YAHOO! FINANCE. Bentley arrives in Miami with new residential residences with in-unit garages

January 14, 2022

Dezer Development President Gil Dezer joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss a real estate partnership with automotive manufacturer Bentley designing, people migrating away from New York to Florida, and the pricing for these high-end apartments.

Video Transcript

 So gone are the days when (NEW YORK ACCENT) Esther, Sadie, and Lill were hanging out at Wolfie’s on Miami Beach. They had a bagel with a schmear. And Wolfie’s is gone. A lot of people think Miami Beach, not the same since.

I bring that up because Miami Beach is one of the hottest residential places you could go. And when Wolfie’s was around, not so much, right? Our next guest, Gil Dezer, Dezer Development president, is joining us, along with Pras Subramanian, who usually covers cars. But what Mr. Dezer and his company are about to build involves Bentley Motors. It’s fascinating. And you’ve done this before. So tell us about the luxury plan for the shoreline on Miami Beach that you’re going to be building.

GIL DEZER: Well, we’re getting ready to start selling our next tower. We’ve built a successful Porsche Design Tower that sits on the ocean and Sunny Isles Beach. And now we’re moving on to the second building, which is going to be the Bentley Tower, Bentley Residences. 216 oceanfront apartments with our patented car elevator system that takes you and the car up to the apartment and places the car right in front of your living room.

So it was a tremendous success on the Porsche project. And Bentley wants to do a follow up. So we’re changing it around to really mimic what it means to be the Bentley brand. And it’s going to be one of the most spectacular towers here in Miami.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Hey, Gil. Pras here. How did this deal come about? Did Bentley approach you? Did they have a say in the design of these really cool apartments with, as you said, the in-unit garages?

GIL DEZER: Yeah, of course. We worked with Porsche Design. That eventually became part of the Volkswagen Group. And Bentley is as well part of the Volkswagen Group. So they’re kind of sister companies. And because of that, we were able to make a good deal with them to really kind of brand the buildings, as well as work on other branded Volkswagen brands.

 Gil, this is Emily here. Shifting gears slightly, we’ve been talking a lot about the movement of people from leaving New York, San Francisco, and moving to Florida during the pandemic. What have you been seeing in terms of those trends in Dezer properties?

GIL DEZER: I mean, well, what we’ve seen as far as that goes is people are definitely looking for Florida. You know, they’re coming down here during– I don’t know if you can hear that noise in the background. I apologize. But they’re coming for exactly this, for the noise in the background and beautiful sunshine that we’re having, and instead of being locked up and locked down in cold places.

And so Florida, really– we’re very lucky to be here during the pandemic. And the result of that is people starting to take note and come down here and make Florida their home. And so for us, it’s been a tremendous boon in the real estate market. Houses are selling for record prices. All the condos that I’ve built up to date have been sold out. And so now we’re ready to launch our next project.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So Gil, I got a two-parter here. First off, what sort of insights did you use from the Porsche Design Tower that was actually very successful? What did you guys use from there to grow that experience with Bentley? And secondly, you mentioned that South Florida real estate scene. How has client reaction been to this, the Bentley residences so far?

GIL DEZER: Well, I mean, what we really did at Porsche Design Tower and what we’re doing again with Bentley is really the home in the sky concept. You’re driving into your apartment. We put swimming pools on the balconies. And we really created the home in the sky.

And that’s what people are looking for. They’re looking for the turnkey solution where they can walk in and have that place here in Miami. And then when they leave, they just lock the door. They don’t have to worry the gardener or the pool guy, et cetera, et cetera. And go back to wherever their other residences are.

So I mean, we really look on our floor plans. We put a lot of attention to how the units work and how the apartments work. And so that was our success at Porsche. And the few mistakes we made over there, we made a lot better at the next tower.

And of course, the Bentley brand itself– it opens up a whole different world of design and look and feel and performance and aesthetic. So we’re really mimicking those with the same designers who design the cars. It was the same people who were working on our tower.

So we’re very fortunate to be working with really, really talented people who are going to be doing the interiors and helping guide the exterior of the building as well.

 Hey. Hey, Gil, one more. I just wanted to ask you about the how– why these collaborations work. Like, what does Bentley get out of this? What do you get out of it? Why do you think there’s luxury automakers and high-end developers kind of want to meet in this middle and do something together?

GIL DEZER: I mean, we are working on putting together a case study to see if they actually sell more cars by having a real landmark to their brand within the market. But it definitely creates the transition between car brand into lifestyle. And I think that’s what a lot of these car brands are looking for. Because they’re not just car brand companies. They’re actually creating that lifestyle. And the car is part of the lifestyle.

But so it really helps them show what Bentley Home Furniture looks like and what Bentley Design can do and transition what it is to live inside of your Bentley, basically.

 As a car nut, I can tell you this is a fabulous idea. Because I would absolutely put the car in the living room. Although, I’d probably lose the battle over that one.

But I’m curious, my taste exceeds my wallet. I would love to own a Bentley. What’s the price range entry point? I’m just going to guess here that we’re looking several millions of dollars for an entry level unit in one of your luxury buildings.

GIL DEZER: The entry level unit starts at $3.9 million. And it goes up to $7 million, with penthouses starting at $15. So it’s relatively not tremendously expensive compared to what is being sold on the beach, what is being offered on the beach. We sold the majority of the units at the Porsche Design Tower between $5 and $7 million. So we’re kind of hitting that perfect sweet spot of the second home buyer that loves to come down to Florida and have this kind of apartment.

And Porsche Design Tower, just to note, we had only two-car garage per unit. And here we’re doing a four-car garage with a larger swimming pool, larger balcony. So it’s just a little bit bigger of an apartment and a way better floor plan. So we think since we had such great success with the Porsche building, this is going to be a no-brainer.

 For the Bentley Tower, what’s your favorite feature here? Because you have so many amenities. Of course, the car elevator. What would you say really is the standout feature of this particular tower?

GIL DEZER: I mean, one thing that really surprised me, the Bentley guys designed a spa, which is nicer than most of the spas I’ve ever seen in hotels that I’ve been to. I mean, the spa here is going to be really cool.

Of course, the best feature is the fact that we have a car elevator inside the unit. You can just simply come inside the building. It picks up your car. It lifts it up to whatever floor you are in the building and places it right outside.

So there’s a certain level of privacy, security that goes along with that. You can just pull your things right out of your trunk and bring them to the house. You don’t have to request assistance to come and go. So people actually really, really appreciated that.

And that’s why what the net result of that was– we had a tremendous amount of celebrities like Lionel Messi, the soccer player. We have some singers like Maluma and others, people who are now living at the Porsche Design Tower because of that level of privacy that you can just kind of come and go from a building without asking anybody for help.

 That $3.9 million entry point, I was thinking, well, you can get a studio in New York City for that. But Gil Dezer, you’ve got us tempted. Dezer Development president. Congratulations, and break a leg when you break ground on the tower.

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