You have to love it when companies have a sense of humor about their business and that certainly seems to be the case with two big Florida developers, the Related Companies and Dacra. They were both sponsors of a $35,000 art project called the Fabulous Floating Inflatable Villa. The 30 foot high, balloon-like replica of a 16th century Italian villa is the work of Venezuelan-born architect Luis Pons, who told the Miami Herald that he got the idea because “we are surrounded by so many inflatable things—an inflatable culture, an inflatable real estate market—and I relate that to an inflatable house.” The villa was formally unveiled Tuesday outside Dacra’s Aqua development, a complex of condos and townhomes on a private island near Miami Beach that’s garnered tons of laudatory press for its striking design. Related, a division of the well-known New York firm, has some 10,000 residential units under development in Florida, including City Place, a $600 million mixed-use project in West Palm Beach. The Wolfsonian design museum at Florida International University also sponsored. The inflatable house will be moored in front of Aqua until December 25. It’s there as part of Art Basel, a giant contemporary art festival that kicked off this week. Hopefully everyone attending will get the joke.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.