‘Topping off’ ceremony at South Pointe mixed-use project

Business By Linda Trischitta, Editor Wednesday, May 17, 2023

At South Pointe in Miami Lakes, 250 construction workers enjoyed a buffet lunch to celebrate the progress made at the residential and retail project that is being built on 

Commerce Way.

     “You’ve exceeded expectations and you’ve done an awesome job,” said Luis Martinez, senior executive vice president of The Graham Companies.  “Everyone has done a super job and we’re excited about this project moving forward,” Martinez said.

     The May 10 gathering was a ‘topping off’ ceremony. The construction industry tradition includes flying an American flag and putting a tree on a top floor. 

     “It’s a celebration for pouring the concrete [slabs] for all five buildings,” said Project General Superintendent Dan Cositore, who is with general contractor 

ANF Group, Inc.  “It’s to say thank you for the hard work, non-stop, through the rain.”

     The company’s subcontractors provided flat-screen TVs, tools, Home Depot gift cards, radios, air fryers and other raffle items for the laborers whose work in this phase of the project is done.  Next comes the “rough-ins,” installation of the mechanical systems, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinkler lines.

     Building on the campus began in February.  There will be 179 one-and-two-bedroom apartments in four-story buildings. Many units will have views of Graham Dairy Lake.  

     Architect Marcel Morlote of Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners worked with the fourth generation of the Graham family on the design and ambiance for future residents. Amenities will include parking spots close to apartments; a walkable community with sidewalks; access to the lake; a wellness center, a dog park and a pool. 

     “And they wanted the mixed-use, the retail on the ground floor,” Morlote said. “They saw that as a tremendous asset. You’d have sandwich shops or barber shops and so forth catering to the community at large but also to the residents.”

     Retail will face Commerce Way and may include two restaurants.  Residents will have a gated entrance. Input from family members who are also company executives extended to the interior design.

     The kitchen will have an open plan, with illuminated countertops.  Data communications will be in a central panel for a computer, Wi-Fi and cable. Windows will be single-pane and hurricane resistant.

     The community will also have extensive landscaping, with a continuation of the oak trees that are on the right of way, he said.

     Completion is expected by October 2024, but obtaining critical electric equipment continues to be a challenge, leading to unpredictability, Martinez said.  

     “As we become more certain of timing, we will add information on livemiamilakes.com,” Martinez said.  

     Rents are expected to be at market rates. 

     Vicky Ojeda, 48, of Hialeah can’t wait. She works next door at NV5 Global Inc., which happens to be the geotechnical engineering firm for the project. She wants to be the first name on the tenant waiting list.

     “I thought I would rent out my house and rent an apartment there,” Ojeda said. “I can walk to work.”

     Living next door would make it easier for her to finish her college studies online without having to commute, she said.

     “I think it’s an amazing project,” Ojeda said. “I’ve lived in Miami Lakes before, and I miss it so much.” 


In the first photo, attending the ‘topping off’ ceremony on May 10 at the South Pointe mixed-use project in Miami Lakes are members of The Graham Companies, from left, Mireille Del Valle, administrative assistant, construction; Jon Cervasio, project manager, construction; Alex Saillant, director of construction and property maintenance, residential; Laura W. Ratliff, portfolio manager, commercial; Katie Martinez, portfolio manager, residential; Luis Martinez, senior executive vice president of The Graham Companies/president of residential; Mike Martinez, development and operations manager, residential; Beth Martinez, executive vice president of The Graham Companies/senior vice president, residential; Andrea Graham Rechichi, vice president, corporate relations; Steve Williams, vice president, construction and Danny Martinez, leasing manager, commercial. Photo by Linda Trischitta.