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The 27-acre Miami Worldcenter project held its official groundbreaking on Thursday fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in developer equity.
With the condo sales market slowing down in Miami and its Paramount Miami Worldcenter condo tower not quite 50 percent pre-sold, some might call it a gamble, but the developers see this $1.5 billion project as an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the north end of downtown Miami.
The public plaza planned at Miami Worldcenter.
“I wouldn’t call it a gamble. I would all it a great long term investment,” said Art Falcone, CEO of Boca Raton-based Encore Capital Management, which is co-developing the project with equity partner CIM Group of Los Angeles. “In our overall company, we buy and develop properties with equity.”
Encore Capital has more than $2 billion in assets under management across the country.
Miami Worldcenter could total up to 12 million square feet when completed. The part that’s breaking ground is the 60-story, 512-unit Paramount condominium, the shopping and dining, and the parking garages that will have rooftop amenities such as pools, a soccer field and tennis courts.
The site work actually started in late 2015 and about 80 percent of the pilings have already been drilled, said Daniel Kodsi, a principal of Paramount Miami Worldcenter. Those 400 piling holes are each about 150 feet deep. Once that’s completed, the developer will start pouring the foundation. The condo tower could go vertical by the end of the summer, Kodsi said.
Its condos are priced at an average of $1.2 million, or $676 per square foot. The tower will be topped by a four-story amenity deck shaped like an Italian yacht.
The developers had a helicopter flying about the site on Thursday to show attendees what the view from 700 feet above Miami looks like.
Paramount Miami Worldcenter is about 45 percent pre-sold, Kodsi said. Most condo developers wait until they’re 50 to 60 percent pre-sold to break ground so they have more buyer deposits on hand. Falcone said they’re building the condo tower on equity and there’s no need for a bank loan yet. The developers said Miami Worldcenter wouldn’t collect any the up to $88 million in incentive payments from a city community redevelopment agency until the project is completed, so all of this work is funded by equity.