PHOTO: Courtesy Melo Group
While other developers steered clear of Miami’s less-populated East Edgewater neighborhood, the Melo family recognized an opportunity. “Usually, land facing water is the first to be developed,” says Carlos F. Melo, principal of Melo Group. The firm didn’t think about the once-blighted area’s past but focused on its potential instead—a waterfront location on Biscayne Bay—when it developed its first rental, in 2003. This past September, Melo Group opened its 10th building in the neighborhood, 22 Skyview.
Soup to Nuts
By vertically integrating its real estate company—from securing land to designing structures to overseeing construction to leasing, selling, and managing completed buildings—the family has been able to offer amenities and high style while curtailing costs and securing good profit margins. Vertical integration has also helped speed timetables, with 22 Skyview completed in 13 months. The exterior and interior are comparable to those of many condos, a niche the family also works in.
To make 22 Skyview stand out as a residence and also offer Class A office space near downtown, the Melos designed a very contemporary, curved, glass-and-concrete structure that provides views of the city skyline from windows and glass balconies. Reaction has been positive from the get-go, with 90 percent of the building’s 280 apartments and 14,500 square feet of office space leased within a month and a half.
Because of its year-round warm-weather location, the building has a fifth-floor pool for views and socializing, an important amenity. Inside, the Melos designated square footage for a fitness center, steam room and sauna, social room, and covered parking. “Having a gym helps residents avoid paying another fee; every penny we save them makes sense. Miami is a very expensive city, and this helps the building remain competitive,” Melo says.
The Melo team’s goal for 22 Skyview was affordable high design. That meant selecting materials that resemble fancier ones, including laminated wood, porcelain tiles, and Euro-style cabinets constructed from melamine. The units range from 800 square feet for a one-bedroom at about $1,450 a month to 1,500 square feet for a three-bedroom at about $2,700 a month. “The neighborhood hasn’t had a lot of rentals, and this building keeps the area young,” says Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner of Cervera Real Estate and board member of the Miami Downtown Development Authority.