Saturday, February 18, 2006

Developer Zaps $150M Luxury Condominium Project in Miami

The 1390 Brickell Bay condominium tower, which was planned for a one-acre site near Miami's posh Brickell Avenue, has joined a growing list of doomed luxury projects. The 49-story, 364-unit development has become a casualty of a faltering market, characterized by stiff competition, ever higher construction costs, a shortage of labor and materials and the new-found thriftiness of lenders. In addition, the developer succumbed to the wrath of mother nature, which inflicted several hurricanes on South Florida last summer and fall.

Kenneth Baboun, president of the BBB Group, originally estimated the project, which was 90 percent sold out, to cost $150 million. He has notified buyers that he was returning their deposits plus interest.

Inexperience of the developer is another contributing factor to the failure of some condominium projects today, Michael Cannon, managing director of the South Florida office of Integra Realty Resources, told CPN this afternoon. Baboun is the 25-year son of Jose Baboun, who is a member of a family-run, residential and commercial development firm in Mexico.

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