“I wanna wake up in the city that doesn’t sleep…and find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap…” This line from the iconic song “New York, New York,” by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb and brought to life by the indelible voice of Frank Sinatra, reflects the unique and beloved status of the “Big Apple.”
Yet, the buzz is clear. Miami is fast becoming a close second. In fact, some may ask whether it could truly be the next New York.
The once well-kept secret is out. “Miami has something for everyone,” said Esha Desaiy, a luxury, residential real estate advisor with Compass and a member of MiamiMan Magazine’s core team. Desaiy, originally from New York, has called Miami Beach home for the past four years and couldn’t be more amazed at the region’s growth and potential. “Miami lives up to its nickname of being a ‘Magic City,’” she said.
Desaiy, who is often referred to as a “real estate matchmaker” because of her extensive knowledge and expertise, is passionate about Miami’s offerings. She cites the weather, governance, business-friendly policies, and the fact that Florida has no state income tax as features that continue to attract tech entrepreneurs, investors, big-name celebrities, musicians, rappers and more. With its burgeoning real estate opportunities, particularly in the ‘luxury resort living’ space, the city has become an increasingly desirable destination. Not only is it a destination to visit or vacation in, but it’s now become a place to call home, or perhaps create a second or even a third home.
It is estimated that over the next few years, from Edgewater to Coconut Grove, the skyline will change dramatically. In downtown Miami alone, there will be 14 additional skyscrapers. And plans are in the works for the construction of nearly 6,000 apartments and 2,500 condos.
It’s all about fulfilling the rising demand. Desaiy noted that a number of development projects are well underway in the Greater Miami region, which encompasses nearly 56 square miles. Many have targeted completion dates ranging from 2024 to 2026. The projects, she elaborated, run the gamut, including ultra-luxury condos, such as the Bentley Residences, Baccarat, St. Regis and Waldorf Astoria. Some of the future properties will also be condo-hotels and are of prime interest to investors as they can rent out units on a daily basis.
The sweeping views of the water from many of the properties, noted Desaiy, are truly breathtaking. And although high rises represent a significant portion of the new developments, she noted that there’s also a boom in luxury single-family homes – many of which are also on the waterfront.
“Miami is an area that serves every lifestyle,” stated Desaiy. “Where else can you be on the beach in the morning and on the same day end up in a five-star restaurant at night? There’s something for everyone. We’ve got beaches, boating, art museums, an opera house, arts, culture and fine dining.”
Desaiy shared that Miami has been rated the number one healthiest city and number two for best nightlife. With five major sports teams (Miami Marlins, Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, Florida Panthers, Inter Miami CF) and two national parks, she elaborated that the port of Miami has the largest concentration of international banks and is the largest financial hub outside of New York City. The city is also home to the Miami Open (professional tennis), greyhound racing tracks, marinas, jai alai, golf courses and horse racing. A number of professional auto races, such as NASCAR’s Homestead Miami Speedway event and the Miami Grand Prix (Formula 1) are hosted by the city.
Besides alluring those who love the sunshine, recreational activities, the great outdoors and warm climate, shoppers enjoy the Miami Design District, akin to Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive. The region also hosts polo matches and an array of seafood, music and arts festivals, including the popular Art Basel.
Desaiy explained that the significant boom and draw to Miami began at the height of the pandemic in 2020. At the time, businesses across the country were transitioning to a remote workplace. It was then, with people having mobility and the freedom to work from anywhere, that many began to discover and rediscover the city. “We have a lot of people from New York, New Jersey, Texas, California and Chicago,” said Desaiy. “It is a vibrant metro with a cosmopolitan lifestyle, on its way to becoming one of the largest international hubs in the world.” The region, she added, has long attracted those from New York as well as South and Latin America. But recently, it is also drawing Europeans from countries such as Germany, France and Italy.
The Bentley Residences
The Bentley Residences on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach is one example of a future “luxury-style” property. A joint effort of Dezer Development and the luxury car manufacturer, Bentley Motors, pre-development of the 63-story building began in early 2023. Completion is projected for late 2026/early 2027. “Bentley is providing the design and brand aesthetic,” explained Desaiy.
Each of the 216 residences (three and four-bedroom units) are described as a home in the sky. People will be able to drive to the building and never leave their car to arrive at their destination. The Dezervator™, a vehicular elevator system, will privately transport residents in their automobiles directly to their living space. The units, which start at $5.6 million and up, will each be equipped with an oversized balcony, a private, heated swimming pool and a three or four-car garage. Each residence will feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal. The building will include a Michelin-star restaurant run by James Beard award-winning celebrity chef Todd English. Its extensive amenities will feature a resort-style heated pool, food and beverage service at the pool and beachside, a pet grooming salon, wellness spa, cigar lounge, movie theater, game room, kid’s club, fitness center, outdoor yoga studio, 24-hour valet and security and a multilingual concierge service. Everything will be at the fingertips of residents. “People don’t have to leave the building,” said Desaiy.
The Bentley Residences along with other “luxury-style” properties will offer everything residents would need in their community/neighborhood.
The Waldorf Astoria, which rose to fame as a New York City landmark, will be a 100-story building on the waterfront in downtown Miami. “It will be the tallest building in Miami,” said Desaiy, “with studios starting at $1.5 million.” Lower floors will be condo-hotels, which can be offered for daily rentals. The upper floors will all be private residences.
Desaiy applauds the leadership of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. She described him as very tech-friendly, which has attracted entrepreneurs and private equity companies to the area. It’s an environment where international banks and businesses are thriving, with enormous potential for future growth.
“The Port of Miami is also the largest and busiest cruise ship port in the world,” said Desaiy, adding that domestic and international travel to and from the region is easy. “It’s a three-hour flight from New York or New Jersey.”
The Miami metro region, now home to over six million residents, has a multicultural population as well as a growing financial center. Next to New York, noted Desaiy, Miami is the largest international banking region. In fact, the hedge fund, Citadel, has announced that its headquarters will be in Miami and housed in an 86-story commercial tower.
Big Names Call Miami Home
Among the many who have recently migrated to the region, include Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman of Amazon and soccer star Lionel Messi. “There are a lot of people from the sports and entertainment industries,” said Desaiy, such as Barry Gibb, Alonzo Mourning, Matt Damon, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Brady, Cindy Crawford, Enrique Iglesias and Phil Collins, to name just a few who call Miami home.
Live, Work, Play
It’s a universal motto that’s been adopted by many residents in the region. And Desaiy believes the best is yet to come for the future of the “Magic City.”
The sky appears to be the limit.