The News: Making Lemonade Out of Miami Condo Market

As a huge number of condominiums sit empty in Miami, Rilea Group president & CEO Alan Ojeda has launched a venture to make the best of a bad situation: a short-term rental program at its One Broadway Brickell luxury high-rise apartment property in the city’s Brickell Financial District.The offering, launched last month, targets, among others, renters who may have jumped at bargain rental rates for condos that are now backfiring. Some condos go into foreclosure, requiring leasers to leave, for example, and other complexes, facing budget shortfalls, may employ only a skeleton staff and thus lack in service.Some apartments in the 371-unit One Broadway Brickell are available for terms as short as one month, providing temporary quarters for renters while they seek more permanent solutions. Thus far, 20 units have been rented through the short-term program. Rilea Group also hopes to serve executives in town for short-term assignments. A fully furnished, one-bedroom apartment, for example goes for $2,395 for two months.Ojeda said his project has potential because this downturn has a key difference from past Miami condo busts. “Before, when there was an oversupply, a condominium buyer could find a lender, but now, buyers who may have put a 20 percent deposit down on a condominium can’t close. They may have put $80,000 down on a $400,000 condominium, but the lender will say to them, ‘That condominium is now worth $350,000. We want you to put up another $35,000.’”