In Miami’s High-End Home Market, the Makers of Fast Cars Are Designing Condos, Too

Drive around Miami and you’ll be dazzled by an array of luxury car brands in an abundance you won’t find anywhere else. And now, those brands can be found in Miami’s skyline, too.

In recent years, elite automakers have been partnering with condo builders to create luxury branded residences, decked out with flashy amenities and extravagant services.

“Cars are a big part of people’s lifestyle in Miami,” said Jon Mann, a real estate agent with the Jills Zeder Group, who has sold units at the Porsche Design Tower and Aston Martin Residences. “These brands are looking for ways to set themselves apart and make themselves feel even more special to high net-worth individuals that have the resources to buy anything… They want to create a closer bond with that clientele.”

In Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, 1100 Millicento by Italian car design firm Pininfarina, was the first among the branded towers, with scarlet-red interiors designed by Pininfarina evoking the mirroring the looks of Ferraris and Maseratis. Next came the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach in 2017, followed by the Aston Martin Residences, which is set to open later this year in downtown Miami. A tower designed with Bentley is slated to open in 2026, also downtown.

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It takes the makers of fast cars to design for a fast-paced market. As Miami condo developers seek to differentiate their residences from competitors, these partnerships have helped to make their towers stand out from the crowd.

“Miami is a mature market where everything kind of already exists,” said Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Development, which built the Porsche Design Tower and is working on the Bentley Residences next door. “Everybody’s looking to differentiate the product.”

Exterior view of Porsche Design Tower in Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

John Parra / Stringer / Getty Images

Built for ‘Enjoying Your Toys’

As buyers’ purchasing power in Miami has grown, their proclivity toward special, rarefied properties has increased, too.

“It was always ‘location, location, location,’” Mr. Mann said. “Then developers started focusing on technology to kind of create some separation amongst themselves. And then they added star architects. Now, it’s been the iteration towards brands.”

Branded residences have existed for years. Most are collaborations with hotels, such as the Ritz Carlton Residences, with locations worldwide, or the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. About two in five prime international buyers say they would be willing to pay a premium for a branded residence, according to a Knight Frank survey of more than 900 clients globally.

Car brands are relatively new to the game, and it makes sense that they’ve chosen Miami, a city with an international reputation for luxury cars and culture. Beyond its white-sand beaches and expansive coastline, Miami is one of the four cities that hosts the Art Basel art fair, is home to its share of Michelin starred restaurantsand as of 2022, had entered into a 10-year contract with Formula One to host the Miami Grand Prix.

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“More and more everyday, Miami is becoming one of the most relevant cities in the world,” said Alejandro Aljanati, chief marketing officer of G&G Business Developments, which is building the Aston Martin Residences downtown, where condos are priced from $1.5 million to upwards of $59 million. “Miami is the Monaco of the Americas.”

Sky lobby at Aston Martin Residences in downtown Miami.

Aston Martin Residences

It also has a long-known reputation among international investors, primarily from Latin America and Russia, who enjoy having a second home where they can safely flaunt their money.

“In Latin America, you certainly don’t want to show off your wealth because of security reasons,” Mr. Mann said. “Some of these folks from Venezuela or Colombia—where you have to drive around with bulletproof windows— are here because they have an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their success in business and not have to worry about safety.”

As Mr. Aljanati puts it: “Miami is a city where you can enjoy your toys.”

These branded residences are built for just that. Residents in the Porsche Design Tower have the option to purchase additional garage spaces with windows overlooking the ocean. At the Aston Martin Residences, purchasing certain top-floor penthouses will also get you a limited edition car.

At the Aston Martin Residences, purchasing certain top-floor penthouses will also get you a limited edition car.

Aston Martin Residences

With each new tower, the list of amenities grows seemingly longer. The car elevators—a novelty when Mr. Dezer introduced them in the Porsche Design Tower—are now a design element within both the Aston Martin Residents and the future Bentley Tower. The Porsche Design Tower features full-size pools on each balcony. The Aston Martin Residences includes access to an exclusive superyacht marina. At the Bentley Tower, residents will be able to entertain guests at the whisky bar or cigar lounge.

A rendering of Bentley Tower’s cigar lounge.

Dezer Development

Each residence is designed to mimic the experience of owning one of these luxury automobile brands. At the Porsche Tower, owners might recognize the faint scent of the car’s interior as it is diffused throughout the lobby. At the Bentley Tower, the exterior is clad with the diamond pattern that owners might recognize from the stitching on the seats. At the Aston Martin Residences, the building is designed to reflect the curves of the sports car.

“When you open the door of an Aston Martin, it multiplies your senses,” said Mr. Aljanati. “The smell of the leather, the wooden touch of the doors—it implies your spirit. That is the exact philosophy, in terms of emotions, that we are mirroring with the Aston Martin Residences.”

At the Bentley Tower, the exterior is clad with the diamond pattern that owners might recognize from the stitching on the seats.

Dezer Development

Homes Tailored to Miami’s Unique Lifestyle

For some buyers, though, it’s not so much loyalty to the brand that attracts them.

Joey Goldman, co-chair of Miami-based Goldman Properties, bought a 6,000-square-foot condo in the Porsche Design Tower three years ago and made it his family’s primary residence.

Despite living in a Porsche building, Mr. Goldman is more likely to be seen driving through town in his Rolls Royce or his Cadillac Escalade. He says he loves cars—as well as the storage space the building offers—but more than that, he loves the privacy and convenience of accessing his car from his own apartment.

“The Porsche Tower is really the only building that I’ve found that you can have an apartment the size of a house overlooking the ocean, with a swimming pool on the balcony and a garage in your living room,” Mr. Goldman said.

“My wife and I can go out for dinner with our daughter. She can fall asleep in the car. We drive home, push a button, the car elevator takes us up to the 50th floor, and we can just carry our daughter straight into bed,” he said. “You get to live in a beautiful high security, high rise building, but it’s like you have a garage as if you’re on the ground floor.”

For car collectors, rarity is everything. Buyers feel the same way about their residences at these towers.

“These buyers want something that’s like a piece of art or jewelry,” Mr. Mann said. “It’s a rare unique object that they get to use and enjoy on the beach.”

And that’s why Mr. Goldman says he can’t imagine selling.

“It’s unique in the world,” Mr. Goldman said. “I really feel so lucky.”

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