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Argentines Fuel South Florida Condo Boom

Argentines fuel new South Florida condo boom

Date: Monday, June 18, 2012, 6:03am EDT

Reporter- South Florida Business Journal
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Eduardo Constantini’s $220 million purchase of more than five acres including the oceanfront Bal Harbour Beach Club is part of a push by Argentine investors into South Florida that has helped to fuel a new condo boom.

Constantini’s Consultatio is also building the luxury 142-unit condominium, with 12 luxury villas, under the brand Oceana in Key Biscayne.

In March, the Business Journal reported that Argentine Manuel Grosskopf, formerly a partner in Terra Group , had paid $50 million, or an average of $715 a square foot, for three parcels in Surfside that front the Atlantic Ocean.

Grosskopf-related entities have been involved in several recent transactions, including the purchase of the Ocean Palm Motel in Sunny Isles Beach and the Paramount Park site in downtown Miami.

However, Argentine investment is not limited to land and development. Their citizens are also helping to fuel projects by developers such as The Related Group , which is planning the 42-story, 382-unit Millecento Residences to appeal directly to buyers from that country. To that end, it hired Fortune International, led by Argentine Edgardo Defortuna, to lead the sales charge.

Defortuna said in March that residents of the country were very interested in buying in South Florida.

The Melo Group, which is run by an Argentine family led by Jose Luis Melo, is responsible for five projects totaling about 800 units in downtown Miami, including 23 Biscayne Bay and One Plaza at 1800 S.W. First Ave.

And, they have more in the works: Melo paid $4.5 million for 1.23 riverfront acres in Miami. The site’s zoning would allow for 184 residential units.

Like the Brazilians, Argentines are helping fuel a fever for condominiums, specifically at the high-end of the market, said Peter Zalewski, principal of real estate consultancy Condo Vultures.

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