kallergis
Competition is fierce for South Florida’s top development marketing firms
Celebrity-studded, champagne-soaked parties, dog spas and private yacht parking — it’s all in a day’s work for South Florida’s development marketing firms.
But it’s not all easy street out there. Nearly 43,000 units have come onto the market since the start of the cycle, and that means the competition for buyers is fierce.
The Real Deal analyzed preconstruction data provided by CraneSpotters.com to put together a ranking of the region’s top development marketing firms based on the number of new development units each firm is currently selling. In the instances where competing firms “split” the marketing of units, which is not unusual when it comes to bigger projects, TRD split the total number of units evenly between the two companies.
Fortune International Group, Cervera Real Estate and Related Realty, in that order, took top honors, leading the marketing charge this cycle with the most preconstruction units on the market in the tri-county region east of I-95.
Edgardo Defortuna, head of Fortune, said that for his firm, standing out in today’s crowded marketplace means traveling to meet potential buyers in person.
“Before, we targeted South America. Now, we’re focusing more on Europe, China and the Northeast,” Defortuna said.
Fortune, which includes Fortune Development and Fortune International Realty, is marketing the sale of more than 4,300 preconstruction residential units, some in partnership with other firms.
Developments they’re selling include Paraiso Bay in Greater Downtown Miami, Hyde Resort and Residences in Hollywood, Ritz-Carlton Sunny Isles Beach and Hyde Midtown.
Cervera Real Estate, which took the number two spot, has 3,093 units on the market, according to the data. Managing Partner Alicia Cervera Lamadrid noted that unlike several other top marketing firms, hers does not split projects with anyone else.
A hefty amount of the inventory represented by Cervera is at Aria on the Bay, a 647-unit tower in downtown Miami with 50 stories. The company launched sales for the development with a swanky reception at the Adrienne Arsht Center in September. “We invited 500 people to join us there,” Cervera Lamadrid said. “We had different performers. It’s a theme we’ll revisit.”
She declined to reveal the marketing budget for Aria on the Bay, but said that per industry standard, it was a percentage — usually about 2 percent — of the total sellout price. That would put it at about $10 million.
For British-themed The Bond on Brickell, Cervera Lamadrid put together an event at the sales gallery featuring soccer star David Beckham, who was presented with a Terry O’Neill photograph of himself as a child. O’Neill’s photographs are part of the building’s branding, she said.
At another one of the properties she’s selling, Grove at Grand Bay, a dog spa is a hot selling point. She noted that brand-name projects — like the Ritz-Carlton Residences and Four Seasons Private Residences — are also a draw, saying, “people recognize them and there’s comfort in that recognition.”
Like Fortuna, Cervera Lamadrid said her firm takes a global approach to the sale of pricey condos, and said that her firm is also “keeping a close eye on China.”
ISG — including International Sales Group, ISG Realty and its partnership with Related, Related ISG — is fourth on the list, with 1,072 preconstruction residential units. Their projects include Muse Sunny Isles, Koi Residences and Marina, and Echo Brickell, which will feature a 12,000-cubic-foot shark tank in the lobby.
Brickell City Centre is among the developments that Daniel de la Vega, president of fifth-ranked ONE Sotheby’s International, is marketing.
He said that working with developers who understand “the wants and needs of buyers” is what determines how well a development will sell. At Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum, a helicopter pad is just one of the many amenities enabling de le Vega to market to what he refers to as “transient, electrifying and fast-paced buyers.”
OneWorld Properties came in seventh on the list with 732 units on the market in projects including Paramount Miami Worldcenter, Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach and Brickell Ten.
Peggy Fucci, OneWorld Properties President, said that it’s a particularly competitive market right now, both in terms of selling units and also getting new business from developers.
“When you don’t have the advantage of a brand name, it’s difficult to get into this arena. It’s years in the making,” she said.