Real Estate

Developer Michael Shvo is bullish on Miami Beach

A rendering of the planned loggia at 407 Lincoln Road, courtesy of SHVO

Michael Shvo, an Israeli immigrant, began his real estate career as a broker and moved into development with his firm Shvo.

  • Over the last several years, Shvo — who in 2018 pleaded guilty to tax fraud — has been buying up premium real estate across the country.

We asked Shvo why he jumped into the Miami Beach market.

(Editor’s note: Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

Q: Why are you so bullish on Miami Beach?

A: Because there’s a limited amount of land and the barrier to entry of developing is very high. We’ve had a very strong focus on Class A super luxury office buildings in Miami Beach. We’re one of the largest developers of Class A and almost the only developer [doing that here].

Q: Tell us about your Miami Beach projects and why you chose them:

A: The clock tower is at the south end of [Soundscape] park, and One Soundscape is on the east side of the park. … As New Yorkers, we believe that any property that’s sitting on the park is extremely valuable. … The area itself is a very central area — two blocks from City Hall, two blocks from the ocean, a block from the convention center, steps away from Lincoln Road.

The Raleigh is the most beautiful property in Miami Beach. Time Magazine in 1947 [called it] “the most beautiful pool in America.” … We’re demolishing the non-historic parts of the building and we’re restoring [the historic hotel] to perfection.

Q: Why focus on office space when more companies are embracing remote work?

A: [For the influx of] hedge fund guys, private equity guys, real estate guys. They don’t want to drive all the way to Brickell, 45 minutes, to go to their office and 45 minutes back. … In New York, I have a beautiful office overlooking Central Park with a huge terrace. In Miami, my office is nothing to write home about. So after I saw the lack of product, we decided to take a big position on office. And particularly since [a November referendum asking voters whether city-owned parking lots should be developed as offices] got rejected, truly we have almost no competition.

Q: Climate change doesn’t scare you off from developing here?

A: A lot of things scare me, but we can only handle what we can control. I can’t control climate change. What we can do is make sure that every single one of our buildings is resilient.

Q: What’s your advice for people aspiring in real estate?

A: Only do what only you can do. … Everybody should always figure out what they’re best at, and focus on that.

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