'PROFILE Exclusive: Bringing Eco-Friendly Living to Coconut Grove at Arbor'

PROFILEmiami had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Nick Hamann of Urban Atlantic Group and Jeremy Waks of Oak Ventures, LLC. to discuss their new development shaking-up Coconut Grove, Arbor. Arbor is an eco-living inspired development that will rise 5-stories and feature 52 units. The building is being designed by Behar Font & Partners with with interiors by Smauel Amoia andlandscape design by Witkin Hults and Tyler Nielsen. Units will come in 2 and 3 bedroom layouts and range from 1,400 SF to 2,000 SF. Find out how they used the lush landscape of Coconut Grove to bring family friendly and ecologically friendly, green living to the historic neighborhood.

NH - Nick Hamann (Urban Atlantic Group, Managing Principal)
JW - Jeremy Waks (Oak Ventures, LLC., Principal)
PM: Arbor seems to bring a truly Coconut Grove vibe. Where did the idea and concept come from?

NH: Jeremy and I are Miami natives and we share a tremendous appreciation for Coconut Grove, its historic roots and unique offerings. We have specifically drawn inspiration from these hallmarks to build something that pays homage to the social threads of the neighborhood, its ‘green’ composition and community-centered attributes.

JW: Our vision has been to create large, house- like residences that capitalize on wide views, special amenities and walkable access to restaurants, recreational spaces, and top-rated schools – essentially, the quintessential home- sites for long-term members of this vibrant community.

PM: What makes Arbor so unique? What sets it apart from some of the other great new buildings that have been built in Coconut Grove recently?

NH: What sets us apart is our strong emphasis on livability and sense of place, a place where you can get to know your neighbors. Arbor is a midscale building with 52 residences, which we recently have not seen in Coconut Grove. This scale allows us to focus on the elements, design, and facilities that connect residents in a livable space and where they can get to know each other.

JW: Our amenities, which are geared toward end-users that enjoy an active lifestyle and sense of community, are specifically designed to feel more like an extension of your living space, rather than an offering that is underutilized. Throughout the building, we’ve focused on creating spaces that encourage residents to engage with each other and the surrounding neighborhood.

For example, our bike share program, which offers residents 24-7 access to bikes and provides an additional option for getting around the neighborhood. Our lobby will also be active and inviting. Also, our pet-walk, rooftop terrace, outdoor cinema, Yoga & Pilates deck, and backyard-like amenity deck (which features a landscaped courtyard, outdoor summer kitchens, social spaces and seating, a lap pool, and water fountain) are all designed to encourage engagement, livability, and to complement a well-balanced lifestyle and maximize indoor-outdoor living.

PM: What is the best feature that residents will enjoy? When they move into Arbor, what sets the residences apart from the other buildings? What makes Arbor a great place to live?

NH: The best feature about Arbor is that it feels like a large home. It’s a place where you can live in a condominium residence that offers family-friendly living spaces -- large open floorplans, high ceilings, and chef-style kitchens – with neighborhood-like qualities and amenities that are an extension of your livable space.

PM: Arbor is an eco-living inspired residences; can you explain what that means and what makes it eco-friendly?

JW: The environment is a passion. Arbor’s design is inspired by the tree-shaded setting of the surrounding neighborhood, carefully pulling the outdoors in through floor-to- ceiling windows and private gardens. There will be ample green space and landscaping throughout the property, including many trees that will provide plenty of shade and add to the property’s overall ambiance.

Our residences are equipped with energy efficient appliances. Our electric car charging stations and bike share program provide a green alternative to transportation. We will also be incorporating recycling throughout the building and using some recycled building materials during construction. Our irrigation system will be eco-friendly and conserve water. We are also exploring the use of solar energy to power some of our common areas and reduce the building’s energy consumption, and are seeking to obtain a green building certificate.

PM: What was one difficulty that you ran into or what was one of the hardest obstacles to overcome to help bring Arbor to reality?

NH: We haven’t run into any unusual challenges. All of our buyers are end-users that really care about the space, and we’ve worked closely with each of them to deliver a unit that they can call home. It’s exciting to see that they are designing their spaces to be specifically conducive to their lifestyles, in both the short- and long-term, and not simply just an investment. However, this adds a certain level of complexity to the building and design process.

PM: What do you think of the recent new developments in Coconut Grove and the new energy they have brought to the neighborhood?

NH: Coconut Grove is one of Miami’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, known for its verdant parks, bayside walks, and year-round festivals. The new developments are an improvement to the neighborhood, have brought positive attention to the Grove, and placed it at the forefront of many conversations. The area’s revitalization in general has helped educate people on the neighborhood’s historic roots and unique offerings, which is attracting younger families seeking to take advantage of the area’s great public spaces and parks.

PM: Where do you see Coconut Grove's place in Miami in the next 5 to 10 years?

NH: Coconut Grove will continue to strengthen its position as a balanced community where people can live, work and play. It is becoming more of a complete neighborhood with irreplaceable elements.

JW: The revitalization, increased development and growing business community will continue to make the Grove a desirable location for young professionals, young families and empty-nesters seeking an alternative to high density neighborhoods, such as downtown and Brickell, and a true walkable community. You cannot replicate the historic aspects of the Grove, which is what makes this community so unique.

About Urban Atlantic Group:

Urban Atlantic Group is a real estate development and investment company focused on creating value in urban neighborhoods including repositioning and development of urban core residential, retail and office properties. Urban Atlantic Group believes value maximization is achieved through a combination of core and opportunistic strategic investments in key underserved urban submarkets. UAG is led by founders Nick Hamann as well as Daniel Buraglia. Prior to founding UAG, Nick Hamann worked as Southeast Region Assistant Development Director for the New York-based Rockefeller Group Development Corporation.

About Oak Ventures, LLC.:

Oak Ventures is a Florida based real estate development firm led by Jeremy Waks. He has developed Heathrow Lounge and Treehouse, which brought world-class artists to Miami. Waks aims to construct the cultures around his development to ensure that a new concept seamlessly ties itself to the neighboring community. Waks is also the co- founder of Debris Free Oceans, a non-profit which produces educational programs for teachers and children to host beach cleanup event and raise awareness for the negative effects of pollution of marine life.