Girlboss: Miami Buildings Developed By Female Developers
In honor of #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday), let’s take a look at the buildings in our area that were brought to us by women. Many people know the story of how Miami was founded by two women (Julia Tuttle and Mary Brickell), and everyone knows about the magic that Zaha Hadid is bringing to Downtown Miami with One Thousand Museum, which she designed but did not develop. What about the women who are behind the reins? Real estate development is an especially male-dominated field, so bravo to these trailblazers! Girlboss!
Ms Calderon was born into a real estate family. Her father was a developer of small projects while she was growing up and piqued her interest after his passing when she was a teenager. While in college at the Wharton School of Business, she took a few real estate classes for fun, but didn’t plan on entering the field until later. When she ultimately returned to Miami, she landed a job under the Condo King himself, Jorge Perez.
After two years of learning the development ropes, she branched off on her own in 1999 and formed NEO. Her first building was Neo Lofts, which we don’t have featured on our website because it is west of our core service area, but is a great start to a great career. It was completed in 2004 and has 20 stories with 200 units. It is still a popular choice for those who enjoy high-rise living but don’t necessarily want to be in the densest part of the city.
Following the success of Neo Lofts, she expanded into Brickell to bring us Neo Vertika in 2006. This was an interesting addition to the neighborhood as it is the only choice for residents who enjoy living in New York style lofts. I consider New York style lofts to be those with exposed ductwork and concrete floors/ceilings. Neo Vertika has 36 floors and 443 lofts that are studios up to three bedrooms. The prices today range from $225,000 for a studio-sized one bedroom up to $375,000 for a 2 bedroom penthouse. The average sales price of closed sales this year is $317/square foot. For rentals, you could find a studio-sized one bedroom for just under $1,700/month, a duplex one bedroom for $1,850, and two bedrooms starting at $2,250/month. Another draw to this development is the popular restaurant/lounge in the waterfront retail space, American Social.
Next, Ms Calderon moved to the north side of the river and brought us Wind by Neo in 2008. Due to the unfortunate timing of the building’s opening in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis, there were financial hardships and many foreclosures associated with Wind, but it has rebounded nicely and remains a popular building today. Wind has 41 stories and 481 Miami-style lofts with a dramatic all-white-everything lobby. There are currently 57 units for sale in the building with one bedrooms starting at $245,000 and two bedrooms starting at $305,000. The average sale price per square foot is $317/square foot for sales that occurred in the first quarter of 2017. Rental prices start at $1,650 for a studio-sized one bedroom, $1,800 for a full sized one bedroom, and $2,300month for a two bedroom.
For her fourth project, Lissette had intended to build a 52 story tower with 507 units on the lot directly in between Wind and the river. The tower was named Cima, but with the market conditions the way they were, she moved on from the project. The lot was later sold to KAR Properties and will soon be developed into the ultra-luxury One River Point, which held the grand opening of their lavish sales center last month.
Lissette was also known for being a working mom. After preschool, he children would usually be found in her office, so that she could interact with them while she was working and also to teach them work ethic. A woman after my own heart! Today, she has taken her talents back to the Related Group, where she has been named the first ever female President at the company.
A former First Lady of New York State, Evangeline Gouletas is just as much grand dame as she is girl boss. Hailing from Athens, Greece, she studied mathematics at Johns Hopkins and vector analysis at the Illinois Institute of Technology. While most of her development success has been in Chicago, she has made a lasting mark in Brickell as well.
In 2004, Evangeline brought us Skyline on Brickell, a 35 story waterfront tower with 360 condo units. The one bedrooms today start at $309,900, two bedrooms start at $500,000 and three bedrooms are just under $1 million. The closed sales have averaged $395/square foot over the last 4 months. For the renters out there, one bedroom units are starting at $1,900/month, two bedrooms at $2,650/month and there is one three bedroom available for $4,100/month.
While she did not follow through with developing it, I still consider her the mother of NINE at Mary Brickell Village, which was completed in 2015. She was the visionary who had the idea to purchase the air rights of Mary Brickell Village and build a tower over the shopping center. Initially, the project was to be named “Skyline at Mary Brickell Village”, but the construction lenders were having a hard time differentiating the two Skyline buildings, so she renamed it “Sky Palace at Mary Brickell Village.” Sky Palace was initially going to be a condo development and she did all of the presales before the 2008 market change. She then planned to turn the building into a rental community, but ultimately sold the air rights to the developers, who constructed the building and renamed it Nine at Mary Brickell Village due to the address being 999 SW 1st Avenue.
Today, Evangeline is in the acquisition phase of several new projects, working on the board of several nonprofits and traveling. She also participates in horseback riding, dressage, loves to go skiing and dance the tango. I have always admired her ability to combine glamorous Elizabeth Taylor-esque drama with real estate development grit.
When asked about what it is like to be a female developer in a male-dominated market, Evangeline said, “Gender does not matter in the Condominium Industry. In fact, it helps to be a female.” She continued to add that, “Men of Quality do not feel intimidated by women of equality.”
That is a wonderful outlook! We are very proud of both Lissette and Evangeline! Thank you for your contribution to our skyline!