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Wealthy Argentines Eye Miami Real Estate, And Culture

With Argentina's economy in crisis, Miami real estate has become a nice refuge for well-off Argentines to protect their money from devaluation. But it's not just about the beaches

The future landscape of Miami: new condos, but also a new museum
The future landscape of Miami: new condos, but also a new museum
Annabella Quiroga

BUENOS AIRES — With Argentine markets paralyzed by restrictions on dollar trading and local property transactions plummeting, Miami real estate developers have their sights set on private Argentine investors looking for a foreign refuge for their assets.

As President Cristina Kirchner reported last year, Argentines spent more than $2 billion on U.S. property investments in 2012 and 2013. Buenos Aires even hosted several real estate fairs in August and September to highlight some of the projects on offer.

Mayi de la Vega attended one representing ONE SIR, an affiliate firm of Sotheby's International Realty. "Miami is flourishing," she says. "It is the eighth most visited city in the world. Infrastructure development is taking off in the city, as are businesses related to culture."

Beyond its famed beaches and palm trees, Miami is now proud to show of the city's new cultural assets. "An arts district has emerged, inviting European, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Mexican, Argentine and Russian investors," de la Vega says.

Four projects recently presented in Buenos Aires include the Brickelle City Center, a mixed development in the financial and business district, and One Thousand Museum luxury condos and a museum designed by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, to be built in downtown Miami.

"Despite the recession, Argentina remains an important market for us," says de la Vega.

Property prices collapsed in Miami after the 2008 financial crisis. "The entire pre-crisis stock was absorbed at 50% of its price," she says. "Prices have recovered since, especially in the premium market."

According to Reporte Inmobiliario, Argentines are seventh in a ranking of real estate investors in the U.S., with Miami and Orlando their preferred destinations.

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