Nude Awakening

Real estate pics bare all; Florida needs inventors; Miami traders

Happy Friday, Highest & Best. Lots to dig into from the Florida real estate week:

👩‍🔬Florida needs more inventors.
📸 Naked condo selfies
🏦 Wall Street South gets its first trading floor
🏨 More Miami apartments. And a rich hotel flip.

Let’s get to it!

From Miami real estate art exhibit, “Intimate Stranger” (Photo: Zachary Balber)

💡 Who Will be Florida’s Thomas Edison?

It’s meant to be a compliment: Florida is the the fifth-most dynamic state in the nation. New York, by comparison, is 46th.

The rankings come this week from the Economic Innovation Group, a DC think tank that measured the “dynamism” of each state based on a brew of financial metrics.

Florida placed second in the U.S. for its number of startup firms. It ranks 37th, however, in the number of inventors who live there.

Here are the highlights of EIG’s report, based on 2021 data:

👶 Startups: Of all Florida firms in 2021 that employed more than one person, 11.6% were created that year. That’s second place behind Utah, where the share of startups was 11.8%.

🏘️ Housing permits: Florida issued 9.78 new housing permits for every 1,000 residents. That’s the third most behind Utah (#1) and Idaho (#2).

A high rank shows a state’s ability to absorb new residents. New York, the state that sent the most migration to Florida, placed 48th.

💡 Inventors: For every 1,000 Florida residents, only 0.31 patents were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So there’s room for improvement there.

💡 How about this Floridian, who filed a patent application last month for “a new and distinctive celery”?

Nude Selfies at Work

“Mondrian” (Photo: Zachary Balber)

For eight years Zachary Balber worked as a real estate photographer, hired to snap listing photos of Miami’s priciest, most lavish homes.

While he was working, he secretly snapped some souvenirs: photos of himself getting cozy in a client’s home, in various stages of nudity. 

“This was sort of my personal diary, of where I’ve visited and what I’ve done,” Balber said in an interview.

Those pictures are no longer classified: 150 of them are the basis of Balber’s Miami art exhibit, “Intimate Stranger.”

From 2013 through 2020, accompanied by real estate agents who’d hired him, Balber walked through waterfront mansions, condos in the sky, and even Tommy Hilfiger’s house in Golden Beach. The agents he was with took selfies for their Instagram feeds, so Balber figured he’d turn his camera on himself too.

He’d take his gear into another room and, in a moment of privacy, he divined the perfect pose and captured it via remote control. It started in a bathroom painted watermelon colors. Soon, the photos progressed to states of undress: no shirt, no pants, no anything.

“The nudes were tricky because the element of getting caught was so much worse— and I almost got caught a couple of times,” Balber said.

“There were almost serious panic attacks,” he recalled, as brokers in the other room inquired through a closed door about what was taking him so long.

He kept his forbidden photos under wraps for years, save for showing a few friends, artists— and an attorney in New York. This year, a full decade since his first stealthy selfie, Balber decided that the statute of limitations on his clients’ dismay might have passed.

His show, at Miami’s Art Media Gallery, opened last month.

“Three people came up to me and asked me to document their homes,” Balber said of the first night. “They said ‘Hey Zach I love your work, would you come shoot my house on Fisher Island?’ ”

“Chinchilla Surfboarding” (Photo: Zachary Balber)

Wall Street South — Now With More Wall Streeting

545 Wyn (Photo:LoopNet)

Miami’s got hedge funds. And private equity firms.

And it recently debuted — at number 24 — on a list of the world’s top financial centers.
One thing the newly dubbed ”Wall Street South” still doesn’t have, though, is a trading floor.

Well that’s about to change.

Miami International Holdings, known as “MIAX,” is planning to establish both a physical trading floor and an electronic exchange inside an office building in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

MIAX recently leased over 38,000 square feet of office space at 545 Wyn, according to brokerage Avison Young. The firm will occupy the entire ninth floor, just below Sony Music, the tenant taking up the full tenth, and uppermost, story.

The new MIAX Sapphire trading floor will be MIAX's fourth national securities exchange for U.S. options, the firm said. The electronic exchange is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2024, with the physical trading going live in the second half of next year, subject to regulatory approval, the company said.

The “next-generation trading floor” will also include broadcast media space. So you can 👋 hello from Miami.

Micro (and Macro) Rentals Are Coming

Wraparound balconies outside every micro unit (Photo: Miami UDRB/Glavovic Studio)

The monthly menu of development projects that Miami’s Urban Development Review Board will consider this month has been published. And there’s more proposals to build rentals. Some highlights:

🏗️ Micro Units: there’s a plan to build 250 micro-studio and one-bedroom apartments in a 9-story residential tower called Little River Plaza. The apartments would range from 380 to 540 square feet, small enough to be offered at price points that are affordable, the building’s designer said earlier this year. Balconies will wrap around them all.

🏗️ Macro Units: developers of 3600 Biscayne are planning a tower with 175 apartments, directly alongside I-195. It’s mostly one and two-bedroom units of 1,032 and 1,252 square feet, respectively. There’s also seven penthouses, with 2,290 square feet each.

3600 Biscayne (Photo: Miami UDRB)

Get Rich Flip: West Palm Beach Hotel Resells in 6 Months

A 103-unit hotel in West Palm Beach just sold for $20.5 million —only six months after the seller bought it for $15.3 million.

So basically: the seller saw a 34% profit on its purchase from June, according to data from Vizzda.

The hotel is a Courtyard by Marriott near the West Palm Beach airport.

The buyer is Midwest Hospitality Group.

That’s it for today!

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