20 July 2012

South Florida House Market in June

Single family home data in June continue along the same line as in previous months, with decreasing inventory – relative as well as absolute – and increasing prices, on a monthly as well as annual basis.

Especially Broward county shows the lowest monthly inventory since this website began recording relative inventory. (January 2008).

Prices: slight overall increases in Palm Beach County, absolute as well as per sf under air, but with a very high disconnect score of 178 between sellers' and buyers' price expectations. 

In Broward, asking prices didn't move, but median selling prices went up a notch, while selling price per sf decreased a bit. Interesting: the seller/buyer price disconnect is the lowest of the counties observed, at 138 points and shrinking.  

Miami-Dade, with a disconnect as high as in Palm Beach county, showed slightly higher asking prices but lower selling prices, probably due to buyers (or lenders?) shying away from unrealistic asking prices. 

The numbers:

South Florida home sales June 2011-2012 ©tckaiser/modernsouthflorida.com
and the chart:
South Florida home sales chart June 2011-2012 ©tckaiser modernsouthflorida.com
South Florida home sales June 2011-2012 ©tckaiser/modernsouthflorida.com

- Have a nice weekend, and until next time.

13 July 2012

Preservation or Commerce? Apple or Gap?

In an interesting case of preservation versus commercial interests, Apple Computers ran into resistance in moving its hugely successful Miami Beach store on Lincoln Road Mall into new quarters.

Lincoln Road Mall was one the first pedestrian malls in the US, designed circa 1960 by architect Morris Lapidus, whose credits also include the Fountainebleau and Eden Roc hotels. It has become a major retail corridor in Miami Beach – store rents rocketed up to $200 per square foot, recent sales reached $132m (1100 Lincoln Road, housing Banana Republic) – but is still worth visiting:

Not for the myriad of tourist restaurants or chain retailers – you'll find Victoria's Secret, Gap and Starbucks anywhere – but for its architectural details old and new, such as the striped concrete floors left intact in some places, the concrete "furniture", the pergolas or an acclaimed parking garage:

Photos ©tckaiser

The dispute is (actually, was) over Apples plans to replace a single-story building without architectural significance with a glass cube, prototype for new Apple stores. The non-descript-looking building from 1926 currently houses a Gap store. But that plan caused disputes with the city of Miami Beach’s preservation board over the current building’s historic value.

Architect's rendering of the new Apple store on Lincoln Road, Miami
Short break. At this part of the story, my question to you is: Who is right – preservationists or Apple? And before you continue reading: what would you do if you were to decide?

Made your decision?

Because there's more: facing too much resistance, Apple decided to toss their plans, and guess what happened next?

You guessed correctly. In an interesting twist, the building in question suddenly lost its historical value, Gap is allowed to tear it down and do ground-up construction of a 29,000 sf (!) project:

Architect's rendering of the new Gap store on Lincoln Road, Miami

Now I am really confused – what's good for Gap is not good for Apple? What part (of a payback?) am I missing? Can you explain to me this type of logic?

04 July 2012

Pininfarina, Giant of Car Design, Dead at 85

Sergio Pininfarina, who designed some of the world’s most glamorous cars, died last night in Turin, Italy. He was 85.

The son of a carriage maker, Pininfarina put his name on such iconic cars as the Ferrari Testarossa, the Alfa Romeo Spider, the Fiat 124 Spider, the Maserati Quattroporte and the Ferrari Scaglietti.

Pininfarina also did significant work for Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce and Volvo.

Even the American-made 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Rondine and 1986 Cadillac Allante bore his name. But his legend was developed most intimately with Ferrari, where he served on the board of directors for 42 years.

“Calling his relation with Ferrari legendary is insufficient,” Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo says. “First with Enzo and then with me, he designed some of the most iconic models, such as the Testarossa or the Enzo, just to name two.”

In fact, every single GT serial model issued from Maranello since the 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet have been designed by Pininfarina.

It’s no surprise. His father, Battista Farina, founded the design house (under the name Carrozzeria Pinin Farina) in the 1930s, and the boy was groomed to join the family business after he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Turin Polytechnic University in 1950. Pininfarina became chief executive of the company in 1961 and chairman in 1966.

Initial success came with a unique coupé that Battista built on a Cisitalia chassis in 1946–the car was considered so perfect it earned a spot in the Museum of Modern Art. Six years later, Farina bodywork appeared to rave reviews on the Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet.

In 1954 Roberto Rossellini was the first notable person to commission something special: He ordered a Ferrari 375MM as a gift for Ingrid Bergman.

In 1961 its status was great enough to earn a presidential decree allowing a name change to “Pininfarina” from the original Farina. (Battista’s nickname was Pinin, which means “the little one” in Piedmont.)

Throughout his life Pininfarina served on many esteemed boards including a seat in European parliament for the Italian Liberal party from 1979 to 1988. He stepped down as CEO of Pininfarina in 2001, handing the reins to his son, Andrea, but remained as chairman. In 2008 Andrea Pininfarina died in a road accident while riding his Vespa scooter to work and was succeeded by his brother, Paolo, who continues as chairman. In 2005 the Italian president named Pininfarina a senator for life.

Pininfarina died at home with his wife, Giorgia, and children Lorenza and Paolo nearby.

Sources: forbes, wsj

03 July 2012