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On urban infill housing and branding – and unicorns

When I say this, you probably won’t believe me. But I’ll say it anyway: There are unicorns in Miami.

No, I’m not crazy. And I’m not talking about any mythical creatures.

I’m talking about affordable urban infill housing. I call that a unicorn because finding that in Miami is about as likely as finding a horse with a single horn sprouting from its head.

But I’ve found it. In fact, I’ve found a company whose entire business model is built around creating quality housing that people can occupy without breaking the bank.

The guys from Metronomic, Inc., recently stopped by Fried On Business to talk about their focus on small, in-town multifamily rental projects.

President Ricky Trinidad said the company likes to build “culturally sensitive” projects that enhance the community and are attainable in price.

Currently active in Little Havana and Coconut Grove, the Metronomic projects max out around 35 units.

Now, Trinidad has been at this for 21 years. He has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois in Chicago, and he was active in the Chicago market until the recession started in 2008.

He’s been in Miami for four years.

“Miami is just a hot, booming market. It’s a great place to live. We love it here. So we decided to bring the model here to Miami and make it happen,” he said.

The goal is to make something that is recession-proof, Trinidad said.

“I know a lot of people who were renting during the recession, and none of them told me that their rents actually went down or that they stopped paying rent,” he said.

Little Havana is very interesting, said Stylianos Vayanos, Metronomic’s Chief Development Officer. The vacancy rate is close to zero, and it’s very close to the business hubs in Miami, but the existing rental product is old and often infested with mold and pests.

“We’re coming in and developing beautiful new things that are not necessarily luxury but certainly beautiful for them to live in and have all of the amenities they need,” he said.

And this type of product actually serves to maintain the integrity of the community, said Trinidad.

“Here’s another dynamic. A lot of people that live in Coconut Grove and Little Havana want to stay in their community. They have ties there. They have family members there. They don’t want to move away, but their options are limited. To get something of good quality, they may have to move to Doral or Brickell. We’re creating these opportunities in their community so they can stay there and still enhance their quality of life,” he said.

Trinidad and Vayanos have actually developed a brand for what they do. They call it “metrovitalization,” and they show the complete process for free at

“We always try to find ways to do well by doing good,” Vayanos said.

This was a great conversation, and we covered a lot more topics including a rundown of their current and future projects.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Ricky Trinidad and Stylianos Vayanos of Metronomic, Inc.

Build your personal brand in 2018

Speaking of branding, the holidays are upon us, but it’s not too late to begin thinking about a strategy to build your brand in 2018.

“What if we went over the specific things you could do so when the new year comes around you’re ready to improve your business. You’re ready to build your brand,” said our favorite branding expert, Bruce Turkel of Turkel Brands.

So, according to Bruce, here are your branding resolutions for the new year.

First, he said, is to think about your intention. What is it that you want to accomplish? If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? If you ask the wrong questions, the answers don’t matter.

Next is ideation – coming up with ideas to make your intention a reality.

“People do it the other way around. Ideation is fun. We love coming up with ideas. But, again, if you don’t know what you want to accomplish, what difference do the ideas make,” Bruce said.

Finally, there’s implementation. Now it’s time to put everything into action.

“We both know, Jim, that implementation eats strategy for lunch. Meaning you’ve got to get out and do it,” Bruce said.

How do we keep these new branding resolutions? Bruce says:

– Inventory your brand materials. Collect a sample of every piece of print and electronic branding and put them some place where you can look at all of them. Chances are they aren’t coherent and don’t advance your intention.

– Listen to what your brand materials say. Chances are they talk mostly about the function of what you do. That needs to stop, Bruce says. We are in a post-functional society. Everything works already, and lots of people do what you do.

– Figure out your authentic truth. Why do you matter?

– Understand your consumer. There’s often a difference between the consumer and the end-user. And we build brands for the end-user when it’s not the end-user that’s making the purchase decision.

This is a must-listen interview. Here’s a tease: Bruce went on to discuss his seven points to building brand value. Don’t miss it.

Click here to listen to the full conversation with Bruce Turkel of Turkel Brands.



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