Miami has a Little Havana and Little Haiti, a neighborhood known as Westonzuela and even the Venetian islands. What lacks is a Chinatown.
Shan Jie Li wants to do something about it. The developer of Linyi City, northeast China Winter aims to make most populous metropolitan area in Florida, with its clean beaches and tropical climate, a destination for Chinese property investors.
"We are focused on bringing Miami the new wave of Chinese who are wealthy and educated," Li said in a telephone interview through a translator. "The atmosphere in Miami makes for a very suitable life style. Play golf and going to the beach are huge attractions".
While Miami rebound from the financial crisis was driven by South American buying vacant condominiums, the city is now looking for what Beijing to sustain growth. China has become one of the fastest growing segments of foreign buyers, according to the Association of Realtors Miami, as the Argentine peso weakens, Brazilian real and Russian ruble discouraged investment in those countries.
"Property values have risen, and the coins changed in the other direction," Daniel de la Vega, president of Realtor Luxury One Sotheby he said in an interview in Miami. "So South American investors can look at us and say that's not as good of a chance."
From the depths of the crisis, when vacancy rates downtown rose 60 percent, cranes have become the values of the horizon and property have increased. A museum of modern art $ 131 million backed by Jorge Pérez, billionaire owner of Related Group, opened in 2013; a museum of science is under construction at the long side of the coast of Biscayne Bay.
Latin American buyers make up 62 percent of purchases in Miami last year, led by Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, according to the association of realtors. They helped the average price of a house $ 276,000 in December, up 54 percent from $ 179,000 at the end of 2011, according to Zillow.com, a website real estate.
"We have a number of Chinese buyers, is not even 5 percent of the total, but growing," Perez said. After a recent speech he gave at the University of Miami students, Chinese parents of a student bought $ 20 million in real estate, recalled.
"Russia had it been a good source of buyers, especially in beach locations, and we are seeing decline," he added. "I have no idea if the South Americans continue to buy as before."
Armando Codina, CEO of developer Codina Partners, is not taking risks. He sent a representative to Beijing to bolster sales in its $ 1 billion project Downtown Doral, comprising a master plan for a new city center, including a town hall and the school in an area northwest Miami-Dade.
"We're seeing some Chinese-buyer who never expected activity," said Codina, born in Cuba, whose project is adjacent to the Blue Monster Golf Course at Doral hotel Trump National. "Chinese get this project in two seconds, because they have seen cities just happen."
NR Investments produced a promotional video in Mandarin Chinese to attract buyers to your condo development canvas in an area known for parking and low-rise buildings between the center and the design district.
"Everyone wants a piece of Miami now," said Ron Gottesmann, a director of the company. "This is the beginning of change."
If only there were more noodle shops.
"Not enough Chinese restaurants, supermarkets and spas in the supply chain of Miami," Li, director of Latin Da Tang Group, a partner of state China Communications Construction Co. "These are challenges that must be overcome said. We put in new restaurants and services that can cater to Chinese, as well as all others. "
On a visit last year, Li became a Panama hat and white jacket as he slung his arm around local executive and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. His company then took plenty center out of bankruptcy with $ 75 million.
While the Chinese media have been hyping Miami real estate destination - an outlet, said Chinese investors are "gathering" to the city - numbers realtors association show that still represent a fraction of purchases: 3 percent. The expansion in the world's second largest economy is the slowest in 25 years as President Xi Jinping wages wider corruption crackdown in decades.
"It is so important to Chinese people who are buying retail numbers," said Francisco Cerezo, a partner at the law firm of Foley and Lardner, which advises wealthy Latin American families. "It's nothing like the number of Brazilians who had been establishing second homes."
In addition to culinary shortcomings, the biggest challenge of attracting Chinese buyers is the absence of a nonstop flight, Li said. And while the US and China begin issuing visas to citizens 10 years each, the nearest Chinese consulate is Washington, said.
Still, the Chinese population of Miami is reaching critical mass, says Mikki Canton, a corporate lawyer, born in Cuba. She is so sure of the city is ripe for its own Chinatown has registered the name Chinatown Chinatown Miami and Miami.
Asian Americans were the racial group of fastest growing metropolitan Miami between 2000 and 2010, expanding 47 percent to 158,400 residents - 5.6 million - according to data from the Census Bureau United States analyzed by Asian Americans nonprofit that went Justice. The Chinese population, spread across Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade, grew 32 percent to 35,700, behind only Indian among Asian ethnic groups. Chinese born abroad grew by 67 percent between 2006 and 2010.
"I always had the dream of having a Chinatown" Canton said. "Not only for tourism but a real, organic Chinatown."
Developer Li, meanwhile, says it is not only attractive to Chinese buyers in an increasingly cosmopolitan city. Indian and Japanese restaurants are emerging. Miami jumped to number 7 in the ranking Knight Frank major houses for the rich.
"I am well aware that this is the first entry of Chinese investors to downtown Miami," said Li, whose company lot is in the neighborhood of Brickell nearly 1 billion project for Hong Kong-based Swire Properties Ltd . "I am anxious to make a signature building is a landmark."