Real Estate News

Photo illustration of Fredrik Eklund and Dottie Herman (iStock, Getty)

Photo illustration of Fredrik Eklund and Dottie Herman (iStock, Getty)

Residential brokerage Douglas Elliman is gone to Texas.

The firm announced Thursday it will expand its presence in the Lone Star State to include Dallas and Austin, two cities where home prices have grown at a rapid rate. It already has a presence in Houston, and will continue its partnership with Knight Frank in the state.

“Texas is the most exciting market in the country right now with buyers from California, New York and Florida relocating here,” said “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Fredrik Eklund, who announced the firm’s expansion in an Instagram video that found him wearing a cowboy hat while perched atop a horse. The video featured 120 Carnarvon Drive in Houston, which is currently listed for $29.5 million.

 
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Eklund and his partner John Gomes, along with Elliman agent Julia Spillman, will work to gin up interest from buyers. The brokerage said it has a $2.9 billion new project pipeline within the state.

“The luxury market is booming,” said Jacob Sudhoff, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Texas.

The firm said it will open a 14,000-square-foot retail space at the Shops at Arrive in Houston during the fourth quarter of this year, while its Texas headquarters would remain in River Oaks.

It’s entering a tight market: The median price of a single-family home jumped 16 percent last month to $312,000, the highest price ever for property in North Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, inventory in the Dallas area is at historic lows: In March, only 6,085 single-family homes — or less than a one-month’s supply — were listed for sale with local agents in North Texas, according to the News.

The mismatch between supply and demand that has driven housing prices to record highs presents a “challenging situation” to brokers, Dallas-based housing analyst Ted Wilson told the News.

“While most had a terrific 2020 and sold most of their listings, they are now facing a severe imbalance — plenty of buyers but not much to sell,” Wilson said.

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Renderings of Joseph’s Classic Market building, Workspaces at the Press and Shops at the Press. Tricera executives Scott Sherman (left) and Ben Mandell (Storyn, Tricera)

Renderings of Joseph’s Classic Market building, Workspaces at the Press and Shops at the Press. Tricera executives Scott Sherman (left) and Ben Mandell (Storyn, Tricera)

Tricera Capital is closer to completing its office and retail redevelopment of the Palm Beach Post campus, as it scored $50.8 million in project financing.

Miami-based Tricera secured the refinancing and construction loan for its The Press project at 2751 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach from Chicago-based Monroe Capital, according to a news release.

Jason Krane and Simon Ziff of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, as well as the law firm Polsinelli represented Tricera in the deal.

Tricera, led by Ben Mandell and Scott Sherman, bought the property that spans more than 11 acres in March 2019 for $24 million.

It is preserving most of the campus by retrofitting the former printing press and distribution facility into the 125,000-square-foot Shops at the Press. Retail anchor Joseph’s Classic Market, an Italian market founded in 2005 by New York native and longtime Palm Beach County resident Joseph Acierno, has leased more than 25,000 square feet, according to the release. That space is to be finished next year.

Beauty salon Tipsy Salonbar also has rented space, and a newly built Starbucks will open in June on an outparcel.

Tricera has retrofitted the existing office building into a 140,000-square-foot Workspaces at the Press. The Post is keeping its office on the site, leasing 35,000 square feet on Workspaces’ second floor.

West Palm Beach also has attracted ground-up office development, as Related Companies has topped off its 20-story 360 Rosemary tower and wants to build the 25-story One Flagler downtown.

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Amol Sarva and Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick (Sarva via Sasha Maslov, Lutnick via Getty)

Amol Sarva and Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick (Sarva via Sasha Maslov, Lutnick via Getty)

Amol Sarva has shared new details about how Knotel’s partnership with Newmark turned hostile.

In a video interview, Sarva said Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick, whom he holds in low regard, pulled the strings that forced his company into bankruptcy.

“It was just like [a] consummate Wall Street type,” Sarva said in a 12-minute interview with Business of Business posted Thursday.

Newmark was the stalking-horse bidder in Knotel’s bankruptcy and purchased the company in March. Sarva had reportedly raised more money as recently as January, but could not come up with a way to retain control of the company.

In Sarva’s telling of the story, Lutnick’s firm used its relationship with Newmark to gain inside information on Knotel and force the ailing flex-office company into bankruptcy.

Sarva never identifies Lutnick or Newmark CEO Barry Gosin — who he said is an “amazing guy, really nice, great reputation” — by name, but he references their positions and how they played roles in his eventual ouster.

About a year after Gosin and Newmark invested in Knotel, the CEO approached Sarva about hiring Cantor Fitzgerald as the company’s investment bank, according to the startup founder. Then the pandemic hit, and Knotel’s business struggled. Last December, Sarva turned to two of his lenders to refinance Knotel’s debts. That’s when he learned that Lutnick had purchased the debt.

From that point on, Sarva said, Gosin was “nowhere to be seen” and he was dealing exclusively with Lutnick.

Sarva said the Cantor CEO gave him an ultimatum: Take another $20 million loan on the condition that he put the company into bankruptcy and let Newmark buy it, or Lutnick would foreclose on the debt.

“These guys basically chose this moment to put almost another $100 million total in, just in order to buy the company and wipe out everybody else,” Sarva explained.

Representatives for Lutnick and Gosin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Despite his dim view of Lutnick and how Newmark handled the situation, Sarva didn’t completely dismiss his responsibility for losing control of Knotel, which was once valued at $1 billion.

He said he could have done a better job doing due diligence on Newmark and Lutnick, who infamously cut off paychecks to the families of Cantor Fitzgerald employees who died in the 9/11 attacks.

“The real estate business is full of all these shady people and they are very outspoken about each other,” Sarva said. “It was just a question away.”

Sarva also acknowledged that Lutnick might have kept him around if the Cantor CEO had more confidence in his ability to fix Knotel.

“Arguably it’s all within their rights and it’s capitalism and it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and whatever, but you can choose. There are rules and you can also choose how you want to behave in life,” he said. “Knotel is in someone else’s control today because of that bad decision by me.”

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Joseph Beard and Apogee at 800 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

Joseph Beard and Apogee at 800 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

Joseph Beard, co-founder of Westdale, sold his unit at Apogee in Miami Beach for $15.5 million.

Records show Westdale Apogee LLC, led by Beard, sold unit 1904 at 800 South Pointe Drive to Howard C. Draft and Louis R. Malikow, as trustees of The Howard Craig Draft Living Trust.

Beard is president and CEO of Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management, a Dallas-based real estate company that specializes in acquiring, managing and developing multifamily, office, retail, mixed-use and debt pools, according to its website. Westdale manages 40,000 units in 13 states. Beard co-founded the company in 1991.

Westdale is active in South Florida, and recently paid $97 million for a multifamily project in West Miami.

Records show Beard sold a South Beach penthouse in 2018 for $8.7 million.

The buyer of the Apogee unit, Howard C. Draft, is executive chairman of Draftfcb, a global marketing communications company headquartered in New York, according to his LinkedIn. Draft is also a board member of exercise equipment and media company Peloton.

Records show Beard bought the 3,731-square-foot unit, through Westdale Prop America I LTD, for $7 million in 2008. He changed ownership to Westdale Apogee LLC in 2010.

He listed the Miami Beach condo in May of last year for nearly $17 million. The listing was removed in January and re-listed for the same price in February, according to Zillow. It sold for $3,852 per square foot.

Luis Gonell of Compass represented the seller, and Dora Puig with Luxe Living Realty represented the buyer.

Property records show the unit has four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.

Related Group developed the 22-story condo Apogee in 2007. Recent deals at the condo tower include an apartment developer buying a condo for $7.5 million, and a JLL vice chairman spending $6.4 million for a unit.

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6950 Northwest 77 Court in Miami-Dade County and Ivy Realty’s Drew DeWitt (Google, Ivy Realty)

6950 Northwest 77 Court in Miami-Dade County and Ivy Realty’s Drew DeWitt (Google, Ivy Realty)

Ivy Realty snagged a Miami-Dade County warehouse with cold storage for $26 million, as it continues to expand its South Florida industrial portfolio, The Real Deal has learned.

The commercial real estate investor bought the property at 6950 Northwest 77th Court from an affiliate of The Apollo Group in a sale-leaseback.

The Apollo Group, a logistics provider to cruise lines, leases the entire property for its headquarters.

JLL said Ivy Realty scored a $17.3 million acquisition loan from a life insurance company to finance the purchase, although the brokerage declined to disclose the lender. JLL’s Melissa Rose secured the seven-year, fixed-rate financing on behalf of Ivy, according to a release.

Records show 6950 Logistics, led by Jose Ramon Barrera Ordonez, paid $15 million for the property in 2015. The Apollo Group assumed ownership in 2018 through a merger with 6950 Logistics.

The building spans 213,131 square feet on nearly 9 acres, which breaks down to 27,000 square feet of offices, 10,000 square feet of showroom space, 136,131 square feet of dry storage space, and 40,000 square feet of cold storage, according to the release.

It was built in 1961, with additions constructed through 2000.

Ivy Realty, founded in 1996, is led by Co-CEOs Russell Warren Jr. and Anthony DiTommaso Jr., as well as Senior Vice President Drew DeWitt, according to its website. It has acquired $1.5 billion in real estate, spanning 11 million square feet, across the Northeast U.S. and Southeast Florida. Ivy Realty has offices in Greenwich, Connecticut; Montvale, New Jersey; and Fort Lauderdale.

Last year, the company bought an 80,000-square-foot industrial freezer facility in north Miami-Dade County for $13.25 million, and a cold storage facility leased to Southeast Frozen Foods and SuperValu for $30.5 million.

Miami-Dade County industrial real estate is the only asset class to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic, bolstered by e-commerce growth. In the first quarter of this year, 1 million square feet was leased to e-commerce tenants, representing half of the e-commerce demand in 2020, according to JLL.

The pent-up demand has pushed up sale prices of developable land. That prompted Avra Jain and Terra to backtrack on their planned project for 4.7 acres in Miami’s Liberty City and sell the site for $7.5 million in March.

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(iStock)

(iStock)

The residential real estate market set all kinds of records in March.

The median home price hit an all-time high of $353,000, a 17 percent increase from the same time in 2020, according to a new Redfin analysis first reported by Inman. Forty-two percent of the homes that sold in March netted more than their listing price, also a record high. And for the first time since Redfin began tracking, the sale-to-list ratio was above 100 percent.

Despite those record highs, the average listing sold within 25 days. The number of active listings declined in March for the 20th consecutive month, down 29 percent from February and 7 percent from the same time last year.

A mismatch between supply and demand is fueling the red-hot housing market. Some observers have called the sharp increase in housing values a pricing bubble. But Redfin’s chief economist says that’s not the case.

“Fundamentals like low mortgage rates and high demand for housing are fueling the record-high price gains, so I don’t believe that homes are overvalued,” said Marr.

Still, by some estimates, the U.S. needs four million more homes just to meet current demand, according to mortgage lender Freddie Mac, meaning homebuilders would need to construct as many as 1.2 million single-family homes per year to meet long-term demand.

[Inman] — Orion Jones

The post Hot, hot, hot: Resi market sets new price records in March appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

Housing starts soared in March, which is good news for a residential market hampered by low inventory and high demand. (iStock)

Housing starts soared in March, which is good news for a residential market hampered by low inventory. (iStock)

Spring homebuilding season is here — and not a moment too soon.

Privately owned housing starts surged to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.739 million, up 19.4 percent from February’s revised rate of 1.457 million, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were up 37 percent.

March’s report comes after two months of decreased levels of new residential construction.

Single-family starts were up 15.3 percent month-over-month. Building permits and housing completions also saw gains last month.

The seasonally adjusted rate of permits issued last month was 1.76 million, up 2.7 percent from the revised February rate. Housing completions increased to a seasonally adjusted 1.58 million, up 16.6 percent from February.

The numbers are good news as the housing market’s inventory remains at historically low levels, which — combined with strong demand — has driven up prices. Some economists say that the lack of homes available to purchase is beginning to slow the market.

Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, is one of them.

“The biggest challenge facing the housing market right now is the lack of supply,” he said in a statement. “This news of more new inventory on the way is very positive.”

Fratantoni said he expects home price growth to slow as new housing units come to market.

Homebuilder sentiment rose this month with builders expecting strong activity from prospective buyers and in single-family sales. The outlook for sales in six months slipped, however.

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2001 Lake Avenue, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

2001 Lake Avenue, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

A partner at a Chicago-based private equity firm bought a waterfront mansion on Sunset Island IV for $10.8 million.

Records show Kenneth J. Virnig II purchased the home at 2001 Lake Avenue in Miami Beach from Leonhard Kurten and Irmtraud E. Kurten. Leonhard Kurten is a real estate agent with Inter Invest Realty.

Kenneth “Chip” Virnig II is a partner at private equity firm Thoma Bravo. As of the end of 2020, the firm has managed over $76 billion in assets, according to its website. Virnig financed the purchase with a $6.3 million loan from Morgan Stanley Private Bank, records show.

Leonhard Kurten bought the home for $645,000 in 2000. Property records show that he added more than 5,500 square feet of living space in 2011. In 2017, he added his wife, Irmtraud, to the deed.

The 8,261-square-foot mansion was listed for $8.7 million in 2011. It was on and off the market, and after multiple price changes, the asking price settled on $11 million in February.

Leonhard Kurten represented his wife and himself, and Danny Hertzberg of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group represented the buyer.

The house has eight bedrooms and eight-and-a-half bathrooms. The property also features a 624-square-foot rooftop terrace, 160 feet of water frontage and a 40-foot dock, according to the listing.

The Sunset Islands have had plenty of high-priced sales in recent months. On Sunset Island IV, a trust flipped a home for $10.2 million after buying it from hospitality mogul David Grutman for $8.3 million. Also Douglas Elliman brokers Oren and Tal Alexander bought a waterfront teardown for $10 million.

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Charles Urso and 6001 North Powerline Road in Fort Lauderdale (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Charles Urso and 6001 North Powerline Road in Fort Lauderdale (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

An entity tied to a West Coast shipping company bought a Fort Lauderdale warehouse for $10.6 million.

Records show the buyer, led by Andrew Naumov, an executive of Richmond, California-based West Coast Shipping, bought the property at 6001 North Powerline Road from Urso Family Realty.

The buying entity, 6001 Powerline LLC, secured a $5 million mortgage as well as an $8.6 million mortgage on the property from First-Citizens Bank and Trust Company, records show.

The 311,890-square-foot warehouse was built in 1970 on 3.6 acres, according to property records.

Urso Family Realty, led by Charles Urso, bought the building in 2014 for $6.5 million, a deed shows.

Urso is the former owner of stone and slab supplier Marble of the World, which previously occupied the building. Marble of the World now has locations in Pompano Beach, Miami and the Stuart area, according to its website.

South Florida industrial real estate has thrived over the past year amid e-commerce growth. Among recent deals, self-storage company CubeSmart bought a Weston facility for $12 million, and Hollywood-based Koda Interstate bought an industrial park in an Opportunity Zone in Riviera Beach for $12.8 million.

In one of the biggest deals, San Francisco-based Terreno Realty bought two recently completed buildings at Countyline Corporate Park in Hialeah for $50 million.

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4 Tahiti Beach Island Road, Coral Gables (The Carroll Group with Compass)

4 Tahiti Beach Island Road, Coral Gables (The Carroll Group with Compass)

William McKinley Osborne, III, a former investment banker, bought a Tahiti Beach estate for $28.9 million, marking a record price in the ritzy enclave.

Osborne and Karen Hall Bechtel purchased the home at 4 Tahiti Beach Island Road in Coral Gables, according to a source. Property records show 4 Indian Creek LLC was the seller.

Osborne was a managing director at Morgan Stanley from 1980 to 1991, according to his Linkedin profile. He also founded McKinley Capital Partners and served as president from 1991 to 2001. He currently is the president of Miami-based Meals for Heroes LLC.

The seller’s entity is managed by Vladislava Finskaya. Documents show the Florida corporation was formerly run by Ilya Bykov, principal of a New York-based financial services company.

4 Indian Creek LLC bought the home in 2014 for $18 million, records show. It was built in 2009 on a secluded peninsula with its own private beach.

In 2015, the owner took out $11.4 million in financing for the estate and made renovations to the home throughout 2014 and 2015, including interior demolition, roof repairs and remodeling, according to records.

The 21,235-square-foot mansion on a 1.4-acre lot hit the market in 2017, asking $45 million. After many price changes, the most recent asking price was $36.5 million in October.

Chad Carroll of The Carroll Group at Compass represented the seller, while Constantin Gorges of the same brokerage represented the buyers.

The sale price marks a record for Tahiti Beach, according to Compass.

The mansion features 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Designed by architect Ramon Pacheco, the house has a theater, two kitchens, an elevator, a wine tasting room and a full fitness center.

Coral Gables has had its fair share of deals during the pandemic. Last year, Miami attorney Alex Hanna bought a waterfront property for $8.5 million, baseball player Yonder Alonso sold his home for $3 million, and Pharrell Williams bought an estate for $30 million.

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Duke Properties’ CEO Albert Dweck. (Duke)

Duke Properties’ CEO Albert Dweck. (Duke)

Former Duke Properties executive Sarah Lazar is suing CEO Albert Dweck, accusing him of misappropriating company money to fund his lavish lifestyle.

But according to the Dumbo-based company, its former COO is just seeking a bigger payout than she is entitled to after failing to convince a judge that she was wrongfully fired.

The departed executive filed a complaint in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday alleging that Dweck repeatedly used Duke funds for personal expenses, including his $15,000-a-month apartment, at times jeopardizing properties owned by the firm.

Lazar is seeking $3.5 million for Duke, $3.5 million for herself and the removal of Dweck as managing member. Duke owns and manages several hundred properties in the New York metropolitan area, according to its website.

Duke shot back that Lazar took part in many of the decisions she now assails and has rejected an offer from the firm of more than it is obligated to pay her.

“We have acknowledged from the outset that our former COO is entitled to a buy-out of her interests in accordance with the previously executed operating agreement, which notably was drafted by her own husband,” a Duke spokesperson said in a statement. Lazar has a 25 percent stake in the 15-year-old real estate firm.

In 2018, Dweck obtained a $2 million credit line for the company, collateralized by Duke’s interest in the properties. However, over time, Dweck drained $1.8 million from that account, wiring the funds to his personal account, Lazar’s lawsuit alleges.

Lazar claims she repeatedly confronted Dweck over the withdrawals, urging him to convert the commercial line of credit to a personal one collateralized by his own assets. Dweck agreed but never did so, Lazar asserts. As a result, the lender threatened to take over administration of Duke and its properties.

In tapping the line of credit, Dweck jeopardized other acquisitions by Duke, according to the suit. When the company was in contract to purchase two properties — 125 West 138th Street in Harlem and 568 Jefferson Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant — in 2019, it realized it lacked cash for the deposits.

The lawsuit alleges that Dweck first solicited investments to acquire the Harlem property and then, without informing the investors, used those funds to pay for the Jefferson Street property. He also shifted money from the Jefferson Street property to pay for the 138th Street property without telling investors, it says.

He similarly used money from a property at 271 Malcom X to cover mortgage payments at Duke’s Putnam Avenue portfolio, the suit asserts.

“These are the actions of a Ponzi scheme and are not only a blatant violation of Dweck’s fiduciary duties, but they jeopardize plaintiffs and Duke’s property investors,” the complaint reads.

Lazar’s lawsuit further alleges that Dweck “borrows” money from individual Duke properties. For example, in different payments, Dweck took $125,000 from Duke’s Woodbine portfolio. As a result, the property could not complete renovations and developments.

Dweck also charged Duke for personal expenses such as first-class travel, memberships and visits to cigar clubs, and parking, Lazar claimed.

The CEO’s money management led to Duke taking out and eventually defaulting on loans, according to the former COO. On June 3, 2019, Duke’s Bushwick portfolio entered into a six-month bridge loan for $250,000. But by November, the property did not have the funds to repay the loan. Duke refinanced its mortgage last June to satisfy the loan.

Prior to that, Dweck held a capital call where an investor with a $400,000 interest asked to be bought out. Dweck offered $200,000. But the lawsuit says Dweck lacked the funds and borrowed the $200,000 from that same investor and used it for personal expenses.

When Lazar confronted Dweck, he offered to buy her out, she claims. When she refused, he fired her, changed the locks on Duke’s offices and blocked her from Duke’s files and accounts, including her own email.

The allegations are part of an amended complaint that Lazar filed after a judge rejected her initial one. The original complaint, in part, alleged that Lazar was wrongfully terminated.

“We will be submitting an opposition to our former COO’s motion for injunctive relief on Monday, which among other things will show her direct participation in the events she now claims are irregular,” the Duke spokesperson’s statement said.

Darren Oved and Aaron J. Solomon of Oved & Oved, who represent Lazar, said in a statement that her lawsuit aims “to ensure that the company Ms. Lazar worked so hard to build is shielded from defendant’s alleged malfeasance.”

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(iStock)

(iStock)

Texas courts are ignoring a federal ban on evictions and allowing landlords to remove tenants who are behind on rent.

For much of the pandemic, local courts in Texas were extending eviction cases for tenants who said they suffered financial difficulties. But last month, the Texas Supreme Court let its guidelines for enforcing an eviction ban expire, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Texas and a few other states have not released guidance on how the federal moratorium announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September should be applied, allowing individual judges to make these decisions.

Texas could be heading to a face-off with the federal government which still has an eviction ban in place until June 30. It could also create confusion for tenants and landlords over which guidelines to follow.

The federal government could override the Texas courts and enforce the eviction ban, resulting in huge fines for landlords who evict tenants. A building owner who removes a tenant covered by the federal order faces fines up to $100,000 or a year in jail, according to the Journal.

For tenants who lose their eviction case, the conflicting messages create confusion about whether they should leave their homes or stay.

Texas is one of three states where a federal judge has ruled the national eviction ban is unconstitutional. But none of those judges imposed an injunction to change practices on the ground.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen

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The Coconut Grove Playhouse and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Phillip Pessar/Flickr, Getty)

The Coconut Grove Playhouse and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Phillip Pessar/Flickr, Getty)

A plan to partly demolish and renovate the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse is back in play, after a court struck Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s veto of the project.

Miami-Dade County wants to build a 300-seat theater that would incorporate elements of the original 1927 auditorium and restore the facade. The playhouse has a city historic designation and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In its ruling, a circuit court appellate panel cited “troubling” emails between Suarez and several preservationists sent to him before his May 2019 veto. The emails “addressed the justification for and substance” of the veto message and “are presumed to be prejudicial,” violating the county’s due process, Judge Lisa Walsh wrote in the April 7 opinion.

In one email, Coral Gables-based architect Richard Heisenbottle attached a draft veto message. It’s unknown whether Suarez incorporated Heisenbottle’s proposed language as the attachment wasn’t in court filings, Walsh wrote.

Suarez, who had flagged the emails and forwarded them to his attorney, didn’t return a request for comment. Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez said the city will ask the court to clarify its opinion.

Heisenbottle said it’s “preposterous” the court reopened the door to the playhouse’s auditorium demolition just because a constituent wrote an email to the mayor. “They offer no proof that the mayor, in the formation of his veto, ever referred to the content of my email,” he said.

Heisenbottle called on Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to drop the lawsuit and for a complete “change in direction.” Levine Cava didn’t return a request for comment. The county’s proposal was initiated under former Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The county and Florida International University lease the property from the state.

Heisenbottle has been at the forefront of preservationists’ fight to restore the original sky-blue, Mediterranean Revival playhouse at 3500 Main Highway into what the preservationists call “the Broadway of the South.” The playhouse was designed by Kiehnel and Elliott architecture firm, and Robert Browning Parker renovated and redesigned it in 1955, with a Modern twist. Preservationists view the county’s plan as a development project and not a restoration.

The court ruling is the latest in a saga that dates to 2017 when the county first applied for its project.

City staff at the time – wrongly – signed off on the proposal as the city report was incorrect in saying that only the facades require preservation, Walsh wrote in the ruling. A Miami preservation officer’s report issued in 2005 had deemed the facades as architecturally significant but added that the entire building is historic.

The Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board in March 2019 shot down the county’s proposal, but the city commission overrode the historic board’s decision and approved the county’s plan.

Then in May 2019, Suarez vetoed the commission’s approval. The commission failed to overturn his decision, as a supermajority vote is needed to override a veto.

The following June, Miami-Dade filed its petition to the Miami-Dade Circuit Court appellate division to nullify the veto. The appellate division dismissed the county’s lawsuit. But the county then appealed to a higher court, the Third District Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s dismissal.

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Soleste Twenty2 at 2201 Ludlam Road in West Miami, The Estate Companies executive Robert Suris and Westdale president and CEO Joe Beard (right) (Soleste Twenty2)

Soleste Twenty2 at 2201 Ludlam Road in West Miami, The Estate Companies executive Robert Suris and Westdale president and CEO Joe Beard (right) (Soleste Twenty2)

The Estate Companies sold its fourth West Miami multifamily community, this time for $97 million.

The South Miami-based developer said it sold the 338-unit Soleste Twenty2 at 2201 Ludlam Road to Dallas-based Westdale Real Estate Investment Management. The sale equates to $286,982 per unit.

The eight-story property on half an acre totals 423,104 square feet, according to property records.

Neyda Bravo and Luis González of Bravo & Partners Realty brokered the deal.

Tony Castro and Jeff Ardizon of The Estate Companies

Tony Castro and Jeff Ardizon of The Estate Companies

Estate Companies, led by Robert Suris, completed Soleste Twenty2 last year, after scoring a $57.8 million construction loan from Florida Community Bank in 2018. It is 97 percent leased, the company said.

Estate, known for its Soleste multifamily brand, develops throughout South Florida, although it has focused heavily on West Miami. It built and sold Soleste West Gables I, Soleste West Gables II, and with other partners, Soleste Club Prado.

Last year, it completed the 306-unit Soleste Alameda, also in West Miami. It’s 80 pre-leased and 77 percent occupied, Suris said.

Most recently, it embarked on its Alture brand, scoring $29.5 million in construction financing to turn a closed Ramada Inn in Hialeah into the 251-unit Alture Westland.

Westdale, founded in 1991 and led by Joe Beard owns 200 commercial real estate properties in 30 cities, according to its website. It has a capitalization of more than $5 billion.

In 2018, Beard bought a three-bedroom penthouse at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach for $5.6 million.

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Clockwise from left: New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Ritchie Torres, Jerrold Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries and Tom Suozzi (Getty)

Clockwise from left: New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Ritchie Torres, Jerrold Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries and Tom Suozzi (Getty)

New York Democrats, fearing that tax policy has put their state at a competitive disadvantage with states such as Florida, are turning up the heat on their party to repeal the cap on state and local tax deductions.

Most of the state’s House delegation threatened to oppose future tax legislation unless Congress gets rid of the so-called SALT provision enacted in 2017, the Times Union reported. That would appear to include President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.

“This issue is so critical to our state and our constituents that we will reserve the right to oppose any tax legislation that does not include a full repeal of the SALT limitation,” New York House Democrats wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. Kathleen Rice of Long Island and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx were the only names missing.

The letter came after New York Rep. Tom Suozzi and New Jersey Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill and Bill Pascrell, all Democrats, vowed that they would not vote for Biden’s infrastructure plan unless the cap were repealed.

Republicans in late 2017 capped the amount taxpayers can deduct on their federal returns at $10,000. The law raised federal taxes primarily on high earners in states with steep income and property taxes, such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California.

But the cap had little downside for Florida, which has no state income tax. The tax overall provided a relative advantage for low-tax states, because it lowered income tax rates for high earners without affecting their deductions much. Members of Congress from states that benefited from the 2017 tax overhaul are well positioned to block any repeal of it.

Ocasio-Cortez, despite representing New York, opposes repeal of the SALT deduction cap because it would largely help the well off.

A 2020 study by the Brookings Institution showed 57 percent of a repeal’s benefits would go to the highest-earning 1 percent of households. A quarter of the savings would go to the top 0.1 percent, who would save about $145,000 per year.

A repeal would reduce tax revenue, costing the federal government $673 billion over the next decade, the Tax Foundation estimated, according to the Times Union.

That exceeds what Biden’s infrastructure plan would spend on transportation projects, including repairs for roads and bridges. He has proposed increasing corporate taxes to pay for the $2 trillion plan.

Democrats have a thin majority in the House and, in the likely case that few Republicans vote with them, cannot pass a bill without the New York delegation’s support. That gives the SALT deduction cap opponents, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, great leverage. But they would also be under tremendous pressure to approve a signature bill by Biden even if the cap remained.

[TU] — Cordilia James

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Greg Norman with 382 South Beach Road and 12227 Tillinghast Circle (Getty, Shawn Hood Media, Google Maps)

Greg Norman with 382 South Beach Road and 12227 Tillinghast Circle (Getty, Shawn Hood Media, Google Maps)

Golf great Greg Norman and his wife, Kiki, sold their South Florida compound for $55 million, and purchased a smaller mansion for $12.2 million.

The Normans sold their nearly 32,000-square-foot estate at 382 South Beach Road on Jupiter Island to the family of billionaire Leslie Wexner, the founder and former CEO of L Brands. The Real Deal previously reported that it was under contract. The deal closed April 7, according to Realtor.com.

Greg Norman, once the No. 1 golfer in the world, and his wife, founder of Norman Design Group, had rebuilt and renovated the property.

It was on the market for nearly $60 million with Jill Hertzberg of The Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker and Michelle Thomson of Coldwell Banker’s Thomson Team.

The 8.3-acre Hobe Sound estate, which stretches from the ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway, includes a pool house, tennis house, boat house, beach house, orchid house, 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and six half-bathrooms. It has more than 170 feet of oceanfront and water frontage, and 370 feet on the Intracoastal.

In the latest sale, property records show the Normans paid $12.2 million for a six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom mansion at 12227 Tillinghast Circle in Palm Beach Gardens. The 11,837-square-foot home on 2 acres was on the market with Rob Thomson of Waterfront Properties and Club Communities.

Former casino president Joseph A. Lashinger and Julie A. Lashinger sold the Palm Beach Gardens home. Joseph Lashinger, a former state representative in Pennsylvania, was previously president of Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack and the former vice president, general counsel and consultant of Penn National Gaming.

Lashinger sold a home in Jupiter last year for $5.5 million.

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(iStock)

(iStock)

April showers may bring brighter days for homebuilders.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased to 83, seasonally adjusted, compared to March’s reading of 82. The index tracks homebuilder confidence in current and future single-family home sales and traffic of potential homebuyers on a monthly basis.

Homebuilders’ outlook on both activity from prospective buyers and single-family sales ticked up this month compared to March, but sentiment around sales in six months’ time dropped two points to a reading of 81 from 83.

Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, attributed those headwinds to building costs.

“The supply chain for residential construction is tight, particularly regarding the cost and availability of lumber, appliances and other building materials,” he said in a statement.

Regional sentiment was divided. The Northeast and Midwest indices saw month-over-month declines, while the South and West regional indices saw gains.

All indices were up tremendously compared to this time last year, when the pandemic was first raging and many regions went into lockdown.

The NABH national index’s reading in April 2020 was 30. It jumped in July as demand from homebuyers picked up and prices surpassed $300,000 for the first time in history.

While many say historically low inventory will ensure demand doesn’t dwindle, interest rates have been creeping up and prices continue to climb, eating into affordability. In February, pending home sales — typically seen as an indicator of future home sales — fell 11 percent month-over-month.

Despite those challenges, the industry is feeling positive.

“There are certainly some headwinds that are hitting us, namely lack of lot inventory and cost. But I think there’s still significant tailwinds,” said Chris Bley, co-president and chief investment officer at residential investment firm IHP Capital Partners. “Covid certainly kicked the homebuying frenzy into overdrive.”

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34 Star Island Drive (Google Maps, iStock)

34 Star Island Drive (Google Maps, iStock)

Star Island residents Roni and Sam Jacobson flipped their waterfront home for $21 million, about nine months after paying $12 million for the property.

The Jacobsons, real estate investors and philanthropists, sold the house at 34 Star Island Drive to a Florida entity managed by title attorney Philip Gross. They sold the house for 75 percent more than they paid.

The couple acquired the two-story, nearly 6,500-square-foot home in July for $12 million, with plans to renovate and expand the house. They lived on Star Island before. In 2014, the Jacobsons sold their home at 31 Star Island Drive to Wayne and Wendy Holman for $18.8 million.

Stacy Robins of the Stacy Robins Companies, who represented the Jacobsons in the July purchase, confirmed the off-market sale, which Robins brokered as well.

Spec home developer Todd Michael Glaser was hired by the Jacobsons to handle the renovation. Glaser said he’ll complete the renovation for the new owners in about two months.

Flips have become more common in Miami Beach and other luxury waterfront areas of South Florida, as the inventory of available homes continues to fall.

On Star Island, nutrition power couple Roger and Sloan Barnett recently purchased 46 Star Island Drive for $38 million, The Real Deal revealed.

The guard-gated island is between Palm and Hibiscus islands and mainland Miami Beach, accessible by boat and the MacArthur Causeway.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin has spent $95 million on properties on Star Island. Most recently, an entity linked to the Citadel founder paid $25 million for 10 Star Island Drive.

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XBTO CEO Philippe Bekhazi and Two Roads Development's Reid Boren with 2955 Northeast Seventh Avenue (Google Maps)

XBTO CEO Philippe Bekhazi and Two Roads Development’s Reid Boren with 2955 Northeast Seventh Avenue (Google Maps)

Cryptofinance firm XBTO Group is moving its headquarters to Miami.

The New York-based firm paid $5.4 million for a waterfront commercial condo at Biscayne Beach in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. Two Roads Development, which built the 51-story tower, sold the 5,400-square-foot space, said Arden Karson of Karson & Co., who brokered the deal. It traded for $976 per square foot.

Arden Karson

Arden Karson

XBTO Group could not immediately be reached for comment.

The commercial unit at 2955 Northeast Seventh Avenue hit the market last year for $6 million with Karson and Douglas Elliman’s David Restainer.

Two Roads had used the space as a sales gallery for its nearby condo tower Elysee Miami. It had planned to lease or sell the unit to a restaurant — until the pandemic hit.

The condo includes an additional 2,400 square feet of outdoor space overlooking the bay and 15 parking spaces, and features high ceilings and a private entrance. The space was designed by French interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot, who’s handling the interior design of Elysee.

David Restainer

David Restainer

A number of companies and wealthy executives are moving to South Florida, driven by tax benefits and incentives the state offers. Prior to Covid, Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Property Trust moved to Miami Beach, and Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises set up a new home base in Sunny Isles Beach.

Blackstone has expanded its footprint in Miami, and Microsoft, Citadel and Elliott Management are all in talks to lease space in South Florida.

Scott Minerd, a managing partner at the global investment firm Guggenheim Partners, recently paid $12.5 million for two penthouses at Biscayne Beach, taking the entire 51st floor of the building. Minerd is relocating from California.

Cryptocurrency firms may also be encouraged by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s push to make the city a crypto-friendly town. Suarez has proposed giving city employees the option to be paid in Bitcoin, and proposed investing city funds in the cryptocurrency.

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The housing market needs 3.8 million single-family homes to meet current demand (iStock)

The housing market needs 3.8 million single-family homes to meet current demand (iStock)

The U.S. is facing an unprecedented housing shortage — one that’s creating problems for millennials.

The housing market needs 3.8 million single-family homes to meet current demand, according to an analysis by Freddie Mac, first reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s 52 percent higher than 2018, when the mortgage company first began looking at housing shortages.

While the shortage was exacerbated by pandemic-related moratoriums and investors turning starter homes into single-family rentals, the main problem stems from a lack of housing production over the past decade, according to the report.

“This is what you get when you underbuild for 10 years,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economists.

While demand for homes usually decreases during a recession, giving builders more time to build, the pandemic had the opposite effect. Some people fled the city, opting for more space where they could work remotely. The pandemic also led to supply chain delays that slowed down construction of new homes.

Now, home builders would need to construct as many as 1.2 million single-family homes per year to meet long-term demand, a National Association of Home builders chief economist told the publication.

The shortage is bad news for millennials: Homeownership rates are rising among those in that generation, generally viewed as those between the ages of 24 and 40, Business Insider reported. The millennial homeownership rate grew to 47.9 percent from 40 percent three years ago, according to Apartment List’s Homeownership report.

Experts told Insider that the existing housing inventory could run out by May. Owners are holding on to their homes, worried they won’t be able to find an affordable replacement, the publication reported.

[WSJ, Insider] — Cordilia James

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60 Northeast 27th Street with David Barry (Google Maps)

60 Northeast 27th Street with David Barry (Google Maps)

Ironstate Development Group purchased a property in Wynwood for $15.6 million, marking its first South Florida site, The Real Deal has learned.

The Hoboken, New Jersey-based development firm, led by brothers David and Michael Barry, acquired the Art by God assemblage at 60 Northeast 27th Street. The buyer is 26-60 NE 27th Street LLC, according to brokers involved in the deal.

Mika Mattingly

Mika Mattingly

Ironstate’s portfolio includes properties in New Jersey and New York, and the company has been considered a key player in Jersey City’s evolution. It is unclear what the firm’s plans are for the Wynwood site. Ironstate could not immediately be reached for comment.

Art by God, led by Gene Harris and his family, was in contract to sell the land at 26 Northeast 27th Street, 25 Northeast 26th Street, and 61 Northeast 26th Street since October 2019. The previous buyer, Miami Beach-based Lucky Shepherd, assigned the contract to Ironstate, which acquired the property on Wednesday, according to the brokers.

Andy Charry

Andy Charry

Lucky Shepherd, led by Christine Menedis and Naveen Trehan, had planned to build a 150-key hotel with 48 rental apartments.

Andy Charry of Metro 1 represented the seller, while Colliers International Florida brokers Mika Mattingly and Cecilia Estevez represented Lucky Shepherd.

Cecilia Estevez

Cecilia Estevez

Mattingly called it a “prime example of a Covid-ravished deal” that emerged “triumphantly.” Charry said the pandemic threw a monkey wrench through the original timeline. The closing was initially scheduled for early 2020.

“They had a great property located on a great street, and it became even better because of the proposed Brightline station,” Charry said, referring to the sellers. The family owns the gift shop that offers minerals, fossils and other natural resources.

Developers including the Related Group, Property Markets Group, Kushner Companies, East End Capital and others have flocked to Wynwood in recent years, developing mixed-use, multifamily projects.

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Photo illustration of Brookfield Property Partners’ Brian Kingston (Brookfield, iStock)

Photo illustration of Brookfield Property Partners’ Brian Kingston (Brookfield, iStock)

Out of options, a struggling hospitality trust is handing over its control to Brookfield Asset Management through the bankruptcy process.

Hospitality Investors Trust is negotiating a deal that would give Brookfield financial control over its 100 hotels as part of a possible Chapter 11 filing, Bloomberg News reported.

Hospitality Investors Trust CEO Jonathan Mehlman

Hospitality Investors Trust CEO Jonathan Mehlman

The trust doesn’t have enough cash to fund its duties, and Brookfield, its largest investor, might be its only source of additional liquidity, the publication reported. The asset management company holds all $441 million worth of its preferred equity.

In December, Hospitality Investors Trust turned the cash payment to payment-in-kind to preserve liquidity.

The REIT primarily owns Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt brands. Previously known as American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust, it came under fire for a 2017 investment deal that gave Brookfield substantial control over the company and led Hospitality Investors to suspend stockholder distributions.

Hospitality Investors is among a growing number of U.S. hotel companies that have considered bankruptcy to address challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

California-based REIT Sunstone Hotel Investors gave control of the Hilton Times Square to its special servicer, Torchlight Investors, in December. Ashford Hospitality Trust gave up a portfolio of 13 hotels as it struggled to stem losses and fumbled with forbearance agreements in an effort to avoid defaults.

Hospitality Investors Trust is under forbearance with its mezzanine loan lenders until June 30, according to Bloomberg News. The loan was modified to include a new repayment schedule and waive any default from a bankruptcy filing.

[Bloomberg News] — Cordilia James

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Alexander Bafer and 824 Pelican Point Cove, Boca Raton (LinkedIn, Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture)

Alexander Bafer and 824 Pelican Point Cove, Boca Raton (LinkedIn, Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture)

UPDATED, April 15, 12:25 p.m.: Former Facebank head Alexander Bafer bought a waterfront spec home in Boca Raton for $12.1 million.

Bafer and his wife, Courtney Bafer, purchased the house at 824 Pelican Point Cove from 824Pelican LLC, managed by Jacob D. Steiger, a plastic surgeon in Boca Raton. The selling entity also links to his real estate company The Steiger Group.

Alexander Bafer is the CEO of Brick Top Holdings, a film and production company based in Boca Raton. From 2009 to 2020 he was executive chairman and CEO of Facebank. In 2020, fuboTV, which primarily distributes live sports, merged with virtual entertainment firm Facebank Group and went public.

Courtney Bafer is a real estate agent at Luxury Partners Realty.

Records show 824Pelican LLC paid $1.6 million for the property in 2018, then demolished an existing structure and began building the 7,364-square-foot home. According to Zillow, the house was completed this year. It was developed by Steiger’s Steigerbuilt, LLC and designed by Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design.

Choeff Levy Fischman also designed a Miami Beach home Keith Menin recently purchased.

The Boca Raton house was listed in April 2020 for $12 million, and was most recently asking $13 million in February.

Joseph G. Liguori, Gerard P. Liguori and Carmen N. D’Angelo, Jr. with Premier Estate Properties represented the sellers, while Courtney Bafer represented her husband and herself.

The three-story home has seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, according to the listing. The property also includes a pool and a dock on a lot over 13,000 square feet.

Recently in Boca Raton, a homebuilder sold a house for $6.1 million, and the co-CEO of a private equity firm bought a spec home for $6.7 million.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Alexander Bafer’s former title.

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Pennock Square at 901 West Indiantown Road with Last Mile's Ryan Moore and Elion's Shlomo Khoudari (Google Maps)

Pennock Square at 901 West Indiantown Road with Last Mile’s Ryan Moore and Elion’s Shlomo Khoudari (Google Maps)

Elion Partners sold Pennock Square shopping center in Jupiter for $18.5 million.

North Miami Beach-based Elion Partners sold the property at 901 West Indiantown Road to Last Mile Investments, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to a deed.

The 42,995-square-foot, L-shaped shopping center spans 4 acres, according to the offering memorandum. It was built in 1997 and renovated in 2015.

A deed shows Elion Partners paid $15.6 million for the center in 2014, which at the time was called Jupiter Reserve.

In 2017, Elion gave the property a facelift that included new restaurants, signage and landscaping, and it also rebranded it as Pennock Square.

Kirk Olson and Drew Kristol of Marcus & Millichap listed the property in November, with an asking price of $19.3 million, according to the memorandum.

Pennock Square is 92.3 percent occupied, with tenants including Aspen Dental, Vitamin Shoppe and T-Mobile.

Last Mile Investments, a real estate investment manager focused on retail, is led by Ryan Moore, David Birdsall and Todd Pleiman, according to its website.

Elion Partners, which also has offices in New York and Seattle, is led by Jack Azout, Sylvain Argy, Juan DeAngulo and Shlomo Khoudari. It is both a real estate investor and investment adviser, with $1.6 billion in real estate under management, according to its website.

In December, Elion Partners bought Griffin Pointe Business Park in Dania Beach for $31.5 million.

In August, Elion Partners sold an industrial portfolio in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to Blackstone for $93.5 million, marking one of the largest industrial deals of 2020.

Among other retail sales in South Florida over the past month, Publix bought a 1.4-acre development site for its new store in Fort Lauderdale for $10 million; and Orion Real Estate Group bought Pinecrest Town Center at 12651 South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest for $32 million.

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(iStock)

(iStock)

Residential sales continued to rise throughout South Florida in the first quarter, with condo sales taking the lead in some submarkets, according to Douglas Elliman’s reports.

As a result of shrinking single-family home inventory, pricing skyrocketed for both homes and condos. In Miami Beach, for example, single-family sales jumped by a whopping 162 percent and the median price climbed 42 percent to $2.3 million, according to the reports, which are authored by Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc.

Miami mainland
Residential sales rose 4.4 percent to nearly 3,500 sales on the coastal Miami mainland, which includes Aventura, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and South Miami.

Condo sales rose 13 percent to 1,950 closings, and single-family home sales fell by nearly 5 percent to 1,541 closings. Condo supply far outweighed single-family home supply in the first quarter. Condo supply was eight months, with just 2.8 months of single-family home supply.

The median sale price for condos was $300,000, up 14 percent annually. The median price for single-family homes rose 26 percent to $510,000.

Miami Beach
Sales of both condos and houses jumped 85 percent to 1,425 closings in Miami Beach and the barrier islands, which includes Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Fisher Island, Golden Beach, Indian Creek, Key Biscayne, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside. A nearly 10-month supply of single-family homes and condos remained.

Condo sales increased 75 percent to 1,192 sales, while single-family sales rose by 162 percent to 233 closings. The median price of homes reached nearly $2.3 million, up 42 percent. The median condo price rose 44 percent to $510,000.

Condo inventory dropped 57 percent to 11 months of supply. Inventory of single-family homes fell 92 percent to 4.5 months of supply.

Coral Gables
Condo sales didn’t perform as well in Coral Gables. Total condo closings fell to 62 in the first quarter, down 5 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. Single-family home sales rose 46 percent to 139 sales.

The median price of single-family homes increased 18 percent to $1.2 million, and supply fell 73 percent to just 3.3 months.

The median price of condos stayed the same at $375,000. Still condo supply declined by 12 percent to 8.5 months.

Fort Lauderdale
Condo sales and single-family home sales each rose by about 59 percent, to 787 and 688 closings, respectively. The median price of condos increased by 17 percent to $390,000. The median price of single-family homes grew by 21 percent to $525,000.

Inventory continued dwindling, down 72 percent to nearly 2 months of single-family homes supply. For condos, supply fell 53 percent compared to the same period of last year, to 4.1 months of supply.

Palm Beach
Condo sales soared in Palm Beach, up 96 percent, year over year, to 172 closings. Single-family home sales totaled 49, a 49 percent jump.

The median price of condos rose 34 percent to $937,000, and the median price of homes jumped 48 percent to $6.6 million. Supply of both condos and houses dropped to two months.

West Palm Beach
Just over the bridge in West Palm Beach, residential sales increased, but at a less dramatic level. Condo sales grew by 35 percent to 826 closings, and home sales rose by 27 percent to 558 closings.

Median prices for single-family homes and condos each rose by 23 percent, to $378,000 and $175,000, respectively.

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Andrew Florance, CEO of CoStar Group (CoStar, Homes.com)

Andrew Florance, CEO of CoStar Group (CoStar, Homes.com)

CoStar Group is edging further into the world of residential real estate with its latest acquisition.

The data giant announced Wednesday it had reached an agreement to buy residential listing platform Homes.com for $156 million in cash. Homes.com platform claims to have more than 1.8 million listings with feeds from 90 percent of the Multiple Listing Services across the country.

Pending a regulatory review, the transaction is expected to close by the end of June and bring CoStar up to $10 million in additional revenue in the second half of the year, according to a release.

It’s the second purchase CoStar has made in the residential sector since buying Homesnap for $250 million last year, though that’s not for a lack of trying.

CoStar reached an agreement to buy RentPath for $585 million, but the deal fell apart after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission opposed it. Separately, CoStar was bidding for consumer real estate data firm CoreLogic but pulled its $7.35 billion offer last month citing rising interest rates, while CoreLogic indicated it was seeking another deal with a larger portion of cash.

CoStar has said it’s looking to expand into residential real estate data because of the sector’s opportunity. In November CEO Andy Florance said that the estimated value of residential property was $27 trillion, compared to commercial assets’ $16 trillion.

CoStar’s plans to use Homes.com in tandem with Homesnap’s agent tools and marketing solutions to create a service that will help agents sell homes faster at higher prices.

“Our plan in bringing Homesnap and Homes.com together is to help agents market their listings in support of the ‘your listing, your lead’ philosophy – which stands in contrast to most players in the industry,” Florance said in the release.

He also took a swipe at rival Zillow Group, noting that “current residential listing sites do not serve the interests of homeowners or their agents as they focus on selling advertisements on top of agent listings and increasingly offer competing brokerage services.”

Florance said CoStar would not use similar advertising programs, which have generated fierce backlash from the agent community.

Homes.com was founded in 1997 and has raised $38.5 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

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Ian Bruce Eichner and his unit

Ian Bruce Eichner and his unit

Continuum South Beach developer Ian Bruce Eichner sold his penthouse at the condo tower for $35 million, more than two years after it was listed for $48 million.

Eichner sold the 11,031-square-foot, seven-bedroom unit, according to the Wall Street Journal. He had been renting it out on a short-term basis since December, at one point for $200,000 a month, he told The Real Deal.

Eichner declined to disclose the buyer.

Eichner, founder of the New York-based Continuum Company, delivered the two-tower condo development at 50 and 100 South Pointe Drive in Miami Beach in 2003. The property features two pools, a gym and tennis courts.

His penthouse includes a cabana, a guest unit on a lower floor and 10 parking spaces. The unit features a terrace with a private pool, a screening room and large open kitchen. It hit the market in 2015 and went through a number of listing agents, as well as price reductions. It was most recently asking $39.9 million.

Eloy Carmenate and Mick Duchon of the Corcoran Group brokered the deal.

South Florida condo sales have bounced back in recent months, partially as a result of the limited supply of single-family homes, leading a number of developers to move forward with new condo projects. Luxury waterfront home sales soared during the pandemic, especially in Miami Beach.

In December, Eichner joined TSG Group and its partners on a planned condo development in Brickell, though Eichner said it may not go forward as originally planned.

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American Landmark CEO Joe Lubeck and The Marin. (American Landmark, Arium)

American Landmark CEO Joe Lubeck and The Marin. (American Landmark, Arium)

American Landmark Apartments bought The Marin by Arium for $58 million, with plans for renovations that include rebranding the complex as The Pearl.

Tampa-based American Landmark, through an affiliate, purchased the 223-unit community at 3880-3960 West Broward Boulevard from CPI/Carroll Grove East Owner, which is an affiliate of Atlanta-based Carroll, according to a deed. The sale equates to $260,090 per unit.

The garden-style complex totals 262,844 square feet on 10.8 acres. It was built in 2008, records show. The property also includes 14,000 square feet of retail space.

Carroll, a real estate investor and manager, led by founder M. Patrick Carroll, bought the complex in 2017 for $44.6 million, a deed shows.

Carroll had renovated the pool deck, gym and playground, as well as the units with stainless steel appliances, fresh paint and faux wood plank flooring, according to a press release.

American Landmark, led by Joe Lubeck, in its own release said it plans an additional $1.7 million in capital improvements to the units and amenities. It will renovate the appliances, cabinets, tile backsplash and quartz countertops, and will add USB outlets and electronic smart locks. American Landmark also will upgrade the clubhouse, landscaping, gym, pool furniture, pet wash station and dog park.

American Landmark, a multifamily owner-operator, has a portfolio of 32,000 units across the South and Texas, according to its website. The Plantation complex is its 27th in Florida and 10th in South Florida, according to the release.

In 2019, American Landmark and its equity partner Electra America closed on a $462 million multifamily fund for 37 multifamily assets with 12,600 units in the Southeast. The fund came on the heels of American Landmark buying the 448-unit Cielo Boca in Boca Raton for $91.5 million.

Several multifamily projects in Broward County have traded over the past month, and even more are scoring construction financing. Landmark Cos. bought Coral Falls Apartment Homes in Coral Springs for $40.2 million; and Stiles Corp. and PGIM Real Estate bought a Plantation multifamily site for $5.4 million and scored a $64.2 million construction loan for the 315-unit project.

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Robert M. White, Jr. and 2900 Northeast 24th Court in Fort Lauderdale (Compass)

Robert M. White, Jr. and 2900 Northeast 24th Court in Fort Lauderdale (Compass)

Robert M. White, Jr., the founder of a real estate data firm, bought a newly built waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge neighborhood for $5.3 million.

Records show White purchased the house at 2900 Northeast 24th Court from Bobby L. Williams and Puay-Hua Soh.

White is the founder and president of Real Capital Analytics, a data firm that tracks global commercial real estate sales and trends. Real Capital Analytics has recorded over $20 trillion of commercial property deals, according to its website. White founded the New York City-based company in 2000.

Williams and Soh purchased the waterfront property for $1.5 million in 2016. Property records show the two constructed a single-family home starting in 2018 and completed it in 2020. Fort Lauderdale-based Waterbrook Builders built the house.

The property was listed in June with an asking price of $5.5 million. The most recent asking price was $5.3 million in December. Amy Talkow of Listingly represented the seller, and Carlos Costa with Charles Rutenberg Realty represented the buyer.

According to the listing, the 3,888-square-foot house has four bedrooms and five bathrooms. The property totals 12,488 square feet and includes 65 feet of Intracoastal Waterway frontage, as well as 125 feet of canal frontage.

The home also features a pool and a garage that can accommodate up to four cars with the help of a hydraulic lift.

Among other waterfront properties that have recently sold in Fort Lauderdale, the president of a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company bought a Las Olas Isles home for $15.7 million; a former campaign manager for Trump sold his home for $2.7 million; and the former owners of a psychic TV network sold their home for $14 million.

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Rob Gronkowski and 35 Hudson Yards (Getty, SOM)

Rob Gronkowski and 35 Hudson Yards (Getty, SOM)

The Bloomberg administration originally planned a stadium for the New York Jets at Hudson Yards. But instead of playing football there, Rob Gronkowski will be enjoying city views from his new apartment.

The Super Bowl champion tight end scored a new pad at Related’s 35 Hudson Yards for $7 million, the New York Post reported.

Though Gronkowski now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom, 2,652-square-foot apartment will serve as his escape when he’s not snagging Tom Brady spirals.

“He was just here, supervising the furniture set-up,” a source told the Post.

Designed by David Childs of SOM, the building features interior designs by Tony Ingrao. The building also hosts a flagship Equinox fitness center and Equinox Hotel, SoulCycle, residents-only gym, playroom, business center, lounge and dining room and terrace with catering services.

The apartment itself has wide-plank oak floors and a windowed eat-in chef’s kitchen.

“It has always been on his bucket list to own property in New York City,” the source told the Post. “He’s here a lot in the offseason to relax and recharge.”

[NYPost] — Sasha Jones

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Adam Neumann and the “Guitar House” in in Corte Madera (Getty, Realtor)

Adam Neumann and the “Guitar House” in in Corte Madera (Getty, Realtor)

WeWork’s co-founder and ex-CEO Adam Neumann has sold his northern California estate for $22.4 million, according to the New York Post.

Neumann bought the sprawling property in 2018 for $21.4 million. The home sits on 10.8 acres outside the Bay Area and stretches over 12,500 square feet.

Following his humbling exit from WeWork in 2019, Neumann put several of his properties on the market. The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom home in Corte Madera was listed last August for $27.5 million.

Designed by architect Sim Van der Ryn, it is known as the “Guitar House” for the shape of one of the rooms. The property also features a pool and water slide, spa, music studio, home theatre and racquetball court, as well as a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest house.

Neumann and his wife recently sold their Southampton farmhouse for $1.25 million and their Westchester County estate for $3.39 million.

Neumann is apparently still looking for a buyer for his triplex penthouse at 78 Irving Place in Gramercy Park.

While claiming to be a tech company, WeWork and Neumann assembled a $90 million real estate portfolio during his time with the company. But its quest to go public fell apart as prospective investors scrutinized the operation and media reports exposed a tawdry company culture and profligate spending.

[NYPost] — Sasha Jones

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Robert Durst appearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court (Getty)

Robert Durst appearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court (Getty)

The murder trial of Robert Durst is set to resume in Inglewood next month, following a yearlong postponement precipitated by the pandemic.

Jurors are set to return May 17 for informal questioning, according to the Associated Press.

The defense team for the Durst family heir filed a motion for a mistrial because of the “extreme delay” and concerns over the future safety of jurors and others posed by Covid-19. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham denied that motion, according to the report.

Durst is charged with the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. Berman’s death at her Beverly Hills home was highlighted in the Netflix series on Durst, “The Jinx.” Prosecutors allege that Durst killed Berman to stop her from speaking to investigators about the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s wife, Kathie McCormack Durst.

The defense and prosecutors will present a new round of opening arguments. The panel of 23 jurors and 11 alternates heard six days of testimony before the trial was postponed in March 2020, when the pandemic took hold.

Durst’s younger brother Douglas is chairman of the family’s eponymous real estate firm, the Durst Organization. Douglas Durst was set to testify at the trial prior to its delay. In August 2020, the new date of April 2021 was set.

Durst pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge in 2016 and is serving a 7-year prison term. He was transferred to L.A. County jail to await trial.

[AP] — Dennis Lynch

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Scott Minerd and Biscayne Beach PH5101(left) and PH5102 (Twitter, Douglas Elliman)

Scott Minerd and Biscayne Beach PH5101(left) and PH5102 (Twitter, Douglas Elliman)

Guggenheim Partners’ chief investment officer is the latest “tax refugee” relocating to South Florida from California.

Scott Minerd, a managing partner at the global investment giant, paid $12.5 million for two penthouses at Biscayne Beach in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, Forbes reported. Sources confirmed Minerd plans to combine the units into a 22,547-square-foot penthouse with 16,312 square feet of interior space and the remainder terraces.

The developer, Two Roads Development, sold the entire 51st floor of the building at 2900 Northeast Seventh Avenue. The two penthouses include two swimming pools, 11 bedrooms, two elevator landings and 12 parking spaces, according to the listing.

Guggenheim Partners, based in New York, has more than $310 billion of assets under management, according to its website.

Bill Hernandez and Bryan Sereny of Douglas Elliman represented the developer, and Hernandez brought the buyer. The brokerage declined to comment on the deal.

The 51-story, 391-unit bayfront tower was built with financing from a $120 million construction loan. Two Roads completed the project in 2017.

Financial and tech executives have been buying homes in South Florida, with many relocating to the Sunshine State, especially over the past year. Tech investors Keith Rabois, Jon Oringer and Peter Thiel all bought homes in Miami Beach in 2020.

Don Mullen, the former Goldman Sachs executive who bet against the U.S. housing market in what became called “the big short,” recently paid nearly $24 million for a waterfront Sunset Island home in Miami Beach.

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Doctors and medical professionals have remained on time with their rent payments in the past year (iStock)

Doctors and medical professionals have remained on time with their rent payments in the past year (iStock)

Medical offices have been a bright spot for real estate investors during the pandemic, despite the fact that telehealth saw a boom during the pandemic.

Doctors and medical professionals have remained on time with their rent payments in the past year, unlike other office tenants, the Wall Street Journal reported. While some tenants have paid less than 85 percent of rent collections, medical professionals have paid 95 percent of rent owed.

And despite in-person visits falling 60 percent early on in the pandemic, telemedicine appointments accounted for just over 8 percent of visits in December, indicating that patients are going back to offices.

Property owners have continued investing in the field. While sales volume for all commercial real estate dropped 32 percent in 2020 compared to the year prior, $11.2 billion worth of medical office buildings were purchased in 2020. That’s only slightly below the $12 billion worth of properties bought in 2019.

Major players are now entering the field. MedCraft Investment Partners launched a $500 million fund in January that will be dedicated to medical office acquisitions. Additionally, Kayne Anderson Real Estate is closing a $2.5 billion fund that will devote half of its fund to medical offices.

“There will be a place for telehealth in the future,” Mindy Berman, JLL’s healthcare group leader, told the Wall Street Journal. “But it’s not going to replace the need for bricks and mortar.”

[WSJ] — Sasha Jones

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Howard Hanna CEO Helen Hanna Casey and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Howard Hanna Casey, Getty)

Howard Hanna CEO Helen Hanna Casey and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Howard Hanna Casey, Getty)

Real estate brokerage Howard Hanna has accused Compass of stealing its agents and trade secrets before going public earlier this month.

An amended complaint filed by the brokerage in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, alleges that Compass encouraged three former Howard Hanna agents to breach their contracts, specifically their non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions, Inman reported.

The complaint does not mince words, accusing Compass of a “no-holds-barred approach” to poaching agents “in order to justify its narrative as a technology firm poised to upend the real estate industry.”

The complaint alleges that one agent, Michael Hornung, emailed himself the profit and loss report for Howard Hanna’s Adams Township/Seven Fields and Butler locations, along with the email addresses of Howard Hanna agents, as well as other reports.

It claims another agent, Jennifer Crouse, tried to transfer one listing from Howard Hanna to Compass. And another, Leah George, is accused of not submitting offers to Howard Hanna listings so she could submit those offers when she was at Compass.

“While we’re disappointed by Howard Hanna’s recently amended complaint we remain unshaken in our belief that real estate agents should have the right to choose their brokerage affiliation,” a Compass spokesperson told Inman.

The allegations are similar to other lawsuits that have been filed against Compass. In April 2019, Zillow sued the brokerage, claiming that the company poaches tech talent and stole trade secrets. A lawsuit from Elegran followed in August 2019, which alleged that Compass stole over $2 million worth of data on over 6,300 prospective clients from the company.

Compass’ long-awaited IPO launched on April 1, with the brokerage raising $450 million. Its shares were trading at just above $18 as of Wednesday morning.

[Inman] — Sasha Jones

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HqO CEO Chase Garbarino (HqO via Facebook)

HqO CEO Chase Garbarino (HqO via Facebook)

Commercial real estate firms Cushman & Wakefield, JLL and DivcoWest are betting on a “tenant experience” startup to help get workers back to their offices.

Boston-based HqO said Wednesday that it closed a $60 million Series C. Cushman was a new investor in the company, along with Suffolk Capital and PruVen Capital. Prior backers JLL, DivcoWest, Accomplice, Insight Partners, Navitas Capital, Allegion Ventures and the Pagliuca family office also participated. The round brings HqO’s total funding to $106.9 million.

HqO was founded in 2018 by Kevin McCarthy, Chase Garbarino and Greg Gomer, who previously started AmericanInno, a digital events business acquired by Advance Publications in 2015.

HqO’s software platform gives landlords the ability to manage tenant-facing tech and amenities in one place. It also has a tenant app, analytics tool and marketplace.

In a statement, Garbarino, HqO’s CEO, said the round comes with strategic partnerships with commercial real estate players. That network will set up HqO “for unprecedented growth as the world returns to offices,” he added.

The U.S. office vacancy rate rose to 17.7 percent at the end of 2020, compared to 16.8 percent at the end of 2019, according to Moody’s and CWCapital. In New York City, asking rents fell by 1 percent and effective rents by 2.4 percent. Moody’s has predicted the market will suffer for another three years before starting to ease in 2024.

HqO manages more than 150 million square feet, and the company said it tripled its revenue over the past 12 months. The new financing will allow it to expand in existing markets, including Boston, New York, London and Paris. It also plans to launch in cities on the West Coast and in Toronto.

Its 60 commercial clients include Columbia Property Trust, Vornado Realty Trust, Jamestown L.P. and Hudson Pacific Properties.

In a statement, Insight Partners’ AJ Malhotra said HqO helped landlords and managers “adjust to the challenges of the pandemic” as many grappled with questions of how and when to reopen offices.

HqO isn’t the only one building so-called tenant experience apps. Office-leasing startup VTS said last month that it planned to buy Rise Buildings, an app to monitor workplace movement, for $100 million. The Chicago-based startup is used in 350 buildings spanning 130 million square feet of space.

Toronto-based Lane raised $10 million in May. The startup has an app to facilitate deliveries, book event space, handle maintenance requests and communicate with tenants.

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The Goodtime Hotel with Pharrell Williams and (from top) David Grutman, Michael D. Fascitelli and Eric Birnbaum (Getty, Alice Gao)

The Goodtime Hotel with Pharrell Williams and (from top) David Grutman, Michael D. Fascitelli and Eric Birnbaum (Getty, Alice Gao)

After roughly five years and $200 million, the Goodtime Hotel is almost open.

The Washington Avenue hotel, developed by Imperial Companies’ Michael D. Fascitelli and Eric Birnbaum, opens Thursday. The developers brought on star talent to deliver and operate the property: Pharrell Williams, hospitality mogul David Grutman and designer Ken Fulk.

The 266-key hotel, at 601 Washington Avenue, features about 100,000 square feet of public spaces, Grutman’s 30,000-square-foot Strawberry Moon restaurant and pool club, 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail, a gym and library, according to a release.

The project marks the first hotel for Grutman, founder of Groot Hospitality. The developers paid $36 million for the entire Washington Avenue block in 2015, records show. The project was partially financed with a $45 million loan from Bank OZK in early 2018.

“This area of Washington Avenue was in deep need,” Fascitelli said. “It took a lot of money to bring it to this point.”

Fulk said it “feels like the perfect moment” to open the hotel, with so much attention focused on South Florida. The Goodtime is hosting InterMiami’s soccer season launch on Friday and will have pool activations this weekend to celebrate the opening, Grutman said.

The hotel and property were designed by architect Morris Adjmi, Fulk and landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Hotel rooms range from about 200 square feet to 1,000 square feet, Birnbaum said.

The partners, who referred to the hotel as “approachable luxury,” said they’re open to developing more Goodtime hotels. Birnbaum and his firm, Dreamscape Companies, are buying hotels across the country. He said he is also looking for new development sites in the Miami area.

“The key is to get this one right and make it a success,” Birnbaum added. “When and if we do that, opportunities will arise.”

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(iStock)

(iStock)

As properties fly off the market and prices continue to increase, buyers are reconsidering whether now is the time to find their dream home.

An index tracking applications for mortgages to purchase homes decreased 3.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. This is the third week that the number of applications has fallen.

“The third straight week of declining purchase activity is a sign that rising home prices and tight supply is constraining home sales — especially in the lower price tiers,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

Refinancings were also down, with the number initiated decreasing 5 percent, seasonally adjusted, from the previous week. Refinancing rates have increased from 2.92 percent to 3.27 percent over the past 10 weeks, which may be driving activity down.

The refinance share of mortgage activity makes up 59.2 percent of total applications, down from 60.3 percent the previous week. The average refinancing loan was $269,800, down from last week’s $272,100.

“Many borrowers have either already refinanced at lower rates or are unwilling — or unable — to refinance at current rates,” Kan said.

The average purchase loan was $399,000, which is only slightly below last week’s $399,500.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.27 percent from 3.36 percent. Jumbo loans similarly decreased to 3.35 percent from 3.41 percent.

MBA’s survey covers 75 percent of the residential mortgage market and has been conducted weekly since 1990.

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Troy Martin Cox and 5191 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

Troy Martin Cox and 5191 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach (Google Maps)

Troy Martin Cox, the former CEO of a biotech company, bought a waterfront home in Miami Beach for $11.7 million.

Records show Cox and his husband, Adeo Carreon Alday, purchased the house at 5191 Pine Tree Drive from Elie Khoury.

Cox is the former CEO of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Foundation Medicine, a molecular information company. Previously, he was the senior vice president at Genentech, according to his Linkedin page.

Khoury is the president and founder of New Orleans-headquartered KFK Group, a real estate development firm. He also founded Southeast Restaurant Group, a sister company of the KFK Group that operates restaurant chains, including TGI Fridays, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. SRG is also based in New Orleans.

Khoury bought the three-story home in 2019 for $6.3 million, records show.

The property was listed in February for $11.7 million. John Guarin of John Guarin represented the seller, and Diane Giacobbi of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer.

The 5,855-square-foot house has six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. According to the listing, the home also has a 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck, an elevator and a wine cellar.

The 12,223-square-foot lot has 66 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway and a private dock.

Also this month in Miami Beach, the son of Greek-American C. Dean Metropoulos bought an oceanfront home for $18 million, and a principal at a commercial real estate company spent $18.3 million for a waterfront house on North Bay Road.

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EJF Capital Co-CEO Manny Friedman (EFJ)

EJF Capital Co-CEO Manny Friedman (EFJ)

Manny Friedman’s EJF Capital is launching another Opportunity Zone fund after falling short of its expectations for its first.

EJF will launch its second Opportunity Zone fund this week, targeting industrial and multifamily developments.

The firm closed its first such Fund in January, with $280 million raised of a $500 million goal. It launched the fund in 2018.

Through the fund, EJF has completed five developments, including multifamily projects in Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Florida, and Vancouver, Washington. It has invested in a hotel development in Oakland, California and two industrial properties in Hardeeville, South Carolina. It has additional projects under construction.

In addition to starting its own fund, EJF had also partnered Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital in 2018. Scaramucci planned to set up the fund as a real estate investment trust with EJF as the fund’s subadvisor. It was seeking to raise $3 billion from investors.

Scaramucci called Friedman “one of the exemplary investors of his generation.”

But the partnership dissolved after a few months. SkyBridge’s president Brett Messing said there were concerns from distribution partners about EJF’s lack of experience managing real estate funds.

In late 2019, Scaramucci told The Real Deal that the firm only raised $30 million for its Opportunity Zone fund and lowered its investment target to $300 million.

The Opportunity Zone program, born out of the 2017 tax overhaul, gives real estate developers and investors generous tax breaks for investing in one of 8,700 designated areas across the country. It was pegged as the new best thing for real estate investors since the 1031 exchange. But after much hype, developers had trouble finding suitable projects that made sense to invest in.

The program has also come under scrutiny from watchdog groups and Congressional Democrats as being a tax break for the rich. Many Opportunity Zones developers said that they would have built their projects regardless of the tax incentive.

EJF, which manages $5.9 billion in assets, declined to comment on its latest fund. It is unclear how much money the firm is seeking to raise.

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The effective rate was 1.1 percent, on average, in 2020, down from 1.14 percent in 2019. (iStock)

The effective rate was 1.1 percent, on average, in 2020, down from 1.14 percent in 2019. (iStock)

Not even a pandemic can stop the growth of homeowners’ property taxes. In fact, it seems to have sped it up.

The growth of property taxes on single-family homes doubled to 5.4 percent last year from 2019, an analysis found. The average U.S. home’s tax was $3,719, or 4.4 percent higher.

The report by Attom Data Solutions blamed the increase on the rising costs of services to run local government and public school systems, but acknowledged that the effective tax rate actually dropped as home values soared.

The effective rate — a home’s annual property tax expressed as a percentage of its market value — was 1.1 percent, on average, in 2020, down from 1.14 percent in 2019.

Attom, which curates a national property database, analyzed about 87 million single-family homes. It used an automated valuation model to estimate homes’ market values and collected property tax data from tax assessors across the country.

The report found that the government levied $323 billion in property taxes on single-family homes last year, up from $306.4 billion in 2019.

“Fortunately for recent home buyers, they have mortgages with super-low interest rates that somewhat contain the cost of home ownership,” said Todd Teta, Attom’s chief product officer. “But the latest tax numbers speak loud and clear about the continuing pressure on both recent and longtime homeowners.”

New Jersey has the highest property tax rate at 2.2 percent, followed by Illinois, Texas, Vermont and Connecticut. New York has the seventh highest tax rate at 1.68 percent. Attom’s rankings were little changed from 2019.

Hawaii has the lowest tax rate at 0.37 percent, and is preceded by Alabama, West Virginia, Colorado and Utah. The average property tax on single-family homes in New Jersey — $9,196 — was 11 times higher than Alabama’s $841.

Among the 220 markets analyzed in the report, property taxes increased the most in Salt Lake City — 11.4 percent — followed by San Francisco and San Jose, California. Seattle and Atlanta were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Property taxes are a crucial revenue source for local governments because they are stable and predictable, unlike income and sales taxes, which can fluctuate significantly with the economy. Housing experts note that property taxes are an incentive for empty nesters to downsize, freeing up larger homes for families.

But they are also a source of controversy as they do not necessarily align with homeowners’ incomes or with their property values, generally because of political machinations and inconsistent assessments.

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Continental Realty Corp. CEO J.M. Schapiro. and The Shoppes at Sherbrooke’s anchor, LA Fitness

Continental Realty Corp. CEO J.M. Schapiro. and The Shoppes at Sherbrooke’s anchor, LA Fitness

Continental Realty Corp. bought the LA Fitness-anchored Shoppes at Sherbrooke retail center near Wellington for $11.3 million.

Baltimore, Maryland-based Continental Realty bought the plaza at 8888-8954 Lantana Road on behalf of its Continental Realty Fund V, according to a press release.

The seller is G&I VIII Sherbrooke, an affiliate of New York-based real estate investment adviser DRA Advisors. It bought the property in 2015 for $11.2 million, a deed shows.

The 57,901-square-foot shopping center spans 8 acres, which include an outparcel that could be developed, according to the release. The center was built in 2004.

Tenants include A A Nails & Spa, Regal Animal Hospital and Palms Dental Care.

Drew Kristol and Kirk Olson of Marcus & Millichap brokered the deal.

Continental Realty Fund V is a $210.8 million private equity fund that invests in multifamily and retail properties in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, with the goal of adding value through renovations. It plans to improve the exterior at Shoppes at Sherbrooke, and it will look into developing and leasing the outparcel.

This purchase marks the fund’s ninth acquisition and seventh retail property, according to the release.

Continental Realty, founded in 1960 and led by J.M. Schapiro, has been expanding in Florida, where it owns and manages 17 properties.

In 2017, it bought Ridge Plaza in Davie for $21.3 million. In 2016, it sold the Royal Palm Office Depot Center in Royal Palm Beach for $7.5 million.

Several retail centers have traded over the past month for top-dollar prices. In one of the biggest commercial real estate deals so far this year, TJAC sold four office-retail properties along Powerline Road west of Boca Raton for $155 million.

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Kolter Urban President Bob Vail. (Levy PR, Kolter Urban)

Kolter Urban President Bob Vail. (Levy PR, Kolter Urban)

Kolter Urban launched sales of a two-tower luxury condo project on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

The Delray Beach-based developer, led by Bob Vail, plans to build Selene Oceanfront Residences at 3000 Alhambra Street. The 26-story buildings will have a combined 204 luxury condos priced from $900,000, according to a press release. Douglas Elliman was tapped to handle sales and marketing.

In October, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission gave final approval to a rezoning and site plan for the project.

At 300 feet tall, the buildings will be the tallest on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Construction is expected to begin in November and be completed by early 2024. Kobi Karp Architects is designing the development with interiors by ID & Design International.

Units will range from 1,400 square feet to 3,200 square feet, and the project’s amenities will include two elevated pool terraces with cabanas, an outdoor kitchen, fire pit lounge areas and a pool bar.

The ground floor of the development will have more than 5,300 square feet of restaurant space.

Kolter’s original plan for the property called for an 18-story, 310-unit design. It drew criticism from condo owners in the central beach area of Fort Lauderdale who complained that it would block view corridors from the street level to the ocean.

Nearby, Fort Lauderdale commissioners in December approved a site plan for Bahia Cabana Hotel, a mixed-use project with 124 hotel rooms and six apartments in the city’s south beach area.

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Jim Clark and 120 Jungle Road in Palm Beach (Getty, Douglas Elliman)

Jim Clark and 120 Jungle Road in Palm Beach (Getty, Douglas Elliman)

Billionaire Jim Clark sold a Palm Beach estate for $30.1 million.

Property records show Big Sky Property Holdings LLC sold the home at 120 Jungle Road to Ramrod LLC, which is linked to the California insurance company Word & Brown. Accountant Louis M. Cohen, who has been tied to Clark, signed the deed transferring ownership to the buyer.

In 2018, Clark sold his 5-acre estate at 1500 South Ocean Boulevard for $90 million to Kathryn and Leo A. Vecellio Jr. and Clark took over ownership of 120 Jungle Road from the Vecellios. The properties were swapped for an undisclosed amount.

Clark is a computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who co-founded Netscape in 1995. Leo Vecellio is president and CEO of the Vecellio Group, one of the largest contractors in the country, and owner of Ranger Construction Industries of West Palm Beach.

According to The Coastal Star, Clark is the buyer of the Ziff family’s estate in Manalapan, which sold in March for $94 million.

Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates had the listing for 120 Jungle Road, according to Realtor.com. The property hit the market in 2018 for $30 million. The price was increased to $35 million in May of last year.

The 17,972-square-foot mansion has seven bedrooms and seven-and-a-half bathrooms. The property also has a four-car garage and a pool on nearly an acre of land.

A number of ultra high-end deals have closed in Palm Beach this year. Steve Wynn recently paid $24 million for a lakefront home, and the founder and president of a boutique hotel chain sold her waterfront estate for $57 million.

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Larry Ellison and 12525 Seminole Beach Road (Getty, Elliman, iStock)

Larry Ellison and 12525 Seminole Beach Road (Getty, Elliman, iStock)

Billionaire Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison plans to demolish the North Palm Beach mansion he acquired last week for $80 million.

In a letter to Oracle employees, Ellison said he will not be moving to Florida and plans to stay in Hawaii, according to Recode.

Ellison acquired the oceanfront home at 12525 Seminole Beach Road from hedge fund manager Gabriel Hoffman, who heads Accipiter Capital Management. But he’s been based in Hawaii’s Lanai, an island he purchased almost entirely in 2012. Ellison is worth nearly $100 billion, according to Forbes.

“Last year I moved from California to the island of Lana’i and became a resident of the State of Hawaii. I love it here and have no plans to move back to Florida, Texas, back to California … or anywhere else,” Ellison reportedly wrote to employees, according to Recode.

The 7.4-acre North Palm Beach estate includes a Tuscan-style, 15,514-square-foot mansion, built in 1991. It has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three half-baths and more than 520 feet of ocean frontage. It also features a large private pool, theater, wine room, chef’s kitchen, tennis court, and guest suite, and is accessible via helicopter.

It’s not unusual for the ultra wealthy to spend tens of millions of dollars on a property to just knock it down.

This year, Scott Shleifer, a partner and co-founder of the investment firm Tiger Global Management, paid more than $120 million for the oceanfront mansion at 535 North County Road. That lot was previously part of a larger property that former President Trump sold to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million in 2008. Rybolovlev subsequently razed that house, subdivided the property into three lots, and sold them off for nearly $109 million.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin has spent more than $350 million assembling homes in Palm Beach that he knocked down.

[Recode] – Katherine Kallergis

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HomeX founders Michael Lerner and Vincent Payen (HomeX)

HomeX founders Michael Werner and Vincent Payen (HomeX)

The burgeoning market for home-maintenance technology has crowned another winner.

HomeX, a startup that connects homeowners with licensed technicians, raised $90 million after demand for its remote service tool surged 400 percent over the last 12 months, the firm announced. New Mountain Capital, a New York investment firm with $30 billion in assets, led the round.

Michael Werner, whose family started Werner Ladders, and Vincent Payen, a longtime eBay executive co-founded the startup in Chicago in 2017. CTO Simon Weaver previously worked at Evi, an AI startup that focused on natural-language communication. It was acquired in 2012 by Amazon as the foundation for Alexa.

HomeX’s software connects owners with licensed service technicians. The company uses AI to diagnose problems before techs go out in the field to speed up repairs and ensure contractors have the right parts and tools. For contractors, it generates qualified leads and its software automates booking and simplifies operations.

The software can facilitate virtual or in-person services. Its tool — “Remote Assist” — allows techs to diagnose problems via phone, video or chat.

HomeX is not yet profitable, but claims it served “hundreds of thousands” of clients in the last 12 months, according to TechCrunch. Prior to the current round, HomeX was self funded and raised more than $50 million in debt funding.

In a statement, New Mountain’s Harris Keley said the home services industry is “massive and the need for change and innovation is substantial.”

Last month, ServiceTitan, a startup that sells software for heating and cooling technicians, raised $500 million. The round, led by Sequoia’s Global Equities fund and Tiger Global Management, valued the company at $8.3 billion.

And last year, home-services startup Porch.com went public through a $523 million merger with a blank-check company. Porch recently disclosed that it cut its losses in half last year. Net losses were $51.6 million in 2020, down from $103.3 million in 2019.

Thumbtack, a home-improvement marketplace, has raised $424 million since 2007. In December, it acquired VC-backed Setter, a home management startup.

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Coral Falls at 2801 Northwest 91 Avenue with Landmark Companies principals Michael Gottlieb, Eric Harvitt, and Joel Schwartz (Google Maps)

Coral Falls at 2801 Northwest 91 Avenue with Landmark Companies principals Michael Gottlieb, Eric Harvitt, and Joel Schwartz (Google Maps)

Landmark Cos. paid $40.2 million for Coral Falls Apartment Homes in Coral Springs, marking the investor’s second multifamily community in Broward County.

Keasbey, New Jersey-based Landmark, through an affiliate, bought the 190-unit complex at 2801 Northwest 91 Avenue. The seller is CF Partners Limited, an affiliate of Iron River Management, according to a deed. The deal equates $211,578 per unit.

Landmark assumed a $22 million mortgage on the property from Iron River, records show. The lender is U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee for Wells Fargo Commercial Mortgage Securities.

The garden-style apartments total 182,867 square feet on 18 acres, according to property records.

Iron River Management bought the complex in 1992 for $5.9 million, Broward County property records show. The apartments were built in 1987.

Landmark Companies, led by attorney Michael Gottlieb, engineer Eric Harvitt, and architect and planner Joel Schwartz, is a residential developer that also manages 3,500 apartments nationwide, according to its website. It also owns and runs retail in Somerset County, New Jersey.

In South Florida, Landmark bought Club at Crystal Lake apartments at 3800-3816 Crystal Lake Drive in Deerfield Beach in 2019 for $30 million.

Denver, Colorado-based Iron River Management, led by Jonathan Ringham, is a property management, acquisition, and finance and private equity investment firm, according to its website.

Several top-dollar multifamily deals closed this year in Broward County. San Antonio-based multifamily investor Lynd bought Lakes of Margate for $50.75 million; and Texas-based C-III Capital Partners bought Celebration Pointe apartments in Margate for $64 million.

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Many of these investors are targeting lower-priced homes. (iStock)

Many of these investors are targeting lower-priced homes. (iStock)

Homebuyers may think prices are rising and supply is dwindling because of low interest rates and increasing demand.

But two of the main reasons for the skyrocketing prices are actually a huge buying spree from institutional investors and surging building materials costs, according to Inman.

Rick Palacios Jr., director of research for John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said that investors are buying 20 percent of all homes in the U.S. He points to Phoenix where nearly 30 percent of home sales are to investors.

Many of these investors are targeting lower-priced homes. According to a report from John Burns Consulting, cash purchases account for 67 percent of homes sold below $100,000, and 31 percent of homes sold between $100,000 and $200,000, Inman reported.

Rising building costs are another culprit for rising home prices.

At the beginning of the pandemic, lumber companies expected a drop in demand and shut down.

Higher costs were then passed along to homebuyers.

In February, the National Association of Home Builders claimed that rising material prices led to an additional $24,000 cost to newly built single-family homes. Concrete, oriented strand boards and other products also saw price jumps.

NAHB reported that the price of steel mill products rose 22 percent in the past three months.

[Inman] — Keith Larsen

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Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board CEO Neil Cunningham (left) and Allianz SE CEO Oliver Bäte (PSP Investments, Allianz, iStock)

Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board CEO Neil Cunningham (left) and Allianz SE CEO Oliver Bäte (PSP Investments, Allianz, iStock)

If you rent a home in the suburbs, your landlord could be a Candian pension fund or a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.

Foreign investors are increasingly targeting the single-family home rental market as more American flock to the suburbs for larger spaces.

Foreign investors now account for almost a third of the institutional investment in single-family rental homes, according Alex Foshay, head of international capital markets at real-estate services firm Newmark, the Wall Street Journal reported. Previously, these investors were almost non-existent in the sector.

In January, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board said it would invest in a $700 million rental-home venture through a partnership with Pretium Partners. Last month, German insurer Allianz SE announced a $300 million investment in a venture with American homebuilder Lennar to convert houses and townhomes into rentals.

And Singapore’s sovereign-wealth fund GIC plans to invest in single-family rental homes across the southeastern U.S, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Single-family rental homes have become an increasingly hot investment thanks to a dwindling home supply but high demand. An index that measures rents and occupancy rose 5.7 percent for single-family homes rose, while it declined for the broader real estate industry.

More than 50,000 single-family rental homes were built during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2020, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That’s about two-thirds more than the average over the past four decades.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen

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Daren Metropoulos and 7815 Atlantic Way (Douglas Elliman, iStock)

Daren Metropoulos and 7815 Atlantic Way (Douglas Elliman, iStock)

Daren Metropoulos, a son of Greek-American billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos, paid $18 million for an oceanfront home in Miami Beach’s Altos del Mar community, sources told The Real Deal.

Mark Keller and his wife, Carolyn Keller, sold the five-bedroom, 5,686-square-foot house at 7815 Atlantic Way on Friday. It was listed for $19.3 million.

Metropoulos, who owns the Playboy Mansion in L.A., is not the first in his family to pick up pricey Miami area real estate. In recent years, Daren’s brother Evan acquired adjacent homes in Key Biscayne for nearly $60 million.

Oren Alexander

Oren Alexander

Mark Keller, the seller of the Atlantic Way home, is chairman and CEO of Edge Funds, an investment and asset management firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York and Miami Beach. He was previously CEO of Republic Property Trust, a real estate investment trust.

His wife founded EBeauty Community, a nonprofit that helps women undergoing cancer treatment.

Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman represented the Kellers, while Miltiadis Kastanis and James Hait of Douglas Elliman brought the buyer. They declined to comment on the deal.

Miltiadis Kastanis

Miltiadis Kastanis

C. Dean Metropoulos is worth about $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. His Metropoulos & Co. owns Lenexa, Kansas-based Hostess Brands along with Apollo Global Management, based in New York. Daren Metropoulos is a principal at his father’s firm, alongside his brother Evan.

The three-story Miami Beach home has two full kitchens, a home theater, three wine cellars, three fireplaces, a guest house and outdoor kitchen. It sits on a 0.37-acre lot.

The Kellers paid $3.5 million for the property in 2012, and built the house in 2015, records show.

James Hait

James Hait

The house was most recently listed for $19.3 million in December. It was marketed as a hurricane-proof property, with a full-house generator and doors and windows that can withstand winds of 257 miles per hour. A Category 5 storm has winds of at least 157 miles per hour.

Next door, Bal Harbour Shops owner Matthew Whitman Lazenby in February paid more than $17 million for an oceanfront Altos Del Mar estate.

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Terra Holdings' Kent Swig (Swig Equities, iStock)

Terra Holdings’ Kent Swig (Swig Equities, iStock)

Real estate investor and Terra Holdings owner Kent Swig has secured $6 billion in gold reserves to back his new cryptocurrency.

DIGau, his digital token, will be pegged to the market price of the gold, Bloomberg News reported. The gold is guaranteed by liens that Swig and partner Stephen Braverman secured against mining claims in Nevada and Arizona through their company, Dignity Gold.

“Gold was one of the original rock-solid backings of all currencies,” Swig told the publication. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here. What we’re doing is applying the world’s stable backing of a lot of things to a very advanced technology.”

While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have seen massive swings, pegging the new coin to a physical asset could stabilize it.

Swig’s new coin isn’t the first attempt to combine gold and crypto; other attempts haven’t had much success, according to Bloomberg. But an interest in both has increased in recent years, as investors seek to protect themselves against inflation.

Billionaire Rick Caruso’s real estate firm recently became the largest real estate firm to accept rent in cryptocurrency.

[Bloomberg] — Sasha Jones

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5875-5887 Sunset Drive in South Miami (Google Maps)

5875-5887 Sunset Drive in South Miami (Google Maps)

An affiliate of Capital Realty Services sold a mixed-use office and retail building along South Miami’s Sunset Drive for $5 million.

Sunset One Properties sold the property at 5875-5887 Sunset Drive to 5875 Sunset Group, a Hollywood-based investment group led by Stanley and Michael Cohen, according to a deed.

The two-story building totals 10,463 square feet on 0.2 acres, property records show. It was built in 1926.

Sunset One Properties, a partnership that has common ownership with Coral Gables-based Capital Realty Services, bought the property in the 1970s for $120,000, said Robert Berrin, the manager of Sunset One Properties.

Capital Realty, led by Berrin and Isaac Fisher, is a sales, acquisitions, brokerage and property management firm, according to its website.

Berrin said the partnership was ready to cash out of the property. It renovated the first-floor retail in 2018.

The building is roughly 83 percent occupied, according to Berrin. Retail tenants include Uni K Wax Studio and Miracle Leaf medical marijuana clinic.

The property is near The Shops at Sunset Place, one of South Miami’s main attractions. Midtown Miami developer Midtown Opportunities bought Sunset Place in December for $65.5 million, a 40 percent discount from its previous sale price. Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and the Comras Company had bought the mall in 2015 for $110.2 million.

In another recent office-retail property deal, Cofe Properties sold Pinecrest Town Center at 12651 South Dixie Highway to Orion Real Estate Group for $32 million, the same price the seller paid for the center six years ago.

In one of South Florida’s biggest commercial real estate sales this year, Titan General Partners bought a four-building office-retail portfolio along Powerline Road west of Boca Raton for $155 million.

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Maggie Cordish and Palazzo Della Luna (David x Prutting/Patrick McMullan/Getty)

Maggie Cordish, pictured with Ivanka Trump, and Palazzo Della Luna (David x Prutting/Patrick McMullan/Getty)

Maggie Cordish, a former White House adviser and close friend of Ivanka Trump, purchased a unit at Fisher Island’s Palazzo Della Luna for $6.9 million.

Records show Palm Trees Fisher Island LLC bought unit 6855 from the developer, PDS Development, led by Heinrich von Hanau.

Cordish is a fellow at Bipartisan Policy Center, focusing on early childhood and paid leave issues, according to Bipartisan Policy Center’s website. She was formerly a policy advisor on family and childcare policy in the White House. Cordish left the White House in 2018, according to Politico.

Her husband, Reed Cordish, is principal and partner at the Baltimore-based real estate development firm The Cordish Companies.

Cordish paid $1,812 per square foot for the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom unit, according to condo.com. Dora Puig with Luxe Living Realty represented the seller, while Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills, Zeder Group represented the buyer.

Palazzo Della Luna, a 10-story building at 6800 Fisher Island Drive on ritzy Fisher Island, was built in 2019.

This year, a managing partner of a private equity firm bought two units at Palazzo Della Luna for nearly $16 million, and the CEO of a natural nutrition company bought a condo for $17.4 million.

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The Estate Companies Managing Principal Robert Suris and Principal Jeffrey Ardizon with the existing Ramada Inn property and renderings of Alture Westland multifamily building (The Estate Companies)

The Estate Companies Managing Principal Robert Suris and Principal Jeffrey Ardizon with the existing Ramada Inn property and renderings of Alture Westland multifamily building (The Estate Companies)

A plan to convert a long-closed Hialeah hotel into multifamily is moving forward, as the developer scored $29.5 million in construction financing.

The Estate Companies has started construction to turn the Ramada Inn at 1950 West 49 Street into Alture Westland, according to a press release. The project is expected to be finished in the fourth quarter.

Conway, Arkansas-based Centennial Bank, led by John Allison, issued a $22.45 million loan, and Miami-based private lender LV Lending, led by Camilo Niño, provided $7 million in mezzanine financing.

Becker shareholders Hugo Alvarez, Michael Boutzoukas, Cherrie Goudreau and Scott Marcus represented Centennial Bank in the deal, according to the release.

South Miami-based The Estate Companies, led by Robert Suris and Jeffrey Ardizon, bought the four-story, 254-key Ramada on 5 acres in August for $15.25 million, record show. The price equates $60,039 per unit.

Alture Westland will keep the four-story height and roughly the same unit count, as it will have 251 apartments, including 245 studios and six one-bedrooms. The unit sizes will range from 340 square feet to 600 square feet, according to the release. Monthly rents will start in the $1,200s.

The project will have 5,522 square feet of commercial space on the northwest part of the main building. Amenities will include a pool with a sundeck, gym and clubhouse.

Estate, which is best known for its Soleste multifamily brand, has 13 projects underway in South Florida. They include Soleste Spring Gardens in Miami’s Health District, for which Estate in September scored a $36 million construction loan.

Alture Westland will be Estate’s first development under the Alture brand, which focuses on adding value to older properties.

This isn’t the first Miami-Dade County hotel to be converted into multifamily housing. Miami Beach-based AB Asset Management in March bought Residence Inn by Marriott in Coconut Grove for $31 million. It plans to upgrade it and run it as a hotel in the short term, and then convert it into multifamily.

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Condo sales and dollar volume took a sharp decline last week in Miami-Dade County.

A total of 239 condos sold for $147.5 million last week, down from the 305 condos that sold for $235.2 million the previous week.

Units sold for an average price of $617,000, down from $771,000 the week prior. Condos sold for an average $411 per square foot, down from $435 per square foot.

The most expensive sale was for unit 702 at Arte by Antonio Citterio in Surfside. The unit sold for $9 million, or $3,187 per square foot, after just one day on the market. Miltiadis Kastanis represented the seller, and Pablo Alfaro represented the buyer.

The second most expensive sale of the week was for unit 2505 at Continuum on South Beach, which sold for $7 million, or $2,459 per square foot. The Miami Beach unit spent 1,360 days on the market, or nearly four years. Alex Miranda represented the seller, while Matthew McMillan represented the buyer.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from April 4 to April 10.

Most expensive
Arte Surfside 702 | 1 day on market | $9M | $3,187 psf | Listing agent: Miltiadis Kastanis | Buyer’s agent: Pablo Alfaro

Least expensive
Ocean Four 3108 | 249 days on market | $2.2M | $729 psf | Listing agent: Valentina Wish | Buyer’s agent: Ekaterina Brosda

Most days on market
Continuum on South Beach 2505 | 1,360 days on market | $7M | $2,459 psf | Listing agent: Alex Miranda | Buyer’s agent: Matthew McMillan

Fewest days on market
Arte Surfside 702 | 1 day on market | $9M | $3,187 psf | Listing agent: Miltiadis Kastanis | Buyer’s agent: Pablo Alfaro

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Ronny Finvarb with a rendering of 1790 Alton Road (GEK Architecture)

Ronny Finvarb with a rendering of 1790 Alton Road (GEK Architecture)

UPDATED, April 14, 9:10 a.m.: Miami Beach hotelier Ronny Finvarb closed on the site of a planned boutique hotel on Alton Road.

Finvarb’s Sobe 18 LLC paid $4 million for the 10,200-square-foot property at 1790 Alton Road in Miami Beach, he said. There, he plans to build a 36-key hotel with a restaurant on the ground floor.

Property records show 1790 Alton Holdings LLC sold the lot. The company is led by Nathanael J. Cohen, Yonel Fellous and Athea Steven. The property previously traded for $1.2 million in 2011.

Finvarb said he’ll submit a proposal to the city soon and expects to begin construction next year.

Scott Sandelin and Alejandro D’Alba of Marcus & Millichap’s Sandelin Group represented the seller and buyer.

According to a listing for the property, the site was previously approved for a five-story commercial/retail building with 30 parking spaces and a roughly 8,000-square-foot ground floor commercial space.

Finvarb’s portfolio includes the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach at 1750 Alton Road, where the restaurant Osteria Morini Miami Beach recently opened. It’s across the street from the development site he just purchased. His properties also include the Residence Inn by Marriott South Beach, Thompson South Beach, and Courtyard by Marriott South Beach. The company also owns hotels in Dania Beach; Jupiter; Tallahassee; Melbourne; Texas and Arizona, according to its website.

In March, Finvarb and minority investor Art Restaurants paid $11 million for the JB’s on the Beach oceanfront restaurant site in Deerfield Beach.

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Ai Weiwei with 708 New Forge Hallow (Getty, Compass)

Ai Weiwei with 708 New Forge Hallow (Getty, Compass)

The first and only private U.S. residence designed by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has sold for nearly $5 million.

Located at 708 New Forge Hallow in Taghkanic, New York, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom house is known as the Tsai Residence — for art collector Christopher Tsai, who originally commissioned the house.

In 2013, Tsai sold the Columbia County home to unidentified buyers for $4.25 million.

The home consists of four modules connected to each other. The property includes a Y-shaped guest house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Built in 2006, the 3,509-square-foot-property sits on 37 acres and features a heated pool and three fireplaces.

Graham Klemm of Klemm Real Estate brokered the sale.

Demand for suburban and upstate New York homes rose during the pandemic, as New Yorkers sought spacious primary and secondary residences where they could work from home.

Westchester, the primary northern suburb, saw a 37 percent year-over-year increase in the number of homes sold during the first quarter of the year. The median home prices also climbed, reaching $690,378 — a 13 percent increase from the year prior, according to a report by Douglas Elliman.

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The home will be developed by Andres Isaias-led Andian Group and Alejandro Diaz Bazan of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group. (Bazan, Jills Zeder)

The home will be developed by Andres Isaias-led Andian Group and Alejandro Diaz Bazan of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group. (Bazan, Jills Zeder)

A principal at a commercial real estate company paid $18.3 million for a waterfront home on North Bay Road in Miami Beach, The Real Deal has learned.

Estefano Isaias sold the house at 2324 North Bay Road to 2324 N Bay LLC, which is led by Daniel J. Doherty III, principal and co-founder of Eastern Real Estate, a commercial real estate firm based in Boston and Santa Barbara.

Doherty’s company handles capital investment, real estate development and asset management, according to its website.

Andian Group, led by Andres Isaias and Alejandro Diaz Bazan, will build an addition to the property, bringing the 7,574-square-foot home to nearly 10,000 square feet, Diaz Bazan said. The city’s design review board approved plans designed by architect Ralph Choeff. Construction is expected to begin this month.

Marko Gojanovic

Marko Gojanovic

Diaz Bazan, an agent with Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group, represented the seller, and Marko Gojanovic of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer.

The five-bedroom, six-bathroom house, built in 2015, hit the market in 2017 for nearly $17 million and again in 2018 for $15 million. The property last sold in 2010 for $3.5 million.

Earlier this year, Andian Group sold the spec mansion at 3080 North Bay Road for $23.7 million.

In March, the waterfront teardown at 5226 North Bay Road sold for $8.3 million and spec home developer Todd Michael Glaser bought the waterfront home at 4640 North Bay Road for $5 million.

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The rate of loans sent to special servicers continued to fall in March. (Unsplash)

The rate of loans sent to special servicers continued to fall in March. (Unsplash)

The rate of loans sent to special servicers continued to fall in March, showing signs of recovery in several sectors.

The overall special servicing rate for commercial mortgage-backed securities in March was 9.42 percent, down 18 basis points from February, according to Trepp. The rate has been declining since the September 2020 peak of 10.48 percent, Commercial Observer reported.

In March, 35 CMBS notes totaling $1.13 billion were sent to the special servicer, compared to 51 notes totaling $1.19 billion in February.

The share of loans in special servicing declined slightly across all sectors, except for offices, which increased by 17 basis points. That was fueled by the transfer of a $300 million loan backed by the One California Plaza office complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Retail saw the biggest month-over-month improvement, with the special servicing rate in that sector was16.23 percent, down by 44 basis points from the same time last month. The rate of the struggling lodging industry was 24.16 percent, down 7 basis points from February.

Notable loans moved to special servicing include a $135 million deal backed by the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino; a $127.9 million mortgage secured by Deerbrook Mall in Humble, Texas; and $111.1 million loan for 600 Broadway in Manhattan.

[CO] — Akiko Matsuda

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Interstate Industrial Park at 6555-6557 Garden Road (Google Maps, iStock)

Interstate Industrial Park at 6555-6557 Garden Road (Google Maps, iStock)

An industrial park in an Opportunity Zone in Riviera Beach sold for $12.8 million, another sign of strength in the market sector.

Koda Interstate bought the complex at 6555 and 6557 Garden Road and at 3541 Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Boulevard from Interstate Industrial Park Holdings, according to a press release.

Hollywood-based Koda is led by Brandon Kochen, Yonatan Dagan and Andrew Shub, according to state corporate records.

Interstate Industrial Park Holdings, led by Harry Spitzer, had paid $11.7 million for the complex in March 2019, a deed shows. Spitzer heads Miami-based private commercial real estate investment fund HS Capital Fund.

Douglas Mandel and Tyler Kuhlman of Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale marketed the property on behalf of the seller and brought the buyer. It was listed in the fourth quarter of last year for $13.5 million, according to the offering memorandum.

Interstate Industrial Park totals 161,087 square feet, with metal buildings on 8.7 acres, the offering shows. It was constructed 1987 and 2003.

It’s fully leased to 35 tenants, including the city of Riviera Beach, Loxahatchee Electrical Services and auto repair shop A&B Top & Textile, according to the offering memorandum. Palm Beach Laundry and Linen Service leased 21,000 square feet in the third quarter of last year.

Industrial real estate remained one of South Florida’s strongest asset classes over the past year, largely thanks to e-commerce growth.

In January, Boston-based STAG Industrial paid $31.75 million for a portfolio in Palm Beach County that included a building at 4268 Westroads Drive in Riviera Beach and three buildings in Lake Worth Beach.

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The state has opened 52 more investigations into potential fair-housing law violations tied to the Newsday report (iStock)

The state has opened 52 more investigations into potential fair-housing law violations tied to the Newsday report (iStock)

A blockbuster investigation into housing discrimination on Long Island has led to disciplinary action for more than a dozen real estate agents.

The Department of State, which licenses real estate agents and instructors, has sought to deny license renewals to three brokers based on allegations of housing discrimination cited in Newsday’s 2019 investigation, “Long Island Divided.” Those agents have appealed the denials, Erin McCarthy, spokesperson for the state agency, told Newsday, which first reported the news.

The agency is also seeking to suspend or revoke the licenses of 18 agents cited in the outlet’s investigation, along with three instructors who allegedly made inappropriate statements during state-mandated fair housing classes.

The state has opened 52 more investigations into potential fair-housing law violations tied to the Newsday report, McCarty told the publication.

When subpoenaed by the state Senate, agents cited in the probe insisted they had not discriminated against anyone or violated fair housing laws.

Taking a cue from Newsday’s three-year probe — which involved sending undercover testers to meet with real estate agents, and secretly videotaping brokers’ allegedly discriminatory actions — the state recently launched its own plan to combat housing bias. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in February that the state will set aside $250,000 for the program, which will send out undercover testers to areas like New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

[Newsday] — Akiko Matsuda

[contact author email=”akiko.matsuda@therealdeal.com” text=”Contact Akiko Matsuda”]

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Tommy Mottola and Thalía with an aerial view of 31 La Gorce Circle (Getty)

Tommy Mottola and Thalía with an aerial view of 31 La Gorce Circle (Getty)

A hedge fund manager’s investment in a La Gorce Island teardown in Miami Beach appears to have paid off.

Adam Wyden, who heads his investment firm ADW Capital, and his wife Allison, sold their home at 31 La Gorce Circle for $5.5 million to music executive Tommy Mottola and his wife, Mexican singer and actress Thalía, The Real Deal has learned. The Wydens bought the house in December for $4.2 million.

Mottola, chairman of Mottola Media Group and former chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, and Thalía recently flipped their oceanfront condo at the Four Seasons Residences at The Surf Club for $10.4 million, $2.4 million more than their purchase price less than a year ago.

The non-waterfront La Gorce Island house hit the market in February for $5.5 million. Devin Kay of Douglas Elliman represented the seller, and Jeri Jenkins of Coldwell Banker brought the buyer, according to Realtor.com. Kay declined to comment, and Jenkins could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jeri Jenkins of Coldwell Banker, Devin Kay of Douglas Elliman

Jeri Jenkins of Coldwell Banker, Devin Kay of Douglas Elliman

The 4,512-square-foot house sits on a half-acre lot and has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. It was built in 1936. The house was marketed as a teardown, with the opportunity for a buyer to develop up to a 10,000-square-foot mansion on the lot.

Wyden said that the pandemic accelerated his family’s plans to relocate to South Florida from New York. He and his wife, who moved to Miami Beach July 1, were going to build a new house on the La Gorce Island property, but the building process was going to take longer than initially planned. He said they’re going to buy another home nearby.

He moved his company from New York, as well, and is in the process of securing permanent office space in Miami, he added.

“I have no plans on going back. I love it here,” Wyden said, joking that “We wanted to get down here before there were no houses left.”

Thalía, known as the “Queen of Latin Pop” and whose real name is Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda Mottola, has reportedly sold 25 million records worldwide, while Mottola has worked with artists such as Carly Simon, John Mellencamp, Mariah Carey (his former wife), Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

Earlier this year, longtime TV and film producer Douglas Cramer and his husband Hubert Bush III sold their waterfront La Gorce Island mansion for $23 million, shortly before buying a home in Morningside for more than $8 million.

Cher’s former waterfront house at 64 La Gorce Circle also recently sold for $17 million.

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Commercial Tower and East Sunrise Boulevard

Commercial Tower and East Sunrise Boulevard

Iberia Foods | Centergate at Gratigny

Iberia Foods inked a nearly 78,000-square-foot lease at Centergate at Gratigny in Hialeah. The three-building Class A industrial property at 5801 and 6301 East 10th Avenue totals 1.6 million square feet.

Easton & Associates’ Michael Waite represented Iberia. Transwestern Real Estate Services’ Thomas Kresse, Walter Byrd, Ben Eisenberg and Carlos Gaviria represented the landlord.

Yoyoso | Wynwood

Chinese fast fashion brand Yoyoso signed a lease for 9,800 square feet at Wynwood Walk. Thor Equities owns the property on the corner of Northwest Second Avenue and Northwest 28th Street. Italian restaurant and beer garden Bottled Blond signed a 9,000-square-foot lease at the development.

K&M Handling LLC | Doral

Logistics company K&M Handling LLC, which specializes in flowers, signed a long-term lease for 40,627 square feet at 3055 Northwest 84th Avenue in Doral. The lease is valued at more than $5 million. Elias G. Patsalos, broker/owner of Agora Real Estate Group, represented the tenant along with Jeff Hartsook of Cresa South Florida. The landlord was represented by Cushman & Wakefield’s Wayne Ramoski and Gian Rodriguez.

Ross Dress For Less | Pembroke Pines

Ross Dress For Less leased 25,010 square feet at Pembroke Commons in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The store plans to open this summer.

Karl Brinkman of Weingarten Realty, represented the landlord, while Jim Petrarca of The Shopping Center Group represented the tenant.

Elie Tahari | Pembroke Pines

Women’s fashion retailer Elie Tahari leased a 4,169-square-foot space at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens, at 427 Southwest 145th Terrace in Pembroke Pines.

BH3 | Fort Lauderdale

Real estate investment and development firm BH3 moved its headquarters to Fort Lauderdale from Aventura. BH3 moved to a 6,266-square-foot space at 819 Northwest Second Avenue. The space is part of a converted warehouse spanning 24,257 square feet at 801, 807, 815, and 819 Northeast Second Avenue in Progresso Village.

ACI Worldwide Corp. and others | Coral Gables

Agave Holdings, LLC announced five tenants at The Plaza Coral Gables. ACI Worldwide Corp. leased 27,712 square feet, Bradesco BAC Florida Bank leased 63,009 square feet, H.I.G. Capital leased 22,227 square feet, Raymond James leased 4,396 square feet and PNC Bank leased 7,039 square feet.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate’s Tere Blanca, Danet Linares and Andres del Corral represented the developer, Agave Holdings. Shay Pope of CBRE represented ACI Worldwide and PNC Bank. Patrick Duffy of Newmark represented Bradesco BAC Florida Bank. JLL’s Alan Kleber represented H.I.G. Capital, and Todd Brandon of Cushman & Wakefieldbrought Raymond James.

The mixed-use development is located at 2811 and 3011 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables.

Kia Motors, Paramount Mortgage and others | Doral

Four tenants joined the Offices at Downtown Doral, at 8551 Northwest 53rd Street. Paramount Residential Mortgage Group Inc. signed a 12,000-square-foot lease for the top floor, HDR Engineering Inc. signed a 13,000-square-foot lease, Ekman Group signed a 3,000-square-foot lease and Kia Motors signed a 4,000-square-foot lease.

Chimera Investment Corp. | Brickell

Chimera Investment Corp., a New York-based real estate investment company, secured a 3,875-square-foot lease at 801 Brickell Avenue. Colliers South Florida’s Stephen Rutchik and Tom Farmer represented the landlord, Nuveen Real Estate, in the five-year lease deal.

Centennial Bank | Fort Lauderdale

Centennial Bank recommitted to a long-term lease for 10,763 square feet at Commercial Tower at 2101 West Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s Adam Starr represented the landlord, and Cushman & Wakefield’s Jeff Holding represented Centennial Bank.

Smoosh and CHIM Authentic Thai & Sushi Bar | Midtown Crossing

Gourmet dessert shop Smoosh leased 1,690 square feet at 140 South Pine Island Road and CHIM Authentic Thai & Sushi Bar leased 2,510 square feet of restaurant space at 130 South Pine Island Road.

Azor Advisory Services, led by Beth Azor, brokered the leases at Midtown Crossing in Plantation.

[contact-form-7]

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Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. and 833 Turtle Beach Road (Visa, Google Maps)

Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. and 833 Turtle Beach Road (Visa, Google Maps)

It’s likely everywhere he wanted to be. Alfred Kelly Jr., Visa’s chairman and CEO, paid $7.9 million for a home in North Palm Beach.

Kelly and his wife, Margaret, bought the lakefront home at 833 Turtle Beach Road from Robert F. and Tona B. White.

James Kenny and Paul Kaneb of Lost Tree Village were the listing agents. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house was built in 2012 and spans nearly 5,600 square feet.

Alfred Kelly joined the Visa board as an independent director in 2014 and was named the CEO in 2016. From 1987 to 2010, he was the president and head of the global consumer group at American Express, according to his LinkedIn.

Robert White is a senior lecturer in the entrepreneurial management unit at Harvard’s business school and was a founding partner of investment company Bain Capital.

The Whites paid $5.6 million for the property in 2015.

Recently in North Palm Beach, Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corp. spent $80 million on an estate and the estate of a late coal billionaire sold his two oceanfront properties for $22.1 million and $25.6 million.

[contact-form-7]

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Compass stock shocks

Compass finished its first full week as a public company with a bitter taste of the public market.

Its stock closed at $17.31 per share, down 14 percent from its closing price of $20.15 on April 1, its first day of trading. The shares are now lower than the target price of $18 set before the IPO.

The VC-backed brokerage downsized the public offering in the days leading up to its NYSE debut. Initially it priced shares between $23 and $26, working out to a $10 billion valuation. Compass’ market cap is now $6.7 billion.

The long-awaited IPO was still a watershed moment and a payday for top investors, executives and agents. (Compass also set aside 7 percent of the offering, or 1.75 million shares, for agents.)

SoftBank, the firm’s top shareholder, owns 132.4 million shares valued at $2.3 billion, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That includes 4 million additional shares SoftBank purchased on April 6 for $72 million. Robert Citrone’s Discovery Capital holds 33.5 million shares worth $579.9 million, down from $675.5 million a week ago.

Co-founder Ori Allon holds more than 19 million shares worth $328.9 million, down from $344 million. On the day of the IPO, CEO Robert Reffkin held 8.6 million shares, though he’s in line for 25.8 million more in the coming years. On April 6, Reffkin also purchased 411,111 more shares for $7.2 million. As of Friday, his shares are worth $156 million. CTO Joseph Sirosh holds 4.2 million shares. They are worth $72.7 million, down from $84.6 million.


“They have literally hired a group of Adam Neuman-era WeWork bros to lead the company forward.”

— Knotel founder Amol Sarva 

SoftBank makes a Better offer

Mortgage lending startup Better.com is now valued at $6 billion, after a $500 million investment from SoftBank. The Japanese tech giant bought shares from existing investors, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Better, which launched in 2014, streamlines mortgage originations by pre-approving borrowers and lowering costs. It was valued at $4 billion after a $200 million funding round in November 2020 that sparked IPO rumors.

Thanks to the hot housing market, Better facilitated $25 billion in loans in 2020 and $14 billion in the first quarter of 2021, reported CNBC. Sources told TRD said it generated $800 million in 2020 revenue, up 10 percent year over year.

Notwithstanding the IPO buzz, Better’s CEO Vishal Garg was accused last year of mismanaging investor funds and creating a hostile work environment at the startup, according to Forbes. Yet according to the WSJ, SoftBank gave all of its voting rights to Garg “in a sign of its eagerness” to back the startup.


SPAC sparkle fades?

A top securities regulator is the latest to sound an alarm over the SPAC frenzy.

John Coates, acting director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, said there are “some significant and yet undiscovered issues,” with SPACs, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Last month, regulators began an inquiry into SPACs, focusing on how banks underwrite risk. Previously, they warned investors not to be lured to SPACs by celebrity involvement alone.

Although new filings are slowing, investors are still piling into blank-check firms. As of April 9, 306 SPACs have gone public, raising $98.9 billion, according to SPACInsider.

Meanwhile, Fifth Wall Ventures has launched a second SPAC. The VC fund, which has $1.7 billion under management, is looking to raise $150 million. In February, it raised $345 million for its first SPAC. Several of Fifth Wall’s portfolio companies are going the SPAC route. Opendoor went public with a SPAC last year; Doma and Hippo are following suit.

When real estate tech pays off

2020 was a good year for Zillow and eXp Realty. So good, in fact, that top execs Rich Barton, Lloyd Frink and Glenn Sanford made the Forbes billionaire list.

Barton and Frink, who co-founded Zillow in 2004, joined the list with net worths of $2.2 billion and $1.4 billion, while eXp founder Sanford and his wife, Penny, joined with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

As of April 7, Zillow’s stock was trading around $140 per share, more than three times its price a year ago. The company generated $3.3 billion in revenue last year as the housing market soared. Virtual broker eXp’s revenue hit $1.8 billion, up 84 percent, with a record $31 million in profits in 2020.


STAT OF THE WEEK

$125B

Global VC investments during Q1, up 94% YOY, per Crunchbase


Can you hear me now?

Haven’t had internet issues this year? Lucky you.

For those who have been plagued by problems, a New York City startup focused on large-scale connectivity in commercial and residential just raised $50 million.

Gigstreem, founded in 2017, offers “ubiquitous” WiFi, meaning buildings operate on a single network instead of a dozens of accounts that form a patchwork of connectivity. The investment will allow Gigstreem to expand from six to 15 markets this year. CEO Joel McIntyre said Gigstreem has 200 commercial customers, including Related, SL Green and Vornado.

According to McIntyre, it costs several hundred thousand dollars to install a block of underground fiber in New York City. Gigstreem’s network, in comparison, is a mesh of fiber and wireless installed on rooftops at a cost of around $7,000 per building. “We’re moving away from the idea that it costs millions to put a network in the ground,” he said.

Proptech sees green

Real estate is facing a climate reckoning, and proptech VCs are lining up green funds.

Last month, Toronto’s Greensoil Proptech Ventures launched a $100 million fund to focus on sustainable real estate. Fifth Wall, which launched a $200 million climate tech fund in February, said Ivanhoé Cambridge committed $85 million across four funds. And London-based VC firm 2150 has a $237 million fund to invest in green building startups, reported Bisnow. (Last year, A/O proptech, another London-based VC, announced a $297 million fund for startups targeting climate change.)

“The business of doing real estate ain’t the same in the future as it was in the past,” Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace said in an interview with TRD. “Being a real estate company will mean being a science investor. That is a massive mental leap.”


New state of Mynd

For the past five years, property management startup Mynd has given mom-and-pop landlords software to manage rental properties. Now, it’s targeting institutional investors who are betting on the burgeoning single-family rental market.

“Our vision is to help investors make more data-driven decisions and deploy their capital more intelligently,” CEO Doug Brien said.

Mynd, founded in 2016, closed a $41.5 million Series C in June. Wells Fargo led the round, with Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Jackson Square Ventures. The startup said it manages 7,000 units worth $1.4 billion in 24 markets.

To help the company pivot, Mynd is beefing up its C-suite. Garret Albert, former vice president of finance at One Medical, is joining as CFO. Alejandro Ayestarán, a former exec at car sales startup Shift Technologies, has been tapped as chief business officer. And David Zanaty, a former Opendoor exec, is joining as chief real estate officer. Clelia Peters, president of Warburg Realty and a venture partner at Bain Capital Ventures, is joining the board.


Small bytes

📈 Hospitality startup Sonder is in talks to go public with blank-check company Gores Metropoulos II Inc.
🧡 Redfin made it official with RentPath, completing the $608M acquisition on April 5.
💰 Rick Caruso’s L.A.-based real estate firm will accept Bitcoin rent payments in its retail and commercial properties.
📖 Book deal alert! Compass’ Robert Reffkin’s “No One Succeeds Alone” comes out in May.
📢 Opendoor tapped Shannon Hodes, a former GoDaddy and Sirius XM exec, as vice president of sales and support.
📢 Pacaso, a second-home startup valued at $1B, hired David Willbrand as chief legal officer.
🚧 Shanghai-based RoboticPlus.AI, a construction tech startup, raised $20M.
🚧 Curri, a construction tech logistics company, raised $6M.
🤖 Gryps, a construction startup automation to organize emails and documents, raised $1.5M.



 
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Celebrity broker Ryan Serhant is renting his Hudson Square penthouse. (Serhant)

Celebrity broker Ryan Serhant is listing his Hudson Square penthouse. (Serhant)

Ryan Serhant has been busy of late, launching and staffing his own brokerage and opening a Soho HQ for it. Now, he’s making another big move — this time, to Brooklyn.

In preparation for their move to the Boerum Hill townhouse they bought in 2018, Serhant and his wife, Emilia Bechrakis, have listed their Hudson Square penthouse as a $15,000-a-month rental, People reported. The 2,000-square-foot unit in the Renwick Modern condo development has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home office and two terraces.

Serhant purchased the apartment in 2014 for just under $3.8 million. He’s also the agent for the property, which is listed through his eponymous brokerage.

Serhant told the publication that he and Bechrakis had gut-renovated the space and would “miss waking up here every day.”

But they probably won’t miss it too much: The couple are relocating to the Boerum Hill townhouse they picked up from author Jonathan Safran-Foer for $7.6 million and have since been renovating, a process Serhand documents on Instagram. Recently, he posted a photo with Bechrakis, noting that they’d be moving in “very soon.”

[People] — Amy Plitt

[contact-form-7]

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Sao Carlos CFO Fabio Itikawa. (Getty, YouTube via Levante Investimentos)

Sao Carlos CFO Fabio Itikawa. (Getty, YouTube via Levante Investimentos)

Firms linked to the billionaire founders of 3G Capital are on the hunt for real estate deals in pandemic-battered Brazil.

The companies — tied to Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira — are looking to buy discount properties, with a focus on strip malls, office space and long-term rental apartments, according to Bloomberg.

One of the firms, Sao Carlos, specializes in office flips and has closed two deals worth about $14 million, and has another $125 million available for future acquisitions, according to the report.

“The next 18 months will be very challenging for commercial real estate and that’s the time to make purchases, because sellers tend to get more flexible on prices,” said Sao Carlos CFO Fabio Itikawa.

The Brazilian government has struggled to combat the coronavirus over the last year. Daily cases and deaths are on the rise, with the spread of a Covid-19 variant. Nearly 4,200 deaths were recorded on Tuesday, marking the first day with more than 4,000 deaths in the country of 212 million.

Telles and one of Lemann’s children, Jorge Felipe Lemann, are looking for deals in the residential space, and developing rental buildings in some of Sao Paolo’s pricier neighborhoods via JFL Holdings.

They aren’t the only ones hoping to capitalize on the pandemic climate. Distressed debts funds raised billions of dollars over the last year, although some have had trouble finding opportunities to deploy that money.

Many firms keep collecting funds, however. Cerberus recently raised $2.8 billion for an opportunistic real estate fund, beating its $2 billion target.

[Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch

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Tesla’s Gigafactory (Tesla)

Tesla’s Gigafactory (Tesla)

Everything is bigger in Texas so it’s no surprise the Dallas area is leading the way in industrial construction.

About 28 million square feet of warehouses and distribution centers across 81 projects in Dallas-Fort Worth are scheduled to be completed by year-end, according to a report from CommercialSearch, a CRE listings company. That puts the state’s third most-populous city far ahead in the recently published ranking, which tracked the top 20 markets with the most amount of industrial space set to be delivered.

In total, about 342 million square feet of industrial development is expected to be delivered across the U.S. this year, a remarkable 24 percent increase from last year, the report found. And also not surprisingly, Amazon has a part to play.

The Everything Store will lease 8 of the 10 largest projects on the list, the report found. That’s including a 4 million-square-foot logistics center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is tied with Tesla’s Gigafactory as the largest industrial project set for completion.

Phoenix was second with 18.4 million square feet of industrial space and Chicago, always a powerhouse in the category, was third with nearly 17 million square feet.

And Southern California’s Inland Empire, another industrial stronghold, was a close fourth with 16.3 million square feet. That metro region around Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties has 104 individual projects set to be delivered, more than any other market in the nation.

In New Jersey, developers will complete just under 8 million square feet of industrial space this year.

The pandemic has boosted the need for e-commerce space, leading to a spike in industrial development and overall activity. Investors are eager to get in on the action. But big investors have had their eye on the sector for some time.

Blackstone Group has built up its industrial portfolio over the last several years from just 9 percent of its total holdings to 27 percent.

Tesla’s Gigafactory project, in Austin, Texas, meanwhile, accounts for 40 percent of the 10.3 million square feet of industrial space scheduled for completion in the city this year. Amazon also has a 3.8 million-square-foot facility under construction outside Austin.

Propelled by those two projects, Austin’s total expected deliveries is a five-fold increase over 2020, the most drastic of any major market. Dallas’ expected total, by comparison, would be just 2 percent above its amount last year.

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JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich. (Getty)

JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich. (Getty)

JLL is considering offloading one of its global businesses.

The Chicago-based firm is exploring a sale of its China property management business, which is estimated to be worth at least $500 million, Bloomberg News reported. JLL is working with an advisor on the potential sale, which would not include its brokerage or valuation business in the country.

The potential sale has drawn some interest from other property management firms and investors, according to the report. JLL could still decide to retain an interest in the business.

JLL generated about $992 million in revenue through its services in Greater China in 2020, roughly a third of all revenue it generated in the Asia Pacific region.

Globally, JLL generated $16.6 billion in revenue last year, around 58 percent of which came from property management services. The firm saw earnings fall by nearly a quarter last year to $860 million, largely due to a decline in fees from leasing services.

The firm cut jobs in its New York capital markets group last summer, then slashes another 2,000 jobs nationwide in the fall. JLL saved about $330 million via salary cuts, layoffs and government aid.

The company’s shares dipped below $100 last year, the first time that’s happened since 2016, but have since recovered. They’re now trading for upwards of $180 per share.

[Bloomberg News] — Dennis Lynch

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Birmingham and Bournemouth both saw a giant increase in demand. (Getty)

Birmingham and Bournemouth both saw a giant increase in demand. (Getty)

Demand is rising for apartments in the United Kingdom’s largest cities following a slow fourth quarter that capped off a coronavirus-weakened year for the rental market.

A Barrows and Forrester report comparing rented units to total listings found that 37.6 percent of rentals listed in the first quarter leased, according to Mansion Global. That’s a 10.4 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2021.

The firm’s managing director James Forrester said in the report that students returning to schools “should further boost this initial increase in demand.”

Birmingham saw the largest quarter-over-quarter jump in demand, rising to 46.7 percent. In Bournemouth, nearly 75 percent of rentals leased in the first quarter, a 23.3 percent quarterly gain and the highest percentage overall of any city in the country.

And in London, leasing was up to 48 percent, an increase of 14.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020. Three of London’s boroughs saw more than 70 percent of their total listed units find renters. Demand in Sutton was calculated at 76 percent.

Multifamily developers and investors are bullish on London rentals despite a decrease in demand due to the pandemic. More Londoners are renting than in decades past, a trend that’s expected to continue through the 2020s.

Belfast and Liverpool were the only cities in the U.K. that saw rental demand decline between the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021, with 15.8 and 2.3 percent declines, respectively.

[Mansion Global] — Dennis Lynch 

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Vice President Kamala Harris (Getty, Realtor.com)

Vice President Kamala Harris (Getty, Realtor.com)

Vice President Kamala Harris has listed her Washington, D.C., condo for $2 million, coinciding with the news that upgrades have been completed at her official residence.

Harris put her 1,700-square-foot unit on the market at developer EastBanc’s luxury Westlight complex, according to the Wall Street Journal. Harris paid $1.9 million in 2017 for the two-bedroom unit in the West End.

Since taking office, Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, have been staying at Blair House while the official vice president’s residence, Number One Observatory Circle, was being renovated. Those upgrades were recently finished, People reported.

The condo listing is the second property Harris has put on the market since Inauguration Day, the Journal reported. She also listed her San Francisco condo, which sold last month for $860,000. The vice president paid $489,000 for that property in 2004.

Harris and Emhoff still own a 3,500-square-foot home in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 

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This Arkansas compound sits directly across from the University of Arkansas football stadium. (Getty, Realtor.com)

This Arkansas compound sits directly across from the University of Arkansas football stadium. (Getty, Realtor.com)

Football fanatics — specifically, those who are dedicated to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks (go Hogs!) — may want to take a look at the state’s priciest home.

The compound at 400-410 North Oliver Road sits directly across the street from the team’s home stadium, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and is listed for $12 million, making it the priciest property currently listed for sale in the state, according to Dirt.

The current owners bought the property about three decades ago for $35,000 and set it up as an investment to rent out during football games. It has three structures totaling 11,320 square feet, with 18 bathrooms and 21 bedrooms.

The main house was built in 1966 and renovated in 2013. It has seven bedrooms, six baths, and two kitchens. The two other residences each have multiple kitchens, game rooms and spaces kitted out for entertaining. There’s tons of parking for tailgating and guests, a heated pool and even a treehouse.

The property appears to be something of a local institution, at least according to the listing, which calls it an “iconic game-day destination… known and loved by all.”

[Dirt] — Dennis Lynch

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Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty, Compass)

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty, Compass)

SoftBank has upped its stake in Compass, shelling out $72 million to buy stock in the newly public company.

The tech giant, already Compass’ largest shareholder, purchased 4 million shares on April 6 at $18 per share, bringing its total investment to 132.4 million shares, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Sources said the transaction was made as part of Compass’ IPO.

On Friday, following a lackluster week of trading in which Compass’ stock dropped 15 percent, shares closed at $17.31. That values SoftBank’s stake around $2.3 billion, slightly lower than the $2.55 billion it was worth at the end of Compass’ first day of trading.

Compass declined to comment.

SoftBank holds a roughly 35 percent stake in Compass, after investing nearly $1 billion in the New York brokerage between 2017 and 2019, regulatory filings show.

Masa Son’s firm wrote its first check for nearly $450 million in 2017. In 2018, it invested $160 million and made an $80 million tender offer. And it invested $250 million during Compass’ Series G round in 2019, filings show.

After that round, Compass was valued at $6.4 billion. It was the last private funding round before the company went public last week.

Compass raised $450 million in its IPO on April 1, although it initially sought to raise twice that amount. Still, the company’s executives and investors now have stock holdings worth millions — and in SoftBank’s case, billions — of dollars on paper.

Co-founder and CEO Robert Reffkin owned 8.6 million shares prior to ringing Nasdaq’s opening bell on April 1. Those are now worth $148.9 million. Reffkin will receive more than 25.8 million shares in the coming years, filings show.

Prior to the IPO, Compass said the Reffkin family expressed interest in purchasing $18.5 million worth of shares in conjunction with the public offering. On April 6, Reffkin upped his stake by 411,111 shares, which he bought at $18 per share, or $7.4 million.

SoftBank and Discovery Capital — Compass’ second-biggest shareholder — also expressed interest in purchasing another $140 million in shares. It doesn’t appear Discovery has done so yet. The hedge fund, led by Robert Citrone, holds 33.5 million shares that are worth $579.8 million.

In general, it’s been a good week for the stock market. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average had record closings this week. Nasdaq climbed one percent on Thursday thanks to strong performances from Apple, Netflix, Microsoft and other tech stocks.

Earlier this week, SoftBank invested $500 million in digital mortgage lender Better.com. The tech giant purchased shares from existing investors at a $6 billion valuation.

[contact-form-7]

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7-Eleven at 6348 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach (Google Maps, iStock)

7-Eleven at 6348 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach (Google Maps, iStock)

Power Petroleum bought a Miami Beach 7-Eleven with a gas station for $11.25 million, the same amount as the listing price, the brokers said.

The Pompano Beach-based, family owned petroleum supplier bought the property at 6348 Collins Avenue from Ivelise Daily, as trustee of the Sarah D. Brito Revocable Living Trust.

Alejandro D’Alba and Scott Sandelin of Marcus & Millichap in Miami had the listing on behalf of the seller.

The buyer will rebrand it as a Mobil gas station, and the 7-Eleven is now shuttered, D’Alba said.

The 4,370-square-foot retail property includes the convenience store that had been in operation since 2009, according to D’Alba and Sandelin. It had historically high sales as it’s the only gas station-convenience store in this part of North Beach.

Daily took over the property as trustee in February 2020, and the real estate last traded in 1983 for $500,000, according to property records.

Power Petroleum works with various brands as a fuel supplier, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon and Sunco, according to its website.

Gas stations have been fetching top prices in recent months in Miami-Dade County. In one deal the buyer flipped four branded gas stations on the same day for an extra $4 million. Ernest M. Cherry Jr. and his wife, Carole, of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, bought the gas stations in December for $11 million and sold them for $15 million. The properties are at 715 Opa-Locka Boulevard near Golden Glades; at 2195 Northwest 103rd Street in Miami; and 790 East 25th Street and 1901 West 4th Avenue in Hialeah.

Overall, the Miami-Dade retail market had the lowest retail vacancy in the tri-county region during this year’s first quarter, at 4.6 percent, flat from the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Colliers. A total of 91,916 square feet was completed in the first quarter, with another 1.9 million square feet in the pipeline.

[contact-form-7]

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Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos (Retail Industry Leaders Association, iStock)

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos (Retail Industry Leaders Association, iStock)

Don’t tell Dollar General that brick-and-mortar retail is dead.

The retailer plans to open 1,050 new stores this year, Business Insider reported, part of an aggressive expansion plan that goes against the push many retailers have made to increase their online operations. That follows a similar pace of expansion in 2020, when 1,000 new stores opened and 1,670 were remodeled.

The retailer’s expansion has focused on serving rural customers, while other companies have converged around urban centers, where higher population density makes delivering online orders more efficient. It’s also changed its store offerings in recent years, adding groceries, as well as home decor and housewares (via its Popshelf brand) to many of its locations.

The strategy has paid off: Last year, the chain reported same-store sales growth of 16.3 percent. The chain remained open as an essential retailer during government-mandated coronavirus lockdowns.

But that atypical pattern of growth has left some investors worried about its post-pandemic future. Already, a drawback in demand is expected, with Zacks Equity Research predicting a same-store decline in sales of four to six percent in 2021.

While customers may not associate online delivery with dollar store items, industry analysts said the company could benefit from partnerships with “digitally native brands.”

The chain’s expansion is part of a broader pattern of growth among discount stores, which have been ramping up to open more locations this year. TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls, will open 81 stores across its brands in 2021. And Dollar Tree created plans to add a whopping 600 stores this year.

[Business Insider] — Orion Jones

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Soho House founders Nick Jones and Ron Burkle (Getty)

Soho House founders Nick Jones and Ron Burkle (Getty)

Soho House is once again taking steps to go public.

The exclusive members-only club this week submitted a confidential filing for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sky News first reported. The IPO would value the company, headquartered in London, at more than $3 billion.

In February, the company hired JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to advise on its latest IPO attempt, according the Times of London.

The company has been toying with the idea of going public on the New York Stock Exchange since at least 2018, but has opted to raise money privately in the years since.

Soho House was founded in 1995 by British hospitality executive Nick Jones, and its London clubs quickly hotspots thanks to their discreet service and celebrity clientele. Now, the company operates 27 members-only clubs in 10 countries, including three locations in New York City. The company also runs a series of co-working spaces, comparable to WeWork, dubbed Soho Works. Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle now owns a majority stake in the company.

But it suffered similar issued that plagued other hospitality firms during the pandemic: After being forced to close its locations due to Covid-19, Soho House furloughed the vast majority of its staff.

However, less than 10 percent of Soho House’s 110,000 members canceled their accounts during the pandemic. In part, that’s because the company has offered select perks to its members, despite its locations being inaccessible.

[Sky News, Times of London] — Sasha Jones

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JDS Development's Michael Stern with a rendering of the One Southside project (JDS Development)

JDS Development’s Michael Stern with a rendering of the One Southside project (JDS Development)

The site of Michael Stern’s planned 62-story One Southside project in Brickell is officially a brownfield.

The Miami City Commission unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday that designates the 1.5 acres as a brownfield due to elevated levels of arsenic. The neighboring 67,000-square foot Southside Park was declared a brownfield in 2014.

The designation will allow Stern, founder of New York-based JDS Development, to pursue state tax credits as well as grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove any contamination found on 32,250-square feet at Southwest Second Avenue and 12th Street owned by Stern, as well as 32,700 square feet of city of Miami-owned land now occupied by Fire Station Number Four.

Those credits include expenses related to the site’s cleanup, a sales tax rebate on construction and a $2,500 bonus tax refund for every job created, according to a report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

In February of last year, Stern inked a deal with the city that would allow him to build a 2.5 million square foot, 752-foot-tall tower with 1,000 rental apartments, 200 micro units, a 200-room hotel, and 250,000 square feet of office space. In exchange, Stern agreed to build an $8 million fire station for the city on the ground floor. The developer would also invest about $5 million in public benefits that include a $3 million refurbishing of Southside Park.

In November, Stern paid $23 million for land adjacent to the fire station and park. That purchase included three parcels owned by CS Brickell LLC at 145 Southwest 12th Street and a pair of 50-year-old, three-story apartment buildings tied to John Polit, a financial adviser sentenced to three years in prison in Ecuador for his role in the international Odebrecht bribery scandal.  Stern is still in litigation with real estate investor Alain Lantigua over the apartment buildings deal.

Several city of Miami parks, including Southside Park, were closed eight years ago after high levels of arsenic were discovered. Southside Park was reopened in 2016, according to the blog Miami Condo Investments.

The groundwater beneath the park still has elevated levels of arsenic, asserted Stern’s environmental attorney, Michael Goldstein, in a report to the city. Goldstein stated that arsenic contaminated water could migrate to the One Southside site during the course of the project’s construction.

“This designation will allow [Stern] to access limited but important state-based economic incentives to help underwrite any unanticipated and unbudgeted costs associated with managing the environmental risk as well as, generally, to put the project to a more certain financial ground,” Goldstein wrote.

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Bill Lee (Lee & Associates/YouTube)

Bill Lee (Lee & Associates/YouTube)

Bill Lee, who founded the commercial real estate brokerage Lee & Associates, died on April 5 at the age of 78.

His eponymous firm confirmed the news via an obituary on its website. The cause of death was cancer.

Lee founded the firm in 1979 in Orange County, California, out of a 4,000-square-foot office. It’s since grown to have 65 locations throughout North America, with more than 1,300 employees. It also claims to be the largest broker-owned firm in the United States, with a profit-sharing model that “allow[s] agents the opportunity to maximize their deals in terms of commission dollars,” according to the firm.

It transacted approximately $14 billion worth of real estate in 2020.

“I revisited all of the reasons I started the company, and I realized that I did it because the future was more valuable to me than the present,” said Lee, reflecting on his journey in a 2019 interview with Jeffrey Rinkov, the current CEO of Lee & Associates.

Lee retired from the company in 2008.

Born Oct. 22, 1942, in Santa Monica, California, Lee earned a physical education degree from Cal State Northridge before getting his start in real estate, according to the Orange County Register. He worked at the brokerage Grubb & Ellis for nine years, earning SIOR designation in 1977.

[The Orange County Register] — Orion Jones

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Don and Katrina Peebles with their recently purchased Bath Club unit. (Getty, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty)

Don and Katrina Peebles with their recently purchased Bath Club unit. (Getty, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty)

Don Peebles purchased an oceanfront condo at his development in Miami Beach, as he makes residential moves in South Florida, The Real Deal has learned.

The Peebles Corp. chairman and CEO and his wife, Katrina, paid $3 million for a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom unit at The Bath Club, at 5959 Collins Avenue, Peebles confirmed.

They are also selling a home in Wellington for $4 million. And they’re in contract to sell their longtime Coral Gables mansion that is asking $15 million, in a deal that’s set to close in about a month, Peebles said.

The Peebleses will be empty nesters beginning in August, when their daughter, an equestrian, heads to college, he said. They are eyeing homes in Palm Beach, as well as in California or Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Peebles recently opened the Bath Club social club following a multimillion-dollar renovation of the historic building.

Peebles purchased the property for about $10 million in 2000, and redeveloped a portion of the site into 107 condos and six oceanfront villas, which were completed in 2006. The original clubhouse buildings were preserved. Peebles then bought out the club’s membership in 2012, and closed the club in 2014.

Following litigation from residents, a Miami-Dade judge ruled in February that Peebles’ Bath Club Entertainment was on the hook for $1 million in court sanctions for failing to maintain first-class cabanas and outdoor food and beverage service at the club.

Peebles Corp., founded in the early 1980s, has bought, sold or developed a portfolio that totals $6 billion and spans more than 7 million square feet in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other cities. The company has offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami, according to its website.

Now, Katrina Peebles is renovating the unit they purchased, unit 801. The 2,959-square-foot condo has views of North Beach and South Beach, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a curved 50-foot great room. She plans to complete the renovation in mid-May, her husband said.

“We want to enjoy the club. It will be nice to be on the ocean in a building I built,” he added, saying it will become their new home base in Miami.

John Darvish, founder and CEO of DARCARS Automotive Group, sold the unit. Raymond Bolduc with One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller, while Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group represented Peebles.

Eber and Judy Zeder of The Jills Zeder Group are the listing agents for Peebles’ Coral Gables home.

In Wellington, the couple’s sale of their six-bedroom, 7,300-square-foot home at 2658 Sheltingham Drive is pending, according to Realtor.com. They paid $1.8 million for the property early last year, renovated it and put it on the market for $4.4 million in October.

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(Getty, iStock)

(Getty, iStock)

As fast-food restaurants with drive-throughs have gained popularity, those without have waned.

Now, McDonald’s is planning to close hundreds of its eateries in Walmart stores by the end of the summer, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That will leave just 150 of the Golden Arches’ Walmart locations across the country — down from 500 at the start of 2020 and a peak of roughly 1,000.

The two chains began working together in 1994, but in recent years their strategies have diverged. McDonald’s began closing stores in 2002 to focus on its product and image. And Walmart began renovating its stores, leaving the McDonald’s looking dated.

The McDonald’s locations within Walmart are not as profitable as those with drive-throughs, and Walmart employees account for about about a third of its sales inside stores, according to the publication.

As Walmart shoppers increasingly began to pick up their purchases outdoors during the pandemic, foot traffic fell, hurting McDonald’s sales. Subway franchises are also planning to close their Walmart locations.

For Walmart, that means less revenue from leasing restaurant space. The company is reportedly pivoting its strategy to more to-go meals and finding smaller chains that appeal to local customers.

McDonald’s has been otherwise somewhat insulated from the effects of the pandemic, as the chain owned 55 percent of the land underneath its restaurants at the end of 2019. So if a franchise were to fail, McDonald’s could line up a new tenant or sell the land.

[WSJ] — Danielle Balbi

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Florinda “Flory” Padrón and 1335 North Venetian Way (Google Maps, Instagram/Padron)

Florinda “Flory” Padrón and 1335 North Venetian Way (Google Maps, Instagram/Padron)

Florinda Padrón, the widow of late cigar mogul José O. Padrón, sold her waterfront Venetian Islands home for $6.1 million.

Records show Padrón sold the house at 1335 North Venetian Way in Miami Beach to 9 Kings Capital LLC, a Delaware corporation. The address listed for the buying entity leads to Redbadge, a venture capital and private equity firm with offices in New York City and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

José Padrón founded Miami-based Padrón Cigars 1964. He died in 2017.

The Padróns purchased the 5,114-square-foot home in 1984 for $230,000, records show. The house was built in 1950. Property records show a dock and boatlift were added in 2009, and the kitchen underwent a renovation in 2013.

The house was listed in November for $5.8 million. Danny Hertzberg of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group represented the seller, and Felise Eber of the same group represented the buyer.

The listing advertises the house as a teardown or renovation project.

The five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom home includes an elevator, two-car garage and a pool. According to the listing, the property spans 12,250 square feet and features 70 feet of water frontage.

Among other recent sales on the Venetian Islands, Kenneth Lerer, co-founder of The Huffington Post and longtime former chairman of BuzzFeed, sold his mansion for $25 million; and vitamin mogul Andrew Lessman sold a waterfront house for $20.3 million. Also, restaurateur Myles Chefetz sold his home for $15.5 million, and Keith Menin bought a waterfront property for $21 million.

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Larry Ellison and 12525 Seminole Beach Road (Getty, Google Maps)

Larry Ellison and 12525 Seminole Beach Road (Getty, Google Maps)

Larry Ellison, billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp., paid $80 million for the North Palm Beach estate owned by hedge fund manager Gabriel A. Hoffman.

The sale, which closed slightly above the $79.5 million asking price, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. It adds to a dizzying number of ultra-high-end deals to close over the past year in South Florida.

Ellison is worth nearly $100 billion, according to Forbes. He’s chairman and chief technology officer of the Austin, Texas-based software company he co-founded, and was previously CEO.

Hoffman heads the activist hedge fund Accipiter Capital Management.

He initially listed his 7.35-acre compound at 12525 Seminole Beach Road in June with Douglas Elliman agent Gary Pohrer.

Elliman agents Chris Leavitt and Ashley McIntosh, who promoted the sale on Instagram, represented the seller, while Elliman’s Tonja Garamella brought the buyer. The agents all declined to comment.

The Tuscan-style, 15,514-square-foot mansion has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three half-baths and more than 520 feet of ocean frontage. The property features a large private pool, theater, wine room, chef’s kitchen, tennis court, and guest suite. It’s accessible via helicopter.

The property was developed in 1991 and last sold in 2012 for $17.5 million, records show.

Waterfront luxury residential sales in Palm Beach have set new records during the pandemic, in terms of both number of closings and sky-high prices.

In February, private equity titan Scott Shleifer paid more than $120 million for the oceanfront mansion at 535 North County Road in Palm Beach, setting a record for Florida and marking one of the most expensive home sales in the U.S.

Other recent buyers and sellers have included Steve Wynn, Greg Norman, Tommy Hilfiger and David Tepper.

In the past two weeks, hotelier Beatrice Tollman sold her Palm Beach mansion at 174 Via Del Lago for $57 million. And Wynn paid $24 million for a lakefront home after flipping and buying other properties in Palm Beach.

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Renderings of the Pembroke Tower project (Forum Architecture)

Renderings of the Pembroke Tower project (Forum Architecture)

A Tampa-based developer won final approval for an 88-unit senior affordable housing development in Pembroke Pines.

Commissioners on Wednesday approved an amended site plan that raises the height of the project at 2201 North University Drive to 73 feet and 4 inches, to allow for a ground-floor parking pedestal under five stories of apartments.

The 100 percent rent-restricted, affordable housing development will have one- and two-bedroom apartments for tenants 62 and older whose income does not exceed 60 percent of the area’s median income.

The owner of the development site is DP Pembroke LLC, which is managed by J. David Page of Tampa, according to state records. In 2006, DP Pembroke LLC paid $8.9 million for the site, property records show.

In 2011, the commission rezoned the site from “commercial” to “residential high” (25 to 50 dwelling units per acre). The commission approved the 2011 rezoning together with a restrictive covenant on the land. The covenant requires age-restricted and affordable-housing designations for all residential units built there, up to a maximum of 200 units. The original age restriction required tenants 55 and older.

In 2019, Pembroke Pines raised the age range to 62 and older. It also approved a zoning variance that reduced to 188 from 395 the total number of parking spaces required for the planned apartment building and an existing one on an adjacent parcel.

The site of the planned apartments, known as Pembroke Tower II, is just east of Pembroke Tower I, an existing five-story apartment building with 100 units, all of which are rent-restricted affordable housing units for senior tenants.

Page also has an equity interest in that building. SP Tower LLC paid $10 million in September 2019 to acquire the 100-unit building, according to property records. State records show SP Tower LLC is managed by another limited liability company that shares the same business address as Page’s Tampa-based company, Southport Financial Services.

Page did not respond to a request for comment.

Southport Financial Services has invested in 214 multifamily properties with more than 20,000 units in 20 states, according to the company’s website.

Among other rent-restricted affordable multifamily properties, Southport Financial Services in 2018 acquired the 130-unit Colony Park community in West Palm Beach for $12.6 million, as well as the 192-unit Marina Bay Apartments complex in Lantana for $15.8 million.

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The hotel was built in 1940, with an addition constructed in 1958. (Shelborne)

The hotel was built in 1940, with an addition constructed in 1958. (Shelborne)

The owners of the historic Shelborne Hotel are planning a renovation of the oceanfront South Beach property.

Shelborne Hotel Partners WC LP submitted a proposal to the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of portions of the hotel. The ownership group also wants to add a retractable rooftop canopy system, and make changes to the backyard site plan. The entity is seeking approval at the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

W.P. Carey and Russell Galbut sold the majority of the condo-hotel at 1801 Collins Avenue to a joint venture between King Street Real Estate GP, Westdale Properties and Cedar Capital Partners in early 2020 for about $120 million.

The Shelborne, built in 1940, was designed by Igor Polevitzky and his partner Thomas Triplett Russell. In 1958, Morris Lapidus designed an eight-story addition west of the hotel, according to the proposal.

The hotel is currently open.

The King Street, Westdale and Cedar Capital joint venture is proposing to renovate the common spaces on the ground floor, demolish the townhomes in the lobby, install a retractable awning over the mezzanine terrace, and build a new pool and garden on the eastern portion of the property. The owners also plan to add operable windows to the penthouse unit.

Sandor Scher’s Claro Development will manage the renovation, and Bermello Ajamil & Partners is the architect of record. Martin Brudnizki Design Studio is the interior design firm.

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From left: Howard Frank Auman and Patrick J. Peyton with Apogee at 800 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach (Photos via Signature Property Group, PAMM, Sieger Suarez Architects)

From left: Howard Frank Auman and Patrick J. Peyton with Apogee at 800 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach (Photos via Signature Property Group, PAMM, Sieger Suarez Architects)

A North Carolina apartment developer purchased a condo at Miami Beach’s Apogee for $7.5 million.

Records show Howard Frank Auman, III, and his wife, Lindsey Weir Auman, bought unit 1603 from Darioush Miami LLC, a Florida corporation led by Patrick J. Peyton.

“Frank” Auman founded Greensboro, North Carolina-based Signature Property Group in 1990. The company has developed over 6,000 multifamily units in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, according to its website.

The seller, Peyton, is CEO of Miami-based investment firms Camden Management and The Peyton Group, according to his Linkedin page. Peyton was formerly CEO of Minneapolis-based Despatch Industries, which he acquired in 2007, according to Solar Industry.

He also has served on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.

Peyton bought the condo for $6 million in 2011, records show.

The unit hit the market in August for $8.2 million. The price dropped to $7.9 in January. It sold for $2,730 per square foot after 333 days on the market, according to condo.com.

Danny Hertzberg and his sister Hillary Hertzberg with Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group represented the seller, and Mark Zilbert of Brown Harris Stevens represented the buyer.

The 2,756-square-foot condo has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. According to the listing, the unit was offered fully furnished.

Apogee, at 800 South Pointe Drive in Miami Beach, was developed by the Related Group in 2007. Several units in the 22-story condo tower have traded recently. This month, a JLL vice chairman bought a unit for $6.4 million, and a managing partner of a New York-based hedge fund bought a condo for $13.7 million.

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The vacancy rate for regional and superregional malls is at an all-time high. (Getty)

The vacancy rate for regional and superregional malls is at an all-time high. (Getty)

It’s not just office and residential landlords who need to worry about soaring vacancy rates.

The vacancy rate for regional and superregional malls hit 11.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, the highest it’s ever been. That’s up from 10.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 — an increase of 90 basis points in a single quarter, according to a report by Moody’s Analytics.

“Retail is slogging through the evolutionary process that started well before the pandemic,” the report reads. “Malls are of more concern than neighborhood centers, but even then, it is unlikely that we will close down every single mall in the U.S.”

For malls, heightened vacancy rates are especially terrifying as the closure of certain stores, or a large number or stores, can trigger co-tenancy clauses, which allow other tenants to lower rents or exit leases.

As a whole, the retail sector is still trying to claw its way back from the early days of the pandemic. The vacancy rate is at 10.6 percent — although that’s only a 0.4 percent decrease from the same time last year.

Effective rents — those that include some kind of incentive from the landlord — and asking rents have both fallen, to $18.58 per square foot and $21.32 per square foot, respectively. That’s a 1.5 percent and 1 percent year over year decrease respectively.

Of the 77 metro areas that Moody’s tracks, 40 recorded a decline in effective rent in the first quarter. Still, the report notes, that’s a decrease from the 60 metro areas that saw rents decline in the previous quarter.

But there may be some hope on the horizon. A Placer.ai analysis of foot traffic at 50 malls across the country found that visits last month were just 24 percent below those in March 2019 — using that year, instead of 2020, as it shows what a normal period should look like. Though that may not seem great, that gap is the lowest since the pandemic began.

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Kenneth Lerer bought the waterfront property in 2014. (Lerer Hippeau, Douglas Elliman)

Kenneth Lerer bought the waterfront property in 2014. (Lerer Hippeau, Douglas Elliman)

Media mogul Kenneth Lerer sold his Venetian Islands mansion for $25 million in an off-market sale.

Lerer, a co-founder of The Huffington Post and a longtime former chairman of BuzzFeed, sold the 10,770-square-foot house at 33 East Dilido Drive, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lerer, now managing partner at his venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, paid $7 million for the property in 2014, and built his mansion on the waterfront Miami Beach lot. Investor Bob Zangrillo sold him the 0.3-acre lot seven years ago, records show.

The home has eight bedrooms, a rooftop terrace, white oak floors and double-height ceilings, the Wall Street Journal reported. It was completed in 2017.

Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman brokered the sale.

Luxury sales throughout the Venetian Islands and Miami Beach have soared recently.

Vitamin mogul Andrew Lessman sold two adjacent waterfront estates on Di Lido Island in November and March for a combined $37.3 million.

Restaurateur Myles Chefetz just sold his waterfront Venetian Islands home to billionaire Warren Lichtenstein, founder and executive chairman of Steel Partners Holdings L.P., for $15.5 million. It was also an off-market sale.

[WSJ] – Katherine Kallergis

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Better CEO Vishal Garg and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (Better.com, Getty)

Better CEO Vishal Garg and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (Better.com, Getty)

UPDATED, April 8, 2021, 3:20 p.m.: Mortgage lending startup Better.com’s valuation just swelled to $6 billion thanks to a recent investment.

Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, which is known for its big bets on tech companies, is pouring $500 million in the company to buy shares from existing investors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Better was valued at $4 billion after raising $200 million in November 2020. The company launched in 2014 as a way to streamline mortgage origination by pre-approving borrowers and lowering costs.

Similar to other startups that aim to streamline the homebuying process, Better has benefited from a booming housing market. Sources told the Journal that the company had $800 million in revenue last year. It also hired bankers for a potential IPO.

Through its Vision Fund, SoftBank has invested in many real estate startups that have since gone public. Residential brokerage Compass made its stock market debut this month. Flex-office provider WeWork has plans to go public through a merger with a blank-check company this year. And iBuyer Opendoor merged with Chamath Palihapitiya’s special-purpose acquisition company to go public last year.

Better is expected to go public by the end of the year, according to the Journal.

Last year, the company’s CEO, Vishal Garg, was accused of mismanaging investor funds and creating a hostile work environment at Better, according to Forbes. A lawsuit brought by Goldman Sachs accused Garg of “flagrant self-dealing” before it was ultimately dropped.

SoftBank agreed to give Garg all of the company’s voting rights as part of its investment.

[WSJ] — E.B. Solomont

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Update: This story was updated to specify that SoftBank is buying out Better’s existing shareholders. 

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Astor Companies founder Henry Torres and a rendering of the Douglas Enclave (The Astor Companies)

Astor Companies founder Henry Torres and a rendering of the Douglas Enclave (The Astor Companies)

The Astor Companies scored a $32.4 million construction loan for its planned mixed-income, multifamily project near Miami’s Flagler Street.

Coral Gables-based Astor, led by founder Henry Torres, is developing the 10-story, 199-unit Douglas Enclave at 61 Northwest 37th Avenue. Ocean Bank issued the loan, according to records.

Astor plans to start construction this spring on the property, which spans a 1.1-acre full city block between Flagler and Northwest First streets along Northwest 37th Avenue, according to the company’s website.

Astor, through an affiliate, bought the six-lot property in July 2017 for $5.1 million, a deed shows.

Founded in 2002, Astor has built more than 1,100 condominium units and nearly 500 multifamily units in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, according to its website. In Miami-Dade County, it focuses on Brickell, Coral Gables, Little Havana, The Roads and South Miami. Among its earlier projects are the Brickell Vista condo tower and the Valencia condo development in South Miami.

Most recently, Astor built the 227-unit Merrick Manor condo project in Coral Gables, which is steps from the Shops at Merrick Park, after securing a $59 million construction loan in 2017 from Florida Community Bank.

Last year, Torres was sued by former Astor employee Roza Radkiewicz, who claimed she was owed $1.1 million in commissions for her work as an in-house sales director and co-owner of Astor Real Estate Group, a brokerage division that sold units at various projects, including Merrick Manor.

The Douglas Enclave loan is the latest in a series of construction loans for South Florida multifamily projects. Terra just scored a $64.8 million loan for the 460-unit Natura Gardens near Miami Lakes; and Eden Multifamily and Cypress Equity Investments nabbed a $23.7 million loan and an $8.6 million preferred equity investment for the planned 212-unit Eden West development in Tamarac.

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About 17.3 percent of Manhattan office space is available for lease, the most in decades. (iStock)

About 17.3 percent of Manhattan office space is available for lease, the most in decades. (iStock)

With offices shrinking in a post-Covid world, the world will never be the same for some landlords.

The market value of office towers in Manhattan has plummeted by 25 percent over the past year, the New York Times reported. This contributed to an estimated $1 billion drop in property tax revenue.

Major companies including JPMorgan Chase, Ford and Target are letting go of expensive office space, and they have plenty of company.

At the landmark Willis Tower in Chicago, United Airlines is giving up over 150,000 square feet, or 17 percent of its office space there. At 350 Mission Street in San Francisco, Salesforce will sublet 225,000 square feet, or half of its space.

In a letter to his company, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon cited remote work’s impact on its decision to reduce space, saying it allows the company to “significantly reduce [its] need for real estate.” For every 100 employees, the bank would need about 60 seats, the Times reported.

But while companies whittle down their footprints, property owners — some of whom have stayed afloat thanks to rent coming in from long leases — may struggle to fill space once those deals expire.

About 17.3 percent of Manhattan office space is available for lease, the most in decades, the publication reported. Asking rents are at roughly $74 per square foot, down from $82 in early 2020, according to a report by commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark. Reports released in September, October, November, December, January and February showed a steady deterioration of the market.

Landlords’ profits could fall 15 percent as hybrid models allow employees to work from home for part of the week, credit rating agency Fitch Ratings predicts.

Still, some landlords point out that employees who do return to the office are going to need extra space to social-distance, the publication reported. Before Covid, the trend was for companies to shrink the square footage provided per employee.

[NYT] — Cordilia James

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Rick Caruso (Getty, iStock)

Rick Caruso (Getty, iStock)

Rick Caruso’s eponymous real estate firm is embracing cryptocurrency.

The Fairfax-based investment company will begin accepting rent payments in Bitcoin across its retail and commercial properties, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The firm also said it spent 1 percent of its cash reserves on Bitcoin and entered a partnership with Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange led by Tyler Winklevoss.

“We’ve allocated a percentage of what would normally go into the capital markets into Bitcoin,” Caruso said, in an interview with CNBC.

The move makes Caruso the largest real estate operator in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for rent payments, according to Coindesk. The company’s Southern California holdings include the Grove mall, Miramar Beach Resort and the 240-unit Americana at Brand luxury rental complex.

How many tenants will choose to pay in that currency remains to be seen. Its value fluctuates sharply — in the last three months a Bitcoin was worth between $30,000 and $60,000. As an example: A year ago, one Bitcoin traded below $5,000. Today, it’s worth more than 10 times that price.

Caruso isn’t the only investor to move into cryptocurrency. Morgan Stanley opened up access to Bitcoin for its wealth management clients earlier this year. And Goldman Sachs is expected to offer clients cryptocurrency investment vehicles in the near future.

Bitcoin is sometimes accepted in smaller real estate deals. In January, a New York City bar owner listed two properties that could be purchased in Bitcoin. And the owner of Miami Beach’s Treehouse nightclub listed the property in March, with cryptocurrency or cash accepted.

In February, Rick Caruso listed his Malibu mansion for sale. He listed the 7,200-square-foot home for $40 million in February, or roughly 693 bitcoin today; no word if he’ll accept the currency as payment.

[LAT] [CNBC] — Dennis Lynch

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Gil Dezer, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark and a rendering of Bentley Residences (Getty, iStock)

Gil Dezer, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark and a rendering of Bentley Residences (Getty, iStock, ArX Solutions)

Developer Gil Dezer, known for his luxury condo towers and exotic car collection, is partnering with Bentley for his next project.

Dezer Development will build a Bentley Motors-branded skyscraper on an oceanfront site in Sunny Isles Beach. Sales are expected to launch later this year, as early as October, Dezer told The Real Deal. It will mark the first Bentley residential tower in the world.

Renderings of Bentley Residences (Credit: ArX Solutions)

Renderings of Bentley Residences (Credit: ArX Solutions)

Bentley Residences is expected to have more than 200 luxury condos. The 749-foot cylindrical tower, with more than 60 stories, is planned for the 3.6-acre property at 18401 Collins Avenue. It will be designed by Sieger Suarez Architects, and will feature a gym, pool, spa, theater, bar, restaurant and lounge, cabanas and landscaped gardens, according to a press release. Each condo will include in-unit, multi-car garages that will access the car elevator.

The tower will replace the Days Hotel by Wyndham Thunderbird Beach Resort.

Dezer Development completed Porsche Design Tower, at 18555 Collins Avenue, in late 2016. The building features the patented Dezervator, a car elevator that runs through the center of the tower. More recently, Dezer partnered with the Related Group to build Residences by Armani/Casa, at 18975 Collins Avenue.

Dezer said that unlike his deal with Porsche Design, his company has an agreement directly with Bentley, the automobile manufacturer, which will give the developer access to Bentley’s dealers and special events.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to get in with the customer base who understands what the Bentley brand is about,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 and be completed in 2026. Dezer secured height approval in 2019 for what will be the tallest tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

Property records show Dezer Hotel Management Ltd. paid $6.8 million for the Days Hotel by Wyndham Thunderbird Beach Resort in 1996. The five-story, 180-room building was built in 1955.

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Clockwise from top left: 375 South County Road, 225 Worth Avenue, 220 Peruvian Avenue and 219 Worth Avenue (Google Maps) 

Clockwise from top left: 375 South County Road, 225 Worth Avenue, 220 Peruvian Avenue and 219 Worth Avenue (Google Maps)

Longtime Palm Beach commercial landlord Burton Handelsman sold several of his retail and office properties on and off ritzy Worth Avenue for $58 million.

Records show Aspen, Colorado-based real estate investor Mark Hunt bought the buildings at 219 and 225 Worth Avenue, 220 Peruvian Avenue and 375 South County Road from affiliates of Handelsman. The real estate spans 1.3 acres.

Hunt, who two years ago embarked on a redevelopment plan of downtown Aspen, bought the properties in three deals, using different affiliates. Hunt focused on Aspen in 2009 after moving from Chicago, and bought $100 million worth of properties in the Colorado resort city since the mid-2010s, according to the Aspen Sojourner.

In Palm Beach, Hunt purchased the 1,050-square-foot retail building at 220 Peruvian, built in 1956; and the 12,904-square-foot 219 Worth Avenue building, built in1929, for $23.8 million, according to a deed. Records show Handelsman’s Love LLC had purchased these and two other parcels in 1998 for $15.6 million. Sequin jewelry occupies the Worth Avenue property.

Hunt also bought the 9,932-square-foot property at 225 Worth Avenue, built in 1950, for $18 million. Handelsman’s Love Next Door LLC had paid $28.1 million for the building in 2013, records show. J.McLaughlin clothing store occupies the property.

In the third deal, Hunt bought the 16,692-square-foot office property at 375 South County Road, built in 1984, for $16.2 million. Handelsman acquired the property in 1987 from Sunrise Savings and Loan Association’s receiver Federal Savings and Loan Association, for $100. It previously traded in 1983 for $2.4 million, a deed shows.

Handlesman, 93, went through a well-publicized, bitter divorce battle that ended in 2019 with a judge deciding Handelsman was to split his $550 million real estate portfolio with his wife of 68 years, Lucille Handelsman, and their children. The holdings included high-end retail along Worth Avenue, including Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Choo, Lily Pulitzer and Findlay Galleries.

This is at least the third commercial real estate deal in Palm Beach since March. Mayor Gail Coniglio sold a mixed-use building at 283 Royal Poinciana Way for $7.15 million; and Paramount Church sold the historic Paramount Theatre building, which opened in 1927 as a silent movie theater, for $14 million.

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Gores Group’s Alec Gores and Dean Metropoulos with Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Getty, Linkedin)

Gores Group’s Alec Gores and Dean Metropoulos with Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Getty, Linkedin)

Add hospitality startup Sonder to the list of companies getting in the SPAC game.

The San Francisco-based firm, which leases apartments and turns them into furnished, short-term rentals, is in talks to go public by merging with one of Alec Gore and Dean Metropoulos’ blank-check firms, Bloomberg News reported.

Sonder recently closed a Series E funding round that valued it at $1.3 billion. If the SPAC merger with Gores Metropoulos II Inc. goes through, the company’s valuation could exceed $2.5 billion, according to the report.

Sonder was founded in 2012 by CEO Francis Davidson and Lucas Pellan, and has since raised $560 million from investors such as Greenoaks Capital, Spark Capital, Lennar, Greylock and the Pritzker family’s Tao Capital.

The startup endured setbacks last year as Covid ravaged the hospitality industry, with its bookings dropping dramatically at the onset of the pandemic. It laid off or furloughed about one-third of its staff last spring.

But it managed to weather the worst of the crisis, in part by shifting its model from short-term stays to longer-term ones. It also secured rent reductions at many of its locations. It planned to open a location in Manhattan’s Flatiron District this month after the pandemic paused construction on the project last year.

Gores Metropoulos II is the second blank-check firm launched by the Gores Group, led by Alec Gores, and billionaire investor Dean Metropoulos. Gores’ firm has been particularly active in SPACs, launching 12 of them. One of those, Gores Holdings IV, merged with United Wholesale Mortgage last year, taking the lender public at a valuation of $16 billion — the largest SPAC deal to date.

[Bloomberg News] — Amy Plitt

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Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross and Kara Ross (Getty)

Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross and Kara Ross (Getty)

Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross and his wife Kara are going their separate ways.

The billionaire developer and his spouse, a jewelry designer to celebrities including Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, will split up after 18 years of marriage, according to Page Six.

Ross has a net worth of about $7 billion, according to Forbes. The couple had a prenuptial agreement when they married in 2003, Page Six reported.

A legal source told the publication that a settlement for his wife could start at $100 million, making it one of the most expensive divorces in New York. An insider added that his ownership of Related Companies and other business holdings would not be affected.

“We have deep love and respect for each other. We will continue to be a part of each other’s lives and support what is best for the health and happiness of our family,” the couple told the gossip sheet.

The couple is in the early stages of the divorce, and both have retained prominent New York attorneys. The Hudson Yards developer, who also owns the Miami Dolphins, is represented by William D. Zabel of Schulte Roth & Zabel and his wife by Judith Poller of Pryor Cashman, the publication reported.

Zabel’s previous clients include billionaire investor George Soros, and Poller’s include screen star Scarlett Johansson.

The couple put their Central Park penthouse on the market in July 2019, but chopped the price to $62.5 million last year.

[Page Six] — Cordilia James

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Marcos Achar (PPG, Compass)

Marcos Achar (PPG, Compass)

A company tied to Mexican businessman Marcos Achar paid $17.5 million for an oceanfront home in Golden Beach.

Property records show 547 Ocean LLC sold the home at 547 Ocean Boulevard to T&D Holdings LLC, a Nevada corporation. State records show Achar is a manager of the LLC.

According to Forbes, the Achar Levy family sold their paint and waterproofing products company, Comex, to PPG Industries in 2014 for $2.3 billion.

The seller of the Golden Beach home is managed by attorney Michael H. Novak.

Alexander Goldstein

Alexander Goldstein

Alexander Goldstein of Miles Goldstein Real Estate represented the seller, while Michael Williamson of Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort represented the buyer. Goldstein declined to comment on the identities of the seller and buyer. Williamson could not be reached.

The 6,064-square-foot house, built in 2000, hit the market for $17.5 million in November. It sold for nearly $2,900 per square foot, a record for Golden Beach, Goldstein said. It’s unclear if the buyer will tear down the home.

The seven-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom house includes a sauna, massage room, gym, movie theater and basement.

Recent sales in Golden Beach include the nearly $11 million trade of an oceanfront lot, and violist David Aaron Carpenter’s $5 million purchase of a waterfront home.

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901 Southwest Third Avenue and 180 and 244 Southwest Ninth Street (Google Maps)

901 Southwest Third Avenue and 180 and 244 Southwest Ninth Street (Google Maps)

A developable assemblage in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood hit the market, with zoning that allows for two 48-story towers. The listing broker said he expects it to sell for more than $25 million.

Owner Progesti Corp. listed the 1.3 acres at 180 Southwest Ninth Street, 244 Southwest Ninth Street, and 901 Southwest Third Avenue. Progesti, whose president is Jose Nunez, bought the properties, which currently house two small multifamily buildings, in 1999 for $2.85 million, a deed shows.

Colliers’ Virgilio Fernandez and Gerard Yetming are lead brokers on the listing.

Up to 531,258 square feet can be built on the two parcels, with a mix of hotel, condominiums, office and retail. The parcels are walking distance from each other, but aren’t contiguous.

The property at 901 Southwest Third Avenue and 244 Southwest Ninth Street has a three-story, 68-unit multifamily building that was constructed in 1962, according to property records. The other, at 180 Southwest Ninth Street, has a three-story, 24-unit multifamily building constructed in 1964.

Fernandez said he has seen interest so far for the assemblage, particularly from New York investors. He said he expects the sale price to far exceed $25 million.

The listing comes on the heels of another swath of land hitting the market. A Biscayne development site spanning 3.2 acres at 11240 Biscayne Boulevard near North Miami has an asking price of $10.5 million.

Other multifamily properties have hit the market recently, although not necessarily as redevelopment opportunities. Citywalk Apartments at 415 Southwest Ninth Street in an Opportunity Zone in Miami’s Overtown is asking $11.5 million; and a portfolio of 11 small multifamily buildings in central Palm Beach County was listed for $12 million.

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Rey Grabato and 707 North Ocean Boulevard, Delray Beach (Linkedin, 707 Delray)

Rey Grabato and 707 North Ocean Boulevard, Delray Beach (Linkedin, 707 Delray, iStock)

Rey Grabato, president and CEO of National Realty Investment Advisors, sold an oceanfront spec home in Delray Beach for $16 million.

Records show N. Ocean Capital 707B, a Delaware corporation, sold the house at 707 North Ocean Boulevard to Jak Ftl LLC. The selling entity is managed by NRIA N. Ocean 707 Manager LLC, which is run by Grabato.

Secaucus, New Jersey based NRIA is a real estate investment, management and development firm founded in 2006, according to its website. Its target markets are Philadelphia and Brooklyn, as well as New Jersey and Florida.

Jak Ftl LLC is managed by Jdk Partners Management, a Florida corporation managed, in turn, by attorney James Klotz.

NRIA purchased the property in 2017 for $6.5 million. Property records show NRIA demolished a single-family home on the site in 2018 and began constructing the existing house in 2019. The house, built by NRIA and U.S. Construction, was finished in 2020.

In February, NRIA and U.S. Construction sold a Delray Beach home to actor Kevin James for $14 million.

The recently sold house was listed before completion in 2018 for $10.8 million. The most recent asking price was $16 million in February 2020. Deborah Haines with IMI Resort Properties had the listing.

The 7,490-square-foot house has five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. The home also features four terraces, a three-car garage, a pool and 126 feet of oceanfront, according to the listing.

Among other sales this year in Delray Beach, an investment banker bought a spec home for $5.1 million, and the estate of the late president and CEO of Walmart sold an oceanfront home for $8.4 million.

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Terreno Realty CEO W. Blake Baird and Countyline Corporate Park

Terreno Realty CEO W. Blake Baird and Countyline Corporate Park (Linkedin)

Terreno Realty Corp. paid $50 million for two recently completed industrial buildings at Countyline Corporate Park in Hialeah.

San Francisco-based Terreno Realty, a publicly traded industrial real estate investor, bought the properties at 4021 and 4071 West 108 Street from affiliates of Florida East Coast Industries, records show.

The buildings total 274,000 square feet on 15.9 acres and include 287 parking spaces. They have 92 dock-high and four grade-level loading positions, according to a press release.

The properties are fully pre-leased to five tenants. Some of the lease terms have already started, and others starting by July 1, according to the release.

Terreno Realty is led by CEO and Chair W. Blake Baird, who co-founded the company with President Michael Coke. The firm buys, owns and manages industrial properties in the coastal markets of Miami, Los Angeles, New York, northern New Jersey, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, according to the release. Its portfolio includes 224 buildings and 13.3 million square feet, according to its website.

In July, Terreno sold a Miami Lakes warehouse, fully leased to Miami International Freight Solutions, to Brookfield Property Partners for $22.2 million.

The master-planned Countyline Corporate Park is one of the biggest in Miami-Dade County. It totals 2.4 million square feet of Class A industrial space on 95 acres, according to a brochure by FECI subsidiary and supply-chain company Flagler Global Logistics.

FECI has been selling off completed warehouses at the industrial park. In January, Oakbrook, Illinois-based CenterPoint Properties Trust, a real estate developer and manager, bought two warehouses at the corporate park for $184.4 million. In January 2019, Indianapolis-based Duke Realty bought a warehouse at Countyline for $34.4 million.

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HFZ founder Ziel Feldman and Nir Meir (iStock, HFZ/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

HFZ founder Ziel Feldman and Nir Meir (iStock, HFZ/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

UPDATED, April 15, 2021, 8:24 p.m.: HFZ Capital Group’s Ziel Feldman says his former partner Nir Meir used their development firm’s bank account as a “personal piggy-bank” to bankroll his lavish lifestyle.

HFZ accused Meir of stealing $15 million via fraudulent credit card reimbursements and wire transfers, in a lawsuit filed April 6 in Suffolk County. The suit claimed Meir lived “well above his means” on HFZ’s dime and seeks $43 million in damages. Meir’s attorney described the allegations as a “desperate, last-ditch attempt” to pressure Meir and said the claims were without merit.

Meir allegedly used his position as managing partner at the now embattled firm — and his control of its finances — to divert money to his own pockets.

The suit said he transferred $5 million to himself from HFZ’s bank account between 2017 and 2020. During that time, he also allegedly asked for credit card reimbursements totalling more than $11 million. Rather than legitimate business expenses, the suit said Meir spent hundreds of thousands of dollars — if not millions — on “investment-grade” wine. He also allegedly forged documents in order to take ownership of a $45 million estate in Southampton that HFZ claims it owns.

“Meir’s looting of HFZ assets accelerated in recent years,” the suit said. He was able to conceal his actions “by virtue of his position at the company, which he used aggressively to ensure the compliance of HFZ’s employees by fostering a culture of fear and reprisals by Meir if staff members did not follow through on his directions.”

“They’re seeking to blame him as a scapegoat and we won’t tolerate it,” said Meir’s attorney, Larry Hutcher. He said Meir has paid more than $10 million in recent months to satisfy HFZ creditors. ‘We are the ones out there, acting in good faith and trying to deal with these issues.” He said Meir believes HFZ owes him “in excess of $25 million” based on participation in development deals.

Meir was a managing principal at HFZ until December. That month, Feldman took over day-to-day management of the development firm. In a statement at the time, a spokesperson for Meir said he remained a “vested partner” in the firm, which he co-founded with Feldman in 2005.

HFZ did not give a reason for his departure at the time, but in the lawsuit said he was terminated when the extent of his “malfeasance for his personal benefit” came to light.

In conjunction with the lawsuit, HFZ asked the court for an “order of attachment” that would effectively put a lien on the Southampton property and prevent Meir from  concealing money from the sale. The closing was set to take place this week, court filings said.

But in an affidavit filed Wednesday, lawyers for Meir opposed the request. “It is based on nothing more than rank speculation that Defendants intend to secret the proceeds from the sale,” they said. On Wednesday, Hutcher confirmed the property was sold but declined to share the purchase price or identity of the buyer. (After publication, a judge sided sided with Meir and did not sign an order of attachment on the property.)

According to the complaint, Meir had been living “rent-free” in a $13 million apartment on the Upper West Side that was owned by HFZ. The suit said he was also living rent-free in the Southampton home, which was being shopped off market.

HFZ lender Monroe Capital tried to seize the Hamptons home, at 40 Meadow Lane, last year.

An entity tied to Monroe sued in December, alleging it held title to the property but Meir was blocking it from taking possession. Meir filed a countersuit in January, claiming he owned 95 percent of the property, and accusing Monroe and HFZ of scheming to fraudulently transfer the property to reduce Feldman’s debt. Monroe’s suit was discontinued in March.

In the latest suit, HFZ said it isn’t looking to stop the sale of the property but argued the “equity and surplus funds rightfully belong to HFZ.”

HFZ is facing a reckoning across its portfolio after making big bets before the market turned. The developer has been slammed by foreclosures and lawsuits from lenders, including CIM Group, which seized control of four condo projects last month.

Feldman and his wife, Helene, are personally on the hook for many loans tied to HFZ’s projects. HFZ’s biggest project is the XI, the Bjarke Ingels–designed XI condo and hotel spanning a full city block along the High Line.

Neither Ziel or Helene Feldman immediately responded to requests for comment.

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Update: This story was updated to include more details on the Southhampton property, and the judge’s ruling on HFZ’s request for an “order of attachment” tied to the property’s sale.

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