Tuesday October 3, 2023

Messi’s Miami Real Estate Boom Is Expected to Outsize LeBron’s 

  • “Messi is more of a worldwide celebrity and [will] attract more of a European crowd,” says top Miami realtor.
  • FIFA is planning to lease as much as 60,000 square feet in Coral Gables, according to Bloomberg.
Messi's global appeal is a goldmine for Miami's real estate business.
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Lionel Messi is taking his talents to South Beach, and the global soccer superstar’s arrival is expected to bring an unprecedented real estate boom to Miami—even surpassing LeBron James’s impact in 2010 to form the Heat’s Big Three era. 

“I saw the excitement happening and it was a similar feeling, but [LeBron’s arrival] didn’t affect the real estate market as much as it will with Messi,” Miami-based Compass real estate agent Angel Nicolas told Front Office Sports. “Messi is more of a worldwide celebrity and is going to attract more of a European crowd than ever before in my opinion.”

Nicolas, a former professional baseball player drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2005, has more than $500 million in career real estate sales. 

“I’m already getting a lot of phone calls from Argentinians, people from Columbia, Chile, and lots of Europeans who already have been coming down but now really want to buy a place here and have a condo they can rent out when they’re not using it. Little by little, I assume they will make [Miami] their primary home,” says Nicolas, who is married to Cynthia Scurtis, the ex-wife of MLB legend Alex Rodriguez. 

Messi has $1.2 billion worth of career earnings from salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. Nicolas expects more businesses to flock to the 305 after Messi’s signing with Inter Miami, which is for less salary than Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal’s reported three-year, $1.6 billion offer.

“I think Messi took a pay cut on what the team is paying him because he also sees the value of being in this market,” Nicolas says. “In my opinion, he views Miami as a bigger market than Saudi Arabia; he can come here and do some partnerships, build generational wealth.”

Florida’s tax laws also don’t hurt. 

“Money follows money, and the money is coming into Miami. The taxes are very attractive here for tech companies, hedge funds,” Nicolas says. “I think that people come for the lifestyle, and then they realize that just by moving to Miami, they have 20-plus percent on their income, a huge difference when you make that amount of money.”

Inter Miami also plans to build Miami Freedom Park, its new $1 billion stadium proposed to open by 2025. Messi already bought a $7.3 million condo in Miami-Dade County’s Sunny Isles Beach in 2021, but the forward figures to buy more property during his time in MLS.

“For someone like Messi, I would assure [he’d buy] in an exclusive, gated community. Something like Tahiti Beach, Gables Estates, Cocoplum, Journey’s End—where Jeff Bezos bought for his parents,” Nicolas said. “Something like that, it’s not easy to get to, and not just the homes are gated, but it’s a gated community.”

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