ISG principal Philip Spiegelman wants to develop a network of Asian brokers to help the Aventura-based brokerage firm sell its listings in South Florida. That model has served ISG well in Latin America, where most of Miami's foreign condo buyers originate.
The new ISG Asia Division will target mainland China, Jakarta, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Mumbai, India and Japan.
"We decided to make the investment of time, capital and human resources to determine, once and for all, whether Asia is a viable market for Miami," Spiegelman said.
To start, he is sending ISG broker Sandra Dominguez, who has experience in the Asian Pacific Rim, to meet this month with brokers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, Thailand.
By mid-May, Spiegelman expects to know how receptive the Asian market is to South Florida's investment opportunities. Depending on that response, he will decide how big the ISG presence should be in a new office set to open in Singapore next month.
Right now, the Asian market represents about 1 percent of foreign buyers in Miami, he said.
"I would like to turn that into 5 percent," Spiegelman said. "That would be a huge difference."
Vizcayne, formerly known as Everglades on the Bay, is the first condo project that ISG will market in Asia, Spiegelman said. The company is already marketing the 849-unit high-rise at 244 Biscayne Blvd., which has about 300 units for sale with prices ranging from the $200,000s to $2 million.
Many of those units are rented. The rental rate in the building is about $2 per square foot, up 50 cents from a year ago, Spiegelman said.
The idea is to sell the units to Asian buyers as investment opportunities. ISG would collect the rent and manage the units for the investors.
Spiegelman said the great distance between investor and investment shouldn't be a problem.
"I think the economics should overcome the logistics," he said.