Brokers

Brokers, Developers Tap Into F1 Buyers at Miami Grand Prix

From left: Edgardo Defortuna, Stephen Ross and Gil Dezer (The Related Companies, Fortune International Group, Dezer Development, iStock)

From left: Edgardo Defortuna, Stephen Ross and Gil Dezer (The Related Companies, Fortune International Group, Dezer Development, iStock)

For Miami real estate players, the Formula One Miami Grand Prix turned into a rally to court wealthy jet-setters and sell properties.

At a Bentley Residences event headlined by retired F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi last week, a buyer signed a $15 million contract for a combined unit at the planned oceanfront tower in Sunny Isles Beach. And at the race on Sunday, developer Gil Dezer secured another buyer for a $6.3 million condo at the car-branded project. 

Michael Stern, Ari Pearl and Gil Dezer

Michael Stern, Ari Pearl and Gil Dezer

Aside from the excitement of the race, some are comparing the economic impact of the F1 Grand Prix to Art Basel Miami Beach, as it’s resulting in more business for brokerages and developers who sponsored events and hosted parties. Billionaire developer and Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross hosted the race at his Hard Rock Stadium complex in Miami Gardens after securing a 10-year deal with the F1 organization last year.

Miriam Ungar, Alon Alexander, Ari Pearl

Miriam Ungar, Alon Alexander, Ari Pearl

“It’s another major boost to our economy overall and another major opportunity to sell real estate” to some of the most affluent people in the world, said Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida. “Our new developments are well positioned to capture that buyer profile.”

Ari Pearl, Kobi Karp, Alex Witkoff and Miriam Ungar

Ari Pearl, Kobi Karp, Alex Witkoff and Miriam Ungar

Exotic cars and luxury real estate go hand in hand in Miami – so much so that there’s more than one car-branded condo tower. In addition to the planned Bentley Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, Dezer completed the oceanfront Porsche Design Tower with the first “Dezervator” – a car elevator that delivers cars to their unit owners’ glass enclosed attached garages.

Zach Witkoff and Sophie Knight

Zach Witkoff and Sophie Knight

Gil Dezer, Emerson Fittipaldi, Cristiano Piquet, and Sebastian Tettamanti at Bentley Residences Miami Sales Gallery

At Aston Martin Residences, a downtown Miami condo tower being developed by G&G Business Developments and marketed by Cervera Real Estate, F1 driver Sebastian Vettel visited the sales center last week. (Vettel collided with Mick Shumacher, forcing him out of the race on Sunday.)

The drivers, themselves, could also be house hunting. Lewis Hamilton, who placed sixth in the race, hinted he may buy a home in Miami.

Broker Steve Gold, Corcoran Group CEO Pamela Liebman and Corcoran broker Julian Johnston (Credit: Julian Johnston/Instagram)

Broker Steve Gold, Corcoran Group CEO Pamela Liebman and Corcoran broker Julian Johnston (Credit: Julian Johnston/Instagram)

At the race, Dezer, Ari Pearl’s PPG, Witkoff, Douglas Elliman, One Sotheby’s International Realty and others had their own suites or sponsored spaces at the Miami Gardens complex. Corcoran Group CEO Pamela Liebman, hospitality mogul David Grutman, architect Kobi Karp, developer Michael Stern, and brothers and developers Alex and Zach Witkoff were among the real estate players who attended.

The spinoff events generated major business for Miami’s restaurants, nightclubs and top hotels, where nightly rates exceeded thousands of dollars.

The New York-based restaurant group Major Food Group partnered with American Express to host Carbone Beach, a VIP dinner with tickets costing $3,000 per person, on Saturday evening. Major Food Group has expanded in South Florida and is branding Stern’s Major, a luxury condo tower planned for Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. A scale model of Major was on display during Andrea Bocelli’s performance at Carbone Beach.

The Alexander Team, led by Elliman brokers Oren and Tal Alexander, hosted an after party at their waterfront Miami Beach home, hours after Max Verstappen won the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday. A red carpet leading into the estate was lined with luxury cars and a step-and-repeat.

The sales of three units at Bentley Residences “certainly justified us coming back next year,” said Dezer, a collector of exotic cars and Porsche enthusiast. At the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) hospitality suite, Dezer had a scale model of the Bentley project.

Scale model of Michael Stern's The Major condo tower during the Carbone Beach event (Credit: Oren Alexander/Instagram)

Scale model of Michael Stern’s Major condo tower during the Carbone Beach event (Credit: Oren Alexander/Instagram)

Diesel Wynwood, a condo project that Diesel and Bel Invest are building in Wynwood, had a virtual reality setup at the FTX Off the Grid event on South Beach. And One Sotheby’s, which is handling sales and marketing, also had a virtual reality presentation at the hospitality tent at the race. ​​

Patrick Pires, director of marketing and communication at Bel Invest, said the developer was expecting a large influx of crypto buyers interested in the project’s wellness amenities, which include a sensory room, Turkish spa, and wine room. The project’s sales director, John Lecce, told him that more than 140 people visited the sales center between Friday and Sunday. Buyers also submitted requests for reservations of units.

FTX is processing crypto sales at the Wynwood condo project. Units range from the $500,000s to $6 million, which makes it appealing to international investors looking for a pied-à-terre they can rent out while they’re not in Miami, Pires said.

Corcoran agent Julian Johnston said the race attracted more corporate sponsorships than almost any other F1 race. That brought more executives from Fortune 500 companies, who could take the opportunity to look at real estate while they’re in town. One prospective buyer he met with is looking to spend about $10 million on a home.

Broker and developer Edgardo Defortuna of Fortune International Group said the race also lured top brokers from Latin America and other regions of the world to Miami. Here, they attended new development presentations, including for developer Mast Capital’s planned Cipriani Residences in Brickell. Agents set up meetings at the Cipriani restaurant, also in Brickell, he said. Defortuna expects contracts to be signed in the days and weeks following the Grand Prix, similar to what happens after Art Basel/Miami Art Week in December.

“Everybody in real estate, both developers and brokers, were all there having conversations and drinks revolving around cars and real estate,” Defortuna said. “From a networking perspective, it was amazing.”

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