Gracias, Miami!

Miami Trek 2015 members

Miami Trek 2015 members

UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA real estate concentrators ventured south to Miami to learn about one of the fastest growing commercial real estate markets in the U.S.

The Miami trekkers were welcomed by Jose Lobon (MBA ’10) at CBRE’s offices in Brickell, Fla. The group was also joined by Vinnie Tria (MBA ’86), former head of Bank of America’s east coast real estate banking business.

Jose organized representatives from various groups within CBRE to provide a terrific overview of the market in south Florida. Members from the investment sales teams – representing the major asset classes, as well as debt & structured finance – highlighted trends in the market and presented case studies on recent transactions, which provided the group with a strong pulse on the market.

After the overview, the Miami Trek members listened to a presentation from Florida East Coast Industries and All Aboard Florida, the state’s first privately funded express rail service. The project will connect Orlando and Miami and will enable passengers to travel between the two cities in under three hours.

A few blocks away, the group met with Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties, to see the site of the new Brickell City Centre. The vision for the project is to become the lifeblood of Brickell and it’s broken out into two phases. Phase 1 will provide new high-end residential and office towers, as well as 564,000 square feet of retail. Winding through the development will be Swire’s state-of-the–art, 150,000 square foot climate ribbon, designed to keep patrons shielded from inclement weather while still allowing for an open-air shopping experience. Phase 2 will be the construction of an 80-story tower that will include residential, office and hotel space.

The last stop on the tour came at Related’s planned two-tower residential development. Located at the mouth of the Miami River, this new development will provide residents with fantastic waterfront views.

After a day of tours, the group reconvened at the Coral Reef Yacht Club for an alumni reception and happy hour, made possible by Vinnie and his wife Barbara.

There was little rest for this group – we were at it again the next morning, starting the day in Miami Beach at LNR Property’s offices. The group listened to a presentation on commercial mortgage-backed securities lending, followed by an update from, one of the leading online marketplaces to buy and sell commercial real estate.

Next, the group headed north to see the Bal Harbour Shops, one of the world’s premier shopping destinations. Matthew Whitman Lazenby (UNC ’00), president and CEO of Whitman Family Development, gave us a tour and discussed the center’s planned expansion. Matthew and his family have run the center for three generations, attracting high-end retailers for a spectacular shopping experience.

The day proceeded with a site tour of ZOM Living’s MODA at North Bay Village project and concluded in Coral Gables with multi-family snapshot presentations from Jeff Quinlivan (MBA ’05) and members of the regional Equity Residential team.