The people have spoken, and this is what they have to say: the following 15 companies are the best of the best in the Miami real estate industry.
Miami Agent’s first annual Agents’ Choice Awards survey winners were selected by our readers, who voted for their favorites via our Web site, test.localhost.
The online survey featured categories ranging from “Favorite Web Site” to “Favorite New Landmark” and “Favorite Sales Center.” Inside this month’s cover story, you will find the people and places throughout Miami that our Realtor readers feel demonstrate quality, originality and professionalism. You will see photos of the people responsible for carrying out these admirable visions, their thoughts on why their projects are Miami favorites and, in some cases, breathtaking views of the projects themselves.
These are your favorites, Miami, so take a look at the companies and projects that the industry is raving about.
Favorite Place to Live
Flamingo South Beach
Flamingo South Beach provides an environment where the pleasures of resort living frame daily life.
“The Flamingo is a place where you’ll admire the dolphins swimming in the bay as you walk to your car in the morning. Where you won’t have to drive to pick up groceries because there will soon be a high-end gourmet market on the property,” says developer Michael Lerner of Chicago-based MCZ/Centrum. “For our residents, a resort lifestyle is a priceless luxury.”
Flamingo South Beach consists of 1,688 units in three towers, situated on a 16.5-acre property with expansive views of Biscayne Bay, Star Island and downtown Miami. The 614 homes in the recently-launched north tower include studios, one- and two-bedroom residences ranging in size from 500 square feet to 1,400 square feet. Prices range from the $300,000s to the $600,000s.
Units feature glass balconies, impact-resistant sliding glass doors, high-speed Internet access, satellite television, walk-in closets and full-sized washer and dryers.
Favorite Sales Marketing Company
Douglas Elliman Florida
The mission of Douglas Elliman Florida is to deliver the best possible service to its customers. To accomplish this, the company works tirelessly to provide unwavering support to its agents. Douglas Elliman Florida continuously strives to achieve the most exacting standard of excellence on which the firm was founded nearly a century ago.
Douglas Elliman Florida provides an intimate working environment, giving the partners the opportunity to collaborate and share information. Training, agent development and ongoing industry-specific education are also paramount. By offering a platform from which agents have the opportunity to network with a base of more than 3,500 high-caliber industry professionals in the Northeast, Douglas Elliman Florida is better able to service the needs of customers.
The management team at Douglas Elliman Florida is a diverse and harmonious hybrid of forward-thinking real estate professionals. The company’s business philosophies are fundamental; however, by necessity of evolving customer needs, Douglas Elliman Florida is not bound by convention.
Favorite New Landmark
Capital at Brickell
A developer of luxury residential and commercial projects in South Florida, Cabi Developers is the U.S. subsidiary of GICSA, Mexico’s largest development company. Since entering the Florida market in 2000, Cabi has earned a stellar reputation for numerous high-end developments.
Capital at Brickell is a new mixed-use community boasting gorgeous views of Simpson Park, the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. This lavish development defines the urban lifestyle in look and feel. With its two residential towers and contemporary architecture, Capital at Brickell is reminiscent of New York’s prized Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.
Capital at Brickell’s spectacular design will incorporate 834 condominium residences, with studios, lofts, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences, as well as sky-level lofts on the 46th through 50th floors. The development will also contain more than 127,000 square feet of Class-A office space. In addition, more than 36,000 square feet of retail space will be appointed for fine dining, fashionable shops and service-oriented business.
Favorite Green Building
MINT, Key International’s 53-story condominium tower currently under construction on the Miami riverfront, plans to minimize residents’ ecological footprints. MINT will outfit kitchens with European appliances combining sleek sophistication with bio-friendly materials and energy efficiency, produced by renowned global leaders in environmental initiatives.
The eco-friendly kitchens meld perfectly with the rest of MINT’s design, which utilizes organic architecture and natural materials to achieve a clean, sophisticated look throughout the lobby and common areas.
When completed in early 2009, MINT will be the epitome of luxury with the exclusive RiverClub, which will include a full-service restaurant and a sleek lounge/bar. Residents can take advantage of two pools, tennis courts and direct access to the 5.5-mile river walk. MINT residents will also be the first in the city to have at their doorstep a co-ed spa featuring a state-of-the-art fitness center, complete with a sauna, steam rooms, aerobic/yoga studio, Zen lounge and Jacuzzi.
Favorite General Brokerage
Related Cervera Realty Services
Whether it’s uptown or downtown, Palm Beach or South Beach, if it’s luxury real estate, there’s one name that you’ll find associated with the best South Florida high-end properties: Related Cervera Realty Services (RCRS).
Headed by luxury real estate broker Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, who partnered with developer Jorge Perez to form the company, RCRS is responsible for the exclusive marketing of many of South Florida’s most successful and prestigious projects.
The company represents some of the hottest projects in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties including 50 Biscayne in downtown Miami, W South Beach, St. Regis Resort & Residences in Bal Harbour and CityPlace South Tower in West Palm Beach, among others. The firm also had the exclusive listing for many of South Florida’s best-known condominium projects, including ICON South Beach, Murano Grande and One Miami in Downtown.
Since its inception in 2000, RCRS has added over 120 new licensed real estate professionals. The RCRS team has sold over 13,600 residences representing over $6.5 billion in sales.
Favorite Luxury Real Estate Service
Stewart de la Vega Group
Stewart de la Vega Group, a top real estate firm and luxury broker in South Florida led by Consuelo Stewart and Mayi de la Vega, bases its success on extensive market knowledge, personal relationships and absolute commitment to client satisfaction.
The principals of Stewart de la Vega have numerous combined years of real estate experience and have achieved success through teamwork and commitment to excellence. In 2005, Stewart de la Vega Group boasted sales over $200 million.
Stewart and de la Vega’s relationship with South Florida’s premier real estate brokers allows them to seamlessly sell homes for selected clients or identify unique opportunities for their buyers. They also work closely with other Stewart de la Vega Group realtors to create a dynamic team of determined and helpful professionals with over 70 multilingual agents fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Japanese.
Stewart de la Vega is committed to providing exceptional and discreet VIP services to all of their clients.
Favorite Web Site
Zilbert Realty Group
Zilbert Realty Group’s philosophy is to provide the best level of customer service, while empowering customers with rich tools enabling them to research real estate buying opportunities. Since most of the company’s customers prefer to research available properties online, Zilbert Realty provides a wide variety of online tools. For those who prefer the face-to-face approach, the company ensures staff is available every day.
The CondoSuperCenter.com site provides important data about Miami real estate, rich media and ways for buyers to get instant callbacks or e-mail responses. The site is available to buyers 24 hours a day, with a quick response to inquiries no matter when a buyer requests information.
The site highlights all the real estate that is listed in the regional MLS systems, making it a reference for other realtors. Since many Miami buyers are not from the local area, a strong Web site is key to attracting these customers to the firm.
Luis Revuelta sees architecture as a balance between aesthetics, function, cost and time. He is committed to a creative journey through the exploration of design that is balanced and true to its intended user. Revuelta pushes the envelope of building materials, as well as new technologies and their interpretations, as a way to provide a cutting edge concept and product for his clients.
For the past several years Revuelta has been instrumental in the transformation of the Miami skyline.
“I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with top developers in the design and creation of some of South Florida’s leading landmark residential buildings, hotels and commercial buildings,” says Revuelta. His list of accomplishments includes Santa Maria Brickell Avenue, Bristol Tower Brickell Avenue, 900 Biscayne, The Jade Residence and Ivy on the river.
“I look to the future with an optimistic vision for both national and international exposure,” says Revuelta.
Favorite Development Company
Since its inception in 1983, Fortune International has been a continued force in the high-end real estate industry. The vision of founder Edgardo Defortuna has set new industry standards by continually entering new areas of real estate development while maintaining its leadership role in sales and marketing.
Fortune’s team of multifaceted professionals, combined with its global strategic partners, gives the company the unparalleled knowledge and resources needed to fully understand and deliver luxury to the buyer.
Known internationally for always pushing the envelope and staying ahead of the curve, Fortune International’s wide portfolio of projects includes a diverse selection. From world-renowned condominium hotels to luxury residences and upscale office condominiums, Fortune continues to build its pristine reputation as Miami’s favorite development company, both locally and internationally.
Lofts by Related
The Related Group’s commitment to excellence is evident in the unique design and creation of Loft 2.
Built around a Metromover station, Loft 2 has two base structures on both sides of the tracks that converge into a single tower on the ninth floor. This striking design has been featured in several industry and commercial magazines for its amazing architecture.
The amenities at this property share the same level of quality as the luxuries found in other Related buildings. Crisp, modern interiors are featured in the lobby and common areas, provided by the firm of J Design Group.
Smart building technology, fitness center, rooftop pool deck with spa, clubroom, 24-hour concierge, Italian cabinetry and stainless appliances are all standard at Loft 2.
Favorite Mortgage Lender
As one of the nation’s premier independent residential lenders, Liberty Home Lending’s retail division, Liberty Mortgage of South Florida, serves as the preferred mortgage provider for some of the region’s largest new single-family home and condominium communities.
The Liberty Mortgage philosophy is to increase the clients’ closing percentages, simplify the closing process and maintain a strong customer service rating for buyers.
What separates Liberty Mortgage is the company’s adaptability to the ever-changing market conditions to meet the needs of clients, and a wide variety of aggressive loan products available for borrowers.
Liberty Mortgage has 15 years of experience working specifically with builders and developers in over 70 communities in the state of Florida alone. A large percentage of buyers at Liberty Mortgage communities also close with the company, giving the builders and developers confidence that their closing schedules will be met while retaining a high customer-satisfaction percentage.
Favorite Overall Amenities
Paramount Bay is built for those with a passion for luxury, art and culture. The urban complex, with contemporary styling by Arquitectonica, provides ultimate convenience.
The 346-residence tower offers a three-story lobby with a 24-hour valet, concierge and high-speed private elevators for each residence.
When complete, Paramount Bay will have a glass fitness center overlooking Biscayne Bay with a full-service health spa. There will be an infinity-edge pool and sunset swimming pool with outdoor living rooms, cabanas and Zen-like gardens. Indoors will be the private Paramount Club with billiard table, full-kitchen, bar facilities and a resident-only movie theater.
The European-style Edgewater Square provides direct access to the waterfront promenade with fine dining and a proposed gourmet market.
Each residence will have views of Biscayne Bay, oversize balconies and details such as Italian-designer kitchens. Each unit will have smart technology, featuring in-residence concierge panels that access the building’s amenities and services.
Penthouses include outdoor kitchens, private soaking pool and garden-style terraces.
Favorite Media Planners
Americas Media Group Worldwide (AMG) seeks to provide developers, hoteliers and luxury corporations around the world with dynamic media strategies to develop and strengthen their brand.
AMG equips its clients with the necessary tools to help sell and promote their properties, goods and services, while offering the best pricing, positioning and value added opportunities available.
The goal of AMG is to be the number one global agency of choice for strategic and unique media planning, media buying, market research, public relations and events planning.
AMG offers an all-inclusive national and international marketing one-stop shop. AMG strives for an unprecedented level of personalized service and global connectivity, providing clients with a detailed and fully-developed plan, resulting in a cohesive, strategically aligned message.
The AMG network services over 10,000 publications and media houses and retains offices and alliances in Miami, San Diego, Santo Domingo, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Chicago, New York, Amsterdam and Florence.
Favorite Sales Center
For more than a quarter century, The Related Group has created innovative residential developments that have dramatically changed South Florida’s urban landscape.
Since its inception, the privately held company has built and managed more than 55,000 condominium and apartment residences in major markets throughout Florida. Founded by chairman and CEO Jorge M. Perez, The Related Group has earned a national reputation of excellence for its design and development.
The company’s mission is to continually strive to be the premier real estate developer by creating innovative, superior residential and mixed-use developments with visionary design and amenities in every market segment, thereby maximizing the benefits for both customers and communities alike.
Favorite New Building
Construction is well under way on EPIC Residences & Hotel, the luxury high-rise condominium development in downtown Miami where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay.
This exceptional project was born from the unique vision, dedication and unparalleled talent of the celebrated development team of CMC Group’s Ugo Colombo, Lionstone’s Alfredo and Diego Lowenstein and Ponte Gadea Group. EPIC is set to open in early 2009.
Combining opulent living with an upscale hotel, managed by the renowned boutique hotel operator Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, EPIC’s 54-story building offers one-, two- and three-bedroom tower, townhouse and penthouse residences. Also available is the exclusive, one-of-a-kind rooftop penthouse featuring spacious entertainment rooms and a private terrace atop the tower.
Residences will have access to all hotel services and the finest interior amenities, including Snaidero “Time” cabinetry, Bosch and Miele appliances, Sub-Zero refrigeration, Italian imported Calacatta white marble and a 72- by 60-inch KOS tub/shower.