Sep 12, 2022 - Real Estate

Demand for SoLé Mia's luxury apartments exceeds expectations

A luxury condominium and turquoise swimming pool.

Rendering of SoLé Mia's Shoreline building. Courtesy of SoLé Mia

The University of Miami broke ground Friday on its largest outpatient facility, the latest element to be built within the 184-acre SoLé Mia — a massive, master-planned project in North Miami that's akin to a small city.

The intrigue: SoLé Mia's developer, Richard LeFrak, told Axios after the groundbreaking that demand for apartments at SoLé Mia has been stronger than expected.

  • "The original projection here was rents would run about $2.50 or $2.60 [per square foot]," LeFrak said. "People were somewhat skeptical about that, and the rents today are almost $4."
  • The SoLé Mia website shows luxury one-bedroom apartments starting at $2,535 per month.

Why it matters: Building luxury apartments was something of a gamble in North Miami, where the median household income is $43,000 per year.

  • LeFrak said he was confident building there because Miami is developing rapidly along Biscayne Boulevard — north from Brickell and south from Aventura. The SoLé Mia site lies between those areas.
  • Rents in Miami jumped 40% from May 2021 to May 2022. During a visit to the city in June, Marcia Fudge, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, called it the "epicenter" of the nation's housing crisis.

Context: LeFrak (whose family companies own some 400 commercial buildings nationwide) is leading the development SoLé Mia with Jackie Soffer (whose family developed much of the city of Aventura).

  • SoLé Mia broke ground in 2015 on the site of a former landfill. So far, three rental buildings have been completed, along with a man-made, swimmable lagoon, and sales are underway for units in a to-be-built condominium.
  • SoLé Mia is being developed over 20 years and will eventually have more than 10 residential developments and 500,000 square feet of retail and office space.
  • LeFrak said he's "very, very bullish about the future of South Florida."

What's next: According to the South Florida Business Journal, UHealth SoLé Mia will have 110 exam rooms, 10 operating rooms and 33 cancer treatment rooms.

  • Specialists from UM's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and more will work out of the new facility, which is expected to open in 2025.

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