‘Very Telling’: South Florida Developers Are Noticing Big Changes in Residents’ Needs

As a flight to quality takes place in South Florida, developers are placing more emphasis on interior design, hospitality services and unique amenities. 

Harvey Hernandez, co-founder and CEO of Newgard Development Group, said his company is incorporating some of the trending upgrades at LOFTY Brickell, a 44-story tower near Brickell City Center, as more South Florida residents are seeking a luxurious lifestyle.

“In addition to that, we have done something really different,” Hernandez said. “We have finished and furnished every single unit because we believe that the consumer doesn’t want to deal with furniture and interior designers and contractors, especially in a second home or investment property.”

Harvey Hernandez, founder and CEO of Miami-based Newgard Development Group. Courtesy photo Harvey Hernandez, founder and CEO of Miami-based Newgard Development Group.

Hernandez said about 80% of LOFTY Brickell’s units are already under contract, and interest is coming from a variety of places. 

“I would say 50% are domestic and 50% are international,” said Hernandez. “International buyers are from all over the place. From Europe and Canada, to South America, the Caribbean and China. Everywhere.” 

Hernandez said out of all the requests from buyers, no one has opted out of the furnished option.

“It’s incredible. I think that’s very, very telling,” said Hernandez. “I think that is something that has become a trend in the marketplace and it will continue.” 

Disruption, Delays and Experimentation

The biggest challenge all developers face is rising costs after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Distribution disruption and costs, and added costs and the ability to control costs, is something that we continue to deal with,” said Hernandez. “I think we will continue to be in that position for months to come.”

It’s also taking a long time for permits to be approved, according to Hernandez.

“Municipalities are overworked and understaffed so there’s always something going on in the marketplace that we have to deal with,” he said.

Another trend Hernandez has noticed is that NFTs and cryptocurrencies are being incorporated into multifamily units, whether it’s with payments or art collections. LOFTY also features a custom NFT for condo owners.

“We are super intrigued with the blockchain. We love the technology when it comes to NFTs,” said Hernandez. “We’ll continue to explore certain things in the future with our developments. We think that technology is here to stay.” 

LOFTY recently received a $170 million loan from 3650 REIT for an additional tower, with groundbreaking set to start in Q4 of this year.

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