Nicole Kushner and Laurent Morali.
Laurent Morali and Nicole Kushner Meyer
CEO; President at Kushner Companies
From the Kushner Companies’ office in Manhattan, President Nicole Kushner Meyer and CEO Laurent Morali can watch their Miami high-rise rise in real time on an EarthCam. In early February, construction workers were pouring concrete for the 21st floor of the 36-story rental at 2000 Biscayne Boulevard in Edgewater. Further down, more workers in orange vests were wrapping the glass facade on the ninth floor.
Kushner Companies chose to focus on South Florida multifamily several years ago, and as a result the firm has projects at each stage of the pipeline, with approximately 3,000 apartments in the works.
In 2022, Kushner completed two mixed-use rentals in Wynwood that are currently being leased. It broke ground on the first half of the Edgewater complex, and got both financing and final approval for the second at 1900 Biscayne, which will have just over 850 apartments. “At 1900, we’re ready to rock and roll. We’re going to put a shovel in the ground in the next 60 days,” Morali said.
Two more projects that are set to break ground this year include a 933-unit rental in Fort Lauderdale and a workforce housing development in Miami Gardens with roughly 500 units.
The firm purchased the Miami Gardens site prior to the pandemic and the recent population influx as well as the development boom in neighborhoods like Edgewater.
“The market was very different,” Meyer said. “But it is essentially that same person, who’s living in Miami Garden, was or would have been living in Edgewater a few years ago.” (Disclosure: Meyer is married to Joseph Meyer, chairman of Commercial Observer owner Observer Media.)
While multifamily fundamentals are still incredibly strong in Miami, timing is crucial, according to Morali. “Costs have gone up, interest rates have gone up, but counter to this, rents have gone up so it’ll work out in the end,” he said. “However, the reason why it works for us is because we bought this land pre-COVID. … So we can afford certain things that a developer who buys land today will not be able to afford.” —C.G.