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Tech meets real estate development at Miami Beach event

September 21, 2016


2008 photo of the Miami skyline (Credit: Marc Averette) (Inset: Christina Allen and Tony Cho)

2008 photo of the Miami skyline (Credit: Marc Averette) (Inset: Christina Allen and Tony Cho)

Virtual reality, indoor parks and micro units were among the talking points at a tech-focused real estate panel held on Friday.

In the near future, agents will use virtual reality programs to show out-of-town buyers units and neighborhoods in real time, Christina Allen, head of product development for Compass, said during the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce panel discussion at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach.

“We are not just seeing walkthroughs, but also the creation of a whole environment,” Allen said.

Web apps could also play a bigger role in South Florida real estate, EWM agent and See It Pronto! app owner Carlos Olivares said. His app, which is still in development, would connect buyers who want to see a property right away to a Realtor who can set up the showing.

“I often asked myself why there isn’t an app out there that allows Realtors to make themselves available when a prospective buyer is close by and wants to see a property pronto,” he said. “You show them the property and if you impress them, it becomes a hot lead for you.”

Later on during the event, keynote speaker Tony Cho unveiled updated plans for his Wynwood Greenhouse, an indoor environmentally conscious park that will soon break ground.

“People ask why are you investing $2 million on raw land that eventually might be developed?” Cho, founder and CEO of Metro 1, told the crowd at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach. “I’m really hoping to inspire other developers.”

“It’s going to be a fully interactive greenhouse park,” Cho said. “It’s going to be a place where people can come for quiet meditation and other beneficial uses.”

The 14,000-square-foot concept calls for ecological, cultural and educational programming such as concerts, dance performances, yoga, school field trips, nature tours, farmer’s markets and environmental discussion. Part of the property will also serve as a butterfly and bird sanctuary, Cho said. The site is located on four vacant lots near Northwest Second Avenue and 28th Street that Cho assembled for a combined $1.5 million.

He also discussed his recently announced partnership with the Related Group to develop an Arquitectonica-designed condo building with micro-size units ranging in size from 416 to 892 square feet. The project would be the first condo building in Wynwood to feature micro units.

Olivares, a panelist, compared micro-living, with shared common amenities, to living in a dorm.

“Millennials want more shared space with less personal space at a more affordable price,” Cho said. “We are starting at $200,000 to $250,000, which is not available in Miami. Co-working, co-living and a shared economy is the next ecosystem of our generation.”

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