Sunny Isles: Transformed by major developments, city faces challenges to increase retail component
Sunny Isles Beach, a city that is surrounded by Golden Beach to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Intracoastal marina to the west and Bal Harbour to the south, has become the Florida Riviera. Being the destination of over 1 million tourists per year, in the last years, this area has been catching the attention of the most renowned and strong developers in the country, which are bringing fantastic luxury projects to the city.
The public has been noticing this trend for quite some time. Over the last ten years, a number of state-of-the-art developments have been launched in Sunny Isles Beach, giving the region a taste of refinement, luxury, and lifestyle. It’s the case of the recently delivered Jade Signature and Porsche Design Tower, and the under-construction projects: Muse Residences, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Armani Residences, and Turnberry Ocean Club.
Also, the town is the house to the Trump Towers built in 2008 – three towers facing the ocean on Collins Avenue – Donald Trump also owns a hotel and two other residential towers in Sunny Isles: Trump Place and Trump Royale, built in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
“If you looked back at Sunny Isles 10 years ago, you would have seen a different skyline,” explains Dana Goldman, vice mayor of the city of Sunny Isles Beach. “What started out as a sleeping retirement community and motel roads, got the attention of great developers that could foresee the potential that was there for beachfront properties.”
While other parts of Florida’s get a bit of a pullback regarding real estate sales, the town is back in business, selling more and more to foreign buyers, especially Brazilians and Mexicans.
“When there’s an oversupply in the general market, I think the importance of finding value goes up. I mean, when you look at products throughout South Florida, Sunny Isles has the most value. If you make a comparison to South Beach, for example, people want to leave the noise”, explained Jorge L. Guerra Jr, the President of the Miami Association of Realtor. “This is a prime area, a beautiful area. I think the opportunity for growth is unlike any other city around here.”
Undoubtedly, the city is privileged by its location. “To explain why we have this skyline and such a robust developer community you need to understand our location, and our beachfront access because as I learned many years ago, there are many golf courses, but there’s only one beach,” says Goldman.
When you talk about the retail component of the city, the subject changes. The city faces challenges due to its physical limitation; there is a small capacity for retail.
“You have a demanding market, a high-end market and that not always match to what you find across the street. Also, you need a solution for office space; people want to live and work here. We as developers tried to team up with the city, to put Sunny Isles in an even higher level that it is right now”, commented Edgardo Defortuna, president & CEO of Fortune International Group.“Bal Harbour is 5 minutes away, and so is Aventura, so it’s particularly hard to improve retail to attract high-end brands.”