SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL-Incorporated as a city only three years ago, this 2.5-mile long strip that is never any wider than the three blocks separating the ocean from the Intracoastal Waterway, could well be the region’s next center of luxurious living and vacationing.

Among the most active developers are Michael Dezer and his son Gil. Within the past three years, they have reportedly invested $80 million to buy 10 old motels and obtain a two-year option-to-buy an 11th, giving them nearly 30 acres of oceanfront land.

If they exercise their option to purchase the three-acre Suez property, they will have paid almost $7 million an acre for their assemblage.

Dezer Properties’ initial project is the two-tower Ocean Grande at 18101 Collins Ave. The initial building is the 362-room Sonesta Ocean Grande Resort Hotel. Actually a condo hotel, it will allow buyers to rent out their units when not being used by the owners.

A second 40-story building will be straight condo, with apartments selling for an average $650,000. Plans for the balance of the Dezer parcel range from loft apartments to a boutique hotel.

Also active is French developer Gilbert Benhamou whose Apex Development Group is currently building the Grand Venetian condo at South Beach on Miami Beach. Apex has acquired sites at Sunny Isles Beach for two 25-story condo/hotel towers on which construction could start within a year.

Work may start sooner on the 51-story Acqualina Ocean Residences & Resort. Another condo/hotel, it is slated to rise on 400 feet of shoreline at 178th St. and Collins Avenue. Its sponsor is the same firm that built Williams Island, the 1,934-unit condo complex on the Intracoastal in Aventura.

The developer, operating as Williams Island Ltd., has blueprinted 283 units for the Acqualina. Of these, 152 will be three- and four-bedroom condo apartments priced from $800,000 to $2.1 million. There will also be 14 penthouses of 4,000 sf to 12,000 sf selling at $2.8 million to $8 million.

Additionally, 52 fully furnished condo/hotel residences, selling for $850,000 to $2.5 million, will allow buyers to either use the units themselves or place them in a rental pool.

Another 65 fully furnished hotel rooms at the Acqualina are being marketed to investors at $400,000 to $600,000 apiece. These are to be operated as a five-star facility by Dallas-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

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