Aston Martin building its first residential project in Brickell-Miami

March 8, 2021

First came Porsche. Then Armani, Fendi and Missoni. Now Aston Martin is the latest luxury brand to gun for a piece of South Florida’s condo market.

The British car maker — known for giving James Bond his wheels since Goldfinger —announced Wednesday that it will partner with wealthy Argentine developers on a 66-story condo tower called the Aston Martin Residences at the mouth of the Miami River in downtown Miami. The licensing deal marks the auto company’s first venture into real estate. A team from Aston Martin will design the building’s common areas and amenities, including lobbies, fitness centers and a spa.

“It’s not a brand-slapping exercise,” said Katia Bassi, a vice president at Aston Martin. The company wants to make its mark “in all the [cities] where it’s important to be, and Miami is one of those,” she said.

In today’s struggling luxury market, Miami developers are more likely to cancel condo projects than unveil them. A strong dollar and weak global economy have starved the region of foreign buyers.

But Argentina’s Coto family, which paid a record $125 million two years ago for the vacant waterfront land next to the Epic Hotel, says it has enough horsepower to get the 390-unit project going.

Three factors will work in the tower’s favor, developer German Coto said at a press conference: A brand name with global appeal. A coveted location where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. And the Cotos themselves, who have pockets so deep they say they can afford to build the high rise without a construction loan.

“We need to give buyers a unique experience,” Coto said through a translator. “That’s why we thought about Aston Martin, because we’re talking about luxury, we’re talking about authenticity.”

Renderings show a soaring, sail-shaped structure, necessitated by the long and narrow site on the Miami River’s north bank. Pricing hasn’t been set but will be competitive with the most expensive downtown condos, Coto said. That means at least $1,000 per square foot. Architects Luis Revuelta of Miami and Bodas-Miani-Anger of Argentina will design the project

The big question: Will Miami’s luxury market have come back to life by the time the Cotos start selling units?

“The market is in great turmoil right now,” said Jack McCabe, a South Florida real estate analyst. “Many countries that have been feeder markets for South Florida are in recession, especially in Latin America. The developers are starting a sales campaign at a very difficult time for global economies.”

The Cotos plan to launch official sales in March and break ground over the summer. That’s similar to the timeline sought by another developer new to Miami real estate, Vladislav Doronin. The Russian billionaire is already selling pre-construction condos in Edgewater and has plans for projects in Brickell, too.

But the Argentine group says it will move at its own schedule, with a completion date for the massive tower set in 2021, when the financial climate may have improved.

And McCabe said Aston Martin’s brand, as well as a prime location, will help the project stand out in a crowded market.

“Developers are looking at the success stories in the market, one of which has been branding with luxury designers,” he said.

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