Perhaps no real estate development symbolizes the boom days of the real estate bubble, and the pop heard years later, better than Miami’s very own Icon Brickell.
Icon Brickell was developed by the Related Group, led by Jorge Perez, the undisputed condo king of South Florida. In creating the Icon Brickell, Mr. Perez, and the Related Group, spared no expense. The massive project sits where the Miami River intersects with Biscayne Bay. It is comprised of 1,646 condos, a 28,000 square foot fitness area, an infinity pool the size of a football field, pool deck, sculptured columns, and many other luxuries symbolic of the opulence associated with the height of the real estate boom.
But instead of a defining triumph for Mr. Perez, and the Related Group, the Icon Brickell has come to symbolize the excess of the building boom, and real estate collapse. At the height of the building boom, many condos at the Icon Brickell were listed at over a million dollars. However, and as 2010 began, only 30 of the 500 Icon Brickell units that were ready for closing in December actually closed. Indeed, and what has become rather common in South Florida, many buyers have hired our firm in an effort to avoid closing on their units and secure the return of their deposits. Indeed, our firm has attained some successful results for buyers seeking the return of their deposits from Icon Brickell.
With angry buyers demanding the return of their deposits, rapidly decreasing property values, eroding equity, it should come as no surprise that the senior lenders at Icon Brickell began to call the shots. Moreover, and given the eroding market conditions, the writing was on the wall, and it was only a matter of time before the Icon Brickell was besieged with a foreclosure.
This week, the Related Group deeded over two 57 story towers back to its lender, a syndicate of lenders led by HSBC, in what is being described as a ‘friendly foreclosure.’ While the Related Group was aggressively offering steep discounts in an effort to entice prospective purchasers to buy, and existing buyer to close, it was not enough to hold back the mounting financial pressure and avoid giving part of the project back to its lenders in a ‘friendly foreclosure.’
This latest chapter of the foreclosure saga playing out daily in South Florida is just another illustration of how foreclosures are impacting our real estate market. It also illustrates that foreclosures are being felt by both the wealthiest of individuals, and the poorest, alike.
Our attorneys have been in the forefront of fighting this fight. If you are faced with the prospect of falling into a foreclosure, or if you would like to assess your options regarding the potential return of your deposit in a condo project like the Icon Brickell, contact our office today.