Apogee Closing delayed until December

By
Real Estate Agent with www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate FL - 3103874

 Apogee South Beach

Apogee, the "Uber-Luxurious" condo high rise that is set to break all standards in luxury living in South Beach had its closings delayed until December (floors 5 through 10).

After reading the Miami Herald article about Dellacasa Kitchens lawsuit against the Related Group I called "my sources" at Related who mentioned (off the record) that after installing some of the cabinets (Apogee was scheduled to start closing in September on floors 5 through 10), they felt that the quality was not as good as they wanted and they would not compromise the quality of the building, therefore they were dropping Dellacasa and finding another (Italian) company.

From what I learned, they are in the process of offering the job to other TOP Italian kitchen manufactures for bidding and that the quality will be the same or even better than shown at the sales center. Knowing several high profile clients who bought there and how Related wants Apogee to be their "Showcase" in terms of finishes and luxuriousness, I don't think they will drop the ball here. This change will mean that closings will now start only in December for the lower floors.

We should also note that Continuum II Initially planned to have Dellacasa cabinets and I recently learned from a developer friend I have (that bought a 5,500 sf combined unit in that building) that they later replaced Dellacasa with a much cheaper copy, but it seems developer Ian Bruce Eichner of Continuum simply does not care about what others say about his finishes (every owner I know at Continuum complains about the poor construction), Jorge Perez does care for his reputation and more so at Apogee, where Pat Riley, several high profile sports figures, Hollywood "A" list actors and Jorge Perez own partner will live at (on a $25MM PH).

Yes, they are switching kitchen suppliers, but in my opinion, Apogee and the Related Group will not drop the ball here. They have several luxury projects underway (one being the St. Regis Bal Harbour) and they want to use Apogee as their "business card" for showcasing their ability to build the most luxurious building in South Florida.

 

Comments (13)

Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate

Lipe,

As I said before in my other post, the reasoning that your sources at Related gave you doesn't add up.

I try to look beyond the marketing "spin" and search for the real story.

I am in no way looking to "bash" Related but I'm not looking to be their "cheerleader" either.

I think that consumers should have the benefit of knowing the real story.

Aug 26, 2007 10:21 AM
Lipe Medeiros
www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
South Beach Luxury Real Estate

Kevin,

Related is in a lawsuit and their arguments (too unit owners at least) are that the quality was not good enough (for now it may seem like image repair after the article, but let's wait until we see the final product, installed and what brand it will be).

But I have questions to ask (myself), if indeed they planned to install the "cheaper copy" why wait until now (mid August) and why did I receive the closing letter (and the condo docs) asking me to prepare for closing in September, if now they have to choose a new manufacturer in late August and they had to postpone the closing for December (because of this issue)? Related is very well known for timely deliveries and very good at construction scheduling. If they did copy the cabinets, how come they didn't cancel Dellacasa sooner? You can't do 67 kitchen cabinets (+ all the closets) in 60 days. 

I think we will hear two versions of it, but in the end, the Apogee kitchens will be a top brand of the same or better quality than Dellacasa, so congratulations to the Miami Herald Article. 

I have sold several units to "very close" clients of mine and I am advocating solely to their interests (not to Related), but I am quite sure that no one will complain of the quality (and brand) of the cabinetry at Apogee (maybe the Miami Herald article helped a lot on this issue) once they see the final product. Otherwise I will advise my clients not to pass the pre-delivery inspections until everything is delivered as promised; kitchen, closets and other amenities included, just like I have done on Murano Grande and Icon before...advocating to my customers (Related can do that for themselves)

 And like I said in my other post they will NOT under-deliver on this building...to many high profile buyers (known and unknown) and they want this building to be their "showcase"

Aug 26, 2007 11:09 AM
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate

Lipe

What if the Miami Herald didn't pick up on the lawsuit?  If I was a buyer it would make me feel uneasy that Related would even think of doing this.

Now Related has to "over-deliver" only because of the bad PR that was created.  The developer wouldn't be "over-delivering" if they didn't have to "save face."

Aug 26, 2007 11:46 AM
Lipe Medeiros
www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
South Beach Luxury Real Estate

Kevin,

I am not sure if I can agree with the statement that they would under-deliver if the Miami Herald didn't publish the article. Of course Dellacasa would say that whatever other product they are being replaced with is inferior. In lawsuits I don't like to jump to conclusions...there are big EGO's involved... Dellacasa is an excellent brand, but there are others as good and even better than they are, so for now I have a wait-and-see attitude. As soon as I find something out, like who is replacing them, I will post it here and then we can judge and give our opinions.

 I think Apogee would have delivered their kitchens (and everything else) at the top level as they promised (not more and not less), but now because this issue became public, I think they will be extra careful and probably over deliver, since the buyers will inspect their kitchen cabinetry with a microscope and if it is not the same or better, Related will have issues with the buyers, something I don't think they want to have in this building, with its "high level" buyers.

Aug 26, 2007 12:16 PM
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate

Lipe,

I'm really not in the business of determine quality of cabinets.

I feel badly for other buyers at Related projects who just very well may have gotten an inferior product because they weren't considered "high level" buyers.

It is all about integrity not a PR spin.

Aug 26, 2007 12:19 PM
Lipe Medeiros
www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
South Beach Luxury Real Estate

Kevin,

 This  posting can go for days...

As I am very aware, you are extremely familiar with Icon, Murano Grande, Murano at Portofino, 50 Biscayne and many other Related projects... Do you think the cabinets there (Dellacasa on most, btw)  are of poor quality or that the developer (Related) has delivered something they did not sell or did not promise? I don't think they did that on those buildings, so why would they do it on Apogee, which is their most visible and high-end building ? I think something is wrong here (the lawsuit might let us know what is happening, but we have to wait).

Related just finished installing Dellacasa kitchens and bathroom cabinets at 50 Biscayne's all 523 units (which I inspected recently and thought they were absolutely stunning, for that project, at that price point). 50 Biscayne sells for (resale) about $400/$500 per sqft. and is a completely different level of user than Apogee...Right?

So, it might come to my mind that maybe the quality of cabinetry that was delivered to Apogee was "very good" (as I thought 50 Biscayne's was) but not good enough for a building in which several re-sales are being negotiated at around $1,500 per sqft. or more.

 A Nissan, a Jaguar and a Rolls...all have leather seats, all are good quality, but their quality is related to the price and the brand of the vehicle. The leather quality on the Rolls is much better than in the other 2 cars, but that doesn't mean the others are bad. You expect great quality at all these cars, but you don't expect the Nissan to come with the same leather as the Jag or the Rolls and vice versa. You get what you pay for and I don't think the owners of these cars would ever complain about their leather seats.

Also as another example: 

in 2002/3 Murano Grande in South Beach sold at pre-construction price between $320/$400 sf. At that time, with all the features it had, large balconies, hurricane code floor-to-ceiling windows (no they are not all the same...look at the Continuum and Bentley bay with countless broken windows after the 2 last hurricanes and compare them with all of the Related buildings combined "2 broken balcony windows" in SoFi),  kitchen cabinets, appliances...etc , in my opinion that building was over-delivered (or just right) for the price and time it was being sold. Most units now sell between $720/$880 sf. and the more expensive units that sell, usually have been upgraded with open kitchens, mosaic bathrooms, new cabinets...etc (like changing the leather seats!!) Related never fooled anyone by delivering a sub-par $800/sf unit with inferior kitchen cabinets or thin hurricane glass, they might have delivered "just above what they promised" on that same unit at $320/sf. a few years back

So, just to conclude: I agree with you that Related is Not Mother Theresa, nor I want to protect Related, but I also think they have not under-delivered (until now) on their promise and that is why in the past SO many people made money selling and re-selling Related properties. When people complain to me about the quality of a building like the Yacht Club and say..."$750/sf. for this piece of S**t, with this quality...this is a bad developer",  I say, "this was not supposed to be a luxury building and was not sold as one.  It was sold initially at around $180/sf. and  at that price EVERY buyer was extremely happy with what they got." Later, YC prices started to rise and the building became "luxury priced" (but not the building is not as luxurious as the prices are commanding) and some people still want to sell their "crappy and non upgraded" units for a fortune instead of upgrading their units and making them "fit" this new "status" the building has achieved because of its price and location, such as this example at the Yacht Club

I don't think Related was going to under-deliver on Apogee, even without the article (but it helps), but let's wait and see.


 

Aug 26, 2007 02:49 PM
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate

Lipe

This is very interesting dialogue.  Yes, I agree with you about Continuum---but I would still rather own at Continuum than ANY other building South of Fifth.  It's all about location.

My second choice would be Murano Grande.  I think it is an exceptional building and is a step above ICON (private elevators except for 5th floor).  ICON, is to me, a lot of frosting and less substance.  The common areas are WOW but everything else is pretty generic.  That is the secret to Perez/Related's success.  Great common areas and vanilla boxes for units.

I think that ICON will look dated very quickly.  Actually THE most impressive condo building I have been in to date have been the Grovenor House.  Those bathrooms and kitchens and common areas are without peer.  Take a look a the valet uniforms.  That is the best of the best.

If Grovenor house was on Miami Beach on the ocean it would be the #1 condo in Miami.

Aug 26, 2007 03:02 PM
Lipe Medeiros
www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
South Beach Luxury Real Estate

Kevin...Great dialogue with a very sharp guy...

 I love Continuum, but the shame is too many of (not all) the floor plans are bad and have a lot of wasted space (love the low floor "04" line, for me the best 2 bedroom in South Beach, but very hard to come to the market).

In regards to your Icon comments they are right on, but Perez is good when it comes to floor plans,  and thats where the Continuum lacks, in terms of location...it can't be beat - Continuum is the best. 

I am also a big fan of the Murano Grande  (lived there for 3 years), but my number one Related project in the area is Murano at Portofino. I just like the location and small size of the building too much. Not all lines work, but any "04, 03, 02 and 01" would do the job for me.

 About Grovenor house, you are right, it is impressive and very well finished. There is a saying I heard many times during the boom years: "if you want to buy a luxury condo and will live in your unit (not flip it), them buy in an Ugo Colombo Project, if you want to make a lot of money, buy in a Related Project." - My hallucination is that Perez has one day heard that and decided to built Apogee, thats why I seem so confident they will deliver it as they should.

 what do you say we meet for a coffee and introduce ourselves later on the week...let me know.

Aug 26, 2007 03:31 PM
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate
Great!  Later in the week.  Somewhere chic and in SoFi (of course) LOL.
Aug 26, 2007 03:36 PM
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate
Too bad Ugo didn't do a project in Miami Beach.  I think he is a little too late to the party with the Cipriani project.
Aug 26, 2007 03:38 PM
Anonymous
Cabinet Guy
I am in the cabinet business in South Florida and I can say with full knowledge that this is not the first time Della Casa has baited with one manufacturer and replaced cabinets that look similar after design centers and models were set up. Ital and other "Italian" cabinet dealers have long used local manufacturers to make cabinets and then put Italian doors on them. This practice is not new, most local manufacturers do the same thing, make the box and apply Door Mark, Conestoga, Thermovision or any number of Italian doors to their product to help meet the needs here in a multi-cultural area. Oak doors sell in Georgia, but can't be found here. This being said, why not try a local manufacturer and have them match or find a high quality door that will pass the designer test?
Aug 28, 2007 07:23 AM
#11
Lipe Medeiros
www.thesofigroup.com - Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
South Beach Luxury Real Estate

Cabinet Guy.

I am glad someone is explaining how some of these companies work, since I think people are just saying the Related is the bad guy here and "poor little luxury kitchen manufactures, Dellacasa" was hit hard by Goliath who was replacing its "super luxury" cabinets with inferior quality.

First, I don't think that Dellacasa is "Super Luxury" and "one of the best" as some people say, they are good, they have the "made-in-Italy" label in their products, but in my opinion they are far behind companies such as Snaidero or  Arclinea (just 2 examples).

Secondly, Dellacasa have been working with Related on several projects (all less luxurious than Apogee), and in my opinion it just does not add up that Related would replace their cabinets with cheap copies,I think it was the other way around, but let's wait and see.

To answer your question on why don't they try a local manufacturer is simple 'THE MADE IN ITALY" label and the luxurious attachment it creates to the brand and project...Just by saying "Italian Kitchen Cabinets" customers have the impression, that since they are made in Italy, they are great. Same goes for Italian Leather or high end garments...the label speaks very loud.

Aug 29, 2007 01:19 PM
Anonymous
Architect

In 2005, Dellacasa offered owners at 497 Greenwich Street Condos in NYC a "good deal" to provide custom designed kitchens to suit individual fitouts(all units were sold as raw space). The company had set up a sales office in Soho to market their products. I took them up on the offer and worked with the Miami staff to design the kitchen, review the fabrication drawings and place the order with a 50% deposit to start fabrication. I even flew to Miami during the design process to work with them. The cabinets were to take 12-14 weeks to fabricate and ship, unfortunately 14 weeks turned into 20 weeks, then 6 months until it was clear that the cabinets were not being fabricated at all despite repeated assurances from Dellacasa that they had been shipped. As they continued daily to lie about the non-existent cabinets my construction schedule was now 6 months delayed. At this point I demanded my deposit back, the company response was, "no problem"! The deposit was returned only after my attorney contacted them with our intention to sue.

This is an extremely sleazy company that fraudulently misrepresents both their product and their ability to deliver what they market.

Apr 03, 2009 03:20 AM
#13