Measures to contain the spread of coronavirus are still shifting by the day — and so are responses by investors, developers, builders, banks and buyers. To track the impact in real-time, RE|source Miami is asking area real estate professionals in various sectors for on-the-ground reports.
Today we hear from architect Kobi Karp, founder and principal of Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design Inc. Born in Israel and raised in Minneapolis, Karp moved to Miami during the 1980s to work as an architect and opened his firm in 1995. His portfolio includes hotels — including AC Hotel by Marriott Miami Midtown — and luxury condominiums — Palazzo del Sol in Fisher Island, Panorama Tower in Brickell and the Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel & Residences in Surfside, to name a few.
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Q: How has COVID-19 impacted architecture firms in South Florida?
While the inability to meet with our clients and team members in person was less than optimal, we long ago invested in best-in-class technologies that allowed us to collaborate at a high level with our creative professionals, engineers, clients and staff. That allowed us to move a variety of projects forward with minimal interruption, and also allowed for creative solutions, new ways of thinking and a level of innovation that we are very proud of.
Q: What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
The main challenge that every firm is facing right now is moving newer projects along in the approval process at a closed city hall. But this situation has also created an opportunity. It has provided our designers and architects with more time to nurture creativity and to see it flourish in their projects. It has also allowed us to study alternative options and come up with ingenious workarounds to previous design challenges and it has also sparked some great ideas as to how to tailor future projects to be pandemic proof and provide our community with safer spaces they can all enjoy.
Q: Where do your projects stand?
Every single one of our projects is moving forward. In fact, we have been very fortunate to have actually added new projects and new clients during these uncertain times, which I think is a testament to the great work we do and our long history of putting our clients, and the work, at the forefront of everything we do.
Q: Who in South Florida is moving forward with new projects?
While the last two months have seen some disruption and the suspension of certain activity, it by no means has put a permanent halt to the industry. Many commercial and residential clients are moving forward in all areas of development. South Florida based businesses are still looking for, and finding, new opportunities for development throughout the area, while many residential clients have started thinking about moving from their apartments into single-family homes to continue social distancing and mitigate contagion from the coronavirus pandemic.
Q:You planned to relocate your headquarters from Edgewater to Wynwood. Where do those relocation plans stand?
What I can say in that regard, is that at present, our office building at 2915 Biscayne is under construction and is being converted into a We-Work shared space building. We own multiple investment properties, which are all currently rented and occupied by tenants.