The New York money behind some of the planned projects is coming from deep-pocket investors like Elliott Management, one of the nation's largest hedge funds, and Russian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik.
LeFrak, in a partnership with Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital Group and Atlanta-based Invesco, is spending more than $100 million to restore and reposition the former Gansevoort hotel and condominium. When it reopens, the 334-room hotel with 255 condos would be renamed The Perry South Beach.
Certainly, not all new development in the city can be credited to New Yorkers. Some local companies like Crescent Heights and Denver-based KSL Capital Partners are also involved in multimillion renovations of historic hotels. Crescent Heights just completed a $35 million restoration of the Gale South Beach & Regent Hotel at 1690 Collins Ave. KSL last month opened the former 393-room Royal Palm at 1545 Collins Ave. following a $40 million renovation and re-branding of the hotel, now called the James Royal Palm.
But when it comes to the volume of projects in Miami Beach, New Yorkers are the front-runners.
"There is a historic New York-Miami connection," land-use attorney Neisen Kasdin said. "Miami Beach is the sixth borough."
Rory Greenberg, South Florida director of The Witkoff Group, agrees. His boss, Steven Witkoff, owns a vacation home in Miami Beach and sent his son to University of Miami, he said.
Greenberg, also a New Yorker who also graduated from UM, said his and Witkoff's exposure to the city helped them realize the profit potential of Miami Beach real estate.
"It kind of reminds us of New York City in the early '90s," Greenberg said. "We found a tremendous amount of opportunity in a market like this with all the foreign influences and everything going on."
Hotel broker Gregory Rumpel said the renewed interest of New York developers and real estate equity funds is fueled in part by Miami Beach's healthy hospitality industry and its appeal to a diverse group of visitors.
And while Miami Beach's escalating property values may discourage investors from other U.S. cities, New Yorkers are comfortable making aggressive offers for properties.