Avra Jain: Modern-Day Julia Tuttle

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Unlike her male counterparts, Jain is approaching the revitalization of the city in a completely different way.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Just a few yards from the buzz of Biscayne Boulevard, Avra Jain sits by the pool at the Vagabond Hotel, the iconic Miami Modern structure that until a couple of years ago seemed doomed to linger in a state of blight. Today, the crackling paint and overgrown vegetation are gone, replaced by sleek chaise longues and playful water features.

Jain, whose fit, 53-year-old frame is matched by a cheerful and energetic demeanor, is largely responsible for the Vagabond's transformation. She's a former engineer and Wall Street trader who began fixing up apartments around downtown and SoHo in New York as a hobby. Eventually, she left her job when the opportunity to do a loft conversion in Tribeca came calling. During this time, she would bounce back and forth between New York and the '80s and '90s bohemian scene in South Beach. She moved here permanently in 1998 to be with her partner. But although love might have brought her here, Miami and its real estate potential have kept her interested.

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Tony Cho: Designing Miami

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Tony Cho has helped turn industrial and blue-collar areas into hip epicenters.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

The bright pink and green "For Sale" signs are everywhere in Wynwood, the Upper Eastside, Little Haiti, Edgewater, and downtown. And the name at the bottom of the sign is always the same: Tony Cho.

As a new real-estate boom hits the Magic City, the 36-year-old has clearly become a go-to real-estate tycoon in Miami's most happening neighborhoods. But getting there has meant weathering a historic recession and navigating a rapidly changing market.

"It's been a challenge," Cho says.

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Mid-Beach's New Name Is "Wunder Mile," and That's So Fetch

Categories: Unreal Estate

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"Once known for its flair of a by-gone era, Mid-Beach on Miami Beach, now coined the 'Wunder Mile,' has been getting a major face-lift," reads a press release.

Our first thought was obviously, "Wait, since when has that area ever been known as the Wunder Mile?" A quick Google search confirmed that, in fact, no one in recorded history has ever called it "Wunder Mile" before this press release was sent out.

The whole thing reeks of Karen trying to make "fetch" happen in Mean Girls, but is part of an odd trend over the past few years of Miami developers and business owners coming up with dumb names for areas that already have perfectly fine names.

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Golden Beach Home Lists for $36 Million, Even Though It Hasn't Been Built Yet

Categories: Unreal Estate

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A sprawling 23,000-square-foot modernist mansion has hit the market in the exclusive enclave of Golden Beach for an eye popping $36 million. The catch: the beachfront home doesn't even exist yet.

Developer Jacob Abramson doesn't actual even plan to break ground on the eight-bedroom, 12-bathroom manse until the second quarter of 2015.

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Downtown Miami's Population Nearly Doubled Since 2000

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Parts of downtown Miami have become almost unrecognizable since 2000. Few urban cores have remade themselves in the new millennium the way downtown Miami has, yet the area continues to get criticism for being a place that still isn't quite suited for living full-time.

Well, the Downtown Development Agency has released a new population and demographics report claiming the population of downtown has almost doubled in the past 14 years, with 99.6 percent more people living in the area now than in 2000.

See also: Miami Rents Are Wildly Unaffordable for Average Residents

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Pharrell Williams Can't Sell His Brickell Penthouse

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MLS Listing Photo
Pharrell Williams' life is better than yours. His music career is back and better than ever. His style is fawned over. He's a judge on one of the biggest shows on television at the moment. But not everything is going well for ol' Pharrell. He can't sell his Brickell penthouse.

Such is the cruel and sometimes unpredictable world of Miami real estate.

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Bay Harbor Islands Wants to Ditch Historic Preservation Board, Threatening MiMo Gems

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photo via Keep Bay Harbor Islands Beautiful's Facebook page
If Bay Harbor Islands, the two-island, 5,000-person town on Biscayne Bay between North Miami and Bal Harbour, is known for anything, it's MiMo architecture. But at a commission meeting earlier this week, the town moved closer to breaking away from the county's historic building preservation rules, and some town residents -- already devastated by a recent development boom -- are more worried than ever about the future of the town's distinctive character.

"We're really kind of desperate here," said Teri D'Amico, a resident leading the preservation movement.

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Miami International Boat Show Moving To Marine Stadium

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Photos by Claire Nelson
The Miami Marine Stadium is coming back. It's really coming back. After sitting dormant and abandoned for over 20 years, the Miami International Boat Show is expected to announce that they'll move their 2016 and 2017 editions from Miami Beach to the Virginia Key aquatic stadium.

Though renovations haven not begun, Friends of the Marine Stadium hope to have all their ducks in a line and renovations completed in time for the 2016 fair.

See also: Gloria Estefan, Street Artists Make Their Mark on Miami Marine Stadium

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Sears Wants to Redevelop Its Aventura Store Into a Mall-Within-a-Mall

Categories: Unreal Estate

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Sears, the department store that time, fashion trends, and shoppers forgot, is struggling nationwide. Decades of dwindling sales have put the once-great chain's future in question, but the company has proposed a radical strategy for its location at Aventura Mall that may signal the future of the company.

Sears execs want to redevelop the store into its own mall-within-a-mall. The store currently occupies 190,000 square feet attached to the mall but would scale its own store back to just 20,000 square feet. To put that into perspective, that would be about 5,000 square feet fewer than the H&M at Aventura Mall.

The current store would be demolished, and the rebuild would leave an additional 230,000 square feet to be filled by an open-air esplanade filled with other retail stores and restaurants.

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SkyRise Developer Jeff Berkowitz Threatens Blogger With Lawsuit

Categories: Unreal Estate

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On October 20, blogger Al Crespo published a story lambasting SkyRise developer Jeff Berkowitz as "duplicitous" and a "hypocrite" for seeking public funds for the massive and controversial building project, which stalled in the county commission yesterday over a proposed $9 million subsidy.

Now, Crespo says the developer is hitting back by threatening a lawsuit if he doesn't take down the piece. "You want to sue me for something I said?" Crespo told Riptide. "It's America."

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