Photo:Argentina-based Chateau Group has used the real estate slump to expand from land sales in south Florida into condo development. Its first project is Chateau Beach in Sunny Isles.
While Miami-Dade’s real estate crash brought most development to a halt, it provided Chateau Group with the opportunity to ramp up. The Argentina-based high-rise developer had been buying prime land in the county since 1998, selling it to other developers and learning about the market. Among the parcels the company put together was the land for what is now Jade Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach, which required buying out the individual owners of condo-hotel units or old condo units one by one. Chateau was also the financial partner with Miami-based Terra Group in some of its major projects.
But until the crash, the company didn’t try to develop any of its own projects. With other developers scrambling to negotiate with banks and angry buyers — or just to stay afloat — Chateau Principal Manuel Grosskopf decided to start its own residential condo developments.
“When you come to a new market, to understand who is who, you have to get with local people,” Grosskopf says. “Now we believe that we understand the market well enough to go by ourselves.”
During the last four years, Chateau has acquired office buildings and land in Surfside, Sunny Isles, Aventura, Hallandale Beach (just over the county line in Broward County) and Miami, including the largest development site on Biscayne Boulevard, directly across the street from AmericanAirlines Arena.
The company launched sales of its first project, Chateau Beach in Sunny Isles, and has sold more than 50% of the units. Grosskopf expects to begin construction by the end of this year, financing it through minimum deposits of as high as 80%, as well as the company’s own funds.
Grosskopf is in no hurry to develop, though. “We are not going to make multiple projects at the same time,” he says. The plan is to start Chateau Ocean in Surfside next. Grosskopf also isn’t averse to selling land to other developers again. “We are businesspeople, and if it makes sense to sell one of the properties that we have, we will sell it.”