Fortune and Swire team up on Brickell's 48-story Jade tower
By Sherri C. Ranta
A "perfect complement" is how Fortune International Realty President Edgardo Defortuna describes his working relationship with Jade Residences at Brickell Bay co-developer Swire Properties.
Both companies, he said, bring different strengths to the luxury condominium project under construction at 1295 Brickell Bay Drive, on Miami's waterfront.
Swire, developer of Brickell Key, brings expertise in administration, budgeting and construction, Mr. Defortuna said, while Fortune brings expertise in marketing and sales.
"The match is perfect for both sides. I honestly couldn't have picked a better partner," he said. "Swire has done everything they set out to do - from [Swire President] Steve Owens down the line. I'm extremely satisfied with the way it has worked."
Construction of the 48-story, 326-unit tower is on time and scheduled for completion in 2004, Mr. Defortuna said. About 350 workers this week are putting up the 20th floor, while interior work is under way on the fourth floor.
"We've certainly learned a number of things during the process. I hope that we have showed them a number of our strengths too," Mr. Defortuna said.
Mr. Owens was not available for comment.
Sales at Jade are substantial, Mr. Defortuna said, though he declined to cite a percentage. The project enjoyed about $100 million in pre-construction sales. Units, including some bayfront lofts, are available from $450,000 to about $5 million.
"The demand for good luxury product is still there," Mr. Defortuna said. However, he cited concern about products priced above $1 million. "That has slowed down somewhat. The product under $1 million in luxury waterfront is still moving quite well."
Future projects between Swire and Fortune, Mr. Defortuna said, are not out of the realm of possibility. "You work well with somebody, you might as well take advantage of that opportunity."
The war and slumping economy has made Fortune look more carefully at future projects, he said.
"We've literally looked at hundreds of opportunities. We haven't gone for any of them. We wanted to make sure they were the right situation, the right opportunity."
Fortune has, however, invested in two Sunny Isles Beach properties.
M Resort Residences at 187th Street and Collins Avenue, a luxury residential condominium resort, is under construction and more than 90% sold, Mr. Defortuna said. The company bought the site, just north of Acqualina, about a year ago for $9.5 million. Prices on the beach, he said, have since increased.
Fortune is expected to close this summer on the 2.5-acre oceanfront Dunes Hotel at 172nd Street and Collins Avenue.
The site has about 300 feet of beachfront and demolition is scheduled for the vacant hotel, he said. The company plans to build a 40-plus-story luxury residential condominium tower at the site.