Real Estate News

Terra’s David Martin sells his waterfront Venetian Islands home for $9M (Corcoran, Douglas Elliman)

Terra developer David Martin sold his waterfront Miami Beach home to his listing agent, Dina Goldentayer, a top broker at Douglas Elliman.

Property records show Martin and his wife, Christina, sold the six-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom house at 315 East San Marino Drive in the Venetian Islands. Goldentayer and her husband, Ilya Panchernikov, paid $8.9 million for the property. Panchernikov is managing director of Caviar Russe, a caviar importer and distributor with restaurants in New York and Miami.

Martin is CEO of Terra, the Miami-based development firm he co-founded with his father, Pedro Martin. He declined to comment through a spokesperson on the sale.

Goldentayer and Panchernikov financed their purchase with a nearly $6.3 million mortgage from J.P. Morgan. The couple already owns a non-waterfront home on Di Lido island in the Venetian Islands, which they acquired in 2019 for $1.9 million. It is not on the market.

Goldentayer did not respond to a request for comment.

The Martins paid nearly $4 million for their 5,054-square-foot home in 2006. It was built in 1995 and sits on a 10,500-square-foot lot, records show.

The property features a chef’s kitchen, temperature controlled wine wall, fireplace, marble and wood floors, and a pool and dock, according to the listing. It hit the market in May for $9.5 million. Goldentayer had the listing and represented herself in the sale.

Martin and his wife are building a waterfront mansion in Coconut Grove, near Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, property records show. His firm, Terra, was a co-developer of Eighty Seven Park, the luxury condo tower that was built next to the Champlain Towers South building, which collapsed this summer.

Terra has projects throughout South Florida, including the under-construction Five Park condo tower at the entrance to Miami Beach, which it is co-developing with Russell Galbut; a mixed-use office development in Bay Harbor Islands; a number of projects in Coconut Grove; as well as developments in Broward County.

Goldentayer, a top agent at Elliman, was recently involved in the sale of a waterfront home in Miami’s Bay Point neighborhood to Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.

High-end home sales have soared over the past year, pushing prices up to record highs in many South Florida neighborhoods.

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(iStock)

U.S. household net worth surged to an all-time high in the second quarter, powered by a buoyant stock market and a record $1.2 trillion jump in real estate valuations.

A Federal Reserve report on Thursday showed that household net worth rose by $5.8 trillion, or 4.3 percent to $141.7 trillion in the period, according to Bloomberg. In June alone, home prices rose 18.6 percent, the biggest increase in three decades.

To the relief of those seeking a home, good news may be on the way: The housing market across the country began showing signs of stabilization last month.

Meantime, more people are investing in stocks: Equities as a percentage of household assets rose to 29.5 percent in the quarter from 25.6 percent two years earlier as those valuations increased by $3.5 trillion. At the same time, net private savings rose by $2.9 trillion in the quarter, adding to $4.8 trillion in the prior period.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner

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David Bitton, CMO and co-founder of DoorLoop and Ori Tamuz, CEO and co-founder of DoorLoop (Bitton, DoorLoop, Getty)

David Bitton, CMO and co-founder of DoorLoop and Ori Tamuz, CEO and co-founder of DoorLoop (Bitton, DoorLoop, Getty)

Rental property management software is a crowded field in proptech, but a Miami-based startup says it has developed a better, faster and cheaper offering.

DoorLoop said this week it raised $10 million in seed funding with an eye toward dethroning the massive public and private companies that have dominated the field to date, including AppFolio, Yarde and RealPage.

Extant industry products are cumbersome and out-of-date, David Bitton, DoorLoop’s co-founder and CMO, said in an interview.

“There’s a lot of competition, and we love that, because it tells us there’s a big need in the market,” he said.

DoorLoop’s six co-founders, who have backgrounds in software and real estate, led the seed round along with other private investors, according to a release.

DoorLoop, like its competitors, allows landlords and property managers to automate listing, tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance and move-outs. The company says it makes onboarding prospective clients quicker and cheaper, in addition to offering a more intuitive product with an open API that can be integrated with other software.

The company also says it provides better customer service — a primary rationale switch-over clients give when polled, according to Bitton.

“As a startup, we can move really fast,” Bitton said. “Today they can get a demo. Tomorrow they can get training and start using it. Our competitors can take weeks or months to do that.”

Founded in 2019, DoorLoop launched its services in early 2021. The platform is used in 1700 cities worldwide as of mid-September, per Bitton. The company will be profitable “very soon,” he said.

The company is targeting the middle market, including property managers with up to 10,000 units. According to Bitton, DoorLoop does not yet have the brand recognition to attract the larger managers overseeing 10,000 to 100,000 units.

“We’re targeting everyone, but the ones that are signing up are the smaller ones,” he said.

A Series A raise is not on the near-term horizon, Bitton said.

“We’re going to see how far this money takes us.”

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From left to right: David Edelstein, Nick Perez, Alex Karakhanian, Scott Sherman and Ben Mandell with the location (Google Maps, Related, Getty)

From left to right: David Edelstein, Nick Perez, Alex Karakhanian, Scott Sherman and Ben Mandell with the location (Google Maps, Related, Getty)

David Edelstein’s TriStar Capital, Related Group, Alex Karakhanian’s Lndmrk Development and Tricera Capital paid $26.5 million for a development site where they plan to build a residential project.

Chinese firm Seven Valleys, led by real estate moguls Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, sold the nearly 1.3-acre property anchored at 2700 Northwest Second Avenue in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. Seven Valleys had been the lender for the property, which previously belonged to RedSky Capital and JZ Capital Partners, whose planned developments never came to fruition.

TriStar and its partners plan to build “well over” 300 residential units on the site, Edelstein told The Real Deal. They could break ground in about 10 months, he said. The venture secured a roughly $20 million loan from Comerica Bank.

Edelstein said the market for new development in Wynwood is “on fire” and that there is very little undeveloped land left.

The development site sold at a loss compared to its $31 million sale to RedSky and JZ in 2016. The previous owner, Wynwood pioneer Goldman Properties, had planned a mixed-use development with 72 residences, 68 hotel rooms, about 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 47,000 square feet of offices.

In Wynwood, Related, Karakhanian and Tricera are partnering to develop another project, called the Dorsey Wynwood, at 2801 Northwest Third Avenue. They broke ground earlier this year. The project will have more than 300 rental apartments, commercial space, office space and amenities.

Edelstein is also active in Wynwood. Last month, he and RAL Development closed on a site along Fifth Avenue in Wynwood where they are planning a $200 million, two tower, mixed-use Class A office development.

Edelstein, who owns the W South Beach hotel, also brought on restaurateurs Stephen Starr and Keith McNally, who plan to open New York City restaurant Pastis at 380 Northwest 26th Street in Wynwood next year.

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Surfside site to be auctioned as early as February, as legal claims could reach $1B (Getty Images)

The stalking horse bidder offering $120 million to purchase the site of the Surfside condo collapse signed a sales contract, setting in motion a timeline that will lead to an auction of the oceanfront property, as legal claims could reach $1 billion.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman said during a hearing on Thursday that he will review a motion to approve the contract at next week’s hearing, at which point the bidder and terms of the contract will be made public. To date, the bidder’s identity has not been disclosed, while several top South Florida developers have said they are not interested in or pursuing a purchase of the property at 8777 Collins Avenue.

The stalking horse bidder set the minimum price for the site on which 98 people died June 24 when a portion of the Champlain Towers South building collapsed. The rest of the building was later brought down in a controlled demolition, and the site has since been cleared and braced.

Additional potential buyers will be able to bid on the site at an auction that is expected to occur between February and March, said receiver Michael Goldberg at the hearing Thursday morning. Attorneys representing unit owners also filed a lawsuit to terminate the condominium, a legal requirement for the entire process to move forward.

The future of the site has divided some survivors, families of the victims and Surfside residents. A group of victims is advocating for a memorial to be built on the site, which the judge has said will not happen. The proceeds of the site’s sale will go to the unit owners.

Hanzman said the public push for a memorial by victims who are speaking out against the sale is driving down the sale price and scaring off potential bidders.

“We are not trying to devalue the value of the land,” said Vicky Btesh, whose husband, Andres Levine, died in the collapse. She added she believes there still could be a private donor or government entity that would provide fair market value for the land to allow it to remain a memorial. “I do believe we can make this happen,” she said

“I understand that people who make these comments, they are not trying to devalue the land, but they are,” Hanzman responded. “When people talk about developers being greedy … they may not be trying to do harm, but they are doing harm.”

Hanzman also denounced comments made by public officials, including Surfside commissioner Eliana Salzhauer, whom he did not name, who had called a proposed land swap with the town “delusional.”

“These types of incendiary and uninformed comments do nothing but drive the value of this property down,” Hanzman said. “This court is not going to tolerate this any further.”

Goldberg said the stalking horse bidder will have 60 days to complete its due diligence, and has provided a $150,000 non-refundable deposit to the estate for that period of time. During this period, the buyer would be able to walk away from the contract for any reason. Once the contract goes hard, the buyer will have provided a $16 million non-refundable deposit.

Hanzman asked the receiver to tighten the due diligence period if possible.

Attorneys also took the major procedural step to allow the sale of the land by filing a condo declaration termination suit that would discontinue the declaration’s existence in the eyes of the law. Four unit owners filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against Goldberg, the Champlain association as well as all unit owners and others with potential claims in the litigation.

This allows potential and existing lienholders on units to be brought into the litigation if they plan to lay a future claim on potential disbursements. Banks with mortgages on units and other potential lienholders would likely be first in line to get payments from disbursements, although they may not be paid in full, as some of the payments could be negotiated down.

The exact manner in which disbursements will be divided among victims is yet to be decided. Hanzman said some would argue that property insurance funds and revenue from the land sale should first be distributed to victims who lost property, with the remainder to those with death and personal injury claims. Others would say the money should be distributed pro rata, he said.

The judge added that he will try to get attorneys to agree on how distributions will be divided, but if they don’t, the decision is in his hands.

“This is a highly unique type of case where some unit owners survived, whereas others have death claims,” Hanzman said at the hearing.

Among the issues is that funds will be insufficient unless additional, solvent defendants are identified as being at fault for the collapse.

By preliminary estimates, claims could easily exceed $1 billion, Hanzman said. Yet, so far roughly $49 million in property and liability insurance has been identified, and the stalking horse bidder set the floor price for the land at $120 million. This means there could be roughly an $800 million gap between available funds and claims, Hanzman said.

The consolidated complaint seeking class action status is so far only against the association, but attorneys are reviewing thousands of documents obtained through subpoenas to determine if others could have been at fault and should be named. The deadline to file a new complaint with additional defendants is Nov. 16.

Ultimately, it is unclear how high a price developers will bid for the site at next year’s auction.

“I hope we get $300 million,” Hanzman said. “I am not putting a cap on it. The market will dictate.”

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Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche (Procore, Getty)

Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche (Procore, Getty)

Procore is one step closer to becoming a one-stop shop for the needs of the construction industry after the biggest acquisition in company history.

The giant is acquiring software company Levelset for $500 million. The acquisition includes approximately $425 million in cash and $75 million in Procore common stock, according to the Commercial Observer. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Levelset was founded in 2007 as a company that helps facilitate lien payments for construction work. Its acquisition will allow Procore to add lien rights management to its suite of products on its platform, as well as some industry data assets, such as payments and compliance activity.

Levelset’s platform aims to help vendors and subcontractors better secure payments, a notoriously slow process in construction. According to Procore, the industry is one of the slowest to pay for work in the world, measuring up with a median 90 days for outstanding sales and 74 days of payable outstanding.

On a Procore conference call Thursday night, Levelset CEO Scott Wolfe Jr. reportedly echoed figures shown on the company’s website that say 250,000 users have used the platform for more than 6.5 million projects. The company has about 300 employees and is based in New Orleans.

Not only is the $500 million acquisition the biggest in Procore’s history, but it’s also one of the biggest for a venture-backed, construction software company, only dwarfed by the $900 million Autodesk paid for PlanGrid.

Procore in May launched its initial public offering, raising $634.5 million by selling nearly 9.5 million shares at $67 each. At the time, the company counted more than 10,000 customers, including major landlords like Brookfield and Lennar.

The company offers software that allows all parties involved in a construction project — including contractors, architects and owners — to stay in touch via the cloud. When it went public, Procore was valued at over $8.5 billion, or $9.6 billion when including employee stock options and restricted stock units.

[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Developer Jeff Greene and Dalfen Industrial CEO Murray Dalfen with the complex at 1501 Meathe Drive (Dalfen, CBRE)

Developer Jeff Greene and Dalfen Industrial CEO Murray Dalfen with the complex at 1501 Meathe Drive (Dalfen, CBRE)

Billionaire developer Jeff Greene sold his just-completed industrial complex in West Palm Beach for $60.6 million, marking another big-ticket warehouse deal amid a hot market.

Dallas-based Dalfen Industrial bought the buildings at 1501 Meathe Drive, or roughly the southwest corner of Florida’s Turnpike and Jog Road, records show. Dalfen took out a $54.7 million loan from Morgan Hills Group.

The two-building property spans 30 acres and includes a 124,479-square-foot building and a 192,908-square-foot building, according to CBRE, which is leasing the property.

Robert Smith of CBRE represented Dalfen. John Huguenard and Sky Groden of JLL represented Greene.

The property received a certificate of occupancy just recently, and is mostly a shell, with interior buildout still needed, according to Smith. Dalfen is in talks with local and out-of-state prospective tenants, including medical supply companies as well as plumbing and air conditioning companies, Smith said.

Led by Murray Dalfen, Dalfen is an industrial real estate investor with a focus on last-mile distribution centers for e-commerce.

This is not its first South Florida investment. Last year it bought a Riviera Beach warehouse for $18.35 million, and a West Palm Beach industrial facility for $25.3 million.

Greene, a former gubernatorial candidate, is developing the twin-tower One West Palm mixed-use tower in downtown West Palm Beach at 550 North Quadrille Boulevard. It is planned to include apartments, office space and a hotel.

Forbes lists Greene’s net worth at $5.1 billion.

In 2020, he bought a Boynton Beach hotel at 1601 North Congress Avenue for $19 million.

Industrial real estate is the only asset class to thrive over the past year. Supply is struggling to keep up with demand as South Florida is land-constrained, pushing up sale prices and rental rates. In the second quarter, Palm Beach County base industrial rents increased 12.8 percent, year over year, according to a report from Avison Young.

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Valley National CEO Ira Robbins and Bank Leumi USA CEO Avner Mendelson (Getty, Valley National, Bank Leumi)

Valley National CEO Ira Robbins and Bank Leumi USA CEO Avner Mendelson (Getty, Valley National, Bank Leumi)

Valley National Bank is making its second major acquisition in the last three months, this time agreeing to acquire Bank Leumi USA for $1.15 billion.

Leumi’s shareholders will receive 3.8 shares of Valley National stock and $5.08 for every share they have, according to Bloomberg. Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM, the parent company of the U.S. banking side of the business, will own more than 14 percent of Valley National commons stock.

Valley National will be able to take advantage of Bank Leumi USA’s offerings for wealthy and middle-market commercial clients. The consolidation follows a June purchase by Valley National of Westchester Banking Holding Corp. for $210 million.

Prior to the sale, Bank Leumi USA possessed $8.4 billion total assets, $7.1 billion in total deposits and $5.4 billion in gross loans, as of June 30. The company is handing over keys to commercial offices in cities across the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

Shares in Valley National rose 5.1 percent during early morning trading on the heels of the acquisition news, Bloomberg noted. This year alone, Valley National shares have risen 30 percent.

Both Valley National and Bank Leumi USA have been responsible for major loans in recent years that have impacted the real estate industry, particularly in terms of the construction of projects.

Valley National provided one of the biggest outer-borough loans in July, handing self-storage company Insite Property Group a $33.8 million construction loan for a property in College Point, Queens. The company is planning to build a four-story, 132,000-square-foot self-storage facility at 131-21 14th Avenue.

Meanwhile, Bank Leumi USA has recently spent time trying to foreclose on a $120 million loan for a South Street Seaport tower at 161 Maiden Lane that has struggled with a “leaning” problem. The bank and developer Fortis Property Group in August agreed to enter mediation to resolve the differences.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Todd Nepola, President of Current Capital Management, buys Margate shopping center for $11M (Google Maps, Current Capital Management)

A Hollywood-based real estate investor added a Margate shopping center to his commercial portfolio.

A company managed by Todd Nepola, president of Current Capital Management, bought the Crossroads Plaza at 5000 Coconut Creek Parkway for $10.7 million, according to records. The buyer, Crossroads Center LLC, took out a $9 million loan from Southstate Bank.

The seller is SW Global, an entity managed by Suk Hui Walsh and Chang Hak Kim. In 2005, Walsh bought the 59,777-square-foot shopping plaza for $5.8 million, records show. The same year, the deed was transferred to SW Global.

The building was completed in 1985. It is currently 95 percent leased, with Dollar General and the Hollywood Institute of Beauty as anchor tenants, and a company called Chen Medical just signed a lease for 7,400 square feet of space, Nepola said via email.

“Our plan is to bring in some more new tenants,” Nepola said. “[SW Global] occupied a thrift store and will be vacating [the 22,000 square-foot space] as a condition of sale. I have some offers already from tenants who want to follow Chen,” he added, citing “medical-type tenants and a gym.”

Nepola said $7.3 million from the loan was used for the closing, and the remainder will be used for renovations, including landscaping, signage and lighting improvements.

In the past 18 months, Current Capital has acquired five South Florida properties totaling more than 400,000 square feet, Nepola said. Last year, Nepola and Current Capital bought Promenade at Inverrary in Lauderhill for $12.7 million. The 143,430-square-foot retail center at 4402-4678 North University Drive was previously owned by Miami Beach parking lot owner Andrew Mirmelli and Miami Beach attorney Mark Alhadeff.

Earlier this year, Margate experienced two significant multifamily deals. Lynd, a San Antonio-based multifamily investment firm, paid $50.8 million in March for a 280-unit complex called Lakes of Margate at 5750 Lakeside Drive. In January, a subsidiary of real estate merchant bank Island Capital Group bought Celebration Pointe, a 282-unit complex at 5555 Celebration Pointe Lane, for $64 million.

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Fortune International Realty’s former Miami office sells for $8M

2401 Douglas Road in Miami (Google Maps)

The former Miami office of Edgardo Defortuna’s Fortune International Realty sold for $7.8 million.

An entity managed by Walter Defortuna, a member of the Miami-based firm’s board of directors, sold the building at 2401 Douglas Road, records show.

The buyer is Javelin Investors, which will lease the building to a new tenant for now, but is eyeing redevelopment of the property in the long-term, according to a source. Current zoning allows for an eight-story building to replace the existing two-story building, but it is yet to be determined if it would be purely office or mixed-use.

Cesar Molina of Fortune International Realty represented the seller in the off-market deal. Renier Casanova of Compass represented the buyer.

Fortune International Realty planned to move the office to a “better location” in the Coral Gables area since the pandemic began and will announce a new office soon, Edgardo Defortuna said in a statement. “We had the opportunity to sell a real estate asset at a great price while taking advantage of low capital gain taxes,” he said.

The firm operated the Douglas Road office for roughly 15 years, according to Casanova. Employees moved to the existing Brickell office in the fall of 2021.

The two-story, 14,556-square-foot building was built in 1971 on 0.6 acres, property records show. It has an Art Deco-like design.

The building is close to Coral Gables and just east of the massive Plaza Coral Gables project underway at 2901 Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

Fortune International Realty is the brokerage arm of Fortune International Group. It was founded in 1983 to manage the sales and management of Fortune’s first project, Jade Brickell. Fortune International Realty now has 18 U.S. and international locations, according to its website.

Fortune International Group also has a development arm, known for its Jade brand, as well as sales and leasing divictions, according to its website. Edgardo Defortuna is the founder.

In May, Fortune International Group teamed up with Shahab Karmely’s KAR Properties for a bulk purchase of 81 units at the Reach and Rise condominium at Brickell City Centre.

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South Florida residential sales rose in August, but single-family closings fell across the tri-county region. (iStock)

South Florida residential sales rose in August, but single-family closings fell across the tri-county region. (iStock)

South Florida residential sales rose in August, but single-family closings fell across the tri-county region, amid declining inventory, according to reports from the Miami Association of Realtors.

Condo sales climbed, particularly in the luxury market. Residential prices continued to rise in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Combined dollar volume totaled nearly $6 billion in August.

Miami-Dade

Residential sales jumped by 30.6 percent, year over year, in August to 3,299 closings. Single-family home sales decreased 3.5 percent to 1,309, while condo sales climbed 70.1 percent to 1,990.

Luxury sales of single-family homes, priced at $1 million and up, rose by 68.6 percent to 258 sales, and luxury condo sales skyrocketed 217.1 percent to 222 deals.

Median prices continued to grow. The median single-family home sales price rose 20.3 percent to $500,500. The median condo price increased 26.4 percent to $335,000.

Total sales volume totaled $2.5 billion in August. Single-family dollar volume increased 37.4 percent to $1.4 billion, and condo dollar volume jumped 129.2 percent to $1.1 billion.

Broward

In Broward County, residential sales rose 10.8 percent, year over year, to 3,422, with single-family home sales declining 2.8 percent to 1,625. Condo sales increased 26.8 percent to 1,797.

Luxury sales of single-family houses climbed 68.1 percent to 195 sales, while luxury condo sales surged 294.1 percent to 67 transactions.

The median price of single-family homes increased 19 percent to $495,000, and for condos it rose 10.1 percent to $220,000.

Sales volume totaled $2.7 billion in August. Single-family dollar volume rose by 26.6 percent to $1.1 billion, and condo volume increased 61.9 percent to $557.7 million.

Palm Beach

Residential sales rose just 1.9 percent in August, year over year, to 3,072 closings, as a result of a 10.5 percent drop in single-family home sales, to 1,624 in Palm Beach. Condo sales jumped 20.7 percent to 1,448. The reports cite a lack of inventory, especially of single-family homes.

Luxury home sales, defined as $1 million and up, increased 20.4 percent to 224 sales, while luxury condo sales surged, rising 65 percent to 66 closings.

The median sales price of single-family homes was $480,000, up 20.3 percent compared to last August. The median condo price increased by 7.9 percent to $232,000.

Total sales volume in August was $1.8 billion, which breaks down to $1.3 billion for single-family homes sold, and $518 million for condos sold. They increased 11.3 percent and 41.4 percent, respectively.

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Waterfront condo project approved for Fort Lauderdale’s barrier island

Renderings of the property at 551 Bayshore Drive with developer Rishi Kapoor (Garcia Stromberg, Location Ventures)

Fort Lauderdale commissioners approved an 11-story, 65-unit condominium development along the Intracoastal Waterway in the Central Beach area of the city’s barrier island.

Coral Gables-based Location Ventures plans to develop the as-yet unnamed project at 551 Bayshore Drive, with completion expected in early 2025, said Rishi Kapoor, CEO of Location Ventures.

“We anticipate that slightly less than half of the building will be occupied by full-time residents … the remainder being second or third homes for snowbirds,” Kapoor said. Buyers are likely to come from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties as well as New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Canada, he added.

The development will include 32 condos with three bedrooms and a den; 29 with three bedrooms or two bedrooms and a den; and four with two bedrooms. Four of the units will be ground-level villas, two facing the Intracoastal Waterway and two facing the front of the property.

“The proposed project enhances the existing housing stock of the Central Beach by providing amenities not currently available in the area,” according to a report by the staff of the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board. “In addition, the project complies with the setback requirements and in some areas exceeds the requirements for the side yards.”

The two-building condo project will feature private resident dining service, meeting rooms, exercise rooms, a swimming pool, a garden, 151 vehicle parking spaces, and a dock on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Neighbors to the south of the development site objected to a proposed restaurant at the property, which was removed from the development application, according to the minutes of a planning and zoning board meeting July 21.

Earlier this year, Location Ventures raised $14.4 million of equity financing for the condo project. Jeffrey Donnelly and Dmitry Levkov of Colliers International arranged the equity financing from an unidentified New York-based investor.

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve on second reading the site plan for the development and a related zoning proposal.

The 1.54-acre development site on Bayshore Drive is an assembly of four vacant parcels that touch the Intracoastal Waterway. The site’s land-use designation is “Central Beach Regional Activity Center,” and its zoning is “Intracoastal Overlook Area.”

A company called Bayshore Concepts LLC assembled the development site 10 years ago by acquiring four waterfront parcels on Bayshore Drive, including one without a street address, according to Broward County property records. Bayshore Concepts, managed by Par Sanda, acquired the parcel at 529 Bayshore Drive and the parcel without a street address in a purchase totaling $3.05 million in 2011, and that same year, the company took ownership of the other two parcels at 537 and 553 Bayshore Drive via foreclosure actions, property records show.

A spokesperson for Location Ventures said the developer is affiliated with Fort Lauderdale-based Bayshore Concepts.

Location Ventures and its partners are also planning a mixed-use co-living and hotel development in Miami Beach. In August, the firm won approval from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board, enabling it to tear down one of the buildings it bought in May. It had paid $20 million for the property, which includes a second building that will be renovated.

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Douglas Durst, One Bryant Park, Robert Durst (Getty, Durst Org)

Douglas Durst, One Bryant Park, Robert Durst (Getty, Durst Org)

The courtroom drama surrounding the Durst family did not end with Robert Durst’s murder conviction in Los Angeles on Friday.

A new chapter emerged this week in a lawsuit filed by Robert Durst’s nephew Evan Kreeger, who alleges members of the legendary real estate family have stopped making regular distributions to his trusts while his parents attempt to force him into a guardianship.

Kreeger filed a petition in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday against Durst Organization chairman Douglas Durst and president Jonathan Durst, as well as Douglas Kreeger, his father.

Evan Kreeger alleges the three individuals are trustees of three separate trusts of which he is a beneficiary.

Evan, 50, claims the trustees have “virtually cut off” distributions to him, causing him “extreme hardship.”

Jordan Barowitz, spokesman for the Durst Organization, said, “The trusts are, and have been for years, providing financially for Evan. We hope he is getting all of the other support and help he needs.”

Evan said that his parents, Douglas and Wendy Kreeger — Robert and Douglas’ sister — filed a guardianship petition in 2019 that is also being heard in State Supreme Court. Evan disputes that he needs a guardian, asserting he can make his own health decisions.

“A pattern of distributions had been established and continued over years, which has been disrupted,” Evan’s petition reads. “The only explanation the trustees have provided to me is that they deem distributions to be ‘inadvisable’ at this time, which is insufficient under their fiduciary obligations.”

Evan said the timing of the disruption, combined with the trustees’ reluctance to provide a reason for it, “is troubling.” He said by cutting off distributions, the trustees would make “life more difficult in order to cause me to act out and demonstrate the need for the appointment of a guardian over me.”

The petition requests that the trustees, Douglas Kreeger, Douglas Durst and Jonathan Durst, file full and complete accountings of the three trusts. The trustees have a duty to account as well as provide beneficiaries with certain information, the petition claims. Such information is essential to the judge’s determination in his guardianship proceeding, Evan alleged.

Evan was the only Durst family member to appear in HBO’s 2015 documentary series, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” In the documentary, Evan expressed his disappointment with the Durst family over their silence on Robert.

Last week, Robert Durst was convicted of killing a close friend in Beverly Hills in 2000. It was one of three confirmed or suspected homicides to which the 78-year-old has been linked.

A year after the documentary aired — he was famously caught on tape muttering, “What the hell did I do? … Killed them all, of course,” Durst was convicted of a separate weapons charge and sentenced to a 7-year prison term.

The Durst Organization owns and manages more than 13 million square feet of Class A Manhattan office and retail space, according to its website. It was founded by Robert and Douglas’ grandparent Joseph Durst in 1915.

Evan Kreeger’s lawyer Clifford Meirowitz did not immediately return a request to comment.

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Rabbi Zalman Levitin, 204 Royal Palm Way and Todd Glaser (The Chabad House, toddmichaelglaser.com)

Developer Todd Michael Glaser flipped a commercial lot in Palm Beach to the Palm Beach Jewish Center.

Glaser’s 204 RPW Partners LLC sold the quarter-acre lot at 204 Royal Palm Way for $5.2 million, eight months after paying about $3.9 million for the property. That’s a 35 percent increase in price since January.

Glaser planned to build a Class A office building for a family office on the property, but said he ended up selling it because land prices have surged in recent months. He plans to oversee construction and development of a day school and synagogue for the Jewish Center, donating his time.

Glaser has been busy in Palm Beach. He and partners Jim Randall, Scott Robins and Jonathan Fryd paid about $85 million in July for a small island in Palm Beach called Tarpon Island. They plan to list it for a reported $120 million as is, with the option to expand the estate for $200 million.

He is also planning to redevelop the former Jeffrey Epstein property on El Brillo Way.

In July, Glaser, along with Randall, Robins and Fryd, paid close to $24 million for the former Indian Creek home of longtime “Sábado Gigante” host Don Francisco.

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After rising for two straight months this summer, home sales are once again on the decline.

Total existing-home sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, fell 2 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million in August, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Realtors. On a year-over-year basis, sales dropped 1.5 percent.

The slowdown may be partially attributed to a lack of inventory. Total housing inventory at the end of August totaled 1.29 million units, down 1.5 percent from July’s supply and down 13.4 percent from a year ago.

The lack of inventory has continued to cause bidding wars and rising prices, driving some prospective homebuyers to the sidelines, awaiting more supply.

“Sales slipped a bit in August as prices rose nationwide,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Although there was a decline in home purchases, potential buyers are out and about searching, but much more measured about their financial limits, and simply waiting for more inventory.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $356,700, up 14.9 percent from August 2020’s $310,400. Prices increased in each of the report’s regions, marking 114 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in August, unchanged from July and down from 22 days a year ago. Eighty-seven percent of homes sold in August 2021 were on the market for less than a month.

Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist at Keller Williams, said that he expects year-over-year declines in home sales moving into the fall as there is a return to normal seasonal patterns.

​​”Overall we think home sales will remain strong going into next year, but we should see inventory levels continue to slowly trend toward more normal levels and home price appreciation begin to slow over time,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

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Builders broke ground on more homes in August than had been predicted, as multifamily development surged. Single-family home construction, however, fell below expectations. (iStock)

Builders broke ground on more residential properties in August than had been predicted, but the number of single-family housing starts fell below expectations. (iStock)

Work began on more homes last month than had been predicted and more residential building permit applications were approved. Both data points represent good news for the construction industry that has been beset by rising supply costs.

But not all the news from the U.S. Census Bureau housing data tracker was good. Crews broke ground on fewer single-family homes than had been expected in July estimates. Home completions also fell from July predictions, though they were higher than August 2020 results.

Single-family housing starts last month were at an annual rate of 1.08 million, down nearly 3 percent from the July revised figure of 1.1 million, census data showed. It was the second straight month that single-family housing starts fell below expectations, CNBC reported, citing census data.
Meanwhile, multifamily starts — five or more units — jumped to 530,000, up nearly 22 percent from July estimates.

Overall, housing starts were at an annual rate of 1.62 million — seasonally adjusted — up about 4 percent from July estimates. That was also 17 percent higher than August 2020 numbers.

Development continued despite material and labor shortages that have hindered builders and driven up prices amid the nation’s housing shortage. Those shortages have eased, though it hasn’t had an impact on the market yet, experts said.

“While lumber prices have plummeted in the spot market, those lower prices have not yet made their way to home builders,” Wells Fargo’s Mark Vitner told CNBC. Wood was only part of the problem. Windows, cabinets and edge anchors are still in supply.

And other issues that have held up projects. Homebuilding giant Lennar cited supply chain delays as the reason it delivered fewer homes that it had predicted — 15,199, about 600 below estimates — at its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. The company also lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter.

August single-family housing starts are a sharp dropoff from March, when the rate surged to 1.25 million units — the highest level since November 2006, according to CNBC.

Still, a September housing market index that gauges builder perceptions of current and future single-family home sales showed that confidence was up slightly.

For the August census data, building permit authorizations — approved for construction but where work hasn’t started — showed a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7 million. That was up 6 percent from July’s estimates and nearly 14 percent higher than August 2020. Single-family permit approvals were at a rate of just over 1 million, about 0.6 higher than July’s estimate.

Meanwhile, multifamily permit approvals surged, to 632,000 last month. That was nearly 20 percent higher than July estimates and 53 percent over August 2020 numbers.

Home construction completions were mixed in August. They stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million, about 4.5 percent below July’s revised estimate. But that was also 9.4 percent above last year’s rate, according to the data.

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Nancy Batchelor (Compass)

Nancy Batchelor (Compass)

Top Miami Beach Realtor Nancy Batchelor joined Compass, leaving Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty after about 20 years.

Batchelor and her team of 10 agents, plus administrative staff, joined Compass and are working out of the firm’s Lincoln Road office in Miami Beach. The move marks a big win for Compass, adding to a string of former EWM agents and top brokers from other firms recruited by the brokerage over the years.

Batchelor and her team have closed sales totaling about $320 million so far this year, doubling their 2020 business, she said. She has hung her license with EWM since 2002 and has been licensed since 1983, state records show. (The brokerage rebranded in 2019 after joining the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.)

She declined to disclose terms of her agreement with Compass, but said it was “a very, very attractive package.”

Since 2017, Audrey Ross, Carole Smith and Liz Hogan have joined Compass from EWM.

Batchelor, whose team includes Bettina Muñoz, Laura Preuss-Kühne, Nesti Mendoza, Elias Palacios, Dana Rothman, Juan Salas, Michelle Shurtleff, Simone Weissman Stein, Andrew Holtz and Christopher Batchelor, focuses on Miami Beach, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove. The demand for homes has remained high, and inventory has dwindled as a result, making it a competitive market.

“We have lots of buyers right now, so we’re really honing in on the market and reaching out to our prior customers because it’s a great time to be a seller,” Batchelor said.

She called it a “tough decision” to leave Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty, but said that she was ready for a change.

“We enjoyed being instrumental in the launch of Nancy’s career, and I look forward to our continued joint community involvement,” said Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of BHHS EWM Realty, in a statement.

Batchelor said she had been approached by most of the big firms, but was impressed with Compass’ technology and collaborative agents, as well as its reach north of Miami-Dade County in markets that include Vero Beach, Wellington and Delray Beach.

“What I love about it is everything is in one place,” Batchelor said, referring to the company’s technology tools. “Right down to ordering client gifts.”

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Here are the homes that billionaire Paulsons will spar over in divorce

Jenny and John Paulson and 9 East 86th Street (Google Maps, Getty)

Billionaire John Paulson, who once said buying a home was “ the best single investment you can make,” may put that maxim to the test as he and his wife Jenny head for divorce.

The two have lawyered up for what will probably be a battle for assets, given that the couple lacks a prenuptial agreement. The money manager made $20 billion by shorting the housing market before the 2008 crash and earned much of his fortune during the marriage. The New York Post reported the divorce on Tuesday, saying the couple cited “irreconcilable differences.”

The Paulsons, who married in 2000, spent more than $100 million on properties in New York, Southampton and Aspen between 2004 and 2012.

First, they plunked down $14.7 million for a neo-Georgian townhouse at 9 E. 86th Street in Manhattan. The home, once the Town Club, is a six-story, 51-foot-wide limestone townhouse with 28,513 square feet above its basement.

Then, in 2008, they spent $41.3 million for three parcels of land on Southampton’s Lake Agawan and built a 15,000-square-foot home on the 10.4 acre property, known as “Old Trees.”
It has 13 bedrooms, a dining room that seats 60, as well as a pool, tennis court, carriage house and guesthouse.

John Paulson paid $2.85 million in 2010 for a two-bedroom spread at 641 Fifth Avenue‘s Olympic Tower. It’s unclear whether the couple still owns the unit.

Two years later, they bought the Hala Ranch in Aspen for $49 million. Once owned
by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, it was deemed the most expensive estate listed in the U.S. in 2006 with a price tag of $135 million. The ranch is 56,000 square feet, with 15 bedrooms and 16 baths.

Paulson’s real estate holdings go beyond traditional properties. In 2015, Paulson’s hedge fund Paulson & Co. took a seven percent stake in luxury hotel operator Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, making it the company’s largest shareholder. Starwood has since been acquired by Marriott.

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Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and First Alliance Title co-founders Lon Welsh and Greg Parham (Compass, First Alliance)

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and First Alliance Title co-founders Lon Welsh and Greg Parham (Compass, First Alliance)

UPDATED, 3 p.m., Sept. 22, 2021: Compass said it’s acquiring a Colorado title and escrow company, expanding its reach into eight states just one week after buying a firm in Texas.

The brokerage said on Wednesday that its purchase of First Alliance Title, which has three offices in Denver and a staff of 39, will close by the end of the year. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The company first entered the title and escrow business a year ago when it bought Seattle startup Modus and Washington, D.C.’s KVS Title. Compass said last week that it was buying Dallas-based LegacyTexas Title.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told analysts on an earnings call last month that the pace of acquisitions would probably slow in the second half of the 2021 and that costs associated with them will be reported in coming months. Reffkin and CFO Kristen Ankerbrandt spent a large portion of the call explaining how the company will become profitable and build new businesses that will be offered to agents and their clients through its “end-to-end” platform.

Thanks to the strong housing market, many brokerages are spending heavily to build out new and pre-existing lines of business.

Correction: This story has been updated to include that Compass’ title business operates in eight states.

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Horizon Properties pays $33M for Publix-anchored shopping center in Hialeah

Mercado Plaza at 2400 West 60th Street, Hialeah, and Horizon Properties of Miami principals Jorge Alvarino and Joel Benes (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

For the second time this month, a Publix-anchored shopping center is at the heart of a big-ticket retail sale in South Florida.

An affiliate of Horizon Properties of Miami bought El Mercado Plaza in Hialeah for $33 million, records show.

Publix is the anchor tenant in the 101,484-square-foot shopping center at 2400 West 60th Street, taking up 42,112 square feet. Other tenants include Bank of America, Pollo Tropical, Little Caesars, Cricket Wireless, U.S. Post Office and Banfield Pet Hospital, according to an online listing of the property.

An affiliate of Stockbridge Capital Group is the seller. The Atlanta-based real estate investment firm paid $23 million for El Mercado Plaza in 2015, records show.

Built in 1988, the shopping center is in a densely populated neighborhood, with more than 54,000 residents within one mile of the property, according to a Colliers International leasing listing.

Last week, Barberry Rose Management paid $16.5 million for the Quantum Village shopping center in Boynton Beach, anchored by a 45,600-square-foot Publix. Barberry, based in New York, financed the deal with a $14.5 million loan from Ameris Bank. Built in 2007, the Quantum Village retail property spans 95,499 square feet.

Publix Super Markets also has been acquiring development sites in South Florida. In April, the Lakeland-based grocery chain bought 1.4 acres at 2985 North Ocean Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Publix paid $10 million for two parcels, with plans to build a 29,000-square-foot store with rooftop parking.

In July, Publix paid $9.1 million for a 20-acre site in the master-planned community of Westlake in Palm Beach County. The company received city approval to develop a 140,000-square-foot shopping plaza anchored by a 50,000-square-foot Publix grocery and liquor store at 5075 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.

According to Colliers International, South Florida’s retail submarket rebounded in the second quarter, showing positive net absorption and stabilizing vacancy rates in the tri-county region. Population growth is boosting consumer trips to physical stores, and national discount retailers like Ross and Marshalls are driving new tenant occupancy, according to Colliers.

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ICSC President Tom McGee and the Las Vegas Convention Center (ICSC, Wikimedia)

ICSC President Tom McGee and the Las Vegas Convention Center (ICSC, Wikimedia)

It’s been nearly two years since the real estate community has been able to attend its big Las Vegas retail industry bash, ReCon, hosted by the former International Council of Shopping Centers.

The December conference is usually a highlight of the year, along with being great for business. But The Real Deal found mixed reactions about attending from those who would normally be enthusiastic regulars at the event.

ICSC — whose new tagline, “Innovating Commerce Serving Communities,” won’t win any rebranding awards — will host its three-day conference Dec. 5 to 7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The trade group has dubbed it “Here, We Go. 2021.”

Some 9,000 attendees have registered to attend, according to ICSC. In previous years ReCon has drawn about 30,000, but the trade group professes optimism. “As with prior ICSC events, registration will continue to grow as we get closer to the event,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Events have been a major source of revenue for the organization, which has faced turmoil in recent years with declining membership, internal strife, changing consumer habits hurting its patrons, and Covid cancelations.

The Vegas event, canceled for 2020 a month into the pandemic, had long been an extravaganza of networking and deal-making, and some are expecting this year’s will be no different.

“For me, my team, it’s been incredibly hard to skip two years,” said James Famularo, president of retail leasing at Meridian, who has been attending the conference for more than two decades.

However, not everyone is eagerly booking their flights. David Firestein, a partner with the Shopping Center Group, said he plans to wait and see, especially given Covid-19 cases being on the rise.

“Normally in my New York office, we’d send a couple dozen [people],” Firestein said. “If [the conference] happens, that’s going to be probably less than a handful.”

Although nearly all Covid deaths are now among unvaccinated people, reports of breakthrough cases — in which vaccinated people test positive for the virus, suffer symptoms and have to quarantine — have spooked many potential travelers.

“As I hear myself talking, I’m talking about myself out of going,” Firestein said, noting that there will be other events in the future.

The pandemic is also a source of hesitation for Barry Wolfe, senior managing director/investments at Marcus & Millichap. Though he plans on attending ICSC’s Florida regional event in Orlando, the Vegas conference falls close to a family event. Wolfe does not want to risk exposing any relatives to Covid-19.

“I’m definitely not down on ICSC or conferences or anything like that,” Wolfe said. “I’m looking forward to them.”

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10100 Northwest 25th Street in Doral, Florida and Seagis Property Group's Bradlee Lord (Google Maps, Cornell)

10100 Northwest 25th Street in Doral, Florida and Seagis Property Group’s Bradlee Lord (Google Maps, Cornell)

Seagis Property Group bought a logistics company’s Doral facility for $19.4 million.

AmCar Lamprecht sold the property at 10100 Northwest 25th Street, two years after it purchased it for $14 million, records show.

The two-story, 105,984-square-foot facility was constructed in 1974 on 5 acres, property records show. Seagis also owns the much bigger, next-door industrial facility at 10000 Northwest 25th Street. That building totals 336,261 square feet. It was constructed in 1997 on 17.3 acres.

AmCar offers air and ocean services to Central and Latin America and also is a major freight forwarder to the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, according to its website. Led locally by Ricardo Valdes, it was formed from the 2016 merger of two logistics companies, AmCar Freight and American Lamprecht Transport. It also has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Lawrence, New York.

Valdes did not immediately return a request for comment on whether AmCar will move to another South Florida location or continue to lease the facility.

Seagis, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, invests and owns logistics real estate, mainly in South Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the outer boroughs of New York City, according to its website. Its portfolio spans more than 12 million square feet and 200 buildings with over 750 tenants. Bradlee Lord is director at the South Florida office.

Seagis has been in expansion mode in the region this year, with its latest acquisition marking at least its third purchase.

In May, Seagis bought a Medley warehouse with cold storage space for $7.9 million.

It also bought a warehouse at the Port 95 industrial park in Dania Beach in June for $24.6 million, marking the largest industrial sale in the second quarter in Broward County, according to an Avison Young report.

Seagis’ focus on South Florida industrial real estate is yet another nod to the market’s health, as it is likely the only asset class to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Miami-Dade County, second quarter industrial leasing represented more than half of the total in 2020, according to Avison Young’s report. County base rents have increased 9.5 percent since the onset of the pandemic.

In another industrial deal this month, HighBrook Investors picked up three warehouses in northwest Miami-Dade for $33 million.

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Blueground CEO Alex Chatzieleftheriou (Getty, LinkedIn via Chatzieleftheriou)

Blueground CEO Alex Chatzieleftheriou (Getty, LinkedIn via Chatzieleftheriou)

Blueground, the rental startup forced during the pandemic to scale back expansion plans, raised $140 million in Series C equity financing and $40 million of debt, valuing the company at $750 million.

Existing investor Laurence Tosi’s WestCap Group led the round, which included billionaire Geolo Capital, John Pritzker’s family office, as well asPrime Ventures and VentureFriends. The debt came from Silicon Valley Bank. Bloomberg, which reported the round earlier, cited people familiar with the deal for the valuation.

The pandemic ravaged markets in cities where Blueground operates such as New York and San Francisco, prompting the firm to rethink expansion plans. It now aims to have 30,000 units by 2025, compared with 50,00 by 2023, CEO Alex Chatzieleftheriou said in an interview today. The company has 5,000 apartments now, up from 2,800 in 2019.

“We did adjust our business quite significantly,” he said.

New York-based Blueground, which offers furnished and serviced rentals for a minimum of one month, also lowered rates and started offering incentives such as rental agreements that allowed people to move between cities and a $1,000 credit for a second meeting, with a six-month minimum, Chatzieleftheriou said.

Its global occupancy rate sank to a low of 88 percent last year before climbing back to 94 percent this month as remote work became the norm. It still intends to enter markets including Miami, Madrid, Zurich and Berlin. Chatzieleftheriou said remote work will increase the market for his serviced units.

“Flexibility will be key,” he said. “The pandemic accelerated the trends that Blueground was relying on.”

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Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen and Related CEO Jeff Blau (Getty, Gravity)

Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen and Related CEO Jeff Blau (Getty, Gravity)

Sleek, high-tech electric vehicle charging stations are coming en masse to New York City, and major landlords will play a key part in the rollout.

This fall, New York-based Gravity, an electric vehicle taxi service and charging infrastructure startup, will open an indoor fast-charging EV hub — Manhattan’s first, according to the company — at Related’s Manhattan Plaza.

The street-level site at 401 West 42nd Street in Midtown will have 29 charging ports and its own dedicated entrance. Fast-charging ports will allow drivers to recharge in minutes. The site will be open to the public and will support roughly 600 vehicles a day.

The Related deal is the first of several partnerships to come with major New York City landlords looking to bring the service to the growing number of EV owners, Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen said in an interview.

There will be discrete leases or licensing agreements for locations around Manhattan and denser areas of Brooklyn, alongside a handful of portfolio-level deals with landlords who want to “electrify” their parking garages. In the end, there could be as many as 100 locations around the city, each offering between six and 40 charging ports.

Cohen would not disclose prospective licensing fees or lease rates, nor the names of the other landlords with which it is exploring partnerships.

“We’re interested in every single capable property, and very actively engaged in exploring their potential,” Cohen said.

Site selection boils down to two main factors: space and power. Manhattan’s commercial garages are tight, and each fast-charging port requires about 100 amps of power, which must be drawn from underutilized sources, Cohen said.

Gravity, which bills itself as a “private transportation and lifestyle membership-based service,” wants to make its charging services seamless for users by placing their stations at or near locations where drivers would leave their cars anyway. Much of the charging infrastructure to-date has focused on outdoor sites far from urban centers, and is less efficient, Cohen said.

“Sophisticated” landlords like Related now understand the difference between a fast-charging urban location and a “destination” charging station on the outskirts of a city, Cohen said.

“They’re thinking nationally — their whole portfolios — and what happens from a real estate perspective as there’s a move to EVs,” Cohen said. “It’s very synergistic and natural. And frankly, the more sophisticated landlords are gravitating to solutions like ours.”

Related did not return a request for comment.

As the market for electric vehicles matures, charging stations will be more than an array of ports and parking spaces, Cohen said. Some of Gravity’s planned locations may allow for integrated cafes or enclosed workstations.

“This is a deep rethinking: What does a parking garage actually look like when you remove fumes?” Cohen said. “There’s a lot of other things that happen as you move to EVs. How does that change how we think about parking? And how is it going to change behavior?”

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ParkLine MiamiCentral

ParkLine MiamiCentral

UPDATED, Sept. 22, 4:12 p.m.: Florida East Coast Industries is looking to take advantage of the hot multifamily market by listing the luxury apartment towers at Brightline’s MiamiCentral station for $500 million.

ParkLine Miami, an 816-unit, two-tower development at 100 Northwest Sixth Street, hit the market with a Cushman & Wakefield team led by Robert Given and Troy Ballard, according to a press release. The buildings are above the MiamiCentral station, which includes retail space.

The listing is one of the largest apartment listings in South Florida and throughout the Southeast.

Leasing began early last year, and the 44-story and 47-story buildings are now more than 90 percent leased, with average monthly rents of $3.28 per square foot, or nearly $3,000 per unit, according to a spokesperson.

ParkLine MiamiCentral (Miranda Kruse of Miss Takes)

ParkLine MiamiCentral (Miranda Kruse of Miss Takes)

Amenities include a 2-acre amenity deck, pool and Jacuzzi, cabanas and day beds, a lap pool, a movie theater, a 3,500-square-foot gym, and a running track. The buildings also feature outdoor dining areas with grills, a dog park and a pet spa, a business center, club room and bike storage.

Investor demand for South Florida multifamily properties remains strong, particularly among out-of-state buyers. In August, Cortland bought the seven-building Uptown Boca for $230 million, marking the priciest sale of the year. It was 99 percent leased when the deal closed.

Parkline Miami is part of a larger mixed-use development that includes additional retail, a 26,000-square-foot food hall by Sam Nazarian’s C3, and two office buildings.

In 2019, the company sold the office portion of the development, 2 and 3 MiamiCentral, to Shorenstein Properties for $159.4 million. In March, Shorenstein sold the buildings to Blackstone Group for $230 million.

Miami-based FECI, which is owned by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, recently secured $200 million in new financing tied to seven redevelopment properties near Brightline stations in downtown Miami and downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Brightline is expanding with stations in Aventura and Boca Raton that are expected to open next year. The rail service also expects to complete the Orlando leg of construction by the end of next year.

Brightline suspended operations between downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach at the beginning of the pandemic and plans to resume train service in early November.

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This story has been updated to clarify that only the multifamily towers are for sale. 

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Clayco affiliate picks up Miramar Park of Commerce for $18M

Miramar Park of Commerce at 10315 USA Today Way, Miramar and CRG principal and president Shawn Clark (CRG, Google Maps)

UPDATED, Sept. 22, 1:35 p.m.: St. Louis, Missouri commercial real estate firm is dipping into the Broward County industrial market.

An affiliate of CRG, the commercial real estate division of national builder Clayco Inc., paid $18 million for a warehouse in the Miramar Park of Commerce, records show.

The buyer took out a $14.5 million loan from BMO Harris Bank to finance the off-market purchase of the property at 10315 USA Today Way in Miramar.

The seller is Zeta Associates LLC, whose president Richard Perlman is also the founder and president of Chicago-based real estate firm Zaragon Inc. Zeta sold the industrial building, a former printing and distribution site for USA Today, for $6 million above its purchase price in 2019.

CRG plans on renovating the 56,087-square-foot building to create a high-end educational campus that could be leased to a national client that operates a medical school, according to a press release.

Zeta was represented by an Avison Young team led by David Duckworth and Tom Viscount. The CRG affiliate paid $321 per square foot, about $107 more a square foot than what Zeta paid two years ago.

The transaction represents the highest price per foot a buyer has paid for an industrial property in Broward, Duckworth and Viscount said.

“Usually the high watermark is $200 to $220 a square foot,” Duckworth said. “It would cost them more to buy the land and build a building. Land prices have gone up significantly in the last three, four years.”

Viscount said Zeta had listed Miramar Park of Commerce for lease and the property was not for sale until CRG inquired about the site about four months ago. “The seller was open and had a price point in mind that they did not want to deviate from,” Viscount said. “Eighteen million dollars was the price point. The buyer came through.”

Broward’s industrial submarket has performed well during the pandemic. According to a second quarter Avison Young report, Broward had a 4.4 percent vacancy rate, the lowest since 2018, and net absorption rose 1.6 percent compared to zero growth during the second quarter last year.

Base rents jumped by 5.4 percent since the start of the pandemic and some landlords are considering rent increases of 4 percent on new tenant leases, according to the report.

Industrial investment activity is also on an upswing. Pricing for industrial properties rose by 2.5 percent in the second quarter, according to Avison Young.

Earlier this month, Cabot Properties bought the Bridge Point Miramar Distribution Center for $71.6 million. The Boston-based logistics real estate investment firm paid about $235 per square foot for the 304,428-square-foot industrial building at 15501 Southwest 29th Street.

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the property. 

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(Getty)

(Getty)

A Freddie Mac study of 12 million appraisals showed a gap between valuations of homes in mostly Black and Latino areas and those in white ones, the latest evidence of racial disparity in the housing industry.

The mortgage giant analyzed home purchase appraisals from 2015 to 2020 and compared them to contract prices. The research showed gaps in the work of “a large portion” of appraisers, according to Inman. Potential factors include whether appraisers are more willing to seek comparative prices in white neighborhoods.

Using census tracts, the research found that 15.4 percent of homes in mostly Latino areas and 12.5 percent of those in largely Black areas were appraised at below the contract price. That compares with 7.4 percent for homes in predominantly white neighborhoods.

The study, and another last month that found lenders were more likely to deny home loans to borrowers of color due to a bias hidden in mortgage algorithms, may add weight to the Biden administration to tackle housing discrimination and appraisal bias. The Interagency Task Force on Property Value and Valuation Equity launched in July and is set to deliver a final report in the next six months.

Freddie Mac’s research showed that the gap was even more pronounced in neighborhoods where the Latino or Black population was at least 80 percent. That increased the gap between Latino and white appraisals to 9.4 percent from 8 percent, and to 5.9 percent from 5.2 percent for Black ones.

Freddie Mac plans to keep researching the difference in appraisal values. One factor could be the lack of racial diversity among appraisers: A 2018 study by the Appraisal Institute showed that 85 percent of appraisers were white and 78 percent were men.

[Inman] — Holden Walter-Warner

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FHFA director Sandra Thompson (FHFA, iStock)

FHFA director Sandra Thompson (FHFA, iStock)

Good news for second-home buyers: Certain loan restrictions at the federal level have been lifted, which will make it easier to get a mortgage for those properties.

In an effort to boost housing supply, the Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency are removing some rules that limited the number of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could buy, HousingWire reported.

The restrictions, which were added to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements in January, prevented Fannie Mae from acquiring loans secured by second homes and investment properties. Lenders are more hesitant to make loans that cannot be sold to Fannie and Freddie, and loans that are off limits to the government-sponsored entities are typically more expensive for borrowers.

Under the January change, only 7 percent of the agency’s total single-family acquisitions could be from loans secured by second homes and investment properties. Other restrictions included those on higher-risk loans and small lender cash window access.

With home prices on the rise and few homes on the market, dropping these restrictions is a way to promote sustainable homeownership, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

“The administration is focused on promoting housing stability, which includes advancing housing policies that can sustainably increase the stock of affordable housing units for rent and ownership,” the statement continued.

When the restrictions were implemented, they were met with outcry from lenders and trade groups, who complained that the limits on the cash window would force lenders to send mortgage-backed securities to the private market, the publication reported. By spring, demand for those properties had risen by 84 percent over the past year, according to a report from Redfin.

The rollback was met with positive reactions from groups including the Community Home Lenders Association, which commended FHFA director Sandra Thompson for the reversal.

[HW] — Cordilia James

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Lennar falls short on home deliveries, blames supply chain

Stuart Miller and a Lennar single family home (Lennar)

For homebuilding giant Lennar, there was plenty of demand for properties in the third quarter. And while supply remained low, the real problem was the supply chain.

The Miami-based homebuilder delivered 15,199 homes in the third quarter, about 600 below the low end of its guidance, it announced Tuesday at a third quarter earnings call.

Those supply chain delays — which are affecting wide swaths of the economy — Lennar said it will also lower guidance for deliveries in the fourth quarter.

“During the third quarter, our company and the homebuilding industry as a whole continued to experience unprecedented supply chain challenges which we believe will continue into the foreseeable future,” Lennar executive chairman Stuart Miller said in a statement.

Co-CEO Jon Jaffe said that engineered wood, windows, garage doors, paint and vinyl siding were experiencing the most supply chain delays.

The company expects those issues to stabilize in the second quarter of 2022. Lennar, among the largest homebuilders in the country, is known for its low-cost, no-frills homes.

Lennar’s earnings highlight the main challenge homebuilders have experienced this year.

Despite high demand for new homes, homebuilders have struggled to secure supplies for construction. Another large homebuilder, D.R. Horton, also lowered its expectations for home closings in the fourth quarter, citing supply chain and labor issues.

For Lennar, supply challenges have also slowed its construction of housing communities. Home community count remained flat in Q3 from a year before. The company plans to lower Q4 guidance for new construction, from 10 percent growth to 7 percent.

Outside of the supply issue, Miller said the housing market remains strong as the inventory of new homes remains constrained for the near future.

“The story remains that supply is short and demand is strong,” Miller said in the call with analysts.

Lennar’s revenues from home sales increased 19 percent in the third quarter to $6.5 billion compared to $5.5 billion last year. New orders of homes also rose, 5 percent, to 16,277 during the same time period.

The company reported third quarter revenue of $6.9 billion and net income of $1.4 billion.

Profit margins on home sales also improved, rising to 27.3 percent in the third quarter from 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020.

Lennar’s Co-CEO Rick Beckwitt said Texas has the strongest housing market in the country, citing its “pro-business employer-friendly economy,” which is resulting in corporate relocations.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lennar’s stock had fallen over 3 percent since it released its earnings on Monday.

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Jason Capello and 1404 North Lake Way

Jason Capello and 1404 North Lake Way

Another hedge fund manager purchased a waterfront spec home in Palm Beach, as ultra luxury sales continue to close.

Jason Capello, who led New York-based Merchants’ Gate Capital, paid $30.7 million for the six-bedroom, 8,981-square-foot mansion at 1404 North Lake Way, property records show. An LLC named after the address, led by George P. Taylor and Nedim Soylemez, sold the half-acre property.

The Intracoastal-fronting property previously sold in 2018 for $8.9 million. The Taylor and Soylemez-led entity built the home and listed it for sale in April, asking $32.5 million.

Chris Deitz with William Raveis Real Estate represented the seller, and Paulette Koch of the Corcoran Group represented the buyer, according to Realtor.com.

The Palm Beach property includes a guest home above the three-car garage, a gourmet chef’s kitchen, wine cellar, pool and dock that fits up to a 120-foot yacht, the listing shows.

Capello led Merchants’ Gate Capital and Merchants’ Gate Asset Management, which he shut down in late 2014, according to Bloomberg. He is now chief investment officer of New York-based Mgate Capital, a financial firm focused on public equities, real estate and venture capital.

Soylemez, one of the sellers, is co-founder of Lion’s View Holdings in Palm Beach.

Luxury sales have continued despite diminishing inventory. Last month, developer Clark Beaty sold his oceanfront Palm Beach spec mansion for $64 million, six months after listing the property for $84 million. And technology chief James Sankey and his wife, Beth, paid $14.7 million for a vacant lot in Palm Beach where they plan to build a new mansion.

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(Getty)

Singer Joe Jonas and “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner can finally eat cake by the bay after purchasing a Miami mansion.

The celebrity couple paid $11 million for the waterfront home at 4400 Island Road in Miami’s Bay Point community, The Real Deal has learned. The house previously belonged to Cuban-American musician Willy Chirino.

The purchase comes three months after the couple listed their 15,000-square-foot Encino mansion for $16.8 million. They’ve spent time in Miami, too. The Jonas Brothers filmed their music video for “Cool” in 2019.

The 10,416-square-foot Miami mansion, with six bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms, sits on a 0.4-acre lot. It was recently renovated and features indoor gardens, a koi pond, wine cellar, fireplace and pool.

The sellers are Luis Arguello Jr. and Sylvia Chamorro.

The property was listed in September 2020 for nearly $12 million. Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman co-listed the house with Chamorro. Carl Gambino of Compass represented the buyer. Gambino did not respond to a request for comment. Goldentayer and Elliman declined to comment.

Built in 1980, the house last sold in 2014 for $4.2 million. Chirino owned it between 1992 and 2014, according to property records. Arguello, the seller, is chairperson and CEO of DemeTech, a Miami-based maker of surgical sutures, mesh and bone wax.

Bay Point, north of downtown Miami and the Miami Design District, has seen a bump in high-end home sales. In December, a former Goldman Sachs executive bought a waterfront home in the neighborhood for $11.3 million, setting a record for the community. That record was surpassed in May with the $17.4 million sale of 580 Sabal Palm Road.

Also in May, Jessica Goldman Srebnick and her husband, Scott Srebnick, sold their Miami Beach house and purchased a Bay Point home for $9.2 million.

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(Adam Popper via LinkedIn)

(Adam Popper via LinkedIn)

Adam Popper is back in an executive role with a major commercial real estate company.

The former Columbia Property Trust executive has a new role with Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities as its vice president of acquisitions. Popper started in the role on Monday, according to the Commercial Observer.

Popper’s charge is to expand the developer’s presence in both industrial and life science properties, two booming sectors. He most recently founded 20 Bridges Realty Partners, where he was a managing principal for almost four years.

Prior to that, Popper was in charge of investments and asset management in the eastern U.S. for Columbia Property Trust, which he joined in February 2016. During the fourth-quarter earnings call two years later, it was revealed Popper was gone, though the reason for his departure was unclear.

Before Columbia, Popper was the managing principal at Westbrook Partners and the director of U.S. office acquisitions at Vornado Realty Trust. Popper also had previous stints at Beacon Capital Partners and Tishman Speyer.

Thor counts 227 properties among its investments, according to its website portfolio. The Real Deal reported in April the company paid $30 million for a 200,000-square-foot warehouse near the Port of Los Angeles marking its entry into the Southern California industrial market.

Thor chairman Joe Sitt said at the time the company anticipated “profound growth in the resilient industrial sector.”

Earlier in the year, Thor dumped a logistics portfolio in the United Kingdom for about $415 million, which was about $85 million more than what the company paid fewer than two years earlier. The portfolio included seven warehouses.

Shortly afterwards, Thor scored $76 million in construction financing and a $155 million joint venture equity recapitalization for a warehouse property on Richards Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The warehouse is already 100 pre-leased to Amazon, which signed a 20-year deal with Thor for 311,796 square feet in space.

[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Eighty Seven Park and the lof where the Champlain Towers South once stood (Douglas Elliman)

Eighty Seven Park and the lot where the Champlain Towers South once stood (Douglas Elliman)

An Italian investor sold his condo at Eighty Seven Park, marking the first closing at the oceanfront tower since the collapse of Champlain Towers South next door.

Miami-based Slow Emotion, led by Giovanni and Stefano Giusto, sold unit 602 at 8701 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, records show. The three-bedroom, 2,279-square-foot condo sold for $3,949 per square foot. It marks one of the highest prices per square foot in the building.

The buyer is an unnamed hedge fund manager from New York who purchased the condo via a Delaware LLC in an off-market deal, sources said. The buyer paid all cash.

The unit, with three bathrooms and one half-bath, previously sold for $7.5 million in December 2019. The developer, a partnership led by David Martin’s Terra, completed the North Beach building at about the same time.

The buyer, who went in contract prior to the deadly collapse of Champlain, closed on time and was “very comfortable” buying in the building, according to Douglas Elliman agent Stefania Cambarau, who represented the buyer alongside David Siddons. Yet, the collapse led to several deals at Eighty Seven Park falling apart, Cambarau said. Siddons, who is listing a combined unit on the 11th floor for $24 million, said “the market is up and moving again,” following the tragedy.

Vittoria Ruzzi of Luxe Living Realty represented the seller. Ruzzi was the listing agent when the property was rented for $45,000 a month, prior to the sale. She said the unit is on the “best line” in the building, with views of the ocean, as well as looking south toward North Shore Oceanside Park.

Eighty Seven Park was closed for weeks after the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside on June 24 that killed 98 people. The developer of Eighty Seven Park is named in related litigation, citing complaints and concerns from Champlain residents during construction of Eighty Seven Park. The building, now controlled by its condo association, has since reopened. It is just south of the Champlain site.

Before the collapse, Novak Djokovic sold his unit at Eighty Seven Park for $6 million.

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A unit in Continuum South Beach was the top sale last week (Luxhunters for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty)

A unit in Continuum South Beach was the top sale last week (Luxhunters for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty)

Tech entrepreneur Hari Ravichandran’s $8 million purchase of a luxury condo in South Beach led last week’s condo sales in Miami-Dade County.

Total condo sales dollar volume for the week reached $123 million, compared to $85.3 million the week before. Sales totaled 198, up from 128 the previous holiday week.

Condos sold for an average price of about $622,000 compared to $666,000 the previous week.

Ravichandran acquired unit 3507 at the Continuum for $2,708 per square foot. Eddy Martinez and Roland Ortiz of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller. Alex Algarin of Compass represented the buyer. It was on the market for about a week.

The second top sale was for unit 6841 at Palazzo Della Luna on Fisher Island. The unit was listed for 324 days and sold for $7.5 million, or $2,045 per square foot. Dora Puig represented the seller, while Pablo Alfaro was the buyer’s agent.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Sept. 12 to Sept. 18.

Most expensive

Continuum South Beach unit 3507 | 7 days on market | $8M | $2,708 psf | Listing agents: Eddy Martinez and Roland Ortiz | Buyer’s agent: Alex Algarin

Least expensive

300 Collins unit 3A | 49 days on market | $2M | $1,363 psf | Listing agent: Adi Zilberberg | Buyer’s agent: Jamey Prezzi

Most days on market

Four Seasons Brickell unit 55CD | 1,162 days on market | $3.1M | $953 psf | Listing agent: Elizabeth Tamayo | Buyer’s agent: Scott Shuffield

Fewest days on market

Continuum South Beach unit 3507 | 7 days on market | $8M | $2,708 psf | Listing agents: Eddy Martinez and Roland Ortiz | Buyer’s agent: Alex Algarin

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Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman, KKR's Henry Kravis and Apollo's Leon Black (Getty, Facebook, iStock)

Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman, KKR’s Henry Kravis and Apollo’s Leon Black (Getty, Facebook, iStock)

Global investment firms with real estate holdings took a beating in markets on Monday as China Evergrande inched closer to missing interest payments on its debt. While global markets slumped, U.S. real estate stocks held their ground.

Blackstone Group, the world’s largest landlord, dropped about 7 percent, as did Apollo Global Management and eXp World Holdings. KKR fell 6 percent while the Carlyle Group slid almost 8 percent. The Real Estate Select Sector Index, which matches the stock price performance of publicly traded real estate companies in the S&P 500, fell about 0.6 percent as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day 1.7 percent lower.

Some $4.7 billion of Evergrande bonds due in 2025 traded below 25 cents on the dollar, a decline from 80 cents as recently as May, the Financial Times reported.

More than a decade after the implosion of the U.S. market for residential mortgages, China faces a test of how it will deal with its own overleveraged real estate companies.

Oceanwide Holdings, China Vanke and Greenland have each crossed at least one of the “three red lines” set by Chinese regulators, who focused on varying measurements of leverage. Blackstone abandoned plans to purchase Chinese development firm Soho China earlier this month.

Yet investors have flocked to bonds sold by Chinese companies in international markets. A round of interest payments to Evergrande bondholders is set for Thursday.

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Two years after its IPO fail, WeWork will go public

WeWork CEO is Sandeep Mathrani (Wework)

Google the phrase “WeWork going public” and among the questions that pop up are: “When did WeWork go public?”

The answer is, it never really did. But late next month, retail investors will finally have the chance to own a piece of the co-working giant.

WeWork announced Monday that its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, floated in January and announced in March, will be completed a month from now.

The news, like the announcement six months ago about its SPAC merger, comes with far less fanfare and controversy than WeWork’s initial bid to become a public company. Two years ago, under then-CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann, the firm prompted a business drama of the first order by unveiling plans for an IPO and then nearly collapsing in the span of a few months.

The firm’s rise to a $47 billion valuation (by its star-struck private investors, in any case) on the charismatic Neumann’s promise of revolutionizing office work with shared spaces, followed by a stunning fall, prompted books, a documentary and thousands of stories that evolved from breathless to smug.

When the smoke cleared, the self-dealing and swashbuckling Neumann had been bought out for an ungodly sum by chastened main investor SoftBank and replaced by Sandeep Mathrani, who set about stabilizing the once high-flying firm before it burned bridges the way it had burned cash. Still, it lost about $3 billion last year and would have ceased to exist if SoftBank had not bailed out its wayward son with cash infusions.

Given the mess he inherited — and the onset of the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu a century ago — the turnaround under Mathrani has gone as well as the company could have expected.

To go public, WeWork will merge with BowX Acquisition Corp. The special purpose acquisition company was formed by the venture fund Bow Capital’s management team, including Vivek Ranadivé and Murray Rode. BowX stockholders will meet Oct. 19 to approve the merger.

If they do, the deal would close on Oct. 21 and the combined entity would trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WE.”

The deal is valued at $9 billion and will provide WeWork with $1.3 billion in cash. The company said it will use the money to fund future growth plans. The planned merger already has the approval of WeWork and BowX’s boards of directors.

BowX shares were trading at $9.74 when its future as WeWork was revealed. It traded as high as $13.93 in early April but has since slipped, closing at $9.99 Monday. Its market capitalization is about $603 million.

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Scottie Pippen and the Fort Lauderdale house (Getty, Compass)

Scottie Pippen and the Fort Lauderdale house (Getty, Compass)

After repeated attempts over 12 years, retired NBA legend Scottie Pippen finally slam dunked the sale of his waterfront Fort Lauderdale estate.

Pippen, who won six world championships with the Chicago Bulls and a gold medal with the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, sold the three-story mansion at 2571 Del Lago Drive in Harbor Beach for $10.5 million, according to records.

The buyers, Shahram and Elka Khaledi, took out a $7.4 million loan from City National Bank of Florida, records show. Shahram Khaledi, the founder of SK Group, is a real estate developer from Texas who expanded to South Florida five years ago. Khaledi also co-owns H.K. Global Trading Ltd., a Doral-based company involved in various ventures, including electronics manufacturing and distribution, duty free stores and freight forwarding, according to the firm’s website.

In February, Pippen, who also played for the Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers during his 16-year career, listed the resort-style estate with six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms for $12 million. Erin Sykes and Margo Fuller of Nest Seekers International‘s Elliott Team handled the most recent listing.

Gilles Rais with Coldwell Banker represented the buyer.

According to Realtor.com, the mansion has been on and off the market since 2009, listed for as much as $16 million that year, and again in 2011. In 2014, Pippen and his estranged wife, Larsa Pippen, who starred in “The Real Housewives of Miami,” listed the property for $11.8 million, and again in 2016 for $10.9 million. A year later, the estate was put on the rental market, along with the use of a 55-foot Van Dutch yacht, for $40,000 a month.

Pippen bought the property in 2000 for $1.3 million, records show. Built in 2004, the 10,484-square-foot mansion features a fitness center, theater, putting green, playground, water fountains and a full-size outdoor NBA court. Sitting on a nearly 1-acre double lot, the estate has 215 feet of frontage along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Last month, after five years and multiple price cuts, Pippen also landed a buyer for his suburban Chicago mansion. The 10,000-square-foot Highland Park estate, which includes an indoor basketball court, is in contract. It was listed most recently for just under $2 million.

Current and former athletes have been active in the hot South Florida luxury residential market. Ex-NFL player Orlandus Andre Branch III recently sold a non-waterfront Miami Beach home for $6.3 million, and, for the same price, retired NASCAR driver Brian Vickers bought a condo at the Continuum South in South Beach.

Earlier this month, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler sold his Pinecrest mansion for $7.1 million.

Last month, fresh off his exhibition match with Youtuber Logan Paul, retired boxer Floyd Mayweather bought a Miami Beach mansion for $18 million, and four-time Indianapolis 500 champ Hélio Castroneves parted with his waterfront Fort Lauderdale home for $6.7 million.

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Alex Rodriguez and Constantine Scurtis at far right (Getty)

Alex Rodriguez and Constantine Scurtis at far right (Getty)

Former baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez has gotten 13 lawsuits dismissed that were filed by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis, over their unraveled real estate venture.

A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge’s ruling to dismiss the suits means A-Rod is cleared of tens of millions of dollars in potential damages. Yet other litigation is still headed to court that could put Rodriguez on the hook for as much as $50 million.

Rodriguez and Scurtis’ former real estate partnership spanned more than 5,000 multifamily units purchased for $300 million in the early 2000s in Miami as well as in Texas, Mississippi, Indiana and Oklahoma, according to court filings. The properties largely were Class C apartments they planned to upgrade and hold long-term, but plans also included a vision to develop a 782-unit luxury condominium on their Edgewater assemblage they had dubbed “Promised Land,” Scurtis claimed in court.

Scurtis – whose sister Cynthia Scurtis is Rodriguez’s ex-wife – sued the ex-Yankee turned real estate mogul in 2014, saying the retired player cut him out of their partnership in 2008 — and his earnings. Rodriguez is a “liar” who first cheated on Cynthia Scurtis, and then, as a vendetta for the divorce, turned around to cheat his ex-brother-in-law, Scurtis alleged.

Rodriguez responded in court filings, saying Scurtis was caught dipping into their partnership’s funds to the tune of $1.4 million, and pushed back on other allegations.

In a countersuit filed in December, Rodriguez alleges that Scurtis’ 2014 lawsuit was a way to extort and harass Rodriguez, as well as wiggle out of refunding money Scurtis took.

Scurtis, who leads Texas-based multifamily investor Lynd’s acquisition arm, fired another set of 13 related lawsuits in January, on behalf of entities the duo had used to buy real estate.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman shot down those 13 complaints last month, saying they came too late after a state law deadline to claim wrongdoing. Hanzman’s Aug. 24 judgment came on the heels of another ruling that struck eight of Scurtis’ 59 counts in his 2014 suit.

Although all this cuts out a substantial chunk of Scurtis’ gripes, other allegations for roughly $50 million could be headed to trial, including allegations of Rodriguez committing civil racketeering.

Scurtis deferred comment to his attorney, Katherine Eskovitz, who said they are looking forward to continuing their battle at trial. The trial is expected to start once the mask mandate is lifted.

Rodriguez’s attorney, Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz, said via email that they have a “mountain of evidence contradicting” Scurtis’ accusations. Rodriguez’s countersuit is for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Scurtis is exposed to millions more for litigation fees, she said.

“Rather than focusing on pleading and proving viable claims, Constantine Scurtis has spent seven years using this litigation to smear Mr. Rodriguez, chase irrelevant issues, and try his case in the press,” Fotiu-Wojtowicz added in her statement.

Scurtis previously had included references in his suit to a news story that alleged that Rodriguez was seen going into a hotel room with a stripper. In February, Hanzman ordered this scrubbed from the record, saying this was irrelevant and that the litigation “will not devolve into a soap opera.”

Quarrels

Rodriguez and Scurtis started their venture shortly after the baseball player married Cynthia Scurtis in 2002, according to Scurtis’ suit.

The well-heeled former Texas Rangers and New York Yankees player bankrolled the purchases, entitling him to 95 percent of profits.

Rodriguez already separately had ventured into real estate and other investments through his A-Rod Corp, founded in 1995, and also into development through his Newport Property Construction. And Rodriguez continues to invest in real estate. He is among the backers of Grand Station Apartments in downtown Miami.

According to Scurtis’ lawsuit, he was the brains of the venture, picking properties they bought, entitling him to 5 percent of profits and a 3 percent acquisition fee.

The partners used a different entity to buy each property, with Scurtis and Rodriguez as limited partners of the buyers, and Scurtis also controlling the general partners, which were ACREI, ACREI-II and ACREI-III, Scurtis claims in his suit.

They prospered so much so that even entrepreneur Warren Buffett allegedly was wowed. After they met with Buffett, he wrote to them commending their investments. “In fact, I can’t think of a more logical program than the one you are following,” Scurtis claims Buffett wrote.

Things went awry when Rodriguez and his ex-wife divorced in 2008, shortly after news of his alleged infidelity broke. Scurtis alleges that Rodriguez put up his “paramour’s” parents in a condo unit their venture owned.

“After Rodriguez’s wife discovered the truth about Rodriguez’s infidelity and filed for divorce, Rodriguez then turned on Scurtis and cheated him,” Scurtis alleges in his complaint.

First, a Rodriguez associate kicked out Scurtis from the office. And despite a text from Rodriguez about a follow-up meeting when they can work things out, the rendezvous never happened, according to Scurtis’ complaint. Then, Rodriguez and his associates allegedly transferred Scurtis’ interest in the three ACREI entities to a Rodriguez-controlled entity, and sold much of the real estate for less than market value during the Great Recession, behind Scurtis’ back. In some cases, properties allegedly were sold to Rodriguez affiliates.

Scurtis claims that this not only denied him the opportunity to reap profits, but also to buy out the real estate.

According to his suit, other alleged shams exposed Scurtis to significant financial risk. Rodriguez and his cronies made the portfolio look profitable to a lender by having their employees pay rent, even though they did not live in the apartments, Scurtis claimed in court. Staff members then were repaid with checks for purported professional or consulting fees.

In his countersuit, Rodriguez alleges that Scurtis was paid everything he was owed, and Scurtis is the one who owes money. When Scurtis’ withdrawal of nearly $1.4 million was discovered, the partnership decided to treat it like a loan that Scurtis would pay back from his fees on property deals. Scurtis still owed $800,000 when he first filed his suit, according to Rodriguez’s suit.

Furthermore, Rodriguez claims that Scurtis was not pushed out of his control over the ACREI entities, but voluntarily transferred the interest in 2005. Also, properties were not sold to Rodriguez affiliates, he added in his suit.

“Promised Land”

Exactly how much money is at stake for Rodriguez under the remaining claims is unclear.

A report by a Scurtis-hired expert alleges Scurtis could have been out a hefty amount, although Rodriguez’s attorneys have pushed back on the way calculations were made.

If the partnership had pursued its plan to hold the real estate long-term, but sold the “Promised Land” lots in Edgewater, then Scurtis suffered $23 million in damages, according to his expert’s analysis. If the venture had held the real estate, improved it and developed the Edgewater project with additional investors, then it is closer to $209 million.

Property records show one of the lots part of the “Promised Land” assemblage was sold to the Melo Group for $993,900 in 2009. On it, Melo plans to start construction in 2022 on its roughly 800-unit Aria Reserve, where half of its units have presold so far.

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Marcus & Millichap says it was the target of a cyber attack

Marcus & Millichap targeted in cybersecurity attack, CEO Hessam Nadji (Marcus & Millichap)

Marcus & Millichap, the commercial real estate brokerage, said it was the target of a cyber attack. So far, there’s no evidence of a data breach.

The attackers targeted information technology systems, the Calabasas, California-based firm said in a Sept. 20 filing. Cybersecurity experts restored and secured essential systems “with no material disruption to the business,” according to the filing.

“There is no evidence of any material risk or misuse relating to personal information,” the company said.

Marcus & Millichap’s insurance is expected to cover most of the costs related to the incident, and an investigation is underway, said the company, which specializes in investment sales and financing, as well as research and advisory services, in the U.S. and Canada. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Unique cybersecurity incidents rose 51 percent last year from 2019 as the world went into Covid lockdown and remote work became the norm, according to research by cybersecurity company Positive Technologies. About 86 percent of the attacks were aimed at organizations.

Earlier this year, cyber attackers breached the IT network of Douglas Elliman Property Management, the management arm of the New York brokerage, compromising the personal information of thousands of New York residents.

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Homebuilders are more confident in home sales than they’ve been in the last three months (Getty)

Homebuilders are more confident in home sales than they’ve been in the last three months (Getty)

Optimism among builders that new single-family homes will sell rose in September after declining for three months as lumber prices fell and buyers clamored for places to live. 

The Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo inched up one point to a seasonally adjusted 76. A reading above 50 for the index, which gauges builder perceptions of current and future single-family home sales, is generally positive, indicating that more say conditions are good rather than poor.

Sentiment has cooled since the index hit a high of 90 in November of 2020. The latest reading suggests that while the single-family market is still strong, it’s now more stable, NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said in a statement.

Still, the housing industry is grappling with supply chain issues and difficulty hiring workers.

“Delivery times remain extended and the chronic construction labor shortage is expected to persist as the overall labor market recovers,” NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke said in a statement.

Housing affordability will probably be another challenge on the demand side after home prices and construction costs surged in the past year, the NAHB said.

The index’s three-month average fell two points in three regions. In the Northeast, it dropped to 72, to 80 in the South and to 83 in the West. It stayed at 68 in the Midwest.

Exurban markets have expanded the most, though inner suburbs are accelerating. Townhouse construction had the best quarter it has had in 14 years this spring, he added.

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Chinese developers in US struggle as Evergrande mess threatens business back home

Evergrande Building in Nansha district, Guangzhou, China. (iStock)

As the mess over China Evergrande Group — now the world’s most indebted developer — threatens to blow up that country’s real estate market, some of the most active Chinese developers in the U.S. have been flagged as risks.

Oceanwide Holdings, China Vanke and Greenland have each crossed at least one of the “three red lines” set by Chinese regulators. Failure to comply with the limits places restrictions on new borrowing.

Oceanwide, which has troubled skyscraper projects in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, has crossed all three lines targeting liability levels, leverage and liquidity, according to a note from the investment bank Natixis.

The Shanghai-based developer’s liabilities climbed higher than 70 percent of its assets, its net debt exceeded the value of its equity and its short-term borrowing grew larger than its cash reserves.

“The impact from the increased difficulties in financing, either in terms of stricter approval or higher costs, might be strong for Oceanwide as it crossed all of the three red lines,” Natixis economist Alicia Garcia Herrero wrote in an email.

 
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Herrero added that Oceanwide, which mostly develops homes in higher-tier cities, might be somewhat buffered from the immediate impact of an Evergrande-led real estate crash, which would first affect lower-tier cities. But if the contagion reaches into other parts of the real estate market or Evergrande becomes a systemic banking problem, Herrero said the fallout will be more wide-reaching.

Evergrande has been struggling to meet obligations on more than $300 billion worth of debt and is shaping up to be one of the largest threats to China’s economy  in years. It’s drawing comparisons to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, which was the final straw triggering the great financial crisis.

Other Chinese developers to breach the limitations include Greenland, co-developer of the Pacific Park megaproject in Brooklyn, which failed the liability-ratio and liquidity tests. China Vanke, which is entangled in a messy Midtown condo development with RFR Realty, was flagged for liabilities exceeding the 70 percent asset limit.

Overall, the number of developers touching all three lines is less than it was last year. Only 15 percent of firms breached the trifecta during the first half of the year, compared to 20 percent in 2020, according to Natixis.

And some China-based developers active in the U.S. remain relatively healthy. Hopson Development, for example, didn’t draw any of the three red flags earlier this year. The company is building a 35-story condo tower in Midtown.

There are also a number of U.S. developers active in China that face some exposure from an Evergrande-induced turmoil.

Tishman Speyer is active with projects mainly in the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen — areas Herrero said would be relatively shielded from a somewhat contained fallout.

The larger risk, though, is that Evergrande’s troubles could cause regulators to tighten restrictions while demand for homes tightens due to a constrained mortgage market. That could drag on the entire Chinese economy and possibly become a global threat.

Wall Street opened Monday to a selloff as fears of an Evergrande liquidity crisis swept through Asia and Europe.

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Foreclosure lawsuit targets DoubleTree hotel near Miami International Airport

DoubleTree hotel near Miami International Airport and United Capital Corp. President Anthony “Tony” Miceli (Google Maps, LinkedIn)

The owner of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Miami Airport Convention Center allegedly hasn’t made mortgage payments since April 2020. So now the lender is looking to collect nearly $33 million in outstanding debt.

The lender, a commercial mortgage-backed securities trust represented by an affiliate of Miami-based Rialto Capital Advisors, filed a foreclosure lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against AFP 103 Corp. The entity is managed by executives of New York-based real estate investment firm United Capital Corporation.

The DoubleTree Miami Airport hotel is the latest Miami-Dade County hospitality property to end up in court over financial woes in the wake of tourism disruption caused by the pandemic. Over the summer, two hotels in downtown Miami and Brickell filed for bankruptcy protection to settle with creditors and avoid foreclosure. In March of last year, the DoubleTree Miami Airport hotel furloughed 179 employees, a state WARN record shows.

Attorneys representing United Capital’s affiliate AFP 103 Corp. and the CMBS Trust did not respond to requests for comment.

According to its website, United Capital owns 150 commercial properties encompassing more than eight million square feet across the U.S., including the Marriott Orlando Downtown.

United Capital bought the DoubleTree Miami Airport hotel in 2009 for $11.7 million in a foreclosure auction, records show. The 334-room hotel and 138,198-square-foot conference center at 711 Northwest 72nd Avenue were completed in 1968.

The property is also home to the Miami Merchandise Mart, which is owned by a different entity and is not a party to the Sept. 9 foreclosure lawsuit.

According to the complaint, United Capital’s affiliate took out a refinancing for $40 million in 2013 from an affiliate of UBS Bank. The loan was assigned to the CMBS Trust the same year. In April of last year, the CMBS Trust sent United Capital’s affiliate a notice of default after it missed its monthly mortgage payment, and no payments have been made since then, the lawsuit alleges. As a result, the outstanding principal, plus interest, of $32.8 million is now due, according to the complaint.

During 2020, government restrictions on travel and lodging establishments resulted in a massive decline in hotel guests throughout South Florida. Despite a rebound in tourism, Miami-Dade hotels are still experiencing lower bookings, especially for business travel.

In July, the owner of a Holiday Inn in downtown Miami filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing between $100 million to $500 million in assets, and liabilities between $10 million and $50 million. According to the owner’s attorney, the filing is aimed at settling with creditors and luring investors to redevelop the site at 340 Biscayne Boulevard.

A month later, the owner of the Aloft Brickell Miami at 1001 Southwest Second Avenue also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to head off a foreclosure action by Torchlight Investors, which is seeking to collect on a $17.8 million loan.

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Kanye West and 24844 Malibu Road (Getty, Compass/Facebook)

Kanye West and 24844 Malibu Road (Getty, Compass/Facebook)

Less than a month after the release of his long-awaited album, “Donda,” Kanye West paid $57 million for a Tadao Ando-designed Malibu beach house, which first listed in May 2020.

The rapper, entrepreneur and aspiring architect and developer bought the 4,000-square-foot concrete home at 24844 Malibu Road in an off-market deal with owner Richard Sachs, according to Dirt. Ando is reportedly among West’s favorite architects.

Sachs listed the property last May, the same week that Los Angeles County eased restrictions on home showings.

Sachs commissioned the home and it was completed in 2013. It has four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and is directly on the beach, with views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The boxy three-story home is a textbook example of Ando’s sleek style — right angles of reinforced concrete walls and an emphasis on light.

There are no photos of the interiors, but the décor is described as minimalist “yet warm” by Marmol Raziner, an L.A.-based architecture firm that built the house with Ando.

West visited the Ando-designed “art island” of Naoshima, Japan, in 2018, during a James Turrell installation, and later called the experience “life-changing,” according to reports.

West has tried his hand at architecture, designing and attempting to build a cluster of dome-like homes on his Calabasas property in 2019. He was forced to demolish them after the city said they violated building codes.

The Chicago-raised rapper also owns property in Wyoming.

[Dirt] — Dennis Lynch

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The Brickell location (Brown Harris Stevens)

The Brickell location (Brown Harris Stevens)

A commercial space leased to the Peruvian restaurant Osaka traded hands for $5.9 million.

North Miami-based Lizmar International sold the 5,040-square-foot space to Speed Plaza, a Florida company led by Carlos Tovar and Luis Meir. The two commercial condos at 1300 Brickell Bay Drive in Miami are on the ground floor of the condo tower Brickell House. The restaurant has an additional roughly 800-square-foot terrace.

Osaka isn’t going anywhere. The restaurant, the first U.S. outpost for Osaka Cocina Nikkei, has eight years left on its lease, according to Fortune International Realty agent Luis Gautier. Fortune brokered the lease in late 2017 and Gautier represented the buyer in the latest sale. Osaka opened in late 2019. Its other locations are in Lima, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Quito, Bogotá and London.

Gautier said the buyer, a Mexican group, financed its purchase with a $2 million loan from InterAudi Bank.

Brown Harris Stevens agents Saad Hamdan and Philippe Diener represented the seller. Property records show Lizmar International paid $2.9 million for the units in late 2014 when the condo tower was completed.

The lease generates a net operating income of about $262,000 with 3 percent annual increases, according to a Loopnet listing.

The restaurant, with floor to ceiling windows, comes with eight parking spaces and valet.

Harvey Hernandez’s Newgard Development Group developed the 46-story Brickell House, which featured a robotic parking garage that allegedly failed to work correctly. In 2019, a Miami-Dade County judge awarded the condo association $40.6 million from the development group, BrickellHouseHoldings, over issues stemming from the garage. That was in addition to a $32 million settlement awarded to the condo association in 2018, paid by the elevator’s insurer, the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.

Hernandez recently acquired a riverfront site in Brickell where he’s planning a three-tower development.

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All Storage CEO Jay Schuminsky and CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic (All Storage, CBRE)

All Storage CEO Jay Schuminsky and CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic (All Storage, CBRE)

How many self-storage units could $1 billion buy? The operators of All Storage appear poised to find out.

The self-storage company runs 50 facilities in Texas and three in Oklahoma, but the operator appears ready to box up ownership. The company is exploring a sale that could net more than $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The company has started to solicit interest from potential buyers with assistance from CBRE in the sale exploration, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The outlet didn’t identify any potential buyers.

Self storage has proven to be a strong business during the pandemic as individuals stuck under lockdown measures and businesses with vacated offices sought more space.

Texas is a particularly strong market for self storage. All Storage owns a cluster of 14 facilities in the connected Fort Worth metro, where nearby Dallas saw the biggest growth of self storage construction from 2011 to 2020 when 16.2 million square feet were added to accommodate an influx of 1.2 million residents.

Two other Texas cities ranked in the top 10 of self storage construction during the previous decade. Houston ranked third, adding 14 million square feet, while Austin — the nation’s fastest-growing major metro — ranked ninth, adding slightly under 6.5 million square feet of self storage space.

Overall, 295 million square feet of self storage was built nationwide between 2011 and 2020, according to RentCafé.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Oak Street Capital's Marc Zahr and Jim Hennessy with 4600 Coconut Creek Parkway (Google Maps)

Oak Street Capital’s Marc Zahr and Jim Hennessy with 4600 Coconut Creek Parkway (Google Maps)

A Chicago-based real estate investment firm known for buying and selling Walgreens stores picked up another one in Coconut Creek.

An affiliate of Oak Street Capital, led by Marc Zahr and Jim Hennessy, bought the retail property at 4600 Coconut Creek Parkway for $6.8 million, records show. The seller is Walgreen Company, which paid $3.7 million in 2000 for the site.

Oak Street manages commingled funds and separate accounts on behalf of institutional and high net worth investors, including public and corporate pension plans, insurance companies, family offices and trusts, according to the company’s website. The firm primarily focuses on acquiring properties net-leased to investment grade-rated tenants.

Last year, Oak Street closed on roughly $1 billion of real estate acquired from struggling national retailers and leased the properties back to them. The firm also bought Sensormatic’s headquarters facility at the Park at Broken Sound in Boca Raton for $51 million.

In 2020, Oak Street was among a number of institutional investors involved in a flurry of Walgreens deals. In November, Oak Street paid Walgreen Company $7.3 million for its store in Oakland Park. Five months earlier, Oak Street sold a Delray Beach Walgreens for $8.1 million, less than a year after buying the property for $6.5 million.

Also last year, Walgreen Company sold a North Palm Beach location and a Lauderdale Lakes store to SunTrust Equity Funding for a combined $14 million.

Los Angeles-based Corporate Partners Capital Group also bought a Boca Raton Walgreens store from the national retailer last year for $9.1 million.

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830 Brickell and the co-developers Cain's Jonathan Goldstein and Vlad Doronin (Getty, OKO Group / Cain International)

830 Brickell and the co-developers Cain’s Jonathan Goldstein and Vlad Doronin (Getty, OKO Group / Cain International)

CI Financial I 830 Brickell in Miami

Canadian asset and wealth management behemoth CI Financial will open its new U.S. headquarters at 830 Brickell in Miami’s Brickell Financial District.

Toronto-based CI Financial leased roughly 20,000 square feet at the 55-story tower under construction. Kurt MacAlpine is CEO of CI Financial.

Vladislav Doronin’s OKO Group and London-based Cain International are developing the high-rise, slated for completion in 2022.

Brian Gale and Ryan Holtzman were part of the Cushman & Wakefield team that represented the landlords. Donna Abood and Mark Robbins of Avison Young represented CI Financial.

CI Financial, which has roughly $300 billion of assets under management, will become the second largest registered investment adviser based in Florida, after Raymond James, according to a news release.

The Canadian firm’s move to Brickell comes as South Florida is becoming a magnet for both financial and tech firms, with 830 Brickell attracting some of these tenants.

This year, private equity and growth capital firm Thoma Bravo, with offices in San Francisco and Chicago, leased 36,500 square feet, and Microsoft leased roughly 50,000 square feet in the tower.

Wells Fargo I Regatta Harbour in Coconut Grove

Wells Fargo opened its new location at the Regatta Harbour mixed-use project in Coconut Grove.

The bank, which has $1.9 trillion in assets, leased 2,373 square feet at 3385 Pan American Drive along Dinner Key. It moved from its nearby storefront at 2665 South Bayshore Drive.

The Treo Group, based in Miami, is developing Regatta Harbour on 9.5 acres with 100,000 square feet of entertainment, retail and restaurants. So far, a $5.5 million overhaul of the former Grove Key Marina was completed. The facility now includes a 400-slip dry storage, which was reconfigured from a previous dry storage; new launch points and lifts; two floating docks with 700 feet of transient floating dockage; and a new fueling station.

Future development also will preserve and renovate airplane hangars that were used as the first continental Naval air station in the early 1900s and then by Pan Am Airways. The project is expected to be finished in 2022.

The Wells Fargo lease comes on the heels of Anatomy – a fitness center with wellness and beauty services – opening space at Regatta Harbour in May.

Lyle Stern and Sara Wolfe of Koniver Stern Group oversee Regatta commercial space leasing.

MAN Engines & Components I Pompano Business Park in Pompano Beach

German manufacturer MAN Engines & Components renewed three leases for 66,053 square feet at Pompano Business Park in Pompano Beach.

Matthew McAllister and Chris Metzger were part of the Cushman & Wakefield team that negotiated the deals on behalf of MAN. Pete Sheridan of JLL represented the landlord, San Francisco-based Prologis.

MAN Engines & Components is a subsidiary of the Augsburg, Germany-based maker of large-bore diesel engines and turbomachinery, MAN Energy Solutions. MAN Energy Solutions’ products are for marine propulsion systems, power plant applications and turbochargers.

MAN Engines & Components uses its Pompano Business Park facility at 551 Southwest 13th Terrace to package high-speed marine engines for boat builders and distributors. It has a staff of 42 at the site.

Lumas Art I Lincoln Road in Miami Beach

Lumas Art leased space on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach from Terranova. The art retailer will occupy 3,625 square feet at 737 Lincoln Road.

Terranova, based in Miami Beach and led by Stephen Bittel, also secured other leases for some of its other Lincoln Road area buildings. Plant shop Plant Daddy is doubling its space for a one-year term, swimming supply store Sol + Sorbet renewed for six months, and retailer Pop-Up & Shop-Up took space at the Lincoln Eatery food hall. The food hall allows startup businesses to showcase their goods on a weekly or monthly basis.

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3301 Quantum Boulevard in Boynton Beach and Apex Capital Investments CEO John Gaghan (JLL, Apex)

3301 Quantum Boulevard in Boynton Beach and Apex Capital Investments CEO John Gaghan (JLL, Apex)

Apex Capital Investments scooped up a fully leased Boynton Beach office building for $37.3 million.

The Philadelphia-based investor bought the property at 3301 Quantum Boulevard in the Quantum Office Park, according to a news release.

The two-story, 100,000-square-foot building is fully leased to New York University Grossman School of Medicine, which is part of NYU Langone Health. It also runs a Langone division at the site.

The seller is a partnership between Fort Lauderdale-based Fox Ridge Capital and developers and investors Joshua Schrager and Daniel Schwartz.

Fox Ridge, led by Grant Horwitz, is a private real estate and asset management firm, focusing on office, retail and mixed-use properties throughout the U.S., but mainly in the Southeast.

The partnership bought the building, constructed in 1995, for $5.1 million in 2017, property records show. The building was renovated this year. It’s on 8.2 acres.

Hermen Rodriguez and Matthew McCormack were part of the JLL team that represented the seller.

Apex Capital, led by John Gaghan, is a relatively new investor, as it was founded in 2019, according to its website. The Quantum purchase is Apex’s sixth single-tenant, triple-net leased purchase, according to the release.

South Florida’s medical and medical-related office space has remained buoyant in light of Florida’s aging population. In Boynton Beach, ShareMD, which focuses on healthcare office space and physicians’ coworking space, bought a medical office building for $6.5 million in May.

Palm Beach County also is emerging from the pandemic’s hit on the office market, as it was the first one in South Florida to register positive new absorption in the second quarter, according to JLL.

The growth largely is because of a financial firm influx, with many of these companies opting for downtown West Palm Beach. Among them is Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management, which is expected to lease at newly built 360 Rosemary.

Stephen Ross’ Related Companies has made a more than $457 million bet on downtown West Palm by scooping up two towers and half of the ownership stake in a third. It also completed 360 Rosemary and plans to build One Flagler.

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Developer Bill Hutchinson, seen here in court and alongside his mugshot (Getty, Highland Park Police Department)

Developer Bill Hutchinson, seen here in court and alongside his mugshot (Getty, Highland Park Police Department)

Developer Bill Hutchinson has sold a Miami mansion and has listed two other properties as he faces sexual assault charges.

Hutchinson sold the Miami property for $10 million, according to the New York Post. The 2009-built home first hit the market last fall asking $8.2 million.

He purchased the home in 2016 for $5.6 million. The mansion totals 12,000 square feet with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. It was featured on the reality TV show “Marrying Millions,” which followed Hutchinson’s relationship with his fiancée, 23-year-old Brianna Ramirez.

The 63-year-old founder of Dunhill Properties also wants to sell two properties in California, one in Laguna Beach and the other in Carmel.

Orange County, California, prosecutors charged Hutchinson in July with rape and sexual assault of two teenagers. Prosecutors allege some of the abuse occurred at the Laguna Beach home. Hutchinson pleaded not guilty one felony count of rape and five misdemeanor charges of sexual battery.

Last month, a now-17-year-old girl sued Hutchinson in a Texas civil court, charging he sexually assaulted her at the Laguna Beach home.

That property was listed in August, asking $6.9 million. The Carmel property hit the market in July asking $9.5 million.

Hutchinson also sold his home in Dallas for $3.3 million last August.

[NYP] — Dennis Lynch 

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Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Getty)

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Getty)

Investors continued to sell off shares in China’s real estate companies, wary of Beijing’s ongoing effort to stabilize the sector.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s property index, which tracks 52 real estate companies, fell 4.9 percent on Thursday to close at its lowest level since 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese government began watching the property sector more closely last year as concerns mounted over some developers’ heavy debt load.

China Evergrande Group has become the poster child for the indebted sector, with its stock price dropping by nearly 80 percent this year. The firm’s property wing posted a loss in the first half of the year for the first time since 2009.

The government hasn’t offered to bail out Evergrande, but would likely get involved to avoid a chaotic collapse of the company. The firm has the dubious distinction of being the world’s most indebted developer.

This year, the Chinese government limited loans to developers and barred private equity firms from investing in residential development.

Recently released economic data showing weakness in the sector is also motivating investors to sell off their shares in developers. The total value of home sales across China fell 19.7 percent year-over-year in August, the most since April 2020.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s property index — called Lippo Select HK & Mainland Property Index — has plummeted 23 percent this year as of Thursday, dragging down prices for shares of even investment-grade-rated firms like Shimao Group Holdings.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 

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Pennsylvania town offers big incentive for people to fix homes

(iStock)

In an attempt to reverse decades of economic decay and attract investment, a city outside Pittsburgh is dangling a major incentive on its vacant homes.

Monessen Mayor Matt Shorraw said his administration will wipe out back taxes on properties if a new owner commits to cleaning them up and renovating, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Pennsylvania city has so far managed to find owners — about half of whom are investors — for about four dozen vacant homes and commercial properties.

Monessen’s population has gradually declined from about 20,000 in the 1940s to only 7,300 or so as of 2019. One in 10 properties is vacant, many because they’ve accrued thousands of dollars in back taxes.

To qualify for a tax wipe, a buyer must agree to spend more than three times the amount of back taxes on repairs. For folks who have the money, spending that amount to renovate a decrepit home likely won’t be difficult.

One program participant, Maria Marquez, got a house that had been abandoned for several years. She started with $10,000 worth of work and expects the entire renovation to cost around $25,000.

Time might be running out to participate in the program. Shorraw lost the Democratic primary in the spring and his term ends in January.

Ron Mozer, the likely incoming mayor, said there are better ways to clear back taxes and liens.
Other small towns in the U.S. have tried similar incentive programs to lure residents and investment.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 

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Credit Suisse Group partners with MARK on $1B-plus rental housing fund

Josip Kardun (LinkedIn)

Credit Suisse Group AG is partnering with investment firm MARK on a European rental investment venture called DOMA.

The partners aim to raise an initial 350 million euros for the fund, the equivalent of $414 million, according to Bloomberg.

DOMA is targeting single-family homes and small multifamily buildings and wants to eventually acquire a portfolio worth 1 billion euro. The platform was seeded with 700 units across Europe.

DOMA is being led by MARK Chief Investment Officer Josip Kardun, who said the rental business “has demonstrated its resilience throughout the pandemic.”

“There is a major untapped opportunity in privately owned smaller residential assets in prime urban locations,” he said.

Demand for rentals is strong in many parts of Europe because of a shortage of housing, prompting other large firms to get in on the action.

M&G Real Estate announced this week it was expanding into Germany’s private rental sector with a development project outside Frankfurt.

Lloyds Banking Group wants to become one of the United Kingdom’s largest landlords and Australian bank Macquarie Group aims to buy $1.4 billion worth of U.K. rentals.

U.S. firms Blackstone and Greystar, meanwhile, have placed huge bets on the U.K. student housing sector.

[Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch 

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London fire officials say over 1K buildings unsafe in a fire

Grenfell Tower (Wikipedia)

London fire officials say more than a thousand buildings in the British capital are now unsafe in the event of a fire, with a large majority of those suffering from the same problem that contributed to the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze.

London Fire Brigade, the city’s fire and rescue service, recently added 39 buildings to its list of structures with fire safety defects, bringing the total to just over 1,000 structures, according to Property Week.

Fire Brigade Commissioner Andy Roe called it an “unacceptable milestone” to pass the 1,000 mark. “There is a far higher number of high-risk buildings in London than anywhere else in the country, and it’s clear that there has not yet been a complete culture change when it comes to fire safety in residential buildings,” Roe said, according to the report.

More than 700 of those buildings had defects related to cladding, and the majority of those are over 59 feet tall. Highly flammable exterior cladding greatly contributed to the fire that destroyed the 23-story Grenfell Tower in West London in 2017, killing 72 people. That cladding was manufactured by U.S.-based company Arconic.

Later that year, inspectors found 433 buildings in the city had similar cladding, but only about 100 had been repaired by mid-2019.

London and the British government vowed to replace cladding on 150 public housing complexes, and committed around $250 million to help landlords replace cladding on their buildings.

[PW] — Dennis Lynch

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Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal

Taconic Capital Advisors’ principals Frank Brosens and Ken Brody and Wells Fargo CEO and president Charles Scharf (Getty, Taconic Capital, Wells Fargo)

Taconic Capital Advisors filed a $400 million suit against Wells Fargo alleging the financial giant failed to protect its investment in residential mortgage-backed securities, despite knowing many of the loans could be worthless.

In a complaint filed in New York Supreme Court, Taconic accused Wells Fargo of breach of contract for doing nothing to fix problematic documentation for a number of home loans that were bundled into trusts and resold to investors. The global investment firm poured $390 million into buying certificates for 27 of the trusts for which Wells Fargo was the trustee and contractually obliged to act in investors’ interest.

Taconic said the bank was fully aware that many of the loans that made up the trusts’ collateral had missing or fraudulent documentation. That meant if homeowners defaulted on their mortgages, the trusts would have to write off their losses because they wouldn’t be legally able to mitigate their losses by either foreclosing on the home or modifying the mortgage. To do either, the trust and any parties it hires to manage its portfolio of loans must show a prescribed set of documentation.

The 27 trusts in which Taconic invested bundled together more than 143,500 home loans valued at the time at $32.2 billion. The mortgages originated between 2005 and 2007, just before the housing market crashed. By March of this year, the trusts had lost more than $9.8 billion, according to court documents.

Wells Fargo knew many of the underlying loans didn’t have proper documentation, Taconic said in the complaint, because the bank inventoried them and sent notices to lenders asking for documents it was missing. Yet when the bank’s letters went unanswered, “Wells Fargo sat on its hands and did nothing,” a breach of the bank’s obligations to investors, Taconic wrote in the filing.

Claims about shoddy documentation jumped during the 2008-2009 housing crash, when banks and other financial institutions created fraudulent documents so they could foreclose or modify home loans borrowers couldn’t pay. The widespread practice known now as the robo-signing scandal led to a landmark 2012 settlement in which five of the institutions handling the largest number of underperforming home loans were fined $25 billion by federal and state attorneys general. The institutions fined included Wells Fargo, Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC).

In Taconic’s suit, the firm said many of the 27 trusts were serviced by institutions fined in 2012 or subject to other litigation for misconduct in properly documenting home loans.

“Because Wells Fargo itself was engaging in the same illicit and improper acts as the servicers for the trusts,” wrote Taconic’s lawyers. “Wells Fargo knew that, if it began demanding repurchase of the massive numbers of loans containing document defects in the trusts, this approach could cascade through the industry.”

The bank’s failure to protect investors “can only be explained by the incestuous nature of the RMBS industry,” Taconic said. The investor went on to describe the industry where major banks such as Wells Fargo, which originates home loans, bundles those loans into trusts and then acts as a trustee and servicer, as an industry built on “quid pro quo relationships” in which they rely on each other for business.

A representative for Wells Fargo didn’t respond to a request for comment. Taconic’s attorney, John Lundin, declined to comment.

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Ares Management co-founders Michael Aroughet and Antony Ressler with David Beckham and a rendering of the project (Getty, Freedom Park)

Ares Management co-founders Michael Aroughet and Antony Ressler with David Beckham and a rendering of the project (Getty, Freedom Park)

David Beckham’s Major League Soccer venture in Miami now counts a real estate heavy hitter among its backers.

Los Angeles-based Ares Management, through funds managed by its Credit Group, made a $150 million preferred equity investment in Inter Miami CF, according to an Ares news release.

Ares, led by co-founder and CEO Michael Arougheti, is a global alternative investment manager with roughly $262 billion of assets under management, including its purchase of Black Creek Group in July. Its lines of business include credit, private equity and real estate. Its real estate group had $33.4 billion of assets under management as of June, according to its website.

Ares’ play on the soccer group comes as two others ended their stake in the club. SoftBank’s Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son sold their ownership interest to Beckham, as well as to brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, Inter Miami said on Friday in a separate release.

Jorge Mas, Inter Miami’s managing owner, also is chair of Coral Gables-based infrastructure engineering and construction firm MasTec. Claure and Son are also both executives of Sprint, and Claure also is executive chair of WeWork.

In a Twitter post, Claure said his push to bring MLS to Miami started in 2009, a goal that has been reached. “It’s time to move on and let others carry on the mission,” he added.

My dream to bring an @MLS team to #Miami began in 2009 and with @InterMiamiCF, my mission is complete. It’s time to move on and let others carry on the mission. From my family to yours, thanks to the most important players in this journey – the fans who never gave up. pic.twitter.com/duU6xjTKVP

— Marcelo Claure (@marceloclaure) September 17, 2021

The shift in Inter Miami’s investors is the latest in a roughly decade-long push to bring MLS to Miami as well as develop a 25,000-square-foot stadium and massive real estate complex near Miami International Airport.

Although Inter Miami was founded in 2018 and played its first game in the 2020 season, it still has not built its Miami Freedom Park. The team has been playing at its temporary home, the 19,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium it built over the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

The plan is for Miami Freedom Park to replace city-owned Melreese golf course at 1802 Northwest 37th Avenue. Aside from the stadium, the development is to include an office complex, retail, hotel and 58-acre park with public soccer fields.

The proposal has proved controversial as it gives Beckham’s group rights to a no-bid deal for city property. Still, voters in 2018 approved for the city to negotiate a 99-year lease with the soccer group. Inter Miami and city officials said this summer they are close to coming to terms on a lease but a final agreement is yet to be announced.

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Cornerstone Companies CEO J. Taggart Birge and  KKR Co-Chairman Henry Kravis (Cornerstone, Getty, iStock)

Cornerstone Companies CEO J. Taggart Birge and  KKR Co-Chairman Henry Kravis (Cornerstone, Getty, iStock)

KKR and Cornerstone Companies are joining forces to develop health care facilities in the United States.

Cornerstone already has experience in the market, as the company is a health care real estate investment, development and management firm. It is also seeding the joint venture with 25 properties that are being recapitalized, according to Real Estate Weekly.

The joint venture is aiming to acquire more than $1 billion in real estate over the next few years. Cornerstone and KKR have made funding commitments, with the latter pulling from real estate and credit funds.

The portfolio that has been recapitalized encompasses more than 713,000 square feet of ambulatory surgery centers and medical offices spanning 12 states. They have long-term leases already in place, the publication noted.

That portfolio appears to reflect the kind of assets KKR and Cornerstone will be chasing with its new joint venture. The two companies will look to acquire and develop medical office buildings with a single tenant, ambulatory surgery centers, and outpatient health care assets that are facility-based. Long-term leases are to be a primary focus.

Medical offices have been seen as a rare bright spot during the pandemic for real estate investors. According to a report in April, medical professionals had paid 95 percent of rent owed over the previous year despite a big drop for in-person visits.

In 2020, $11.2 billion worth of medical office buildings were sold, versus $12 billion in 2019.

KKR also has a $3 billion portfolio of triple-net lease investments in its sights after launching Strategic Lease Partners in August.

[REW] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Heath Freeman, managing director of Alden Global Capital, and the house at 3503 Lodge Drive in Coconut Grove, Miami (Getty, Compass / Brown Harris Stevens)

Heath Freeman, managing director of Alden Global Capital, and the house at 3503 Lodge Drive in Coconut Grove, Miami (Getty, Compass / Brown Harris Stevens)

“Hedge fund vampire” Heath Freeman is biting into Miami’s luxury home market.

Freeman, managing director of New York-based Alden Global Capital, picked up a waterfront mansion in Camp Biscayne, a gated Coconut Grove community, for $19 million, records show. Freeman financed the purchase with a $12.4 million loan from Wells Fargo Bank.

The sellers of the 9,700-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bathroom house at 3503 Main Lodge Drive in Miami are David J. Ivler and his wife, Jessica. David Ivler is president of Miami-based drone manufacturer DJI Corp.

Freeman is also part of an investment group that purchased the East Hampton Point luxury resort earlier this year for an undisclosed amount of less than $20 million.

Freeman’s nickname as the “hedge fund vampire’ stems from Alden’s aggressive business strategy of buying up newspaper companies and then laying off employees and making other deep budget cuts that critics claim erodes local media outlets, according to media reports. In May, Alden acquired Tribune Publishing, parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Sentinel, for $633 million.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Alden leveraged Tribune Publishing with two loans totaling $278 million, and replaced company CEO Terry Jimenez with Freeman. Tribune Publishing’s new owners also offered buyouts to newsroom staffers, including at the Sun Sentinel. The package included 12 weeks of pay for eligible employees with three or more years of continuous service, plus an additional week of pay for every year with the company. Those with less than three years of continuous service would only get eight weeks of pay, according to the Sun Sentinel.

In July, the Poynter Institute reported the buyouts created at least a 10 percent reduction in Tribune’s newsroom workforce.

Records show an entity managed by David Ivler bought the 1-acre property in Camp Biscayne for $1.5 million in 2004. The same year, the deed was transferred to Ivler and his wife. In 2007, the couple built the two-story house that features a theater room, a gym, a game room, an elevator, a full-house generator and an eight-car garage, according to a listing on Realtor.com.

The property, which also has a pool, a boat dock and a white-sand beach, was listed for $22 million in March. Judith Werner of Bold Miami represented Freeman, and Toni Schrager of Brown Harris Stevens listed the property on behalf of the Ivlers.

In recent months, Coconut Grove waterfront homes have sold for sky-high prices. Developer Jorge Pérez and his wife, Darlene, sold their mansion at 3323 Devon Court for their asking price of $33 million. The couple donated the sale proceeds to the Miami Foundation.

Miami businessman and Major League Soccer franchise owner Jorge Mas sold his mansion at 3085 Munroe Drive to nutrition moguls Roger and Sloan Barrett for nearly $46 million. And in a record deal for Miami-Dade home sales, an unknown buyer recently purchased a spec waterfront mansion under construction at 3488 Saint Gaudens Road for $65 million.

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Quick turnaround times have luxury buyers considering modular as an alternative to traditional construction for grandiose homes. (iStock)

Quick turnaround times have luxury buyers considering modular as an alternative to traditional construction for grandiose homes. (iStock)

Modular construction, long associated with mobile homes, has gone high-end.

A market is developing for luxury modular homes as buyers look to take advantage of the quick turnarounds that factory manufacturing provides.

Anecdotes abound of the growing luxury market for modular homes. According to the Wall Street Journal, a seven-bedroom home with a pool, a pool house and other amenities designed by Resolution 4 Architecture sold in Bridgehampton, New York, last year for $4.7 million, its full asking price.

In general, modular construction appears to be ramping up nationwide. Seattle-based Method Homes reported a 50 percent increase in sales of prefab homes last year. The company built a new factory to keep up with demand.

The biggest advantage to building luxury modular is that turnaround times can be faster, as site preparation and foundation work can happen simultaneously to the factory manufacturing of a home, which is then delivered to the property and assembled, the publication reported.

Manufacturing companies are also able to automate much of the construction process. This allows them to keep costs down and avoid some of the problems in the construction industry, such as labor shortages.

Modular homes aren’t for everyone, though, especially clients who want the flexibility to change their minds mid-project. Many modular builders cannot alter design decisions after manufacturing begins. Additionally, not every site is good for a modular home, especially if transportation limits don’t allow the home to reach the property.

Modular construction has the backing of one of the world’s richest people, Warren Buffett. MiTek, owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, recently launched a modular building venture. Another of the world’s wealthiest, Elon Musk, lives in a 375-square-foot modular unit.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Tech entrepreneur pays $8M for Continuum South Beach condo

Continuum unit at 100 South Pointe Drive and Hari Ravichandran (Luxhunters for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, Hari Ravichandran Foundation)

Tech entrepreneur Hari Ravichandran paid $8 million for a condo at the Continuum in South Beach, The Real Deal has learned.

Ravichandran is the founder and former CEO of Burlington, Massachusetts-based Endurance International Group, which acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based Constant Contact, an online marketing company that focuses on email campaigns, for $1.1 billion in 2016. It later sold Constant Contact.

He closed on unit 3507 at the 40-story south tower at 100 South Pointe Drive in Miami Beach, according to sources.

Property records show the trust of James Arrigoni sold the three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit. It spans 2,954 square feet and sold for $2,708 per square foot. Arrigoni, who died this year, paid $2.7 million for the condo in 2005, records show.

Eddy Martinez and Roland Ortiz of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller. The unit hit the market in August for about $8.5 million. Alex Algarin of Compass represented the buyer. The agents all declined to comment.

Ravichandran is now founder and CEO of Aura, a digital security tech company based in Burlington, Massachusetts, according to his LinkedIn. While at Endurance, he agreed to pay a settlement of close to $1.4 million over allegations he misled investors, according to the Boston Business Journal and releases from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Luxury condo sales have surged this year in South Florida, in part due to the limited inventory of homes.

Retired Nascar driver Brian Vickers recently paid $6.3 million for a unit one floor above Ravichandran’s at the Continuum. In June, two former Morgan Stanley executives sold their three combined units at the Continuum for $30 million.

Ian Bruce Eichner developed the two-tower Continuum complex in 2003 and 2008. In April he sold his penthouse there for $35 million. 

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The slowing of the housing market has squeezed the profit margins of house-flipping investors. (iStock)

The slowing of the housing market has squeezed the profit margins of house-flipping investors. (iStock)

The hot housing market made it a boon to flip homes. But with buyers beginning to ease up, and sellers of even dilapidated homes demanding top dollar, investors in fixer-uppers are seeing profit margins sink.

Their return on investment the second quarter came in at less than 34 percent of the original home price, according to a study by Attom Data Solutions. It’s the lowest profit margin for home flips since 2011, Inman reported.

The return on investment dropped almost 4 percentage points from the first quarter. It also dropped 7 percentage points from the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter of the pandemic.

The reason behind the slipping profit margins is the stabilization of the housing market, which had surged in the first year of the pandemic. Although housing prices are still growing, they are no longer climbing at such a rapid rate.

The median price of a flipped home sold in the second quarter was up 11 percent from the first quarter and 19 percent year-over-year. When the same flipped homes were bought, the median price was up almost 14 percent from the previous quarter and 25 percent year-over-year.

Another factor in the profit-margin drop may be that the percentage of homes being sold as flips increased from the first quarter, meaning fewer flips are low-hanging fruit. Home flip sales made up 4.9 percent of all sales in the second quarter, a rise from 3.5 percent the previous quarter, when home flips were at a two-decade low.

Investors are increasingly looking at fixer-uppers, hoping to turn a quick buck on a property that typically produced an 8 to 12 percent yield. But the supply of fixer-uppers available has been hampered by the rise in home prices, cutting off a pipeline of homes that usually become available for investors after they are foreclosed on.

[Inman] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Bluerock Residential CEO Robert Ramin Kamfar (Owler)

Bluerock Residential CEO Robert Ramin Kamfar (Owler)

Another REIT is considering taking advantage of a hot market by exploring a sale and other strategic options.

Bluerock Residential Growth REIT, based in New York, is considering an outright sale as well as a recapitalization, according to Bloomberg.

Bluerock is a multifamily developer and landlord — an advantageous spot to be in as Americans increasingly look to rentals given soaring housing prices and uncertain work arrangements.

The REIT had 60 rental properties as of the end of June including a number in hot cities such as Atlanta and Phoenix. Its portfolio totals nearly 18,000 units and the 35 consolidated operating properties it has are 96.2 percent occupied, also as of the end of June, Bloomberg reported.

Word of a potential outright sale caused a spike in the publicly traded company’s shares, which jumped as much as 11 percent before giving back most of that gain. Shares are up 4.4 percent over the past five days, giving the company a market capitalization of almost $290 million. Its enterprise value is nearly $2.5 billion, including debt.

Last year, the REIT sold a 90-unit apartment community in Boca Raton to Bell Partners for $37.75 million, approximately $419,000 per unit. The sale came four years after the company bought the land for $4 million.

Other REITs are considering sales. Cedar Realty Trust, based on Long Island, is also looking into strategic alternatives for its business. The company is focused on retail properties, primarily those anchored by grocery stores, as well as mixed-use development projects. A sale of its grocery store-anchored portfolio could fetch $965 million.

Early this month, PIMCO agreed to buy Columbia Property Trust for $2.2 billion. Including debt, the deal is valued at close to $3.9 billion.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Hyperion Group CEO Rob Vecsler, Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht and a rendering of 350 South Australian Avenue (M18 PR, Wikimedia)

Hyperion Group CEO Rob Vecsler, Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht and a rendering of 350 South Australian Avenue (M18 PR, Wikimedia)

UPDATED, 5:42 p.m., Sept. 17, 2021: As part of an $18.3 million sale, Starwood Capital Group is joining two New York development firms in developing a large multifamily project in West Palm Beach, sources familiar with the transaction told The Real Deal.

An affiliate of Miami Beach-based Starwood bought the 1.3-acre vacant lot at 350 South Australian Avenue from 350 Development LLC, an entity with ties to Hyperion Group and Winter Properties. The new owner, 350 S Australian Owner LLC, is a partnership between Starwood, Hyperion and Winter Properties.

Last December, Winter Properties and Hyperion received approval for design changes and setback variances to build a 425-unit rental complex. The 17-story project was supposed to be the first South Florida development for the two firms. The development will now consist of a 22-story building with 459 units after the City of West Palm Beach approved changes to the plans last month.

350 Development acquired the site for $1.1 million in October 2019, records show. Shortly thereafter, Hyperion — led by CEO Rob Vecsler — and Winter Properties bought 350 Development for an undisclosed amount.

Starwood is currently building a new six-story headquarters at 2340 Collins Avenue designed by Gensler. The project totals 144,430 square feet, including 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 305-space parking garage. The real estate investment firm is financing the construction with a $76 million loan and will occupy more than 50 percent of the new building once it’s completed later this year.

In 2018, Starwood Capital relocated from Greenwich, Connecticut, to its current corporate office at 1601 Washington Avenue.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the roles of Starwood Capital, Hyperion Group and Winter Properties in the West Palm Beach Development site sale, along with the size and scope of the project and the property’s original owner.

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Ribbon co-founders Shaival Shah and Wei Gan (Ribbon, iStock)

Ribbon co-founders Shaival Shah and Wei Gan (Ribbon, iStock)

The Southeast-focused homebuying startup Ribbon will expand nationally after announcing a $150 million fundraising round this week.

The company, which enables individuals to make cash offers in competitive housing markets, will now push into the Midwest and West Coast, CEO Shaival Shah said in an interview.

Over the next 18 months the company will target mid-range homeowners in those regions who are being outbid by large investors and institutional buyers speculating on the single-family rental market.

“We’re much less focused on trying to help the hedge fund manager buying a $2.5 million home, than on helping the everyday family buy a $250,000 home,” he said.

Deal flow on its platform is up 15-fold since January, the company said in a release this week. By 2023, it wants its services available in at least half the country.

Ribbon’s Series C round this week included $75 million in funding and $75 million of additional working capital. Greenspring Associates led the round, and existing investors Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures, NFX, Nyca, Thomvest and Jake Seid also participated.

First American Financial, Waterfall Asset Management, TriplePoint Capital and Spencer Rascoff’s 75 & Sunny Ventures were among the new investors.

Founded in 2017 with bases in New York and Charlotte, North Carolina, Ribbon is one of a few proptech companies looking to streamline homebuying for smaller buyers. For a 1 to 3 percent fee, the company — with its brokerage and lender partners — will guarantee a close on all-cash offers. For second-time homebuyers, the company will buy the target home on the buyer’s behalf to prevent the problem of dual mortgages. It will also rescue deals that fall apart at the eleventh hour.

The company says its services help individual buyers beat out slower-moving institutions in the housing market gold rush and win deals at favorable pricing.

“If all else is fairly equal, the home seller is always going to choose to sell to a consumer” instead of an institution, Shah said.

Ribbon has stiff competition with its cash-offer promise. Startups like Orchard, Knock, Homeward and Homelight offer similar services. In California, Ribbon will compete with Reali, which recently raised $250 million in a Series B round.

Unlike Orchard — which announced its own $100 million funding round a week ago — and Reali, Ribbon is not a consumer brand. Rather, the firm is a platform with agent, lender and title company partners, a model it says offers consumers greater choice.

Until now, Ribbon has focused on the Southeast, which Shah described as the most resilient housing market over the last five decades. It operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

“It’s because it has a very, very strong homeownership rate and homeownership mentality,” Shah said of the region. “That’s why you don’t see a lot of fluctuation that you see in other parts of the market.”

The lone outlier is Texas, where it also operates. The Northeast is off the table for now, due to higher price points and transaction costs, he said.

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Estate Companies pays $15M for downtown Hollywood Opportunity Zone site

Renderings of Soleste Hollywood Boulevard apartment-retail project to be built at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Robert Suris and Jeff Ardizon

The Estate Companies paid $15.3 million for the development site in a downtown Hollywood area that is both historic and an Opportunity Zone.

The eight-story Soleste Hollywood Boulevard will have 324 rental units, nearly 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 475 parking spaces.

The developer bought the 2.3-acre site at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard, 2050 Tyler Street, and 115 and 121 North 21st Avenue, records show. The assemblage is an L-shaped section of the block from Tyler Street south to Hollywood Boulevard and between North 20th and 21st avenues.

An entity managed by Steven Berman, who is a project co-developer, sold the lots in four deals.

Soleste Hollywood Boulevard will replace the three-story building at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard that used to be the city’s first bank, although the ground-floor vintage vault will be incorporated in the project.

Hollywood founder Joseph Young developed the building, where First National Bank of Hollywood opened. Young also had his office there.

In December, city commissioners overrode a recommendation by an advisory board against demolishing the 93-year old structure. The building lost its original Neo-Classical architectural features as a result of renovations done in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s.

The assemblage is within the Hollywood Boulevard Historic Business District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The Hollywood project shows Estate, a prolific multifamily developer in Miami-Dade County, is venturing to other parts of South Florida.

Led by Jeff Ardizon and Robert Suris, South Miami-based Estate transformed the city of West Miami with the construction of several multifamily complexes under the Soleste brand. It has sold at least five of them, most recently the one at 6320 and 6290 Southwest Eighth Street to Dallas-based Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management for $82.9 million in June.

Westdale has purchased other Estate communities, including one near Miami International Airport for $93.8 million in August.

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Jorge Perez and Jon Paul Perez with a rendering of Solemar (Related)

Jorge Perez and Jon Paul Perez with a rendering of Solemar (Related)

Related Group secured a $91.3 million construction loan for Solemar, an oceanfront condo project it broke ground on in May.

Records show an affiliate of the Coconut Grove-based developer secured the financing for the Pompano Beach development from Toronto-based CIBC Bank.

Related launched sales of the 105-unit, 20-story project at 1116 North Ocean Boulevard a year ago. It is now 95 percent presold, according to a spokesperson. Nick Pérez, a vice president at his father’s firm, is leading the project alongside his brother, Jon Paul Pérez, who is president of Related. Solemar marked the first project that Related launched sales of since 2016 and it will be the second new development to be built on the beach in Pompano since Sabbia Beach was delivered in 2018.

Units are averaging about $800 per square foot. Related Realty is handling sales, with prices that started at $1.3 million for two-bedroom units on the lower floors of the building. Units range from 2,000 square feet to 2,600 square feet, and the three penthouses will span 4,600 square feet.

Fortune International Group and GT Homes USA are among the developers with oceanfront projects in the pipeline. A year ago, Fortune paid $27.5 million for a large site where it’s planning two luxury condo towers. On a smaller scale, GT Homes is working on completing a boutique townhouse development.

Related was one of the first developers to begin selling condo projects during the pandemic. The market has bounced back, in part due to a very limited supply of high-end homes.

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Opportunity Zone fund proposes Bitcoin mining project near Homestead speedway

Jose Mallea, Homestead-Miami Speedway and a Bitcoin mining trailer (LinkedIn, Homestead Miami Speedway, Coin Bayou)

A Miami-based Opportunity Zone fund wants to develop a Bitcoin mining operation and technology business park, amid growing global concerns about the environmental impact and energy consumption created by cryptocurrency mining, The Real Deal has learned.

Aware of the controversial aspects of Bitcoin mining, Esperanza Opportunity Zone Fund president and CEO Jose Mallea said his group aims to use clean energy for its 5-acre Homestead project. The fund wants to tap into the electric power grid operated by the city of Homestead’s utility company, HPS Energy. The grid uses natural gas as its primary fuel to operate its 10 power-generating units in Homestead, according to HPS Energy’s website.

Natural gas is “much more environmentally conscious,” Mallea said, compared to coal.

The project, called Homestead-Miami Blockchain Technology Park, would include buildings housing an incubator and tech tenants focused on cryptocurrencies. According to a Sept. 13 letter Esperanza sent to Homestead City Manager Cate McCaffrey, the fund has struck a tentative agreement with International Speedway Corp., the owner of the Homestead-Miami Speedway, to use land near the racetrack that has access to the requisite electrical and mechanical infrastructure needed to power dozens of air-conditioned trailers outfitted with computer hardware used for Bitcoin mining.

Al Garcia, president of the speedway, said the race track would lease the 5 acres to Esperanza.

“I don’t know much about Bitcoin but we do have the infrastructure to generate the amount of electricity they are talking about,” Garcia said. “And we have a lot of land.”

The site is in an Opportunity Zone, an area designated as struggling economically, where investment is encouraged through tax breaks on capital gains. In its letter, Esperanza said it will receive $5 million in initial seed capital from Florida Investors Opportunity Fund, a private investment fund focused on real estate and technology. Mallea, a Miami-based entrepreneur who co-owns Biscayne Brewery, said Opportunity Zone investors would finance the development and own the business park.

To use HPS Energy as a power source, Esperanza is requesting that the city establish a rate structure of 5.5 cents for every kilowatt-hour consumed, according to a six-page proposal the fund submitted to the city. The fund is also offering Homestead $5 million, apprenticeship programs for residents to learn blockchain technology and other community benefits.

Once completed, the Bitcoin mining operation would draw 10 megawatts of power on a continuous basis annually, the proposal states. That’s the equivalent of 10 million LED lamps being turned on at the same time, according to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“The actual mining component is the equivalent of $20 million in infrastructure and equipment,” Mallea said. “The development of the blockchain technology park is in the ballpark of $15 million.”

Homestead spokesperson Zackery Good said the administration will present Esperanza’s proposal to the Homestead City Council on Sept. 29. He said the city would not comment on the project at this time.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are created when a computer “mines” the digital money by solving complex sets of math equations. It takes dozens of computers using a maximum amount of energy to produce large sums of cryptocurrencies. A recent New York Times analysis found that Bitcoin mining consumes almost 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, which is more than all of the electricity used in Finland in one year.

David Chase, a partner in Coin Bayou, the company teaming up with Esperanza that would do the Bitcoin mining, said recent expulsions of Bitcoin miners in China as part of a cryptocurrency crackdown in the communist nation is opening the door for miners in the U.S. Coin Bayou already mines Bitcoin in Louisiana and Texas, which is experiencing an influx of Bitcoin miners fleeing China, according to the BBC.

“Miners in China were very opportunistic, which created this environment in which they were willing to do anything to make a buck,” Chase said. “This project is the complete opposite. We are opportunistic trying to find power that doesn’t come from dirty coal, oil or any harsh carbon coming from the ground. Ours comes from solar, nuclear and natural gas.”

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1101 Flower Street in L.A. with  Tony Lombardo of Lendlease and Zhang Xifang of Oceanwide. Xifang reportedly resigned in July 2021. (Google Maps, Lendlease, Oceanwide)

1101 Flower Street in L.A. with  Tony Lombardo of Lendlease and Zhang Xifang of Oceanwide. Xifang reportedly resigned in July 2021. (Google Maps, Lendlease, Oceanwide)

Chinese real estate conglomerate Oceanwide Holdings has some explaining to do.

The developer has been ordered to appear before a federal court over the enforcement of a $42 million judgement in favor of Lendlease Construction, the general contractor on Oceanwide’s $1 billion mixed-use development in Downtown L.A. The virtual appearance is scheduled for Oct. 8th in the Central District of California, court filings show.

Meanwhile, Lendlease will exit the stalled project, a source familiar with the development said, leaving Oceanwide to find another contractor before it can resume construction.

One of the largest development projects in L.A., the so-called Oceanwide Plaza promised hundreds of condo units and a luxury hotel spanning three glass skyscrapers directly across from the Staples Center, plus a 150,000-square-foot open air mall.

But construction at the site halted abruptly in 2019 as contractors hit the developer with claims for more than $100 million in unpaid work. Undeterred, Oceanwide struck a $100 million agreement with Lendlease in March 2020 to resume construction, but missed scheduled payments just three months later.

A court-appointed arbitrator awarded $38 million to Lendlease late last year; its agreement with Oceanwide provided for expedited resolution should the developer miss payments. Oceanwide attempted to dismiss the judgment, arguing that Lendlease failed to maintain proper licensing during construction, but a judge denied that motion in June.

Now, Oceanwide must pay the original award plus interest and legal fees. The company did not respond to a request for comment. Lendlease acknowledged the court order in its favor but declined to comment further.

Oceanwide is attempting to sell trophy assets to finance its mounting debt, including a repeatedly stalled sale of its Oceanwide Center project in San Francisco and its Beijing headquarters, for which the developer is reportedly asking $3 billion.

The company’s debt-fueled expansion into international markets has caught the eyes of Chinese regulators, as $3.2 billion in payments owed to Oceanwide’s bondholders are scheduled to mature this year.

Oceanwide disclosed several high-profile resignations in July, including CEO Zhang Xifang and chief risk-control officer Chen Guoqi, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

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LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault (right), Dacra CEO Craig Robins and the Louis Vuitton store in Miami’s Design District

Bernard Arnault briefly dethroned Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world last month. The ascent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO was propelled by mind-blowing company revenue of $34 billion for the first half of the year, allowing Arnault to climb atop the ranking of the wealthiest billionaires for the third time since 2019 before settling back into third place behind Bezos and Elon Musk. 

LVMH’s strong performance — while the world is still in the throes of the pandemic — serves as affirmation that luxury retail shopping is on an upswing, especially for the company’s established brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Fendi — and particularly in Miami.

The Miami Design District is a hotbed of escalating consumer demand for high-end fashion goods. There, the LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton and its partners, real estate investment firms Dacra and Brookfield Property Partners, own a significant portfolio of properties that lease storefronts to LVMH brands and other luxury retailers. 

When Florida lifted most of its restrictions to curb the spread of Covid last summer, the Design District quickly rebounded. That performance has accelerated Arnault’s and LVMH’s gamble that a neighborhood once known for furniture and interior design showrooms could morph into one of the globe’s top high-end retail streets, according to commercial brokers and the neighborhood’s chief developer, Miami-based Dacra President and CEO Craig Robins. 

Robins said he couldn’t comment on specific tenants, but that the Design District’s luxury retailers in general have experienced exponential foot traffic and sales growth over the past 12 months. Some tenants are planning to enlarge their footprint in the district, Robins added. 

“A very significant number of our large, successful luxury tenants, and several of our contemporary tenants, have reached out and committed to significant expansions or are negotiating them,” he said. “Even though they already have large global flagships here, they want the ability to have a larger display of their complete offerings.” 

Influx of high rollers

The Design District benefited from the influx of wealthy people escaping lockdowns in such states as New York and California, as well as entrepreneurs, executives and workers from across the country who are taking advantage of remote employment, Robins said. 

“People in Miami didn’t travel, so they focused their spending here. And then we had an incredible season of people permanently moving to Miami,” he said. “Having a beautiful, spectacular open-air environment lent itself to a perfect solution. By the end of 2020, our traffic and sales were up, and that’s continued through this summer.” 

Tony Arellano, co-founder and principal of DWNTWN Realty Advisors, which represents other landlords and developers in the Design District, said the daily lines of customers outside Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi and Celine are evidence that those LVMH stores had a meaningful impact on the French conglomerate’s strong performance during the first six months of the year.

“It’s not only in sales revenue,” Arellano said. “The real estate value of the Design District became minted. It is a multibillion-dollar neighborhood at this point. LVMH definitely made revenue from the stores, but its real estate shot to the moon.”

Arellano said asking rents reflect the strong performance of stores in the Design District. “Asking rents for prime locations range from $200 a square foot, triple net, to more than $400 a square foot,” Arellano said. “Those rates could easily double as the neighborhood continues to season and there is less inventory.” 

L Catterton, Dacra and Brookfield’s holdings

The L Catterton, Dacra and Brookfield partnership owns close to half a million square feet , consisting of 15 buildings known as Oak Plaza, in the Design District. Debt service and reserve payments that were due in May, June and July on a 10-year, $500 million loan from Bank of America were deferred to allow the landlords to provide Covid-related concessions to Oak Plaza tenants, according to a March 10 report by DBRS Morningstar. 

“Oak Plaza is well positioned to return to its strong pre-pandemic performance, given the high-quality, luxury nature of the retail tenancy and targeted clientele, coupled with experienced long-term institutional sponsorship,” the report states. “As of year-end 2019, the property generated over $231 million in total sales, representing over $1,000 per square foot for tenants that report sales.” 

Still, Oak Plaza felt the sting of the pandemic, according to DBRS. Since March 2020, eight non-LVMH tenants moved out, increasing the overall vacancy rate to 11.5 percent. And the landlords provided $9.6 million in rent abatements and concessions, the report states. The deferments are scheduled to end later this year and must be repaid by the end of 2023. 

“The property is likely to continue to experience stress in the short and medium term until the pandemic fully abates, the economy recovers and international travel resumes,” the report states. “While DBRS Morningstar does not view these issues as an imminent threat to the property’s survival given the luxury nature of its tenancy, the long-term headwinds in the retail sector are likely to persist even after the coronavirus pandemic abates.”

Spokespersons for L Catterton and LVMH did not respond to requests for comment.

Keeping shoppers in Miami

Greg Masin, a senior director in Cushman & Wakefield’s Miami office, said that the Design District has bounced back considerably since the DBRS report came out thanks to more high rollers and big-money spenders who have relocated to South Florida. “The LVMH core customer is present for a greater degree of time in Miami,” Masin said. “The person that came down two, three times a year is now down here for 180 days.”

Arnault and LVMH should be pleased with the Miami Design District’s performance, Masin added. “I would be very surprised if they weren’t happy with the performance of most of their brands,” he said. “In some cases, they are exceeding expectations.” 

Dacra’s Robins said he is conservatively optimistic that the Design District’s momentum will continue, even if people who relocated to South Florida return to their home states when the pandemic completely subsides. 

“With the amount of new leasing that is taking place and the new businesses that have opened, those are indicators that this growth is long term,” he said. “I’m focused on [enhancing] an appealing environment and [do] not assume that how well we’re doing the past six months will automatically continue.”

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Ex-Sagamore Hotel owners set North Miami record with $11M home sale

Jennifer Taplin Sazant and Neil Sazant with 1995 Northeast 118th Road (LPG for Dina Goldentayer, Getty)

Jennifer Taplin Sazant and Neil Sazant unloaded their North Miami home for $10.6 million, a record for the Sans Souci neighborhood.

The Sazants, former owners of the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach, sold their home to David and April Reimer, who relocated to Miami Beach from Roslyn, New York, documents filed with Miami-Dade show.

The sale of the six-bedroom, five-bathroom home at 1995 Northeast 118th Road beat the previous Sans Souci Estates record of $9.9 million. A waterfront home at 2095 Northeast 121st Road had set that mark in 2010.

A number of records have been set since the start of the year, with home prices reaching historic highs throughout the region.

The Reimers’ two-story, 5,671-square-foot house was built in 1972 and recently renovated. A smart home, it features an open gourmet kitchen, separate guest quarters, a second-floor master suite, more than 260 feet of waterfront, two docks, a boat lift and a double Jet Ski lift. The house sits on a 0.4-acre corner lot.

Julian Cohen of The Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker represented the Sazants, while Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman represented the buyers.

The Sazants paid $3.9 million for the North Miami property in 2017.

Early last year the couple paid $7 million for a waterfront property on North Bay Road and are building a home there. That July, they secured approval from the Miami Beach Design Review Board for a new two-story home being designed by Kobi Karp.

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Purchases across the country rose 0.7 percent in August, easily outpacing estimates by retail analysts. (iStock)

Purchases across the country rose 0.7 percent in August, easily outpacing estimates by retail analysts. (iStock)

Americans still love their stuff.

Overall retail purchases rose 0.7 percent in August, easily beating out the median estimate of a 0.7 percent drop from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Excluding automobiles, which are hard to get because of a microchip shortage, sales looked even better with a five-month high 1.8 percent rise, according to Bloomberg.

Retail purchases were buoyed by back-to-school purchases being more robust than expected, as many students return full-time to the classroom for the first time in more than a year. The sales were also welcome news for retail landlords given that July data was revised by the Commerce Department to show a 1.8 percent decline in overall retail sales.

Among the leaders in sales last month were online retailers, general merchandise stores, furniture stores and especially grocery stores, which saw a 2.1 percent increase. Sales at restaurants and bars leveled off last month and sales in the travel and leisure department also struggled, as consumers’ concerns over the delta variant might have caused them to divert some vacation and dining spending to shopping.

The Commerce Department reported sales increases in 10 of 13 sectors. The decreases were in electronics and appliances stores, sporting goods and hobby stores, and car dealers. The latter has had a rough few months: Sales dropped 4.6 percent in July and 3.6 percent in August as they could not get deliveries to meet strong consumer demand.

The overall sales numbers augur well for retail landlords that have struggled through the pandemic. A monthly report from Datex Property Solutions shows that national chains paid 95 percent of owed rent in August. That’s just below a pre-pandemic level of 97 percent during the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, non-national retailers also saw encouraging rent payments. These retailers paid 89 percent of owed rent last month, just below the 92 percent recorded in 2019.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Nuveen Real Estate CEO Mike Sales and LaVida apartments (Eileen Escarda)

Nuveen Real Estate CEO Mike Sales and LaVida apartments (Eileen Escarda)

Nuveen Real Estate bought an apartment complex at Blue Lagoon near Miami International Airport for $98 million.

Pinnacle and Ascend Properties sold the LaVida Apartments, a pair of eight-story buildings at 6600 Northwest Seventh Street, near the Waterford Business District.

The two firms developed the 272-unit, lakefront project in 2019 across 7.4 acres. Ascend, through an affiliate, bought the land for $7.6 million in 2015.

Robert Given and Troy Ballard were part of a Cushman & Wakefield team that led marketing and brokered the deal. The sale for the fully leased community closed for $360,294 per unit.

LaVida, which overlooks a lake to its south, includes one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 728 to 1,295 square feet, according to a release. Rental listing website Apartments.com shows the monthly asking rent for a one-bedroom ranges from $1,810 to $2,085.

Units include a terrace, porcelain floors, quartz countertops and full-size, stackable washer and dryer, according to the release.

LaVida apartments (Eileen Escarda)

LaVida apartments (Eileen Escarda)

Designed by Behar Font & Partners, LaVida also has an hourglass-shaped pool, Jacuzzi, two garages, clubhouse, grilling amenities, gym with a yoga studio, gourmet coffee bar and Wi-Fi throughout common areas.

Miami-Dade County-based Pinnacle has developed close to 10,000 units, both luxury like LaVida as well as affordable and workforce housing, across Florida, Texas and Mississippi, according to its website. Louis Wolfson III, Michael Wohl and David Deutch founded Pinnacle in 1997, with Wolfson and Deutch remaining as current partners along with Mitchell Freidman.

Multifamily developer Ascend is based in Boca Raton and led by Wohl, Richard Finkelstein and Dean Borg.

Pinnacle and Ascend obtained a $46.4 million construction loan in 2017 for LaVida, which they had initially named Oasis at Blue Lagoon.

Chicago-based Nuveen Real Estate, a global real estate investment arm of TIAA, also co-owns the nearby Waterford Business District, one of the county’s biggest office parks with prominent tenants such as FedEx and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Subway leased space there in March for its marketing and culinary staff members as well as its Latin American regional office.

The top-dollar LaVida sale comes amid a slew of multifamily deals across South Florida, in light of unprecedented rental rate increases fueled by demand from newcomers and locals.

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RK Centers pays $16M for Winn-Dixie-anchored Miramar shopping plaza

Google street view of 17051-17173 Miramar Parkway, Raanan Katz and Jeffrey Edison (Google Maps, LinkedIn, Phillips Edison)

Raanan Katz’s RK Centers continues to expand its South Florida retail holdings, this time scooping up a Winn-Dixie-anchored shopping plaza in Miramar for $15.7 million.

RK Centers bought Park View Square at 17051-17173 Miramar Parkway from an affiliate of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Phillips Edison & Company, records show.

Phillips Edison, which promotes itself as one of the biggest owner-operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers in the U.S., bought Park View Square for $14.5 million in 2014. The firm manages a portfolio of 300 shopping centers across 31 states, according to its website. Jeffrey Edison is chair and CEO.

Besides Winn-Dixie, Park View Square’s tenants include a pizza shop, Subway, Quest Diagnostics and a hair salon.

The 72,256-square-foot plaza spans 9.3 acres and was constructed in the early 2000s, according to property records.

RK Centers, with offices in Sunny Isles Beach and Needham, Massachusetts, invests in real estate in South Florida and New England. Katz, who owns a minority stake in the Miami Heat, started out investing in multifamily in Greater Boston, but switched his focus to commercial real estate in 1980, according to RK’s website. His first South Florida purchase was a block of stores in Miami Beach in 1984.

This is at least the second grocery-anchored shopping center RK has purchased this year in South Florida. In March, the company bought the Publix-anchored Veranda Shoppes in Plantation for $17 million.

Grocery-anchored retail has remained healthy throughout the pandemic, as consumers have continued to buy groceries in stores. Other brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to keep up with e-commerce growth.

RK also invested in Best Buy-leased properties this year, scooping up at least two in South Florida. It bought a West Palm Beach store for $12 million in May, and one in Plantation for $11.5 million in January.

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A recent report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows mom-and-pop landlords were hit harder than big firms by rental delinquencies. (iStock)

A recent report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows mom-and-pop landlords were hit harder than big firms by rental delinquencies. (iStock)

It’s been tough to get good data on rent payments during Covid.

Dispatches from the National Multifamily Housing Council show collection rates never dipped below 93 percent — a seemingly healthy figure. Yet the oft-cited survey covering 11 million apartments draws only from larger, professional management companies and counts partial payments the same as full ones.

Missing from the stats are the experiences of smaller and mid-sized landlords and the percentage paid of total rent due — details crucial to evaluating whether the $46.5 billion Congress dedicated to rent relief is enough.

A recent report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies fills some of those gaps.

The authors surveyed nearly 3,000 landlords across 10 cities, including Los Angeles and San Jose, California, and Albany and Rochester, New York. They found that payments short of what was due grew significantly throughout the pandemic, hurting mom-and-pop owners disproportionately.

The results also show how landlords adjusted their business practices to cope. Some made changes that benefited their tenants, but renters of color were cut less slack and penalized more often.

Among the landlords polled, in 2019, nine in 10 reported collecting at least 90 percent of rent due. Last year, only six in 10 did.

Severe debts rose as well. Over a quarter of landlords last year brought in between 50 percent and 89 percent of the rent due; 9 percent collected less than half of what they were owed.

Mom-and-pop firms were hit hardest, with 20 percent reporting they were owed at least half of their charged rent, compared to 8 percent of mid-sized owners and 5 percent of large firms.

Across the board, however, landlords adjusted their businesses to deal with the declines. Many cut renters breaks.

In 2019, only 15 percent of landlords granted a rental extension; the next year, nearly half did, “making it by far landlords’ most common practice during the pandemic,” the study said. And one-fifth of landlords forgave outstanding rent or reduced rents altogether last year, compared to 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in 2019.

They also put off maintenance. The portion of landlords who said they had delayed repairs rose to 31 percent in 2020 from just 5 percent in 2020.

And they struggled to pay their own bills. Owners who reported missing at least one mortgage, utility or property tax payment in 2020 rose 15 percentage points. The portion who listed a property for sale jumped 10 percentage points.

But when they did pass the impact onto tenants, communities of color, already disproportionately affected by the pandemic, bore the brunt.

Landlords with apartments in those communities were 25 percent less likely to forgive rent, 30 percent less likely to decrease it and 30 percent more likely to charge late rent fees, compared to owners in majority white areas. The racial discrepancy was more pronounced than in comparisons based on household income.

The higher rates of ‘punitive action from landlords,” the report said, suggests “the pandemic has only exacerbated existing racial inequality in housing markets.”

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Pacaso CEO Austin Allison and one of their Miami listings (Pacaso)

Pacaso CEO Austin Allison and one of their Miami listings (Pacaso)

Pacaso, a tech startup that buys and sells fractions of vacation homes, is launching in South Florida.

The San Francisco-based firm, led by former Zillow executives, is offering fractional shares in such properties as a waterfront Coconut Grove home listed for $6.8 million, and a $4.5 million waterfront house near downtown Fort Lauderdale, according to a press release.

On Tuesday, Pacaso announced the company had raised $125 million in it’s latest funding round and will begin operating in Spain later this year. The proptech firm, which launched less than a year ago, is now valued at $1.5 billion. It counts SoftBank, Greycroft, Global Founders Capital, Crosscut and 75 & Sunny Ventures among its biggest investors.

Pacaso’s business model is geared toward making it easier for mom-and-pop investors to buy, own and sell a shared second home in luxury markets. The firm offers prospective buyers as little as a one-eighth stake in a house worth millions.

Through a network of local real estate agents, Pacaso helps investors set up limited liability companies for joint ownership, and collects fees from the buyers to manage, maintain, and facilitate access to the home, according to the release. Brokers representing Pacaso buyers receive a 3 percent commission and stock in the company as a referral equity bonus.

Josh Dotoli, a Fort Lauderdale-based broker with Compass, is among the first South Florida listing agents to work with Pacaso.

“Pacaso is going to change the game in South Florida,” Dotoli said in a statement. “We work with a lot of buyers who want to be able to buy property in the area, but whether they are priced out or dealing with limited inventory, many have traditionally not been able to enter into this very competitive market.”

According to the release, Pacaso manages $200 million of real estate on its platform and has an annualized revenue run rate of $330 million.

Pacaso CEO Austin Allison recently told The Real Deal that second-home markets are hotter than primary-home markets, despite a “cooling off” in the luxury second-home market.

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Douglas Elliman’s Howard Lorber, Compass’ Robert Reffkin

Big U.S. real estate brokerages, awash in cash amid a housing rebound that shows few signs of slackening, are repaying debt and rewarding investors as they push to expand market share.

Douglas Elliman’s parent, Vector Group, plans to plow money into its venture capital investment arm. EXp Holdings announced a cash dividend for the first time. Realogy, meanwhile, aims to keep paying down debt. And Compass, after opening 15 new markets and announcing a mortgage business, is facing mounting pressure to show profits.

All four, among the nation’s biggest brokerages by volume of closed sales, are in an unusual situation: With so much cash on hand, they’re under pressure to stay ahead of rivals without overcommitting to markets that can turn fickle in a hurry. The decisions they’re making now represent a big bet on the future of the housing market.

“These firms are in a position to know better than anyone,” said David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs. “We can look at them as an early indicator of whether the real estate market will be beginning to cool off or continuing to stay hot.” 

Rising demand is outpacing supply, pushing the median price for an existing home up 17.8 percent to $359,900 in July from the same month a year ago, when the median topped $300,000 for the first time. Although the pace of sales dropped in the past year, economists have largely blamed low inventory, not prices, citing historically low mortgage rates and massive fiscal stimulus. 

Red hot

Elliman brought in $392 million in revenue last quarter, the least among the nation’s biggest brokerages by volume. Still, the firm is implementing a bold strategy to deploy excess capital. Its parent, Vector, has been de-leveraging for the past six months. With $490 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand — $155 million of which is at Elliman — the company plans on making a series of big wagers on its real estate business.

“I’m pretty bullish on where we are at today and where the near future, at least for the next couple of years, will be,” Howard Lorber, executive chairman of Elliman and CEO of Vector, said on an August earnings call. 

Vector is looking to deploy capital in “a couple of places,” including proptech venture capital investment arm New Valley Ventures, chief financial officer Bryant Kirkland said on the call. New Valley’s investment criteria is linked to prospects for Elliman’s luxury real estate market, not housing market cycles, according to Dan Sachar, the division’s managing director. 

Sachar categorized initial bets into two main categories: “table stakes” investments — investments that Elliman agents must have access to — and innovative new startups. New Valley’s inaugural investment in digital transaction management platform Rechat is an example of the first, while wagers on property services startups, Humming Homes and MoveEasy, represent the latter. 

New Valley Ventures reported investing in six companies in the last quarter. They range from Purlin, an AI platform that helps home buyers narrow their search based on customized criteria, to EVPassport, an electronic vehicle-charging platform. 

“We have to do all the things that our competitors are doing, and we are doing them,” said Sachar. “And then we have to go further.” 

Tech investing won’t displace M&A activity. Scott Durkin, Elliman’s chief executive, said that the brokerage is poised to expand in new and existing markets, though he wouldn’t say whether any plans are in motion. He said the firm is bringing back its in-person events and is looking at ancillary services such as mortgage services. In June, Vector took a 50 percent stake in nascent mortgage company Biscayne Mortgage, filings show.  

Warning signs

At eXp World Holdings, a virtual brokerage, revenue rose to almost $1 billion, a quarterly record, up from $353 million in the second quarter of 2020. EXp announced its first cash dividend this month. The brokerage’s cash on hand totals $107.4 million, compared with $63.3 million last year. 

Glenn Sanford, eXp’s CEO, said on an earnings call that his goal is to make the quarterly dividend “relatively permanent.” The firm bought back almost $55 million of its shares in the past quarter, aiming to benefit agents, who are all shareholders. 

“That’s to keep the company as concentrated as possible in the hands of our agents and brokers,” he said in an interview.  “We believe in investing in ourselves and our agents.” 

Sanford expressed skepticism about starting new initiatives as the market booms. The company explored launching a technology incubator program, but it didn’t move forward, he said. “The best time to launch new products is at the bottom of the market.” 

That doesn’t mean eXp is standing still. The company announced a joint venture with mortgage company Kind Lending in July, and it’s investing in its iBuying business, which uses algorithms to make cash offers for homes. EXp is ramping up a new media venture with the publisher of SUCCESS, a magazine devoted to personal and professional coaching. The brokerage also expanded into Israel, Spain, Colombia and Panama this year, bringing the total number of nations where eXp operates to 17.

‘We need the growth’

Realogy reaped in $2.3 billion of revenue last quarter, almost double the amount compared to the same period a year earlier. It also cut its senior secured debt level to the lowest since going public in 2012. Realogy has $859 million in cash.

“We’re going to keep investing in the business,” Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s CEO, said during an interview at a Barclays conference in August. “We absolutely will think about other capital deployment opportunities here, potentially for investors, but you should always be thinking we’re about investing in the business for growth.” 

Schneider emphasized that the residential brokerage’s business is cyclical, suggesting the firm doesn’t expect the market to remain strong and that he wants to expand key areas of Realogy’s business now.

Segments he singled out as ripe for investment include its iBuying program, RealSure, which Realogy runs with Home Partners of America, a title business that HPA and Realogy recently launched and its corporate franchise business and luxury brands, including the Corcoran Group and Sotheby’s International Realty. Sotheby’s was Realogy’s top performing brand last quarter.

“We want to drive the growth,” said Schneider. “We need the growth.” 

The iBuyer, RealSure, expanded into eight markets during the second quarter, and its partner HPA was recently acquired by Blackstone Group for $6 billion, which Schneider told investors was a “vote of confidence.”

Strike now

Compass, the second-largest brokerage after Realogy in terms of closed sale volume, is similarly growth-minded. After going public on April 1, the brokerage is under pressure to prove to investors that it has a path to profitability after its stock price plummeted almost 40 percent to a low of $12.25 in July.  

Compass reported $1.95 billion in revenue last quarter and announced a mortgage joint venture with Guaranteed Rate in July that will start originating loans by the end of the year. Compass has already begun offering title services through its digital platform, which it says will be completed by next summer. 

The company also launched 15 new markets, far more than its typical average of two per quarter. That means Compass is operating in 62 different markets across the nation. Robert Reffkin, the CEO, said that the expansion is opportunistic. 

“We saw an opportunity to accelerate expansion in the first half of the year that was originally planned for the back half of the year,” he said on an earnings call. Even though he said that growth at Compass will probably slow for the rest of the year, he’s confident that the housing market will remain strong.

“Yes, 7.5 million Americans have already moved, but millions more are looking,” Reffkin said on the call. “Remember, when you hear about 10 offers being put on a home, only one is chosen, meaning nine buyers are still in the market.”

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Harvey Hernandez and a rendering of his Brickell project

Harvey Hernandez and a rendering of his Brickell project

Developer Harvey Hernandez paid $50.5 million for a riverfront site near Brickell City Centre, where he’s planning a three-tower residential and marina project.

An affiliate of his Newgard Development Group closed on the 1.6-acre property at 99 Southwest Seventh Street in Miami. It secured a $55 million loan from 3650 REIT, a Miami-based lender that is affiliated with the development firm Grass River Property.

Benzol Properties, led by Bernard and Jerome Herskowitz, had owned the site since 1987. It is currently home to a 25,000-square-foot building with tenants KLA Schools and a dry cleaner, which would be demolished. The site is just northwest of Brickell City Centre, a $1.5 billion mixed-use development that Swire Properties completed in 2016 and is planning to expand.

Preliminary plans for the property call for three towers: one would have branded luxury apartments, a second would have branded condos, and a third would be a hotel or a branded hospitality project, all with a marina component, restaurants and a tie-in to the Underline linear park. One tower will be branded under Newgard’s new “Lofty” home-sharing line. Units will be priced from about $500,000 to more than $1.5 million.

In all, the development could be close to 2 million square feet, Hernandez said.

Hernandez, who has been embroiled in litigation on other Miami projects, filed a previously sealed motion against seller of the Brickell property. Court records show his 99SW7 Holdings LLC filed the complaint earlier this month against Benzol Properties Corp. to force the disclosure of contamination studies that the buyer said posed a health and safety risk. Hernandez declined to comment on the litigation.

Companies led by Hernandez previously have fought legal battles with a former employee, as well as with Airbnb, and also with his previous projects Centro and Brickell House.

On Brickell, Hernandez’s company locked out KLA Schools shortly after the sale closed, the Miami Herald reported. KLA Schools is in the process of building its new campus, and is nearing a deal to temporarily relocate.

Fortune International Realty brokered the sale of the Brickell property to Hernandez’s entity, according to a copy of the sales agreement included in the lawsuit.

Lotus Capital Partners, led by Faisal Ashraf, arranged the financing, which was used for both the acquisition and to fund predevelopment construction costs. The two-year loan has two six-month extension periods.

New York-based Lotus will also market the project to potential equity partners beginning next year.

Hernandez said Newgard would like to break ground next year, and completion would be about two to three years after the groundbreaking.

The property, with 400 feet of frontage along the Miami River, is one of the largest redevelopment riverfront sites in Brickell. The Related Group is planning a three-tower Baccarat-branded project east of the site, also along the river.

Swire is also expected to launch the second phase of Brickell City Centre soon.

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Deconstruct Podcast

The Real Deal has officially hit the airwaves with the first episode of Deconstruct, a new podcast analyzing the financial, political and cultural force that is real estate.

If you’ve joined the ranks of back-to-the-office commuters, close your eyes, pop in your Airpods and let TRD reporter and Deconstruct host Isabella Farr handle the rest. For those of us still Zooming away from the comfort of our living rooms, Deconstruct is the perfect companion for a midday lunch break if you take one — or your fifth cup of coffee if you don’t.

This week, Farr demystifies the role of cryptocurrency in real estate. You can’t see it or touch it, but you can, apparently, buy a house with it. Why is it an increasingly attractive option for buyers, sellers and investors alike?

Deconstruct has the answers, as Farr sits down with Madison Roberts, a Miami-based agent who has branded herself the “Crypto Realtor” and recently closed a $7 million condo sale paid for in cryptocurrency. You’ll also hear from Shaun Pappas, a New York-based real estate attorney with firsthand experience navigating these pioneering purchases.

Deconstruct is streaming on Apple, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts. Tune in for new episodes each week for all the information, insights and analysis you need to stay ahead of the curve.

In our next installment, we’ll tease out the facts, figures and fictions of the pandemic exodus away from major U.S. cities. Much was made of this phenomenon — and how it might impact commercial and residential markets — but how many residents actually left for good? And where did they go? Let’s break it down together, same time next week.

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One Sotheby’s expands with Space Coast acquisition

Gale Bray and Daniel de la Vega (One Sotheby’s, Getty)

One Sotheby’s acquired another brokerage, this time along the Space Coast, The Real Deal has learned.

The Miami-based brokerage, led by Mayi and Daniel de la Vega, closed on the acquisition of National Realty, a Melbourne-based firm with three offices and 76 agents, One Sotheby’s President Daniel de la Vega said. National Realty closed $130 million in dollar volume last year. It has grown 25 percent so far this year, according to a spokesperson.

National Realty was founded in 1965 by the late Wesley A. Bray. His daughter, Gale Bray, took over in 1988. She will stay on with One Sotheby’s.

One Sotheby’s expanded to the region in late 2019, when it acquired the 100-agent Treasure Coast Sotheby’s in Vero Beach and Melbourne.

National Realty is active throughout Brevard County, from Titusville to Grant, according to a release.

De la Vega said his company approached Gray, and they have been working on the acquisition for about six months. He alluded to the deal in June, when One Sotheby’s brought on former Weichert regional vice president Chris Anthony as a senior regional vice president for its northern markets.

One Sotheby’s will keep the National Realty offices, which are in Melbourne and Indialantic, according to its website. The brokerage now has 22 offices in Florida, including five in Brevard County.

Last year, One Sotheby’s acquired Sea Turtle Real Estate in Vero Beach and Duek Realty, a brokerage near North Miami. The firm also acquired Decorus Realty in Sunny Isles Beach, adding more than 140 agents.

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For the first time this year, homebuilders received a respite from rising materials costs, driven by a drop in softwood lumber. (iStock)

For the first time this year, homebuilders received a respite from rising materials costs, driven by a drop in softwood lumber. (iStock)

For the first time this year, homebuilders received a respite from rising materials costs.

The producer price index dropped nearly 1 percent in August for residential construction goods, excluding energy costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month marked the first decline in construction material costs in 2021, according to Inman.

August was also the second consecutive month that saw price growth for the relevant goods either slow or decline. It’s a relief for homebuilders, who have grappled with higher costs as they struggle to meet a boom in demand for new homes.

The price drops are significant, but construction materials are still 14 percent pricier than they were at the end of 2020. Steel-mill product prices rose 5 percent from July to August and are more than double last year’s levels. Ready-mix concrete prices, meanwhile, were up just under 2 percent from the previous month. Drywall prices remained stable over the month, though they have skyrocketed over the past year.

Softwood lumber, which has been on a roller coaster ride all year, is driving the overall dip in costs. Prices for the material have been sawed in half since topping out in May 2021. Still, the price for softwood lumber is 24 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

The homebuilding industry continues to face other challenges, such as labor shortages. Meanwhile, the gulf between home supply and demand continues to grow: U.S. Census numbers show 12.3 million households were formed from January 2012 to June 2021, but only 7 million single-family homes were built during that period. A Realtor.com analysis shows that the gap – 5.2 million – is 1.4 million higher than it was in 2019.

[Inman] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Ex-Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch with the $6 million property (Getty, The Jills Zeder Group)

Ex-Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch with the $6 million property (Getty, The Jills Zeder Group)

A former NFL player known for his lavish taste in home decor sold his non-waterfront Miami Beach home for $6.3 million.

Orlandus Andre Branch III, who played outside linebacker for the Miami Dolphins from 2016 to 2019, sold the house at 4535 Nautilus Court for $2.8 million above his purchase price two years ago, records show.

The buyers are Bryant M. Yunker Jr., a retired Wall Street broker, and his wife, Nancy Yunker, according to Miami-Dade records.

The Naples, Florida, couple own Sway Lounge, a bar in East Naples that was sued in 2009 by the mother of a woman who died in a fiery car crash two years earlier, according to a lawsuit filed in Collier County Circuit Court. The complaint alleged Sway employees did not stop serving alcohol to the woman’s boyfriend, who was driving the car, even though he was visibly intoxicated. The case was settled in 2015, records show.

Branch’s listing agent, Julian Cohen, said the 4,493-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom home sold fully furnished. The property was listed in June for $6.5 million.

“I sold this house to the seller for $3.5 million [in 2019],” said Cohen, an agent with the Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker. “He did an amazing job curating the home. That was one of the keys to obtaining such a high number.”

Built in 2019, the home’s features include European oak and marble floors, Wolf & SubZero appliances, a steam room and a media room, Cohen said. The property also has large terraces, a pool and Jacuzzi.

The property is in a non-waterfront single-family neighborhood in mid-Miami Beach. Cohen said the $6.3 million sale is the highest priced closed sale for a non-waterfront property in that particular neighborhood.

“The market is really hot right now,” Cohen said. “We listed the house for $6.5 million and we got it done for $6.3 million.”

In April, J.P. Morgan managing director David Reiser and his wife, Andrea, bought a non-waterfront home about a mile away, at 5061 North Bay Road in mid-Miami Beach, for $6.5 million.

In 2019, when Branch bought the Miami Beach house, he sold a 4,063-square-foot home in the Rio Vista neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. He sold it for $1.9 million after investing $250,000 in upgrades, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Waterfront houses in Miami Beach are experiencing big ticket sales. This month, Chicken kitchen founder Christian de Berdouare and his wife, former TV reporter Jennifer Valoppi, sold their seven-bedroom mansion at 5004 North Bay Road for $29.5 million. In July, Apollo Global management co-founder and billionaire Josh Harris bought a mansion at 2060 North Bay Road for $32.3 million.

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Competition in the residential market peaked in April when nearly 75 percent of home offers had to contend with at least one other bid. (iStock)

Competition in the residential market peaked in April when nearly 75 percent of home offers had to contend with at least one other bid. (iStock)

Home shoppers can take a breath: Competition for listings is lower than it has been at any point this year.

Last month, 58.8 percent of home offers written by Redfin agents dealt with competing bids, according to a market report from the company. That is the lowest since December 2020, when 53.7 percent of offers were in bidding wars.

The figure represents a massive drop from April, when 74.3 percent of offers drew bidding wars, a high point for the past year. It was also slightly lower than last August, when 59.4 percent of offers faced rival bids. Last month, the number was 62.1 percent.

Seasonal changes could be factoring into the cooling market. Fewer people tend to put in offers for homes at the beginning of the fall when the school year is kicking off and families are getting settled.

Prices are also beginning to show signs of stabilizing, despite a persistent gap between the supply and demand of new homes. The market hasn’t cooled off completely, but there are signs of intensity receding among buyers.

In some metropolitan areas, however, competition remains as fierce as ever. Raleigh, North Carolina, had the highest Redfin bidding war rate last month, at 86.7 percent. The San Francisco/San Jose metro was second at 70.7 percent. Both markets saw increases in the rate from July, although the Bay Area’s rate was lower than at this time last year.

In Los Angeles, the bidding war rate was 62.8 percent, down from 67.5 percent in July. New York City’s was 56.4 percent, up from 50 percent the previous month. The rate was 53.1 percent in Miami, also up from 50 percent. And Chicago’s bidding war rate was 45.5 percent, down from 52.9 percent.

Of the markets analyzed, the one with the lowest bidding war rate was Oklahoma City, at just 35.7 percent.

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The Real Estate Roundtable's  John Fish and Jeffrey DeBoer (Real Estate Roundtable, iStock)

The Real Estate Roundtable’s  John Fish and Jeffrey DeBoer (Real Estate Roundtable, iStock)

When the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill with bipartisan support last month, the Real Estate Roundtable applauded, with the trade group’s new chairman, John Fish, calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild and reimagine the buildings of tomorrow.”

But the infrastructure package — a vast array of funding streams including $110 billion for roads and bridges, $65 billion for power grids, $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for water and sewer projects and $39 billion for public transit — has since been caught in a tug-of-war between progressive and moderate Democrats.

House progressives won’t support the infrastructure bill without an agreement in place for a $3.5 trillion budget bill that addresses social needs such as health care, child care and education. The hefty cost of the measure is to be funded by raising taxes on corporations, high-income earners and wealthy investors.

House moderates say they can’t support that so-called reconciliation bill in its current form because it’s too expensive. They demand that a deal be reached with the Senate before Sept. 27 when the House would vote on the bill. With at least two Senate Democrats voicing opposition to the $3.5 trillion bill, the fate of the smaller infrastructure bill is up in the air.

Fish, chairman and CEO of Suffolk Construction, in July took the reins of the Washington, D.C.–based organization. It consists of the nation’s industry leaders from publicly held and privately owned firms in real estate and adjacent sectors, including landlords, developers and lenders, as well as the heads of 19 national real estate trade associations. He joined the Real Estate Roundtable’s president and CEO, Jeffrey DeBoer, to discuss the situation with The Real Deal via Zoom. The interview below is condensed and edited for brevity and clarity.

TRD: Is the Real Estate Roundtable lobbying to get the infrastructure bill to the finish line?

DeBoer: We are. We’re enthused about the infrastructure bill. We think it’s very important and very much needed, long overdue. I think everyone agrees that what is needed immediately is to work on our infrastructure, repairing roads, bridges, inter-city rail, broadband, water systems, and all of these things are definitely needed. And then, a lot of these other issues [addressed in the reconciliation bill] are certainly wanted. And we want to work with policymakers to make sure that that second bill is not unintentionally damaging to the economy.

Fish: In our industry, and the economy as a whole, what we really look for is predictability. When you take a step back and think about the confluence of the different issues that we put on our plate in the month of September and coming into October, it could lead to a lot of uncertainty. At any time you have uncertainty, that scares capital away, and also causes a sense of hesitation for people to invest. If we’re able to pass this trillion dollar infrastructure bill, the impact that will have on many, many communities throughout the nation will be substantial. At the end of the day, these are investments that the government is going to be sponsoring, that creates economic activity, job creation, and a sense of equality across our communities of America.

DeBoer: In the bipartisan bill, there is a part that would encourage federal help to retrofit existing buildings to be more energy efficient. Seventy five percent of the buildings that are standing today were built in the last century. If we want to get bang for the buck to reduce energy consumption in real estate, it has to be targeted at existing buildings, and policies need to be accommodative for these buildings. It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. So we’re very positive and active on that front as well.

Fish: Forty percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. So when we think about the debate going on in Washington, this issue of climate change from the real estate perspective is very, very important. We think we can play a significant role in policy in this particular area. And the idea of the government incentivizing the real estate development community, property owners, to upgrade their buildings to lower that 40 percent figure, to me, is something that could be extremely well received, not just nationally, but globally.

TRD: What are your concerns over the reconciliation package other than that its passage is now entangled with the infrastructure bill?

DeBoer: Our concern really is that there might be some unintended consequences. And there are readily apparent provisions — such as eliminating the 1031 like-kind exchange — which affects about 1 in 5 commercial transactions in the country — by itself would have a deleterious effect on real estate and investment. And then on top of that, the capital gain rate and corporate tax rates are potentially going up, and other changes in the estate tax, and so forth. And a variety of things that just together create an environment that would cause investors and business people to slow down and pause.

Fish: We really need to understand exactly what will transpire when we make these decisions, and how do we actually pay for it in a thoughtful way, and try to, I would argue, mirror the way that we approached the [infrastructure bill] in a bipartisan way. Let’s not look at [the reconciliation bill] without building consensus because the debate that took place in the infrastructure bill led to some very, very good compromises. At the end of the day, compromise is an inherently democratic process, which we all support.

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The now empty lot that was where the Champlain Towers South condo building once stood (Getty)

The now empty lot that was where the Champlain Towers South condo building once stood (Getty)

Surfside commissioners ruled out any possibility of a land swap with the site of the condo collapse to create a memorial, after listening to victims and their families in favor of the proposal, as well as residents against it.

Some victims had suggested swapping the Champlain Towers South site at 8777 Collins Avenue with the town’s community center property, at 9301 Collins Avenue, so that a memorial could be built as well as a new community center. The proceeds of the land sale of the current community center would benefit the victims and their families.

During a packed commission meeting Tuesday evening, commissioner Eliana Salzhauer, who had previously referred to the proposal as “delusional” – a comment that the judge overseeing the collapse litigation addressed during last week’s hearing – said she didn’t want “anyone to think I’m being cold or callous.”

Attorneys for the town had already ruled out the land swap at a hearing on Friday, and addressed why Surfside would not entertain the idea in a formal letter to the receiver.

“If we were to swap our community center, where would we put our pool? Where would we put the building? Where would we put the different items we have at our community center?” commissioner Nelly Velasquez asked. “Building a new community center doesn’t cost a couple of million dollars. It costs a lot of money.”

Salzhauer defended her previous comment. “I said the concept was delusional because it is,” she said, clarifying that she was not referring to the victims themselves.

“The people that suffered here. It’s not just those that lost lives and lost property…. Everyone’s loss is equal here,” Salzhauer added. “There’s nothing I can say to make this better, but we were elected to serve the entire town.”

The commissioners spoke after an hour of public comments.

Several family members of the 98 who died in the collapse choked back sobs as they implored commissioners to allow for the land swap, or at least help find another way to build a memorial on the Champlain Towers South site.

“It is the most painful thing knowing that the remains of my daughter [are] still in the rubble.… How can they think about building something there?” said Andrea Langesfeld, who lost her daughter, Nicole Langesfeld, and son-in-law, Luis Sadovnic. “This is not about money. This is not about space.”

Ultimately, the Champlain site is privately owned and now under the control of court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg, meaning the town has no control over what happens with the site, Salzhauer said.

Still, some victims pushed back, saying the town can try to secure federal funding to buy the land. Others did not push as hard for a memorial, and some Surfside residents, who did not live at Champlain, said having a community center at the site where children play and residents swim in the pool would not be fitting.

Yet others offered alternative suggestions as to where a place of remembrance could be built.
Randy Rose said a memorial could replace the portion of 88th Street, just north of Champlain, from Collins Avenue east to the pathway. It also could be built just south of the collapse site separating it from the Eighty Seven Park condominium tower developed by a partnership led by Terra.

Ultimately, the decision is being rushed at a time when victims and the community still are dealing with emotion over the catastrophe, said Raquel Oliveira, who lost her husband and son.
The decision also must take into account morals, politics and financial distributions, she said.

Mayor Charles Burkett acknowledged the swap was not going to happen, but urged victims and residents to come up with more ideas.

“My heart breaks for you guys because I know that this is something you were getting your hopes up about,” he said. “I hope you will not give up hope.”

Carlos Wainberg, whose brother-in-law and three cousins died in the collapse, said it was “disheartening” that the commission would reject the land swap right away.

“We are fighting to honor the people lost in this tragedy. I want every Surfside resident to remember in this building about 5 percent of Surfside lost their home. Two percent of this community perished. This was not a natural disaster. This was not an earthquake. The building just collapsed,” he said. “We can’t just let this go. We can’t just forget about it.”

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Louis McMillian of Global International Realty and real estate investor Thomas Conway, president of Miami-based Conway CRE (Global International Realty, LinkedIn via Conway)

Louis McMillian of Global International Realty and real estate investor Thomas Conway, president of Miami-based Conway CRE (Global International Realty, LinkedIn via Conway)

UPDATED, Sept. 17, 3 p.m.: A Miami-based real estate brokerage is launching a legal strike to secure a potential $630,000 commission from the possible sale of a North Miami Beach property that a former client doesn’t yet own.

Global Investments Realty is suing an affiliate of Miami-based Qualcon Real Estate, led by developer Thomas Conway, in connection with a possible flip of a former Bellsouth parking lot at 16735 Northeast 16th Avenue.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last week, Qualcon reneged on a listing agreement with Global by claiming the person who signed the document was not authorized by Qualcon to approve the contract.

The listing agreement involves the potential sale of the parking lot that Qualcon is under contract to purchase, but the deal is at least four months away from closing, according to the lawsuit.

The agreement, which is attached to the lawsuit, states the listing price would be $10.5 million and Global’s broker Louis McMillian would get a 6 percent commission, or $630,000, for listing the property and finding a buyer. The document was signed by McMillian and Alex Mantecon on behalf of Qualcon on April 9 and expires on Oct. 31.

McMillian did not respond to a message requesting comment.

Jose Ferrer, Global International’s lawyer, said in a statement after publication that the listing agreement is valid. “We are disappointed this disagreement escalated to the point of litigation,” Ferrer said. “The broker’s agreement and communications between the parties speak for themselves. We look forward to bringing this matter to a swift and successful conclusion.”

Evan Krakower, Qualcon’s lawyer, said the complaint is without merit. “No deal has closed at this time and therefore no commission would be due,” Krakower said. “In any event, this contract for representation had been terminated months ago. And in this instance, the alleged prospective buyer was not obtained by the realtor.”

Global alleges the brokerage fulfilled its obligations by securing a buyer who is ready to buy the parking lot as soon as Qualcon has title to the property. In a July 9 letter, which is also attached to the lawsuit, Krakower informs Global’s lawyer to provide documentation that Mantecon was authorized to enter into the listing agreement, as well as a list of potential buyers. Even if an agreement existed, Conway terminated the contract eight days earlier, Krakower added.

The lawsuit also contains an April 22 email from a Qualcon employee to McMillian about “looking forward to working with your team on the marketing assignment of our NMB site.” Conway was carbon-copied in the email.

Last year, Qualcon bought more than 1 million square feet of land from defunct bellSouth Telecommunications across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The firm paid $25 million for eight properties, including two parcels in Opportunity Zones.

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9408 Bay Drive

9408 Bay Drive

A waterfront home in Surfside flipped for $8.5 million, marking a new record price, just eight months after trading hands for $6.9 million.

And the previous sale, in late January, had also set a record for single-family home sales in Surfside.

In this latest deal, 9408 Bay Drive LLC, led by Zelman and Leah Oberlander, sold the 6,793-square-foot house at 9408 Bay Drive to Lindsay Rosenwald and Rivki Davidowitz Rosenwald. It traded for 23 percent more than in January.

The house, with seven bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms, features 50 feet of water frontage and 2,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space, including a rooftop terrace. Sharon Beck of Luxuri International represented the seller, according to an e-blast.

The Oberlanders had acquired the property from spec home developers Reuven and Iris Herssein.

The record for a single-family home sale in Surfside before the two sales of this property was $5.5 million. Condos often trade for much more.

Oceanfront condo sales had been on the rise prior to the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South at the southern border of Surfside. In early June, a penthouse at Arte sold for $22.5 million.

Flips have become more common in South Florida, as the inventory of high-end homes has declined, while demand has remained high.
https://therealdeal.com/miami/tag/house-flipping

This month, Andian Group sold a waterfront Miami Beach estate for $28.1 million, almost $10 million more than the firm paid for the property in May. That marked a 48 percent increase, though Andian Group renovated the home.

In August, the oceanfront Golden Beach home at 407 Ocean Boulevard sold for $8.2 million, nearly 45 percent more than its previous sale in late December.

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Arnaud Karsenti and one of the properties at 435 Gardenia Street (Google Maps)

Arnaud Karsenti and one of the properties at 435 Gardenia Street (Google Maps)

Arnaud Karsenti’s 13th Floor Investments made a big play on downtown West Palm Beach, with the purchase of a full city block for $26.1 million.

13th Floor, through an affiliate, bought the properties consisting of small commercial buildings on roughly 3 acres between Fern and Gardenia streets and from South Dixie Highway west to South Quadrille Boulevard, according to records.

In the biggest of the two deals, the Coconut Grove-based real estate investment firm paid $17.1 million for the real estate at 415, 417 and 421 South Dixie Highway, as well as at 419 and 435 Gardenia Street.

Seller Bright Blu, managed by Conor Capital in Fort Myers, assembled the real estate for $5 million 2018 and nearly $2 million in 2019, records show.

In the other deal, 13th Floor Investments paid $9 million for the real estate at 418 and 464 Fern Street, 401 South Dixie Highway and a small adjacent lot. The seller, an affiliate of real estate investor and developer Jupiter Realty Company, assembled the properties for $2.2 million in 2012 and $1.3 million in 2018, records show.

The real estate includes a three-story office building constructed in 1965, a two-story office building, constructed in 1930, and a closed retail-office building constructed in 1925.

13th Floor Investments did not immediately return inquiries about its development plan for the site. The city said it has not received any development proposals for the properties.

Karsenti allegedly was the victim of an extortion scheme by father and son real estate duo Bruce and Shawn Chait, who were arrested in March over accusations they tried to shake down millions from Karsenti in connection with Tamarac housing communities he built.

The scheme also allegedly involved Tamarac City Manager Michael Cernech, who also was arrested in August over accusations he aided the Chaits.

13th Floor’s purchase marks the latest firm to make a play on downtown West Palm Beach. Stephen Ross’ Related Companies has invested heavily on the office market there, scooping up three towers, completing development of a fourth and planning a fifth.

Related bought the two Phillips Point office towers for $282 million, the CityPlace Tower for $175 million and half of the ownership interest in Esperanté Corporate Center for an undisclosed amount. It also completed and fully leased 360 Rosemary and is planning One Flagler.

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(Getty Images)

Ian Solomon is just 24, but he has already faced some of the most severe consequences of climate change — from fires to floods.

Last year, sharing a house with four friends in Compton, California, he remembers struggling to breathe as wildfires turned the sky red and ashes fell around him. His sinuses constantly inflamed, he left before the next fire season, moving into a studio loft in Detroit, his hometown.

But the city’s aging infrastructure couldn’t withstand the frequent extreme weather. Storms swept through Detroit, flooding the hallways of his building and leaving thousands without power for days. Solomon built barricades and pondered his future.

“Being young at this point, I’m kind of looking at my life like, okay, how do I set it up for the next 10 years?” said Solomon, a photographer. “I’m trying to make a smart move for the future, and at this point it feels pretty uncertain.’’

Even as climate change threatens to destroy hundreds of thousands of homes in the coming decades, Solomon is one of relatively few Americans factoring it into decisions about where to live.

Americans’ romance with coastal living is headed for heartbreak as climate change threatens to make their beachfront homes unlivable. Mitigating the risks could be costly, and experts are urging the government to come up with a more coordinated plan for how to finance and address these issues before it’s too late. 

The answer may be a more coordinated use of voluntary buyouts, a relocation strategy used to reduce risk to individual properties and households. Such buyouts could be paired with managed retreat efforts, which involve relocating entire communities and demolishing housing, roads and other infrastructure that are left behind.  

“Our current buyout programs are not well positioned to rise to that challenge,” said Anna Weber, a policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In other words, managed retreat is what we don’t have a coordinated plan for, and that’s what’s scary. 

It’s an effort that could cost billions over the years, but could save trillions in the long run. 

What’s at stake?

Floods have caused more than $155 billion in property damage over the past decade, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 300,000 of today’s coastal homes and commercial properties, worth roughly $136 billion, are at risk of chronic flooding by 2045, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Florida and New Jersey have the most to lose. 

Solomon has pretty much ruled out coastal cities in Florida and the Northeast because of rising sea levels, but there are still plenty of people rushing into those very places.  

“Any research that I’ve seen just shows that it’s not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ situation,” Solomon said. “The oceans are going to be what’s really dangerous … as far as extreme weather.”

Yet populations in 50 U.S. counties with the most homes facing high-heat risk rose by 4.7 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to a recent Redfin analysis. Populations grew by 3.5 percent in the 50 counties with the largest share of homes at risk for drought, 3 percent in counties at risk for fire, nearly 2 percent for homes at risk for flooding and 0.4 percent for homes at risk for storms. 

In South Florida, sales of waterfront homes have surged despite the threat from extreme weather and rising insurance costs in the most flood-prone areas. Residential sales volume reached $33 billion in the tri-county region of South Florida, a 47 percent increase year-over-year, according to data from Analytics Miami. 

In Coconut Grove, a Miami neighborhood that experienced a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in 2017, a waterfront spec mansion recently sold for $65 million, breaking a record set earlier this year. Both properties had Flood Factor scores of either 9 or 10, meaning they were at the most risk of flooding. 

Sea level rise may have played a role in the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South, the condo tower in Surfside, Florida, that collapsed this summer, killing nearly 100 people. One report found that the oceanfront building had been sinking at a steady rate for years. 

Higher temperatures and drier conditions could make for longer, more intense wildfire seasons, with 2020 seeing roughly 10 million acres burned, the second-highest total in a year since 1960, according to the Congressional Research Service. A massive blaze in California destroyed more than 1,000 buildings — most of them homes —  just last month, the AP reported.  

Average sea level rise is expected to be 24-30 centimeters (9-12 inches) as soon as 2065 and will persist even if greenhouse gas emissions are stopped, according to the United Nations’ recent climate report.  

That means if you buy your dream home on the coast or in a fire zone today with a 30-year mortgage, it could burn or be washed away long before you even pay the loan off.

“People think their houses are financial investments, but in some places that won’t be the case,” said A.R. Siders, a professor at the University of Delaware who focuses on climate change adaptation policies. “If floods get worse, homes in these areas may start to lose value, and owners need to be prepared for that.”

In Southeast Florida alone, higher tides could reduce property values by more than $4.2 billion by 2040, and a 10-year storm tide could result in $3.2 billion in property damage, according to the Urban Land Institute. 

Coordinated effort needed

To address the impacts of climate change on real estate, experts are calling for the federal government to come up with more coordinated use of buyouts and managed retreat to address relocation efforts as extreme weather rages across vulnerable coastal communities. 

Versions of managed retreat, which is funded by FEMA and other government agencies, have been around for decades.

Miami-Dade County, Florida, purchased a home after it flooded multiple times in 10 years, prompting the owner to file two insurance claims during that period. The county turned  the property into a “stormwater park” to help reduce flooding nearby. 

But funding of such projects has come from a patchwork of sources, and there has been little coordination between projects in different locations, Weber said. “It’s rare that a single funding source will cover an entire project, so if you have a community that wants to do buyouts, often they’ll have to mix and match these funding programs, which you can imagine gets pretty complicated,” Weber said. “Money is available at different amounts, different times, after a disaster, sometimes part of a program that’s not tied to any particular disaster.’’ 

As disasters proliferate, so does talk of managed retreat as the best response, despite the potentially astronomical costs. 

It would cost $180 billion for the government to remove just 1 million floodplain properties, a move that would save $1.16 trillion over a 100-year period, according to a 2020 government-backed report. It would avert property damage using federally subsidized flood insurance and other disaster programs, which cost roughly $17 billion a year.  

While most voluntary buyouts are for flooding disasters, climate resiliency specialists are suggesting that it could be a strategy applied to communities in wildfire-prone areas, too. 

“This topic has gained interest over the last two decades,” said Siders. “A lot of this could attribute to the number and size and just frequency of disasters that we’re seeing now.”

Seawalls and stilts

Without a coordinated strategy, homeowners and communities have mainly relied on more short-term measures. Building seawalls, installing levees and raising homes on stilts can mitigate risk, but the temporary payoffs have some questioning if they’re worth it. 

The $14 billion of levees and floodwalls in New Orleans, for example, are likely to be inadequate in the next two years as they sink below rising sea levels, Scientific American reported. The systems were challenged when Hurricane Ida slammed the coast late last month, causing some floodwalls and levees to fail around
Louisiana.  

As risks grow and the flood-impacted real estate loses its value, such investments become harder to justify. 

“Developers have control over the confines of their own parcels, but they could be faced with negative consequences from reduced investor interest and lack of financing and insurance,” wrote Urban Land Institute advisory board members Scott MacLaren and Greg West. “If this is the case, it may be too late to recover.” 

Though more people have headed to Florida in recent years, skyrocketing insurance costs and depreciating home values in at-risk areas already have some wealthy residents moving inland. Without financial support, lower-income families who can’t afford to move elsewhere are the ones often left in harm’s way. 

“There’s more of a recognition that our standard approach of ‘let’s build a levee’ or ‘let’s elevate the house’ isn’t necessarily working,” Siders said. “It’s not enough to deal with the frequency and severity of hazards we’re getting these days.”

Despite being young, Detroit resident Solomon still remembers how much the seasons he experienced as a child have changed from the seasons he’s experiencing now. These days, he’s been busy researching what types of disasters insurance covers, and to what extent. 

“It almost feels [over-]dramatic when you talk about it, but when you look at what’s actually happening and it’s like, oh, yeah, this is serious,” Solomon said.

The post Buyers undaunted as climate change risks staggering number of U.S. homes appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty)

Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has survived a recall election, easily defeating the Republican-led effort that gained momentum in its opposition to his pandemic restrictions on businesses.

Nearly two-thirds of California voters said “no” on the ballot’s first question, which asked whether Newsom should be removed as governor. As of 4:45 a.m PT, Newsom had 64 percent of the “no” votes, or 5.8 million votes; compared to 3.2 million “yes” votes, about 35 percent, according to the New York Times. The Associated Press called the race for Newsom an hour after polls closed at 8 p.m.

The first-term Democratic governor faced 45 challengers on the ballot, including frontrunner Larry Elder, a conservative radio host who promised to slash environmental reviews to speed housing developments, and who said he would crack down on homeless encampments. Elder led all candidates on the second question — including real estate mogul John Cox — but that didn’t count given voters rejected the recall on the first question.

With the race called Tuesday night, Newsom spoke to reporters at state Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento instead of giving the customary victory speech in front of supporters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism, rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years,” Newsom said, the Times reported.

Newsom garnered strong financial support from the real estate industry during the campaign. Developers, brokers and investors poured over $5 million into campaign committees supporting Newsom. The California Association of Realtors and the California Building Industry Association also contributed.

Building Industry Association CEO Dan Dunmoyer said Newsom “made housing production a top priority.” Newsom is “the first governor who called it out: we need to build more homes,” Dunmoyer told The Real Deal in July.

Newsom has pledged to spend $12 billion over the next two years to address homelessness in California and another $7.2 billion on rental assistance, as part of a wider $100 billion economic recovery plan.

California will hold its next election for governor in November 2022. Several of the recall candidates, including former Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Democrat Kevin Paffrath, have already announced they will run for governor again in 2022.

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Nicky Jame and One Thousand Museum (Getty, One Thousand Museum)

Nicky Jame and One Thousand Museum (Getty, One Thousand Museum)

Singer, songwriter and rapper Nicky Jam has a new pad in downtown Miami.

The reggaeton artist, whose real name is Nick Rivera Caminero, paid $6 million for a 4,600-square-foot unit at One Thousand Museum, the luxury condo tower designed by the late Pritzker-prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid.

Caminero, who has collaborated with artists such as J Balvin and Daddy Yankee, purchased the condo just months after selling his Miami Beach home on Palm Island for $3.1 million.

The half-floor unit, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard, features Italian walk-in closets, Crestron home automation and lighting designed by German light designer Uli Petzold, according to a press release. The building includes an aquatic center with a pool, a sky lounge and a rooftop helipad.

The unit is likely on the 16th floor, with Green House Domestic Holdings Four LLC as the seller. State records show the company is led by Humberto Bethencourt. It previously sold for $4.5 million in 2019.

Tony Rodriguez-Tellaheche of Prestige Realty Group represented Caminero. Darin Feldman from Insignia International Properties represented the seller.

David and Victoria Beckham own a unit at One Thousand Museum, where residents also include hospitality mogul David Grutman.

Earlier this year, the tower’s developers, Louis Birdman, Gilberto Bomeny, Kevin Venger and partners Gregg Covin and Todd Glaser, closed on a $90 million condo inventory loan from Cirrus Real Estate Partners. The closing came less than three weeks after an entity led by the Reuben Brothers filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the developers.

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Measurabl CEO Matt Ellis

Measurabl CEO Matt Ellis

Measurabl, the San Diego firm that says it’s the most widely used ESG platform for real estate, raised $50 million in Series C funding from backers including some of the industry’s biggest companies..

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group, the real estate services firms Colliers and Cushman & Wakefield, and Lincoln Property Company, were first-time investors, according to a statement from Measurabl. Energy Impact Partners led the round, which also tapped existing investors S&P Global, Salesforce Ventures, Sway Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures and Building Ventures.

Measurabl enables environmental, social and governance data management, benchmarking and reporting for the real estate industry. It tracks the sustainability of all dimensions of a real estate business, from building-level operations to boardroom and capital markets activities, and helps companies accurately disclose ESG performance.

The company, which didn’t offer a valuation, will use the Series C funds to expand and launch new services “to meet rapidly growing global demand for sustainability and decarbonization tools,” it said in a statement.

“The potential to decarbonize the world’s largest asset class is an imperative that relies on making accurate ESG data readily available,” said Matt Ellis, Measurabl’s founder and CEO.

Measurabl says it has a user base representing more than 11 billion square feet of commercial space across 80 nations. It raised $18.7 million in a Series B funds at the start of 2019, a round led by Sway Ventures.

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(Getty Images)

Amazon, UPS and FedEx were all interested.

In 2019, a former Boeing C-17 manufacturing facility in Long Beach, abandoned by the firm in 2015, was up for redevelopment. The 1.8 million-square-foot facility included large hangars fit for rockets, plane assembly and other aerospace manufacturing. 

Given its proximity to Long Beach Airport and the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, e-commerce giants saw it as no-brainer. But the City of Long Beach wasn’t particularly eager to have them. Instead, it pleaded with the new owner, industrial developer Goodman Group, to work with the city to keep the facility aerospace-friendly. Taking this approach, the city felt, would attract more permanent — and higher-earning — employees, boosting tax revenues. Given the city’s long aerospace pedigree, it would also keep existing engineers and manufacturing workers in the area.  

The plan worked. In June, Goodman got Relativity Space — a manufacturer of 3D-printed rockets — to take 1 million square feet at the development. 

“The buildings were unusual, they could be reused for a wide range of industries,” Goodman’s Lang Cottrell said. “But we understood that the city had a vision for aerospace.”

The city’s strategy at the Boeing site wasn’t a one-off. Over the last few years, Long Beach has moved to brand itself as “Space Beach” — a hub for aerospace technology, research and development. It’s brought real estate developers to the table to identify and preserve more than 60 acres of property historically used by the aerospace industry, and it’s managed to lure a number of private aerospace firms and smaller space startups.

“We made a strong effort to try and transition to this new space economy, and it’s been successful,” Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach, told The Real Deal. 

The right stuff

Long Beach’s relationship with aerospace manufacturing dates back to World War II, when Douglas Aircraft built a facility to churn out C-47 cargo and B-17 bomber planes.

In 1940, Douglas Aircraft bought a site near what is now Long Beach Airport for about $200,000. At the height of the war, the facility employed as many as 160,000 workers and manufactured an airplane a day. 

Even after World War II, Douglas Aircraft kept manufacturing planes and bombers for the U.S. to use during the Cold War. The firm became McDonnell Douglas in 1967. It expanded the site and began manufacturing C-17s — a large military transport aircraft — in the 1980s. 

After the Cold War ended in 1991, production slowed as McDonnell Douglas started to lose military contracts. The company cut its workforce at the Long Beach site by about 16 percent.

Things turned around a few years later, when Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and pivoted to manufacturing commercial planes in Long Beach, as well as a few C-17s. 

“We have this deep, multigenerational investment in aerospace, manufacturing, engineering, marine,” said John Keisler, Long Beach’s director of economic development.

Just as Long Beach couldn’t rely on McDonnell Douglas’ military contracts forever, it realized it couldn’t rely on Boeing alone. The manufacturing giant was starting to whittle down its workforce in the city and sell off some of its property around the airport, where it no longer needed manufacturing space. Little by little, it put land up for sale, attracting local private developers. 

Cosmic connection

In 2011, Sares Regis Group, a commercial development firm based in Newport Beach, started buying acres from Boeing, but not without input from the city. 

At the time, the city wasn’t set on just aerospace tenants. It was working on a master plan called Douglas Park, which would be an industrial-office hybrid park fit for a number of employers — everything from medical offices to education to advanced manufacturing. 

“[Sares Regis] bought the properties that would become Douglas Park knowing full well what the mix of uses would be,” Keisler said.

The redevelopment involved rezoning and decontaminating the former Boeing land, some of which was just polluted brownfield sites, Keisler said. Despite these challenges, its proximity to the ports and airport made it an attractive investment for industrial developers. 

On one of the parcels of land, 4022 E. Conant Street, Sares Regis built a 144,000-square-foot building. It then sold it for almost $20 million to Vogel Properties, an industrial development and investment firm owned by William Vogel, who could not be reached for comment. 

Although the city said it would look to attract a number of tenants, zoning plans dating back to 2009 show that officials were hell-bent on landing an aerospace firm.

An area containing 4022 E. Conant Street was “intended to include light industrial uses, certain aviation related uses, manufacturing, and warehouse/distribution (as an accessory use),” according to city documents. Next door, anything built would accommodate “continued aircraft manufacturing support.” 

“Warehouse and distribution uses are prohibited as a principal use,” the 2009 plans stated.

In 2015, Douglas Park got its first large aerospace tenant: Richard Branson-owned Virgin Galactic, which moved into 4022 E. Conant Street. Two years later, Branson announced that Virgin Orbit, a spinoff of Virgin Galactic focused on launching satellites, would be headquartered out of the Douglas Park site.

“Virgin Orbit was the first one of the current generation of companies to move in [to Douglas Park],” said Jordan Noone, the co-founder of Relativity Space and Embedded Ventures, an aerospace-focused VC firm. “Over time, it became more and more attractive — it wasn’t just something that the Long Beach government was saying and not acting upon.” 

Bye, bye Boeing 

In 2013, Long Beach was in the midst of helping develop Douglas Park when it got a huge shock: The U.S. Department of Defense was canceling Boeing’s contract to build C-17s. Boeing, which had already started to sell off some of its land, was suspending operations. 

When Boeing put the site up for sale, it was clear that it would be an easier sell to one particular sector. 

From a landlord’s perspective, it’s “difficult to make a decision to go build a building with specifications,” Goodman’s Cottrell said, referring to the detailed specifications that aerospace firms and manufacturers need, including very high ceilings. Having these specifications in place also makes it easier for firms to move right in. 

“Nobody that I know of is building manufacturing space on spec,” said Patrick Schlehuber, the head of investments at Rexford Industrial Realty, one of Southern California’s largest industrial landlords.

“The fact that this is a former C-17 factory means that the facility already has an architectural structure that we need,” said Karin Kuo, head of people at Relativity Space. “Construction will be easier than constructing an entirely new factory.”

Goodman, which paid $200 million for the development, found the space’s versatility appealing. 

“The challenge is that it’s a large industry that is growing rapidly, but it’s still in its infancy,” Cottrell said. “It’s difficult to make the decision to build a building with specialized ceiling heights, wider spans and steel columns because if that industry were to falter, it could be a problem, and then you might have an obsolete building.”

Gravitational pull

The city was thrilled to have Virgin Orbit call Long Beach home. Just as it was losing Boeing, it was gaining what it hoped would become a major job provider. But it wasn’t exactly a smooth flight. 

Despite its long history with the aerospace industry, Long Beach didn’t have existing permits for what Virgin Orbit needed. The structure Sares Regis built was zoned for a number of different uses, in case an advanced manufacturer wanted to move in, but the city needed to approve permits to move 3D printers, hazardous chemicals and other specifics into the warehouse. 

“We had to overcome years worth of obstacles and hurdles,” Keisler said. The city needed to approve permits to move in 3D printers, hazardous chemicals and other specifics in the warehouse. 

From 2017 to 2019, the city worked to approve more than 100 permits for the building — everything from installing a 10-ton crane and a 6,000-gallon liquid nitrogen tank to adding an additional break room, records show. 

The city learned to move quickly. For Relativity Space, it hopes to get the company all the permits it needs in six months, less than a quarter of the time it took for Virgin Orbit. 

Rocket launchers, not distributors

Virgin Orbit’s gravitational pull was significant. Other aerospace firms started to move to the area. 

SpinLaunch, a satellite startup, took a 130,000-square-foot warehouse that was built by Sares Regis in 2017. Its zoning, under the same Douglas Park plan from 2009, is dedicated to aviation-related uses, light industrial, commercial and office spaces. 

Last year, Rocket Lab, a satellite manufacturer that recently went public, moved into an 88,500-square-foot facility in the north of Douglas Park — another building owned by Sares Regis. Neither SpinLaunch nor Rocket Lab responded to requests for comment.

The zoning also prevents other industrial developers from moving into the city. 

“To Long Beach’s credit, those e-commerce and 3PL companies [such as Amazon, UPS and FedEx] don’t really look in Douglas Park, because the uses don’t jive with how Douglas Park is zoned,” JLL broker Kamil Agha said.

“When they redeveloped, Long Beach had some prohibitions on more traditional distribution warehousing,” said Rexford’s Schlehuber. Some aerospace firms take up space at Douglas Park “because traditional warehouses aren’t able to.”

Rexford focuses on acquiring and developing traditional warehouses and logistics buildings and isn’t in the market to build manufacturing buildings, according to Schlehuber. “I need to get a return for my shareholders,” he said. “There’s more risk in [building manufacturing properties].”

Not yet escape velocity

Long Beach isn’t the only city that’s trying to style itself as an aerospace hub. 

Further north, El Segundo has prided itself on being home to the more traditional aerospace firms and defense contractors, including Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, attracted by its proximity to the former U.S. Air Force base — now, conveniently a U.S. Space Force base, according to Mayor Drew Boyles. 

“GPS was invented in El Segundo, satellites were invented in El Segundo,” Boyles said. “Space and aerospace defense has always been a critical part of our economic base.”

But El Segundo has few warehouses, making it difficult for aerospace firms to move in.

El Segundo has lost two aerospace startups in recent years — Phase Four and Morf3D — to Long Beach, Boyles said, noting that both needed more warehouse space. 

“But,” he emphasized, “they grew up in El Segundo.”

In Hawthorne, just north of El Segundo, SpaceX’s headquarters are located in a 534,000-square-foot building at 1 Rocket Road.

Although the Muskian presence in Hawthorne might have attracted more aerospace activity, SpaceX quickly leased up surrounding real estate, meaning there’s really nothing left for aerospace firms to take, developers and brokers said. 

As a result, aerospace firms, for now, have looked south to Long Beach. Even SpaceX has recently leased space at the Port of Long Beach to launch rockets.

For the foreseeable future, Long Beach will continue to call itself “Space Beach.” 

“We’ve been talking to a variety of companies and firms that are looking to move to Long Beach because of the density that’s being created,” Garcia said. “We very deliberately focus on aerospace.

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Demand for homes grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, but so did builders’ labor and supply issues. (iStock)

Demand for homes grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, but so did builders’ labor and supply issues. (iStock)

The gulf between supply and demand of new homes continues to grow, heightening difficult conditions for first-time buyers to enter the market.

Using a metric reflecting when an individual moves out of a shared living situation, U.S. Census numbers show 12.3 million households were formed from January 2012 to June 2021. However, only 7 million single-family homes were built in that time, according to CNBC.

Research from Realtor.com reported by the outlet reveals that a gap of more than 5.2 million homes is 1.4 million higher than the same measure from 2019, when the gap was just above 3.8 million homes between forming households and constructed homes.

Construction companies were already suffering from labor shortages but faced further difficulties as the pandemic hampered labor movement and the supply chain, also causing the prices of building materials to skyrocket in some instances.

Additionally, the pandemic created more demand for homes and the report noted as supply eventually fell even further behind, builders would need to double their pace of recent production to make up the difference in the next five to six years.

The increasing gap between supply and demand has also sparked higher prices for new homes. In the first half of 2021, just 32 percent of new homes were sold at $300,000 or less. That’s down from 43 percent of new homes sold at that rate back in 2018.

Builders have been unable to keep up with the pent-up demand for homes and forced to turn to desperate measures to stay afloat. Some builders have been restricting sales to avoid being further overwhelmed, which has caused prices to balloon.

[CNBC] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Renderings of the project (Hunton Brady)

Renderings of the project (Hunton Brady)

UPDATED, Sept. 15, 2:55 p.m.: Miramar-based Spirit Airlines won approval to shrink the size of its planned headquarters in Dania Beach by about two-thirds.

Dania Beach city commissioners on Monday unanimously approved Spirit’s revised site plan for the downsized headquarters at the Dania Pointe mixed-use development. Commissioners also approved the airline’s site plan for a nearby corporate housing development with 200 apartments.

In December 2019, Dania Beach city commissioners approved Spirit’s original site plan for a 500,000-square-foot headquarters and training center in two nine-story buildings at Dania Pointe.

The revised site plan for Spirit’s corporate campus now includes a six-story, 180,222-square-foot headquarters, a 100,000-square-foot employee training center equipped with flight simulators, and a 998-space parking garage.

Spirit spokesperson Erik Hofmeyer said in an email exchange that the 180,222-square-foot building could be the initial construction phase of the headquarters, because the airline could expand its home office up to 500,000 square feet. “The current design allows us room to expand on the property in the future,” he said.

The residential portion of the corporate campus will be a seven-story, 200-unit apartment building with a 297-space parking garage. It will serve as corporate housing for flight crews on layover, employees in town for training, and administrative staff.

The latest approvals came about five weeks after the airline ended a 10-day series of mass flight cancellations.

The 2,826 flight cancellations from July 30 through August 9 forced Spirit to forfeit about $50 million in ticket revenue. In an August 16 statement, Spirit blamed “airport staffing shortages, leading to severe crew dislocations.”

Spirit also estimated that its third-quarter operating revenue will range from $885 million to $955 million, compared to a pandemic-depressed $402 million last year and $992 million in 2019.

In December 2019, Spirit acquired most of its corporate campus site at Dania Pointe by paying $32 million for 8.5 acres. The airline also signed a 99-year lease for 2.6 acres at Dania Pointe, a 102-acre property developed by New York-based Kimco Realty.

Construction of the new corporate campus is expected to take two years. Spirit has estimated the total cost of the project will be $250 million.

Spirit’s current headquarters now occupies leased office space at three locations in Miramar: about 56,000 square feet at 2800 Executive Way, about 26,000 square feet at 2877-2899 North Commerce Parkway, and about 15,000 square feet at 2844 Corporate Way.

The consolidated corporate campus in Dania Beach will be just south of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which has more Spirit flights than any other airport. Spirit based about a quarter of its operating capacity there during 2020.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect size for the planned employee training center portion of the development.

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Less than one year after launch, Pacaso is valued at $1.5B

Pacaso CEO Austin Allison (LinkedIn, Getty)

A mere concept less than a year ago, second-home startup Pacaso just hit a $1.5 billion valuation and is expanding internationally.

The San Francisco-based platform for buying and selling fractions of vacation homes said today that it raised $125 million in a Series C round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 — a first-time investor in the company — and will begin operating in Spain later this year.

Launched in October 2020 by former Zillow executives Spencer Rascoff and Austin Allison, Pacaso closed a $75 million Series B round in March at a $1 billion valuation.

Fifth Wall, the largest proptech-focused venture capital firm, also participated in the Series C, alongside existing investors Greycroft, Global Founders Capital, Crosscut and 75 & Sunny Ventures. Bloomberg first reported the news. Pacaso said in a release that its equity funding now totals more than $215 million.

Fundamentally, Pacaso wants to make it easier to buy, own and sell a shared second home in high-end vacation markets like Lake Tahoe, Aspen and Malibu. Through its platform, prospective owners can buy as little as a one-eighth share of a property worth millions; Pacaso’s network of agents help them establish limited liability companies for joint ownership. The buyers then pay Pacaso to manage, maintain, and facilitate access to the home.

Pacaso’s business grew exponentially during the pandemic alongside the swift rise in home prices and swelling demand for second homes among newly mobile white-collar workers. The company manages $200 million of real estate on its platform and has an annualized revenue run rate of $330 million, it said.

In the early spring, homes in most of the 25 markets where Pacaso operates were trading for 30 percent more than they were a year earlier, Allison, who is CEO of the startup, said in an interview. Recent months have witnessed a “cooling off” of the luxury second-home market, but prices are still up 15 percent year-over-year in most of its locales.

“The market is still crazy, just not as crazy as it was at the peak,” Allison said. “It’s still hotter in second-home markets than primary-home markets.”

Pacaso’s attempt to reinvent the timeshare model has not been without challenges and uncertainties. While prospective buyers have flocked to its website — traffic was up 196 percent in the second quarter from the first, the company said — how well the fundamentals of the sharing economy hold up in luxury single-family real estate is an open question.

“Exponential growth adds exponential complexity,” Allison said. The company’s expansion beyond the U.S. — first in Europe, then eventually in Mexico and the Caribbean — will only make quality control harder.

“We’ve gone from basically zero to 120-plus people on our team across 20 states and three countries. We’ve gone from one market a year ago to 25 destinations today,” he said. “All that growth, and we’re not slowing down. We’re just speeding up.”

An IPO is a possibility but not in the near future, Allison said.

“When it makes sense to go public, we plan to consider that opportunity seriously,” he said. “But right now we’re very well-funded and don’t have any near-term plans to announce.”

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Renderings of 3017 Flamingo Drive and Andrew Lessman (D/Vice Inc., ProCaps Laboratories)

Renderings of 3017 Flamingo Drive and Andrew Lessman (D/Vice Inc., ProCaps Laboratories)

Vitamin entrepreneur and real estate investor Andrew Lessman barely won approval to build a waterfront mansion in mid-Miami Beach.

The Miami Beach Design Review Board agreed to allow Lessman to knock down a 4,339-square-foot house built in 1936, and replace it with a new 8,462-square-foot home. But the main contention of the 4-to-3 vote on Friday was the height of the proposed house at 3017 Flamingo Drive.

The current height limit is 24 feet. Lessman, founder of vitamin company ProCaps Laboratories, sought a waiver to construct a 28-foot-tall home. His attorney, Michael Larkin, said Lessman will be the end-user.

Architect Dan Ritchie, principal owner of D/Vice, said the height variance was important for the home’s modern contemporary design, and to allow 12-foot ceilings within the interior. In an effort to lessen the impact of Lessman’s desired home, bamboo and bay rum trees between 20 and 30 feet in height will be planted on the southern property line by retired attorney Barbara Wien’s home, Ritchie added.

In spite of the vegetation, Wien still opposed the project. The house Lessman wants to build, Wien insisted, is just too massive. “It is twice the size of the smaller homes on the street,” Wien told the board.

Michael Belush, a city planner, pointed out that the proposed home is still below the maximum size permitted within a RS-3 single-family home district. Under current zoning regulations, a house with 9,954 square feet could be constructed on the site, according to a planning department memo.

Some board members fretted about the height of the home. Board member Alexander Gorlin proposed a stepped-back pattern with the height ranging from 24 feet to 26 feet. Ritchie said he might be able to accommodate his client by designing a 26-foot-tall home, but not a stepped-back scheme. “The continuity of the roof line is important to the character of the house,” Ritchie said.

Board member Scott Diffenderfer didn’t oppose the 28-foot height, saying that high ceilings are an important part of the proposed home’s “wow” factor.

“We are sitting here [debating] a stupid compromise just to say we are compromising,” argued Diffenderfer, a real estate agent with Compass. Shrinking it by two feet won’t change the appearance of the exterior much, Diffenderfer said, “but the inside might feel tremendously different.” ​​

In the vote, Ritchie’s design scheme was approved, including the 28-foot height. Board members Diffenderfer, James Hagopian, Orlando Comas, and Samuel Sheldon voted yes. Board chairman James Bodnar and board members Sarah Giller Nelson and Gorlin dissented.

Lessman has been extremely active in Miami Beach. In December, Lessman sold a seven-bedroom home on the Venetian Islands to Banir Ganatra, CEO of debt settlement company Americor, for nearly $17 million. In April, Lessman sold an adjacent home on the Venetian Islands for $20.3 million.

In 2017, he bought a condo at Murano at Portofino, in MIami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood, for $6 million.

According to Miami-Dade property records, Lessman paid $3.5 million for the 3017 Flamingo Drive property in June 2020.

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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy with Executive Chair Jeffrey Bezos

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy with Executive Chair Jeffrey Bezos

Christmas is already on the horizon for Amazon.

The tech giant, among the biggest players in the industrial real estate market, aims to open 100 U.S. facilities this month and is gearing up to hire 125,000 warehouse workers ahead of the busy holiday season, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company’s starting wage of $15 an hour has drawn criticism in the past. Yet Amazon says minimum wages have risen to an average of $18 an hour across the nation and as high as $22.50 in some locations.

Amazon employs more than 950,000 people in the U.S. and has been swallowing more warehouse space as the pandemic drives demand for online shopping, increasing its need to store, sort and ship products. The company operates more than 930 facilities in the country, according to MWPVL International.

Two weeks ago, Amazon paid $84.5 million for a 133-acre site in Sunrise, Florida. It plans to build a fulfillment center at the site, one of several in South Florida either already in place or under development. Amazon leased about 3 million square feet in South Florida in 2020, according to Newmark.

Last month, the company added another 200,000 square feet in Southern California, leasing a building in Moorpark that will become a last-mile distribution center, an increasing priority for the company as it tries deliver to customers as quickly as possible.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and Legacy Title Texas president Laurence Henry (Getty, iStock, Legacy Title Texas)

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and LegacyTexas Title president Laurence Henry (Getty, iStock, Legacy Title Texas)

Compass, its coffers swollen by the housing boom, shows few signs of slowing its shopping spree.

The brokerage said Tuesday that it will buy Dallas-based LegacyTexas Title, expanding its title insurance and escrow business in the nation’s second-most populous state. Compass didn’t disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year pending Texas regulatory approval. It entered the title and escrow business in October 2020, when it acquired startup Modus in October 2020.

The purchase brings to seven the number of states where New York-based Compass offers title and escrow services, including California, Florida, Washington, Maryland and Virginia. Compass spent $103.8 million in the first half of 2021 to buy four brokerages, Washington D.C.-based title and escrow company KVS Title and Glide Labs, a transaction management platform, public filings show. It also launched in 15 new markets in the second quarter and announced a mortgage joint venture with Guaranteed Rate.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told analysts on the second-quarter earnings call that the pace of acquisitions would probably slow in the second half of the 2021 and that costs associated with them will be reported in coming months. Reffkin and CFO Kristen Ankerbrandt, spent a large portion of the call explaining how the company will become profitable and why the brokerage is, in fact, a technology company.

Compass has plenty of company when it comes to investing cash in new lines of business. Douglas Elliman’s parent company is pouring surplus cash into a venture capital investment arm. EXp World Holdings announced its first cash dividend, a mortgage venture and has extended its business to Israel, Spain, Columbia and Panama. Realogy, meantime, is repaying corporate debt and planning to plough cash into its iBuying program.

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Alex Witkoff, Ari Pearl and the Diplomat in Hallandale Beach (Witkoff, Pearl Property Group)

Alex Witkoff, Ari Pearl and the Diplomat in Hallandale Beach (Witkoff, Pearl Property Group)

UPDATED, Sept. 17, 4:48 p.m.: Witkoff is partnering with Ari Pearl on the second phase of a mixed-use golf resort development in Hallandale Beach.

Pearl’s PPG Development and Premium Capital Resources formed a joint venture with Witkoff and secured $55 million in fixed-rate financing from ConnectOne Bank, according to a press release.

The first phase of the project is under construction at the 127-acre Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club site at 501 Diplomat Parkway. PPG and Michael Herman’s Premium Capital financed the construction of a 26-story, 250-unit luxury apartment tower with a $100 million loan secured in 2019.

The property includes an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course, 10-court racquet center and a 48-slip marina.

The second phase that Witkoff is involved in includes extending the golf course, and adding a 15-acre golf practice facility, a clubhouse with food and beverage outlets, a spa and wellness center, ballroom and entertainment space, 60 hotel suites, and condo-hotel units.

Alex Witkoff, principal at the New York-based firm his father, Steve Witkoff, founded, called the project a “generational opportunity” to build a golf community in South Florida.

A Newmark team led by Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub arranged the latest financing.

Witkoff and Pearl were not available for comment. Both developers have been increasingly active in South Florida. Witkoff recently partnered with Monroe Capital to acquire a nearly 5-acre site at Miami Worldcenter.

A partnership led by Louis Birdman had previously planned a $450 million redevelopment of the golf club. The partnership sold the Hallandale Beach property to Pearl’s Maltese Diplomat Owner LLC for $43.3 million in 2018.

SBE’s hotel arm, which was acquired by Accor Hotels, was expected to brand a portion of the project.

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National Association of Realtors moves to block antitrust probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland, NAR President Charlie Oppler (Justice.gov, NAR)

The National Association of Realtors is biting back at the Justice Department, aiming to block an antitrust probe into the trade group months after a settlement between the parties collapsed.

NAR filed a petition in federal court Monday to block a DOJ subpoena issued in July, shortly after the DOJ withdrew from its proposed settlement with NAR and signaled a “broader investigation” into the trade group’s alleged anti-competitive practices.

The association said it was asking for the probe to be blocked on the grounds that the DOJ violated the settlement and broke the law, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department has claimed that it’s within its right to withdraw from the settlement, which it said was too narrow in focus to satisfy its concerns over NAR policies.

The abandoned settlement stemmed from a civil complaint filed by the DOJ against NAR in November. It would have required the association to repeal and modify some “anti-competitive” practices, including withholding information about broker fees and or enabling buyers’ brokers to filter MLS listings for commissions.

In July, however, the DOJ withdrew its consent from the eight-month old agreement and filed to dismiss its complaint without prejudice.

The DOJ claimed the original proposed settlement would’ve blocked it from pursuing more antitrust claims regarding NAR, although the agreement did include a clause that specifically reserved the government’s rights to investigate and pursue further antitrust violations by NAR or its members.

The proposed settlement came during the Trump administration, but President Biden has been turning up the heat on the real estate industry, pushing the Federal Trade Commission to look into competitive issues in the industry as well.

Some issues the DOJ is looking into include concerns over practices that effectively create a closed marketplace for buying and selling homes, leading to higher fees and preventing competitors from offering lower costs.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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West Palm Beach workforce housing advances with $53M construction loan

Renderings of The Grand project in downtown West Palm Beach, Affiliated Development’s co-founder and President Nick Rojo, co-founder and CEO Jeff Burns (Affiliated Development)

A downtown West Palm Beach apartment project, with the majority of its units planned as workforce housing, scored a $53 million construction loan.

Affiliated Development started building the eight-story Grand, where two-thirds of units will be for residents earning 80 percent or more of the area median income, according to a news release. There will be 301 one- and two-bedroom apartments and nine three-bedroom townhouses with ground-floor retail.

The project at 609 Second Street, is on the west side of North Rosemary Avenue between Second and Third streets. Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2023.

Fort Lauderdale-based Affiliated is a developer and investor led by founders Jeff Burns, CEO, and President Nick Rojo.

The $53 million mortgage from BankUnited supplements various other financing sources. The West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the city’s housing & community development department provided $15 million in bridge loans in December 2019, according to the release.

The project also is partly bankrolled by the Affiliated Housing Impact Fund, which in December closed its $125 million capital raise that is financing the firm’s numerous workforce housing projects. Affiliated Development has a pipeline of more than 1,000 workforce housing units throughout South Florida.

The impact fund partly financed the 200-unit, mixed-income Bohemian project in Lake Worth Beach, where 44 of the units will be workforce housing, as well as the 208-unit The Tropic in downtown Hollywood.

Workforce housing is aimed at working class renters, such as teachers or firefighters. Developers increasingly are opting to build workforce-priced units, as they often get partial government financing in return.

Other South Florida workforce projects include Prestige Companies’ three Hialeah projects: Palm Avenue Lofts, Champions Lofts and Poe’s Lofts.

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