From Bentley to Cipriani, designer homes dominate Miami
Welcome to the battle of brands.
From luxury automakers like Porsche, Bentley and Aston Martin, to fashion houses like Missoni, Fendi, Diesel and Armani, decorators like French crystal maker Baccarat, Italian furniture company B&B Italia and even beloved catering companies Major Food Group and Cipriani — apartment buildings from companies known for everything but real estate are taking over Miami.
It’s no exaggeration to say that nearly every highly anticipated residential development in the city that has been recently announced or will debut in the next few years has a non-hotel designer name. Given the success of these projects, it’s an explosion that shows no signs of slowing down.
Les Woods, 54, a boxing promoter who lives in Toronto, recently splurged on a three-bedroom residence at Aston Martin. A lifelong fan of cars, Woods owns two models.
“There’s a certain prestige associated with Aston Martin, and when I heard the brand was doing residencies, I knew I had to live there,” he said. “You can live a lifestyle that Aston Martin owners aspire to.”
Industry experts say Miami presents a great opportunity for non-real estate luxury brands to establish a footprint in the space and they are partnering with seasoned developers for these fledgling businesses.
“Miami, like Dubai, is a global city that loves its bling,” said Chris Graham, the founder of London-based luxury real estate branding consultancy Graham Associates. “It’s also an epicenter of hotel-branded residences that have done very well, so it’s an attractive setting for other luxury brands to expand into the living space.”
In fact, Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, says Miami’s recent real estate boom is underpinned by these big brands.
According to his research, Miami Beach saw nearly $2.2 billion in condo sales in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $510 million in the first quarter of 2020.
“Judging by the numbers so far, sales are on track for an all-time high in the second quarter, and these high-end designer condos are definitely part of that,” he said.
Condos with high-profile brands attached to them may be at their peak today, but the trend dates back at least as far as the 2003 opening of the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, until 2012 when sales have kicked off for Porsche Design Tower, a collection of 132 residences also in Sunny Isles. This development started in 2016.
The condominium, a partnership between Porsche and Dezer Development, offered owners amenities unheard of at the time – private balconies with 15-foot-long swimming pools and a private elevator that transports cars directly to the owner’s home, where they are part of the decor.
“We sold out immediately after the sales kicked off,” said developer Gil Dezer.
The success of his collaboration with Porsche inspired Dezer to create Residences by Armani Casa in Sunny Isles, which went on to sell nearly $1 billion in sales. The project completed in 2019.
As lavish as these developments are, the city’s latest generation of branded condos are even more ostentatious.
Dezer, for example, is behind Bentley Residences, which debuts in Sunny Isles in 2026. Sales have just launched, and while the development’s full list of amenities hasn’t all been announced, Dezer says the homes will be large enough to accommodate three or four people. cars – presumably Bentleys. Residences start at $4.2 million.
“Our biggest complaint with Porsche is that people didn’t have enough room to store all their cars,” he said. “Our answer to that is Bentley.”
Meanwhile, Aston Martin Residences, developed by G&G Business Developments, has 47 oceanfront units that come with, of course, a limited-edition Aston Martin.
Spring for the $59 million triplex penthouse is offering its owner a $3.2 million Vulcan model.
The building will debut next year in Biscayne Bay and has 391 condominiums priced between $1.5 million and $59 million.
Meanwhile, Major Food Group — the catering company behind ultra-hip spots like Carbone, Dirty French and ZZ’s Clam Bar — is behind Major, Miami’s tallest building to date. Rising in the heart of Brickell and developed by JDS, it will feature numerous dining and drinking venues, all designed by renowned interior designer Ken Fulk.
“Our building will provide residents with everything they want at a very high level, which we stand for as a company,” said managing partner Jeff Zalaznick.
Competing catering brand Cipriani is opening its own residences. Residents can also order Cipriani to enjoy at home.
Development is slated to begin in 2025 in Brickell and has 397 homes with a starting price of $1.1 million.
The fashion brand Missoni will deliver its Missoni Baia residences this summer. They will be adorned with bold Missoni fabrics, furniture and artwork in its signature zigzag pattern. Prices for the 249 residences start at $600,000 (another fashion house, the Fendi Chateau Residences in Miami Beach, opened in 2016).
According to Graham, the luxury real estate consultant, condo branding has a dual benefit for both the building and the buyer.
“Developers have a head start by partnering with a designer because it increases their chances of profitability,” he said. “For buyers, it means cachet and a point of differentiation.”
Juan Pablo Verdiquio, 45, who owned a shoe business in his native Argentina, currently lives full-time in the Porsche Design Tower with his family. He moved into the building in 2017 because he knew it would come with a quality of life guarantee.
“No matter where I travel in the world, when I tell people I live in the Porsche building, they ask me about car lifts. It’s a development with instant attraction,” he says. “I also think it helps residences retain their value.”
Verdiquio is now considering buying a residence at Bentley.
“I haven’t quite decided yet because I love living at Porsche so much,” he said. “But, again, it’s hard to beat a Bentley.”