Related Group’s Jon Paul Perez Talks New Projects, Markets

Related Group's Vice President discusses recent and upcoming projects, as well as the company’s strategy to address Miami’s demand for smaller units and the metro’s affordable housing shortage.

Jon Paul Perez, VP, Related Group. Image courtesy of Related Group

Jon Paul Perez, Vice President, Related Group. Image courtesy of Related Group

In Miami’s multifamily market—driven by a strong economy and rapidly growing population—there is a trending demand for smaller units with access to high-end services and public transportation. Also, the continued shift towards the urban core results in the redevelopment of outdated environments and neighborhoods. One such project is Related Group’s Wynwood 25, a recently completed large-scale residential project in one of Miami’s most vibrant district.

In an interview with Multi-Housing News, Related Group Vice President Jon Paul Perez talks about the company’s largest projects to date, the challenges Miami will face in the years to come, as well as Related’s plans and strategies going forward, including expansion into new territories such as the Tampa Bay area.

READ ALSO: Miami Multifamily Report – Spring 2019

With Wynwood 25 ready to launch, what is Related Group’s next large-scale residential project that you are looking forward to? 

Perez: The Related Group actually just completed its largest project to date, an 11-acre, four-tower luxury residential development in the heart of Edgewater, The Paraiso District, which has over 1,600 units. The project showcases the work of numerous A-list interior designers, international artists, James Beard Award-winning chefs, you name it.

Other projects we have in the pipeline are a 308-unit luxury condominium development, Residences by Armana/Casa, situated on premium, waterfront property in Sunny Isles, as well as a 1,455-unit mixed-income development set to completely reimagine the oldest and largest affordable housing project in the Southeastern U.S.—Liberty Square in Liberty City.

Tell us about Wynwood and about your role as a board member on the Wynwood Business Improvement District.

Perez: Wynwood is a unique urban environment, with its colorful street murals and converted warehouses. As a member of the Wynwood BID, our goal is to preserve what makes the neighborhood so special, while working to solidify it as a true live-work-play district. We make sure every new project, regardless of size and scale, adds to the livability of the area without compromising the neighborhood’s integrity and existing culture. The organization has played a critical role in the neighborhood’s recent growth. A key example being the 2015 rezoning effort, which increased density throughout the neighborhood and directly led to the residential and office projects we are seeing today.

As the area’s first large-scale residential project to complete, Wynwood 25 perfectly suits the community. Through its on-site amenities, generous floorplans and site-specific installation—including a massive mural by iconic street artist El Mac—Related and East End joined forces to create a property carefully tailored for the area’s growing base of Millennials and creatives. In fact, many of Wynwood 25’s first tenants are young professionals or current employees or owners of Wynwood businesses, hitting our demographic.

Besides Wynwood, what other areas of Miami or South Florida ­­­are you looking at for new projects and why those specific areas?

Perez: Fort Lauderdale is an extremely robust market right now. This past April, we celebrated the grand opening of Auberge Beach Residences & Spa. Related always tailors projects to fit the local market. Everything from the partnership with Auberge Resorts Collection, to the architecture, to the design, to public amenities, were brought together to create the Auberge brand’s first all-residential property. It’s a luxury property perfectly tailored for Fort Lauderdale’s unique, laid-back yet sophisticated vibe.

In addition to Auberge Beach, we recently developed Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building, the 45-story ultra-luxurious rental development, Icon Las Olas. We are also finalizing the design and approvals for a 100-unit luxury condo in Pompano on the beach which we plan on launching sales in the first quarter of 2020.

With solid economic fundamentals and population gains, how would you characterize Miami’s multifamily market today? What are the main trends?

Perez: Miami’s multifamily market remains strong. While some specific submarkets are oversupplied, Wynwood is a huge area of opportunity. We’ve seen a growing demand for smaller units with better access to public transportation, while still offering high-end services. At Wynwood 25, the surrounding neighborhood is our best amenity, with its vast culinary, retail and transportation options. Residents also have access to a robust services package typically reserved for luxury condominiums, such as a roof deck pool, sculpture and meditation garden, pet grooming spa, coworking space and heated pool.

In terms of specific trends, we’re seeing a continued shift towards the urban core and away from the urban sprawl. This shift is focused around neighborhoods like Brickell, Downtown Miami, Edgewater and, of course, Wynwood, with all kinds of interesting projects ranging from co-living and coworking to more traditional residential and retail.  

What challenges will Miami face in the next five to 10 years and how could these be tackled?

Perez: Miami, like all other major cities, is currently facing a housing and affordability crisis amongst several other pressing issues. The situation, fueled by a web of factors including lack of opportunity and a booming population, is serious and complex, but it’s heartening to see the private and public sectors mobilizing and working towards real, long-term solutions.

As our firm enters its 40th year, we’ve continued to focus on the affordable housing sector and just finished Phase One of Liberty Square, a unique mixed-income development consisting of public, affordable and workforce housing. Not only does it provide more housing options for one of Miami’s most in-need communities, it also offers employment training to address income inequality, easy access to public transit, and other features geared towards creating opportunity. These types of all-encompassing, mixed-income developments are the future and we can’t wait to see how they change Miami for the better.

What are the company’s plans and strategies going forward? Do you think that co-living is something that Related Group might invest in?

Perez: We will always serve South Florida but have continued an aggressive expansion into new territories such as the Tampa Bay area. In fact, we just delivered Manor Riverwalk, a 400-unit high-end apartment complex located at the old Tampa Tribune building; a 396-unit waterfront luxury tower complex, Town Westshore, in Tampa’s Westshore Marina District; and a 368-unit high-rise apartment complex, Icon Central, near downtown Saint Petersburg.

As mentioned before, we see a growing demand for smaller units with more robust amenities and are currently analyzing different co-living opportunities.

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