Despite Market Turndown, Naomi Campbell's Russian Ex Is Spending $1 Billion to Build Three Luxury Towers in Miami

Despite Market Turndown, Naomi Campbell's Russian Ex Is Spending $1 Billion to Build Three Luxury Towers in MiamiEXPAND
Image via Capitol Group and OKO Group

Vladislav Doronin has conquered real estate all over the world. His 1,160-foot-tall OKO Tower in Moscow is the tallest skyscraper in Europe. His luxury Aman resorts dot the world's grandest getaway spots from Thailand to the Turks. He has left his footprint in New York, Tokyo, and London as well. 

In fact, there are only a few places on the map Doronin hasn't conquered yet. Miami is among them, but the Russian oligarch is spending $1 billion to make his grand entrance into the local market. The only problem is that as his moves heat up, the Miami condo market at large is slowing down

That fact doesn't seem to bother the billionaire much. 

Among Doronin's projects in the area are Missoni Baia, an Edgewater tower branded by the famed Italian fashion house. He has also previously partnered with local developer Ugo Colombo on the under-construction Brickell Flatiron, but his remaining projects will be solo affairs. 

Elsewhere, Doronin's OKO Group is still finalizing plans to build a 712-foot tower in Brickell across from the Brickell City Centre project. Yet another luxury sky-rise, this one 48 stories high, is planned for 175 SE 25th Road in south Brickell. Those projects are expected to break ground in 2017. 

An Aman resort in Miami is also a possibility down the line. 

All of this investment comes despite the fact that other Miami condo mavens are scaling back or canceling projects left and right. Economic uncertainty in South America and a stronger dollar have dried up the well of regular Latin American buyers. 

In mainland Miami's urban corridor, sales volume is down 17.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to last year. There's now 10.6 months' worth of inventory sitting on the market, a number that may grow as other projects hit the market. Condo prices haven't yet taken a noticeable downturn, but real-estate professionals believe that may begin to happen by as soon as the end of this year. 

Doronin says he's not worried. He thinks he has the magic touch to avoid all of that. 

“You need to deliver good product, sophisticated product, and you will be different,” Doronin told the Wall Street Journal in a profile published yesterday.

Artist Olimpia Zagnoli has been commissioned to design prints promoting Missoni Baia.
Artist Olimpia Zagnoli has been commissioned to design prints promoting Missoni Baia.
OKO Group

Many Miami condo marketers have previously tried to tap into the Chinese buyer market, to little notable success, but Doronin seems to think he may fare better. 

“The Chinese are coming now,” he said. “They buy baskets of apartments. Like, five apartments at a time.”

Doronin may have more connections and experience in Asia than other Miami condo developers, but the fact remains there are no direct commercial flights from anywhere in China to Miami. In fact, there are no direct flights from MIA to all of Asia. 

As is the case with many developers in Miami, local buyers don't be to seem much of a priority in Doronin's plans. 

Doronin, a 51-year-old Saint Petersburg, Russia native, entered the real-estate biz in 1991. He set his sights on Moscow first, and his company now controls 7 million square meters of real estate in that city. His empire now reaches the far corners of the globe. 

He came to the attention of Westerners (or at least gossip bloggers) in 2008 when he romanced supermodel Naomi Campbell. During that time, he purchased his first Miami property: a Star Island mansion he bought from Shaq. The couple parted ways in 2013, and Doronin made a risky market move by romancing Chinese model Luo Zilin. The young beauty had been a runnerup on Campbell's modeling-competition show The Face

His real-estate plans in Miami may seem risky to some, but in the grand scheme of Doronin's empire, it may not amount to much. The WSJ reports he plans to expand into Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Paris. 

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