The MBVCA sat down with Josh Weissenstein, Director of HFZ Capital Group, to discuss why he loves developing in Miami Beach and why HFZ’s Fasano Residences & Hotel Miami Beach will be like no other upscale luxury resort in Miami Beach. The Fasano is located at 1901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. It’s scheduled to be completed in early 2019.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m originally from Texas, but have been living in NYC for quite some time. I joined HFZ Capital Group three years ago, and was at Tishman Realty before working here. My past projects in Miami Beach include the redevelopment plans for the Miami Beach Convention Center. I spent a lot of time on that project and fell in love with the city during that time.
Tell us about the Fasano Residences & Hotel Miami Beach, what makes the development unique to Miami Beach?
The Fasano Residences & Hotel Miami Beach is unique in its combination of old and new. We paid careful attention to respect the property’s rich heritage. By bringing in leading operators to offer food, beverage and amenity services, we aim to create unparalleled offerings on Miami Beach– creating an energy aligned with our Latin American brand and international clientele.
What is it like working with Brazilian designer Isay Weinfeld? He is designing both the interiors and architecture, what can we expect from the design?
Working with Isay has been an absolute pleasure. Isay has the ability to meld indoor and outdoor environments, creating timeless understated luxury. The Fasano will be a sanctuary within bustling Miami Beach. We have the benefit of three private acres, allowing ample size to work in, to create comfortable protection and immediate access to the world’s most energetic city, located right outside the front door.
HFZ Capital Group is one of the most prolific developers of luxury residential condominiums across the country and collaborates with world-renowned architects and designers. How does developing in Miami Beach compare to other markets like NYC?
The most blatant and obvious difference is the surrounding environment. I’ve worked and developed a lot in NYC – a rich, ultra-dense urban environment – but Miami Beach is more serene and nature focused. The condos here contain a unique set of amenities, with the most profound being the ocean. It’s wonderful having such an immediacy to nature. Each city presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside such a fantastic team and a wonderful city, to shepherd the Fasano project forward
Who is buying real estate in Miami Beach? Some recent surveys (such as by Bendixen & Amandi International) seem to suggest that the market is becoming less reliant on foreign buyers. What do you think is driving this, and do you think it is a trend that will continue?
The Miami Beach buyer base is highly diversified – Brazilian, New York and beyond. The benefits of having an award winning designer and a world renowned brand creates a real universal appeal. The international buyer base – in my opinion – is not drying up. If recent surveys are suggesting otherwise, the trend hasn’t been affecting the Fasano. However, I believe this is a testament to our range of attractive features: location, size of campus, the brand itself, etc.
I predict that the future of the international buyer base will continue to expand – Miami Beach is continually growing its cultural diversity. Paired with the natural beauty and energy of the city itself, this creates an intensely attractive destination.
What key factors do you think are going to drive the Miami Beach real estate market over the next couple of years?
The fact that so many New Yorkers are now buying here. It basically takes the same amount of time to go from their home in Manhattan to a property in the Hamptons, as it does going from Manhattan to Miami Beach – 3 hours driving versus a 3 hour flight. Seasonality, museums and galleries, outdoor activities, beautiful beaches among other factors play into tourist and buyer expectations in a culturally diverse city.