Monthly Archives: May 2014

florida housingA couple of weeks ago, Florida state housing officials re-launched a fund for those who are perceived as struggling the most with their mortgages. Today, representatives from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation are accepting online applications for Florida’s Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction program. The program aims to assist homeowners who have kept up with mortgage payments, and did not apply in 2013 for HHF-PR assistance. Therefore, those who previously applied but were not accepted, now have a new opportunity.

The Florida HHF-PR program aims to offer up to $50,000 to those homeowners who owe at least 125 percent more on their home than its current market value. In other words, for those who have a home known as being “underwater.”

While this is good – and most welcome – news for Florida state housing and its homeowners, the move has not come without criticism. This is due to the fact that over 6,000 Floridians who have kept up with their payments are not being considered eligible for such a program that is dipping into the same federal money source.

One real estate consultant in the region, Jack McCabe, said it was “dead wrong” to help to help people who have reneged on their payments and that it should be those who have kept up on payments that are getting preference for any “mortgage reduction program” available.

Four years ago, in conjunction with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government put $7.6 billion into the Hardest Hit Fund for states poorly affected by the housing crisis. Florida received more than $1 billion from the fund.

Brickell-FlatironA new high end condominium is being erected in Miami.  The project – the Brickell Flatiron – is being engineered by both Ugo Colombo, a developer in the region and Vladimir Doronin, of the Capital Group).  Located at Metromover tracks and the current ‘Flatiron Park,’ the uniqueness of this building will be in its height.  Altering the skyline of the region, the Miami Flat Iron Brickell will measure in at 750 feet, boasting 65 floors covering over 550 residences (each of approximately 1,250 sq.ft). The building will have two swimming pools (one rooftop), full gym and spa, two large penthouses, and quality retail stores and restaurants.  The building is being exquisitely designed by Luis Revuelta.

Further along the line it is hoped that a second tower – the Miami Flat Iron Brickell Building – will be erected at Brickell Plaza and Eighth Street, at a location under Doronin’s authority.

The project has taken on the Flatiron name in connection with the building boasting the same name in Manhattan, located at Fifth Avenue and Broadway.  Likewise, this project has a triangular shape, reminiscent of the historical clothing flatirons heated on stoves. This is unique to the region. Along with plans for the second building – at Brickell Plaza and Eighth Street – there will be 552 units and 40,000 sq. ft. of retail development.

According to designer Revuelta, it has not been so simple working with the triangular shape. He said, “it required studying a lot of options in order to get the highest efficiency for the parking and to see how it all interacted with the core.”

This project has actually been Colombo’s first large undertaking since the recession.  It will use materials that Colombo purchased on his recent trip back to his hometown in Italy, since as he admits himself, he likes to ‘get involved in the details.”  For those interested in purchasing, Colombo’s company the CMC Group Inc., will be taking a 20 percent deposit upon signing a contract, followed by 10 percent at groundbreaking, a further 10 percent at 18th floor pool level construction and 10 percent at top-off.  It is hoped that the project breaks ground by the end of the year, if not before.

The second building will be the next project engineered jointly by Doronin and Colombo.