Real Estate News

From left: Westin Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco and JW Marriott Essex House in New York (Credit: Ciao Bambino and Wikipedia)

Bank of America will help Anbang Insurance Group sell its $5.5 billion portfolio of luxury hotels in the U.S.

The Chinese company chose Bank of America to assist with the sale after looking for requests for proposals from multiple advisers, according to Bloomberg. The portfolio of hotels the financial giant will help sell includes San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis, Chicago’s Fairmont and New York’s Essex House Hotel.

Anbang had agreed to purchase the portfolio, known as Strategic Hotels & Resorts, in 2016 from Blackstone Group for about $6.5 billion but ultimately paid $5.5 billion.

Anbang’s former chairman Wu Xiaohui was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May on convictions of fraud and embezzlement. The hotel sale would be Anbang’s most significant foreign deal since the Chinese government took over its operations. [Bloomberg]  – Eddie Small

(Credit: iStock)

Homeowners who had long stopped paying their mortgages are meeting a new type of debt collector: complete strangers who buy their mortgages, sometimes for as little as $1, and collect the remaining debt.

There is about $135 billion in unpaid mortgages on 800,000 nonperforming loans for single-family homes across the country, the majority of which originated in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This vast amount of unclaimed principal has prompted individuals, some of whom are self-taught by YouTube tutorials, to buy up mortgages and flip them into reperforming loans, or collect the remaining debt.

“Everybody and their brother is getting into the business,” Greg Paulus, a consultant for Chicago-based lender Urban Partnership Bank, told the Journal.

It’s risky — and hard — business. They’ll have to track down the borrowers, get them to pay and, in some cases, threaten foreclosure. If the borrower plays ball, they collect the debt or resell the mortgage. One Oregon-based mortgage buyer made $70,000 on a loan he purchased for a dollar. Another time, he lost $46,000 on a mortgage.

“You can do incredible returns in this business,” he told the Journal, “and you can lose your shirt, pants and everything else if you do it wrong.”

Wall Street is also getting in on the trend, with Goldman Sachs and Cerberus Capital both reportedly taking over delinquent loans. Citing market research by Fitch Ratings Inc., the outlet reported that investors resold over $15 billion of reperforming loans in residential mortgage-backed securities last year, three times that of 2016. [WSJ] — David Jeans 

Amazon announced it will split its $5 billion second headquarters between Queens and Northern Virginia, with a smaller footprint in Nashville. But the incentives given to the company have inspired a backlash. Here’s a breakdown of the tax breaks and subsidies the e-commerce giant will be getting from state and local governments.

Robert Cartwright (Credit: Twitter and iStock)

CBRE has hired a WeWork executive to bolster the ranks of its new co-working company.

Robert Cartwright will join Hana as chief operating officer to oversee the company’s build efforts, personnel management and hospitality service. He left his position as senior vice president of global operations at WeWork in August, according to his LinkedIn, where he had worked since 2015. He was also an executive at Starwood Hotels until 2008 before co-founding his own hotel development company.

CBRE last month became the latest traditional real estate company to make a foray into co-working when it announced Hana would launch at the start of next year. This month, Tishman Speyer, one of the world’s largest private landlords, will launch Studio, a flexible office space at 600 Fifth Avenue.

In addition to its primary service of managing office space for large corporates, known as Hana Team, CBRE’s new company will also cater to the traditional co-working models: Hana Meet will offer small spaces on an hourly basis, and Hana Share will provide shared amenities and technology in a communal space for smaller-sized clients.

Other executives, too, have transferred from traditional real estate companies to co-working firms. In September, WeWork hired former Newmark Knight Frank executive Craig Robinson to help lead its Powered by We division.

Leon Black of Apollo Global Management and Brookdale Lake Worth

Healthcare real estate investment trust HCP just sold one of its senior housing complexes near Lake Worth for $20 million, property records show.

Apollo Global Management bought the Brookdale Lake Worth independent living facility at 3927 Hadjes Drive as part of a larger $428 million deal. The New York firm is under contract to buy 22 properties from HCP, totaling 2,781 units. Another one of the properties is in Florida’s Pinellas County.

Records show Apollo financed the Florida deals with an $89.77 million loan from KeyBank.

Brookdale Senior Living manages Brookdale Lake Worth, which features 170 rentals. The deal breaks down to nearly $118,000 per unit. Brookdale Lake Worth was built in 1986 on a 7.3-acre lot. Residents have access to certain health services as well as a clubhouse and a pool.

Apollo is a private equity firm with $15.4 billion of real assets under management, according to its third quarter report. The company recently announced plans to raise at least $1 billion starting in January for a new real estate investment fund.

Irvine, California-based health care REIT HCP has been selling off its properties in Florida. In April, it sold a 317-unit senior housing community in Palm Beach Gardens for $74.5 million to Brookdale.

South Florida Logistics Center

Florida East Coast Industries just sold a warehouse near Miami International Airport for $31.1 million to a subsidiary of JPMorgan Asset Management.

Coral Gables-based FECI, the parent company of the high-speed passenger rail Brightline, sold the 9.2-acre property at 3200 Northwest 67th Avenue for $3.4 million per acre, property records show. The warehouse is part of the South Florida Logistics Center, a master-planned business park with 2 million square feet of Class-A warehouse and distribution facilities.

The South Florida Logistics Center has a direct connection to Miami International Airport, according to a brochure about the development.

FECI is backed by the investment management firm Fortress Investment Group, which has more than $6 billion of equity invested in real estate, transportation and infrastructure assets and more than $46 billion assets under management, according to FECI’s website.

FECI has a substantial real estate portfolio in South Florida, including MiamiCentral near downtown, a 3-million-square-foot, mixed-use project that will include apartments, retail, offices.

Biscayne Office Village at 15801 Biscayne Boulevard

UPDATED Nov. 21, 4 p.m.: A brewing legal war among a group of real estate development partners could have negative consequences for a slate of new commercial projects in Aventura and North Miami Beach, including the redevelopment of Dean’s Gold strip club.

RH 18 Development and Carf 18 last month sued Alberto, Jacobo and Shlomo Kamhazi, as well as their company Biscayne 18 Development LLC, which owns a complex of three commercial buildings at 15801 Biscayne Boulevard.

According to the lawsuit, Alberto Kamhazi, a principal of CK Privé Group, is refusing to hand over “company books and records” that would verify RH 18’s and Carf 18’s minority ownership stake in Biscayne Office Village, as the complex is known. The two entities also claim Kamhazi failed to notify his partners that he took out a $2.1 million loan against the property.

Matthew Jones, a lawyer representing RH 18 and Carf 18, declined comment.

The Kamhazis vehemently denied wrongdoing through their attorney, Roland Potts.
“The allegations that they referenced are patently false,” Potts said. “We have provided them with several hundred pages of documents and no loans have been taken against the property improperly.”
He said the complaint is replete with erroneous statements. “This is an attack on my clients,” Potts said. “These actions are hurting the Kamhazis reputation and we will forcefully defend against these claims.”
Potts also noted that Biscayne 18 Development is a separate entity not affiliated with CK Privé Group.
Florida corporate records show that Carf 18 is managed by Rafael Franco Montes and Rodrigo Franco Martinez, and the lawsuit states Alberto Kamhazi managed RH 18 for the two investors. Franco Montes and Franco Martinez have known Kamhazi for several years, building a relationship of trust and confidence, according to the complaint.

“Over the years, Alberto Kamhazi represented himself as a savvy and professional businessman and broker in real estate investments in Florida who could therefore secure profits and excellent returns on real estate investments,” the lawsuit states.

Since they reside in Peru, Franco Montes and Franco Martinez claim they relied on Kamhazi to manage and control the real estate investments they have together. For instance, Carf 18 provided Kamhazi with $3 million for a 20 percent ownership stake in Biscayne Office Village. But when Carf 18 requested to see Biscayne 18 Development’s books to verify its ownership stake, Kamhazi refused, the lawsuit alleges.

Furthermore, Kamhazi obtained a $2.1 million cash out loan from City National Bank in early October that could encumber Carf 18’s real estate investment because the funds can be used for other projects under development by CK Privé Group,  the complaint states.

CK Privé Group is involved in several significant projects on Biscayne Boulevard. The company is partnering with Privé Land Banking LLC and CK Holding Group to redevelop the site of Dean’s Gold into a massive mixed-use project that includes 245 luxury rental apartments, 170,000 square feet of retail, 40,000 square feet of office space and 1,200 parking spaces. The partnership bought the strip club property and two adjoining parcels for a combined $48.8 million in 2015.

Privé Land Banking and CK Holding Group are also building Forum Aventura, a proposed 12-story building at 19790 West Dixie Highway. Designed by Arquitectonica, Forum Aventura will total about 95,000 square feet, including a 5,000-square-foot lobby with 30-foot high ceilings and two retail condos on the ground floor.

A previous version of this story did not include the Kamhazis’ attorney’s comments.

3110 Plaza and Jeff Levitetz

Wholesale grocery executive Jeff Levitetz just dropped $7 million on strip mall in Lighthouse Point, property records show.

The property at 3100-3150 North Federal Highway features 30,740 square feet of retail space, meaning the deal breaks down to about $228 per square foot. The property sits on 2.5 acres of land with frontage along North Federal Highway.

The seller, Lighthouse 3110 LLC, is led by property investor Alberto Dayan. Records show the entity paid $5.7 million for the site in 2014. The strip mall, called 3110 Plaza, was built in 1987.

Tenants include Hott Leggz Seafood and Burger Bar, Hair Design Plus, El Tamarindo Cafe and an animal hospital. Burger franchise BurgerFi announced it would move into the plaza in 2014.

Levitetz is the founder and chairman of Purity Wholesale Grocers, which acts as a nationwide wholesale distributor of grocery store products and other merchandise. The company is based out of Boca Raton’s 700-acre Park of Broken Sound.

In 2016, the Shopper’s Haven retail center, just a couple of blocks north of 3110 Plaza, at 3301 North Federal Highway, sold for $50 million to real estate investors Chris and Carmen Partridge.

Atrium at Broken Sound, 300 Sevilla Avenue and South Miami Medical Arts Building

Atrium at Broken Sound – Alchemy-ABR Investment Partners | $22.4M

South Florida’s largest office deal in October was the $22.4 million purchase by a partnership between Alchemy-ABR Investment Partners and Breakers Capital Partners of an office building within Boca Raton’s 700-acre Park of Broken Sound.

ICM Realty Group sold the 92,260-square-foot office building for about $243 per square foot. The property previously traded for $17.05 million in 2016.

Atrium at Broken Sound, built in 1986, was the former headquarters of Rexall Sundown.

300 Sevilla Avenue – Robert Brockway | $10.9M

The second largest office sale of the month was Bob Brockway’s $10.9 million purchase of a building directly across the street from his Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables dealership.

A company led by architect F. Michael Steffens and Marjorie Goldman sold the 36,600-square-foot, three-story office building at 300 Sevilla Avenue. The deal breaks down to about $300 per square foot.

South Miami Medical Arts Building – Estate Investments Group | $5.8M

Estate Investments Group purchased the South Miami Medical Arts building in South Miami for $5.8 million.

The 21,455-square-foot property at 6201 Southwest 70th Street traded hands for about $270 per square foot. The seller, 6201 of Miami LLC, is tied to the construction engineering company Munilla Construction Management.

The four-story building was completed in 1972, records show.

5297 West Copans Road – Centers Health Care | $5.5M

Centers Health Care bought a nearly 33,000-square-foot, single-story office building with lake views in Margate for $5.5 million.

The seller, Northwest Broward Development LLC, is led by attorney Leigh Katzman. The property at 5297 Copans Road previously sold for $3.2 million in 2010.

Sunrise Medical Park – Marc Gordon | $5M

Sunrise Medical Park, a medical office complex consisting of five, one-story buildings, sold for $5 million to Flamingo Medical Office LLC, led by Marc Gordon.

The seller is a company tied to Levy Realty Advisors. The property at 8391-8399 West Oakland Park Boulevard last sold for $3.2 million in 2011. Tenants include Holy Cross and Tenet Hospital Groups.

From left: Jason Finger,Alex Urdea, and William Libby  (Credit: Twitter, CFA Society via YouTube)

Amid a boom in real estate-focused venture funds, one investment outfit is going against the grain.

Upper90, founded earlier this year by Seamless co-founder Jason Finger, Goldman Sachs veteran William Libby and Alex Urdea, formerly of Solus Alternative Asset Management, offers an alternative to venture capital. Rather than provide cash in exchange for big stakes in startups, it seeks to fund startups’ more capital-intensive real estate projects, for example by extending loans.

The model is meant to appeal to real estate startups of the cash-guzzling sort, which may need a lot of money to lease buildings or build out spaces but are reluctant to give VCs big stakes in their companies.

“You have these fast-growing companies that have traditionally leaned to grow with equity, which is super expensive and dilutive and actually most VCs can’t even provide the amount of capital they need,” said Libby, the former head of U.S. quantitative execution at Goldman Sachs.

Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Domio. Founded by Jay Roberts and Adrian Lam, Domio master-leases apartment buildings and turns them into short-term rentals. Under the terms of the partnership, Upper90 will pay for 90 percent of the cost of leasing, developing and launching new locations and invest up to $50 million, in exchange for a share of the profits, Bloomberg reported.  The first joint project is set to open in New Orleans.

Upper90 claims to accept a wider range of collateral than banks for its loans. For example, it invested in Clearbanc, a lender that offers cash advances to Airbnb hosts. “If you want to borrow money and you’re an Airbnb host and you go to a traditional lender and they say ‘show me your assets,’ imagine what would happen if you pulled out 50 leases,” Finger said. “There is a gap now in the financing landscape and that’s a part of our thesis.” Aside from real estate, Upper90 also plans to invest in startups with unusual collateral in other capital-intensive industries.

Upper90 traces its roots to an informal investment club of entrepreneurs and executives who shared deals with each other before Libby, Finger and Urdea decided to launch a formal fund.

The fund claims to have raised $65 million to-date, entirely from individual investors who also get the chance to co-invest up to another $150 million in specific deals they like. The fund’s so-called limited partners are entrepreneurs and real estate executives, including PBC USA’s CEO Eli Elefant, WeWork executive Ariel Tiger, GLG co-founder Mark Gerson, former Instinet co-CEO Alex Goor and Atrium co-founder Bebe Chueh.

The idea, according to Libby, is that these entrepreneurs are more likely to find good investment opportunities and can advise the companies the fund invests in. “You can’t offer an alternative unless you understand the business,” he said.

Upper90’s launch comes amid record levels of real estate venture investment. In 2017, real estate startups raised a combined $5.7 billion, according to research firm Pitchbook, up from just $44.7 million in 2012. Some observers, including MetaProp NYC co-founder Zach Aarons, have long argued that startups with capital-intensive business models need a cheaper alternative to VC firms, as The Real Deal reported in its August magazine cover story.

Brendan Aguayo and Galarie at 22-18 Jackson Avenue (Credit: Halstead)

Buyer interest in Long Island City has spiked since the announcement that Amazon will build a new campus in the neighborhood. But some employees snagged condos there before the news was public.

Two of the company’s employees bought units at Adam America’s Galerie just before the first reports surfaced, the Wall Street Journal reported. Brendan Aguayo of Halstead Property Development Marketing — which is selling units there — said the buyers currently live in New Jersey and Queens.

Employees are prohibited from insider trading, or buying and selling stocks based on nonpublic information. But lawyers told the Journal they weren’t aware of such restrictions on real estate transactions.

Amazon announced on Nov. 13 that it would split its HQ2 between LIC and Arlington, Virginia. Employees will start arriving in New York early next year. TF Cornerstone, which is developing a portion of the new headquarters, signed a contract to buy a $300 million development site nearby just days before the official announcement.

The report of condo deals comes as brokers in LIC have reported seeing a flood of interest from buyers. Amazon’s move is expected to push up property prices in the neighborhood — with some units already being priced higher. The rental market, meanwhile, is anticipated to see a more gradual shift.

Though it’s unclear how many units have gone into contract in LIC recently, brokers have described “an unprecedented surge,” the Journal said. At the Galerie, for example, Aguayo said 25 deals were done in the last two weeks.

The surge comes as residential deals in New York, particularly on the high end, have slowed and prices have fallen. Sales in Queens dipped 5 percent in the third quarter as inventory expanded — while the Manhattan market saw a more pronounced decline of 11 percent[WSJ] — Meenal Vamburkar

Leon Black of Apollo Global Management (Credit: Getty Images)

Apollo Global Management plans to start raising a new real estate investment fund.

The private equity company has held talks with potential investors for what would be its third property fund, Bloomberg reported. It plans to raise at least $1 billion starting in January for the fund, which will invest in retail properties, industrial properties, senior housing, manufactured housing and hotels.

Apollo’s real assets unit had $15.4 billion under management at the end of the third quarter, according to Bloomberg.

The company’s real estate debt arm recently agreed to fund Brookfield Property Partners’ redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue with a $300 million-plus mezzanine loan. [Bloomberg] — Konrad Putzier

Carlos Villanueva, Little Havana

A five-building rental portfolio in Little Havana just sold for $5.6 million to New York-based Gateway Realty.

Gateway Realty bought the 57 rental apartments at 2127, 2128, 2136 and 2248 Southwest Fifth Street and 2135 Southwest Sixth Street for $98,245 per unit, according to a release.

The Keyes Company’s Carlos Villanueva represented the seller, the JoAnn Cappelletti Trust, in the sale. Mendel Fellig of Compass represented Gateway Realty.

Cappelletti and her late husband, former Miami Beach police officer Mario Cappelletti, had assembled the rental properties during the 1960s and ’70s. Most of the interest in the properties came from buyers from New York, according to a release.

Gateway Realty obtained seller financing as part of the transaction. Terms were not disclosed.

Little Havana is in the midst of a building boom. New permit filings in the first half of 2018 jumped to 155, from 48 filings in the first half of 2017, according to an analysis of new permit applications filed with the Miami Department of Buildings.

One company, Coral-Gables Metronomic has 12 construction projects planned for Little Havana, including a series of two-story residential developments called La Elaina.

GLVAR President Chris Bishop (Credit: iStock and Pixabay)

Listings that happen in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors has changed its mind about sending listings to Zillow and ListHub.

After previously saying that listings would no longer be automatically sent to the portals, starting next year, the trade group has reversed the decision. In a document dated Nov. 15, the GLVAR Board of directors said it will “continue syndicating its MLS data to third parties,” Inman reported.

The decision came after the group heard “concerns this month from many of its members.” GLVAR has allowed brokerages to shut off automatic syndication — but the change would have meant firms would choose where to send listings.

“We believed this was the right decision, but we have since heard from some of our members who expressed concern that this change could have created a hardship for them and may have the potential to detract from the way they currently do business,” GLVAR president Chris Bishop told Inman.

The group had previously said it “knows that protection of MLS data is a priority for its members.” For its part, Zillow had deemed the move a disservice to agents and consumers — while ListHub said it would be a complication for brokers. [Inman] — Meenal Vamburkar

From left: 20 West 53rd Street in New York, Porsche Design Tower, 144 Isla Dorada Blvd in Miami, and Raúl Gorrín (Credit: Redfin, Porsche, and Wikipedia)

Federal authorities charged a Venezuelan TV magnate for his role in a billion-dollar money laundering and currency exchange scheme involving real estate around the world, including two dozen properties in Miami and New York.

The indictment follows a separate billion-dollar money laundering scheme in July that included real estate in South Florida. In that case, federal prosecutors say top Venezuelan officials siphoned funds out of the state oil company, and into assets throughout the world.

In both cases, some of the money is alleged to have been poured into two units at Dezer Development’s luxury Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

In the most recent case, authorities are now seeking to seize 24 properties allegedly tied to billionaire Raúl Gorrín. Those residences also include luxury homes in Miami’s Cocoplum neighborhood and six in Manhattan.

One of the New York homes is a four-bedroom, five-and-half bathroom penthouse at 60 Riverside Boulevard; another is a unit in the Baccarat Hotel and Residences at 20 West 53rd Street, which last sold for $18.8 million.

The government alleges Gorrín, president of the news channel Globovision, bribed top Venezuelan officials to gain access to the country’s special fixed-currency exchange rate. Gorrin allegedly tapped into this special rate by bribing the officials with at least $161 million in contracts with Venezuela’s treasury department.

He also allegedly paid his co-conspirators with three jets, a yacht, multiple champion horses, and numerous high-end watches, according to the indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach. He was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and money laundering.

The indictment was filed in August 2017, but only unsealed Monday. As part of it, prosecutors unsealed cases against Alejandro Andrade, a former Venezuelan national treasurer who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to his role in the scheme; along with Gabriel Arturo Jimenez, a Venezuelan living in Chicago, and former owner of Banco Peravia bank. He pleaded guilty in March.

The condo in the Porsche Design Tower, unit 4406, was purchased in 2016 under pre-construction through a Delaware LLC called POSH 8 DYNAMIC for $12.8 million, according to Miami-Dade property records. The 6,121-square-foot condo has four bedrooms and four-and-half bathrooms and is a two-story penthouse, according to Realtor.com.

It is on the market for $9 million, or $950 per square foot, accordant to Zillow, and is being listed by Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker. The condo was previously listed for $13.9 million or $1,467 per square foot, in January. Eber did not immediately respond to a request to comment through a spokesperson.

In July, federal prosecutors sought to seize a different condo in the Porsche Design Tower, alleging a money laundering scheme that involved Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. That larger alleged scheme also included assets spread throughout the world. In that case, prosecutors allege Porsche Design Tower unit 2205  was one of the assets bought by the former general counsel to Venezuela’s oil ministry for $5.3 million, and used as a fee to pay an alleged money launderer.

About that case, Dezer Development’s Gil Dezer has said he never met the buyer of unit 2205 and has cited the Fair Housing Act as a requirement to sell when a buyer signs a contract and sends over a deposit. Housing authority and anti-money laundering experts have disputed this interpretation of the Fair Housing Act.

In November, Matthias Krull, a wealth manager with the Swiss bank Julius Baer Group, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in that scheme, after pleading guilty in August.

Gorrín was not a defendant in that case, but the Miami Herald — which first reported on the most recent indictment — reported that he is suspected of moving $600 million from PDVSA, to a European bank for his own benefit as well as other members of Venezuela’s elite class.

Gorrín’s attorney, Howard Srebnick, did not immediately return a request for comment. Dezer Development also did not immediately return a request for comment.

Rendering of Regalia

Regalia’s condo association is suing the developer, contractor, architect and a laundry list of subcontractors for alleged design and construction defects and damage to the 47-story luxury condo tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

The Regalia on the Ocean Condominium Association filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court earlier this month against Regalia Beach Developers LLC, general contractor Charleville Development Corp., Arquitectonica International Corp., DDA Engineers and more than a dozen other companies.

The suit seeks more than $750,000 in damages.

A group led by developers Kevin Venger and Louis R. Montello completed the 39-unit tower at 19575 Collins Avenue in 2014. According to the lawsuit, Pistorino & Alam, an engineering firm, provided the association a turnover report outlining defects and deficiencies in the building in November 2016. The following year, the association served the report to the defendants and in 2018, did the same with a supplemental report.

In August of this year, the condo association provided the developer and other defendants with a notice of claim, describing newly discovered water intrusion had damaged the lobby and second floor living room.

The lawsuit details allegations made against the developer, contractors and architect, including that the glass and glazing systems are defective, leading to water intrusion and air infiltration; that the aluminum structure and railings were improperly installed with missing screws or screws “tightened beyond the acceptable tolerance,” and more. As a result of the alleged defective installation of the guardrail system, glass panels are more vulnerable to shattering. The lawsuit cites one example of the glass insert blowing out and shattering on the pool deck area.

The condo association also alleges flaws in the design and damage to the stucco, concrete structure, post tension cables, parking garage, roof, plumbing and drainage systems, HVAC, fire protection system, electrical work, pool deck and spa, doors and more.

The Klaus Auto-Parksystem that the building uses has a maximum weight for a vehicle of 4,410 pounds. But most standard SUVs and luxury cars exceed that limit, according to the complaint.

The condo association is alleging negligence, violation of the state’s building code, and breach of implied warranties.

Attorneys for the defendants either declined to comment or did not respond to emails seeking comment.

While the developer completed the building in 2014, it still has two units left to sell: the three-story penthouse asking $29.5 million and two-story “beach house” asking $22.5 million. Both were relisted in September with Coldwell Banker’s The Jills team. In August, the developer secured a $29 million condo inventory loan for the two units.

Earlier this month, Japanese investment firm SoftBank made another big bet on co-working company WeWork, providing a $3 billion investment. It values the firm at $45 billion, second only to Uber in the startup world. We compiled a short list of the other big venture-capital backed real estate companies. Take a look!

Origin Investments last week launched a fund directed at three developments being planned inside Opportunity Zones — one in Denver, and two in Charlotte, North Carolina

Less than a day later, Chicago-based Origin counted $105 million in commitments from 425 investors.

The firm would still be interested in the three development sites, two of which went under contract last week, even if they hadn’t been drawn into Opportunity Zones, Origin principal Michael Episcope said. But the benefit created by last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gave investors an extra reason to dive in.

“There’s so much excitement around the industry right now about the benefit, which I think is one of the greatest tax benefits in my lifetime,” Episcope said. “When you take an investment that you already would have invested in anyway, and you add the tax benefits, it adds demand exponentially.”

The fund raised more than $19 million in non-binding commitments during the first hour of fundraising alone.

The “insane amount of demand” drove investors to commit about a quarter as much capital into the Opportunity Fund in 17 hours as Origin has raised in its entire 11-year history, Episcope said. The firm’s last major fund closed in June 2017, having raised $151 million over 14 months.

Origin counted more than 500 investors on the waiting list for its next major fund, and many of them converted their interest to the Opportunity Fund instead.

Since the Treasury Department released guidelines last month on how Opportunity Zones can be used, financial managers from coast to coast have rushed to line up billions of dollars in financing to maximize tax breaks before the program sunsets in 2026.

Origin’s tactic of identifying specific projects before soliciting investments stands in contrast to most other Opportunity Funds generated so far, which are raising “blind” investments for developments to be determined later.

“You can raise $500 million, but if there aren’t projects you want to invest in, it doesn’t do you any good,” Episcope said.

Origin lists 39 office and multifamily properties in its investment portfolio, including three in Chicago and three elsewhere in Illinois.

In 2016, Origin and Randolph Street Realty Capital sold the 73-unit Lux24 apartment complex in the West Loop for $35 million, three years after buying the property for $19 million, according to Crain’s.

TRD South Florida’s Winter issue drops in December.

The Real Deal South Florida’s winter 2018 issue is almost here, and it’s jam-packed with juicy stories and rankings.

On December 14th, digital subscribers will get first dibs on reading the magazine, including our examination of the future of the white-hot multifamily market and an in-depth look at the struggle to stay independent in a residential brokerage scene dominated by ever-growing local and national heavyweights.
The issue also features a ranking of the top coworking firms in Miami-Dade, an architectural and design survey of some of the most prominent projects of the cycle, an analysis of the residential brokerages that have seen the most turnover and plenty more.

Check out our Fall issue online.

Ad space is selling out and fast! Please reserve your spot by Monday, December 10 by contacting us at Advertising@TheRealDeal.com or calling 786-334-5052. 

Not a subscriber? Don’t miss out — subscribe now for early access to the magazine.

Doral land and Simon Property Group’s David Simon

Car dealer William “Bill” Lehman Jr. just bought a strip of land next to Miami International Mall for $8.2 million, property records show.

Lehman financed the deal with a $9.4 million loan from JP Morgan. It’s zoned for industrial development.

Simon Property Group sold the 8.4 acres of land directly north of Lehman’s Doral Kia dealership at 10155 Northwest 12th Street. Simon declined to comment. The site is between Simon’s Miami International Mall and International Corporate Park.

Lehman is the president of Lehman Dealership Enterprises, which operates multiple dealerships throughout Miami-Dade. He said he plans to use the land to expand his Doral Kia and Hyundai dealerships. The deal took more than two years to close, and Lehman is now in talks with Miami-Dade County to purchase the adjacent road.

Records show the property last traded for $12.57 million in 1997. Simon leased the land to festivals, like the annual House of Horror Haunted Carnival, Lehman said.

Lehman joins a number of dealership owners who are expanding their real estate portfolios. Last month, Robert “Bob” Brockway, chairman and CEO of Bill Ussery Motors, paid $11 million for an office building across the street from the firm’s Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables dealership. And Chevy dealer Arnaldo Bomnin is set to close on a former Toys “R” Us building on U.S. 1 next to one of his dealerships with plans to expand.

2270 Northwest 23rd Street and Jorge Pérez

Miami’s condo king just closed on a site in Allapattah where he’s planning a mixed-use complex focused around art.

The Related Group chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez said he will store and show his private collection at the warehouse, at 2270 Northwest 23rd Street. Pérez said the property, which he paid $2.7 million for last week, is near his office and home.

Carlos Fausto Miranda and Diego Vicente Tejera of Fausto Commercial Realty brokered the deal. RG & JP Properties Inc. sold the roughly 25,000-square-foot building. It sits on a 40,165-square-foot lot.

Pérez’s plans for the property include building a catering kitchen for events, plus four studio apartments and artist work spaces for what could be artist and curator residency programs.

“We love the location among functioning business and solid working class residences,” he said in an email.

In addition to being Miami’s biggest condo builder, Pérez, the namesake donor of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, is also known for his extensive art collection both at home and at Related’s headquarters in downtown Miami.

Miranda said the Allapattah deal is part of a growing trend of art collectors and developers moving to the industrial neighborhood just west of Wynwood.

About two years ago, the Rubell Family Collection announced it was moving from Wynwood to a new 100,000-square-foot museum at 1100 Northwest 23rd Street.

Moishe Mana has been assembling land on the eastern edge of Allapattah, just west of his Wynwood holdings.

Starchitect Bjarke Ingels was also hired to design plans for a residential, office, retail and hotel project being developed by Robert Wennett. It will rise between Northwest 21st and 22nd streets, and between Northwest 13th and 12th avenues.

Denver (top) and Philadelphia (bottom) (Credit: Wikipedia)

As commercial rents and residential prices soar in New York City, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, foreign investors are chasing higher yields in unexpected secondary markets with stronger growth potential.

Chinese and German investors are increasingly looking to cities like Philadelphia, Denver, Atlanta and Phoenix, according to Bloomberg. Citing data provided by CBRE, the outlet reported that Philadelphia experienced that largest growth, recording a massive 516 percent uptick in the first three quarters of 2018 from the same period in 2017.

“Yield is king and yield is now being found in less-usual suspects,” Spencer Levy, Americas head of research at CBRE, told Bloomberg.

Canadian investors topped the foreign investors list, a position it has occupied for a decade. Canadian firm Starlight purchased a 335-unit luxury apartment complex in Phoenix and took a $33 million majority stake in an Atlanta apartment complex this year. “We were increasingly seeing that jobs were moving from traditional Northeast and Northwest corridors into the sunbelt states,” Raj Mehta, the company’s global head of private capital and partnerships, told the outlet.

Despite increasing investment in second-tier markets, New York and Los Angeles reportedly still saw the highest volume of foreign investment, with $15.1 billion and $7.7 billion respectively, this year.

This comes as a dip in Chinese investors begin pulling their money out of the U.S., amid Chinese government controls. Hong Kong and mainland China investments in the U.S. property market totaled $4.42 billion through October, compared with $6.81 billion in all of 2017. [Bloomberg] — David Jeans 

Condo sales picked up in Miami-Dade last week following a sharp decline the previous week.

The county recorded 109 closings for a total of $41.78 million, up from the previous week’s 90 closings for $32.3 million. Condos last week sold for an average price of about $383,000 or $277 per square foot.

The priciest deal was at St. Regis Bal Harbour. Unit 1100C sold for $6.47 million, or nearly $1,500 per foot. Lana Bell had the listing. David Koster represented the buyer of the three-bedroom, 4,457-square-foot unit.

The second most expensive deal was at Porta Vita in Aventura. Unit 1704 sold for $2.2 million, or about $604 per square foot, after nearly a year on the market. Karen Matluck represented the seller and Bonnie Brooks brought the buyer.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Nov. 11 to Nov. 17. Click on the map for more information:

Most expensive

St Regis Bal Harbour, Bal Harbour | #1100C | 232 days on market | $6.47M | $1,453 psf | Listing agent: Lana Bell | Buyer’s agent: David Koster

Least expensive

Le Parc at Brickell, Miami | #907 | 182 days on market | $725k | $550 psf | Listing agent: Ybis Brutti | Buyer’s agent: Jose Santovena

Most days on market

Porto Vita, Aventura | #1704 | 361 days on market | $2.2M | $604 psf | Listing agent: Karen Matluck | Buyer’s agent: Bonnie Brooks

Fewest days on market

The Floridian, Miami Beach | #PH 9 | 70 days on market | $1.2M | $727 psf | Listing and buyer’s agent: Pierre Elmaleh

Arden Karson and L’Hermitage unit 71 (Credit: Miami Luxury Homes of Douglas Elliman)

CBRE’s Arden Karson just listed her Coconut Grove townhome.

Karson, senior managing director of CBRE in South Florida, is looking to sell unit 71, a three-story, five-bedroom home at L’Hermitage, at 2000 South Bayshore Drive, for $1.75 million. It just hit the market with Michael and Jaimee Light of Douglas Elliman.

L’Hermitage in Coconut Grove (Credit: Miami Luxury Homes of Douglas Elliman)

Karson said her family is looking to downsize, and she has her eye on another home in Coconut Grove.

She and her husband Jack paid about $1.46 million for the 3,725-square-foot home in 2015, property records show. It features marble and wood floors, a master suite with a walk-in closet, and an attached two-car garage, plus space for four additional cars.

L’Hermitage, a gated community of about 75 townhomes built in the 1980’s, includes a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, a boat dock, paddle board and kayak launch, and putting green.

Karson joined CBRE in January 2017 after about five years at the Related Group, where she was a senior vice president.

Is the sun setting on a strong housing market? (Credit: iStock)

Confidence in the housing market among homebuilders has dropped to its lowest point in more than two years, another sign the market is cooling amid rising interest rates and rising prices.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped eight points to 60, considerably more the single point drop expected by economists, according to Bloomberg.

The Federal Reserve has hiked the benchmark borrowing rate quicker this year than was expected, which has sent mortgage rates to recent highs and has slowed mortgage applications.

NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz called on policymakers to consider homebuilder confidence when crafting economic policy.

“Rising mortgage interest rates in recent months coupled with the cumulative run-up in pricing has caused housing demand to stall,” he said. “Given that housing leads the economy, policymakers need to focus more on residential market conditions.”

The Federal Reserve last raised the federal benchmark borrowing rate in September and is expected to raise it again in December, which would be the fourth hike in a year, one more than initially expected.

Shares for homebuilding companies fell and yields on 10-year Treasury bonds dipped following the release of the report. The sub-indexes for measuring current sales and prospective buyer traffic fell by seven and eight points, respectively, to their lowest points since August 2016.

President Trump’s tariffs on foreign goods also dented the market, market pros said, especially those on Canadian lumber and imported steel. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch



At The Real Deal‘s fifth annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum, publisher Amir Korangy had a fireside chat with Brightline CEO Patrick Goddard about the $4 billion project. Goddard said that the Orlando leg will be up and running by 2021 and, after Orlando, Brightline has its sights set on Tampa.

Check out the full video above and read more coverage from the event here.

Elijah Cummings  and Maxine Waters (Credit: Getty Images)

The Trump Organization will be facing new scrutiny next year when the Democrats take control of the House, which gives them broad power to issue subpoenas to probe the famously opaque company.

Starting in January, Democrats will be able to look into things such as how much contact President Trump keeps with Trump Organization executives after he agreed to step away from control of the company, Bloomberg News reported.

They can ask whether he discusses businesses with his sons, and can look into the Trump Organization’s potential contacts with foreign governments and potential ties to Russian and Saudi interests.

House Democrats are also likely to look into the company’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. The bank is one of Trump’s biggest lenders and last year was hit with almost $630 million in fines by regulators in the U.S. and the U.K. for enabling wealthy Russians to circumvent regulations and move billions of dollars out of the country.

“We know that Deutsche Bank is identified as one of the biggest money laundering banks in the world, perhaps, and that they’re the only ones who were amenable to providing loans to this president,” Maxine Waters, who is expected to be the new head of the House Financial Services Committee, told Bloomberg Television.

A Deutsche Bank spokesperson said the company’s “recent record of cooperating with such investigations has been widely recognized by regulators” and that the lender intends “to keep working in this spirit if we get an authorized request for information.”

Democrats could also look into the Trump Organization’s lease for its hotel at Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office building with the General Services Administration, and accusations that the president has possibly violated the U.S. Constitution by receiving revenue through his hotels from foreign governments.

Representative Elijah Cummings, who expected to head the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said lawmakers will be selective with their subpoenas.

“I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween,” he said. “If I have to use them, they will be used in a methodical way.” [Bloomberg] – Rich Bockmann

Shoppes at Isla Verde, Todd Rosenberg and Ian Weiner

Pebb Capital and Pebb Enterprises just sold a retail center in Wellington to MetLife Investment Management for $74 million.

Both firms said they are looking to invest the proceeds of the sale into Opportunity Zones in Florida or throughout the country, which would allow them to defer capital gains taxes on the Wellington deal, plus forego capital gains on a new investment.

The families behind Pebb began assembling the 22 acres of land for the Shoppes at Isla Verde, at 1020 South State Road 7, in 1998, according to a release. Pebb Capital, led by Jeffrey Rosenberg, Todd Rosenberg, and Ian Horowitz, split off in 2014 from Pebb Enterprises, now led by Ian Weiner and Bruce Weiner.

The late Jared Weiner led the development and leasing of the shopping center. Jared was among a number of Pebb principals and employees who died in a plane crash in November 2015, and the company has been working quietly to rebuild since then.

The 207,030-square-foot Shoppes at Isla Verde was completed in 2008 and is 94.2 percent leased to Best Buy, Ulta, Old Navy, Petco, Total Wine, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Chipotle, Verizon Wireless, HSBC, Panda Express and CVS. It will also be home to a Sprouts Farmers Market.

Ian Weiner and Todd Rosenberg said that while Pebb Enterprises has historically held onto its properties for the long term, the right opportunity presented itself with this deal.

Weiner said he’s looking into buying some development sites in South Florida for retail, office and mixed-use, with a focus on Palm Beach County. And Rosenberg said that his firm will likely use the proceeds for preferred equity, multifamily and student housing deals.

The proceeds “would fit nicely into an Opportunity Zone,” Rosenberg added. The program, part of President Trump’s tax plan, is designed to encourage investment in low-income areas across the country by giving developers a huge tax advantage.

HFF’s Danny Finkle, Luis Castillo and Eric Williams represented the sellers. Pebb Enterprises will continue managing and leasing the property for MetLife.

While Pebb Enterprises is selling a number of its out-of-state properties to reinvest into South Florida, Pebb Capital is focusing on selling more retail assets and diversifying its investments. Pebb Capital recently sold Downtown Dadeland with Duncan Hillsley Capital for about $78 million.

Southeast Frozen Foods, Edward Redlich

A division of Southeast Food Distribution just sold a cold storage industrial site in North Miami for $18.7 million.

Southeast Frozen Foods Company sold the 234,739-square-foot facility at 18770 Northeast 6th Avenue for about $80 per square foot to 18770 MIAMI LLC, property records show. 18770 MIAMI LLC is led by Michael Herman, corporate records show.

Edward J. Redlich of ComReal who represented the seller in the transaction, said the buyer is tied to Premium Capital in New York.

Southeast Food Distribution leased back a significant portion of the warehouse with a long-term lease, according to Redlich.

The property is just off of I-95 and the Florida Turnpike in north Miami. It was built in 1968. The building has 157,794 square feet of freezer space and more than 32 docks, according to Loopnet.

Southeast Food Distribution supplies independent and regional supermarket chains in 22 states and the District of Columbia, and exports to the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The company’s headquarters are in Miramar. It also has locations in Columbia, South Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; New Orleans; Cordele, Georgia; and two locations in Florida: North Miami and Medley, according to its website.

A call and email to the company’s Miami office were not immediately returned.

Miami’s industrial market  is continuing to fare well thanks to a lack of available land and increasing interest from institutional investors. In Miami-Dade County, vacancy rates fell to 3.8 percent in the third quarter from 4 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to a report by Colliers International South Florida.

1641 South Bayshore Drive, Donald J. Edwards and Lourdes Alatriste

UPDATED, Nov. 19, 5:05 p.m.: The CEO of a private equity investment firm in Chicago paid $8.1 million for a home in Coconut Grove.

Developer Fernando Guardazzi sold the nearly 10,000-square-foot mansion at 1641 South Bayshore Drive to Donald J. Edwards, who heads Flexpoint Ford, sources said. The Chicago firm has raised more than $2.3 billion in capital and specializes in investments in financial and healthcare industries, according to its website.

Carole Smith and Kefryn Reese of Compass represented the buyer. Engel & Völkers’ Lourdes Alatriste had the listing. Alatriste declined to comment on the buyer.

The deal marks the most-expensive home sale for a non-waterfront house in the Grove since the $12.5 million sale of 8950 Arvida Drive in 2016, a spokesperson for Engel & Völkers said.

Edwards’ six-bedroom home sits on a 30,375-square-foot lot and features a koi pond, an infinity edge pool and summer kitchen.

Records show an Bayshore Drive LLC, led by Guardazzi, paid $1.15 million for the property in 2013. The seller began marketing the property before it was completed with Cervera Real Estate in 2016.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the home is in Coral Gables. It’s in Coconut Grove. 

Miami Plaza, Filling Station Lofts and Iris Escarra and Ken Russell

Miami officials are doing a test run on a measure that would force residential developers who want more density to carve out units for low-income wage earners in their projects. The Miami City Commission last week approved on first reading an an ordinance that new developments in the Arts & Entertainment District seeking density and floor lot ratio bonuses must include workforce or affordable housing.

“This is our first adventure into inclusionary zoning, which is a big move for the city of Miami,” said Commissioner Ken Russell, the measure’s architect. “It is bringing the people who are not in affordable development and bringing them there. They don’t understand or are not comfortable to what it means to bring affordability to their product. They are going to learn here. It is going to work financially for them.”

Yet, the proposed ordinance shouldn’t be a tough sell in the targeted neighborhood, which includes the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and a slew of loft-style condo and apartment buildings such as Canvas, Filling Station Lofts, Melody Tower and Square Station.  Companies like the Melo Group and NR Investments, which are the most active developers in the Arts & Entertainment District, have already voluntarily agreed to include apartments and condos aimed at households making between 80 to 120 percent of the Miami-Dade median income or less.

Iris Escarra, a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig who represents several projects in the neighborhood, said that other real estate investors in the Arts and Entertainment District have expressed interest in developing projects under Russell’s new mandate, which would apply to a geographical area between the I-395 bridge to the Miami Cemetery and Northeast Second Avenue to North Miami Avenue.

Under Russell’s proposal, workforce and affordable housing would only be mandated for properties in Transect Zone T6-24B-O, which is an area currently populated by Melo and NR projects that already have affordable and workforce housing set-aside units. However, the city is working on changing the designation of a large swath of land in the Arts & Entertainment District currently zoned T6-24A-O, Escarra explained. “There are property owners in the area requesting a change in zoning in order to take advantage of this,” she said. “With an aerial map, you can see there is quite a bit of vacant land there.”

Other major cities have adopted similar laws as a means to increase the affordable housing stock. For instance, last year, Los Angeles passed a measure that awards density and height bonuses to projects within a half mile of a public transit station in exchange for setting aside at least 8 percent of the total rental units for affordable housing. In 10 months, more than 1,000 units for low income households have been built through the program. Inclusionary housing laws have also been common in New York City for decades.

Escarra said developers in the Arts & Entertainment District have had the option of volunteering to set aside units to obtain density bonuses since 2010. But builders such as Melo and NR began using the option during Miami’s most recent building boom. Rather than buying air rights from a designated historic property, a developer can increase a project’s floor lot ratio by designating a certain percentage of the units for affordable housing under Miami 21. It’s considered a public benefit in exchange for the bonus, Escarra said.

“There have been six rezonings since 2015 and all have followed that sort of model,” Escarra said. “The developers have done it on their own.”

Kristen Ankerbrandt

Eight months after a C-suite shakeup and split with its CFO, Compass has tapped a Carlyle Group executive to help oversee the firm’s “hypergrowth.”

The SoftBank-backed firm said Monday it hired Kristen Ankerbrandt as chief financial officer, overseeing its financial operations, acquisitions and investor relations effective Nov. 26.

Ankerbandt replaces Craig Anderson, a former COO and CFO of cycling chain Flywheel, who lasted seven months before being pushed out in March. Anderson was hired to replace David Snider, one of the startup’s earliest hires.

Ankerbandt comes from the Carlyle Group, where she led tech investments for the private equity firm’s $18.5 billion fund. A Harvard MBA graduate, she previously worked at Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division, where her work focused on tech and media deals.

Robert Reffkin and Maelle Gavet

In a statement, CEO Robert Reffkin said Ankerbandt will help to oversee Compass’ “next stage of hypergrowth,” which includes an international expansion.

The New York-based firm, which launched in 2012, has nearly 200 offices across 80 cities. Since landing a $450 million investment by SoftBank last December, Compass has added 5,500 agents for a total of more than 7,000. It’s also opened 100 new offices in 80 cities, in part by acquiring San Francisco-based Pacific Union and Paragon Real Estate Group. Compass is targeting revenue of $1 billion this year.

In addition to Ankerbrandt, recent C-level hires include chief marketing officer Khurrum Malik from Spotify, chief revenue officer Matt Rosenberg from Eventbrite and chief sales strategy officer Michael Coscetta from Square.

Miami homes sat on the market for an average of 84 days, while NYC homes went unsold for 74 days, according to Re/Max.

Looking to sell your home in Miami or New York City? Be prepared to wait at least two months before a sale.

In a nationwide survey, Miami homes sat on the market for an average of 84 days, while New York City homes went unsold for 74 days, according to Re/Max.

Out of the 53 metro areas surveyed in the October report, only two cities had longer waiting periods before a sale: Hartford, Connecticut; and Augusta, Maine.

The data signals a broader national slowdown in the housing market. Home sales declined 4.6 percent in October from a year ago, according to Re/Max. It was the third consecutive month of lower year-over-year home sales.

Nationally, home sales have declined in many large cities across the country including Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

Experts attribute the slowdown to rising mortgage rates, which have made homeowners’ mortgage payments more costlier. Data also suggests that home prices have become unaffordable relative to income levels.

Miami also had the highest housing supply of any metro area surveyed. The city had a supply of 7.5 months, compared to every other metro area surveyed, which reported a supply of less than 6 months.

San Francisco, at 1.7 months, and Boise, Idaho, at 1.9 months, had the lowest housing supply, signaling a seller’s market.

In October, median home sales prices ticked up to $236,000 nationwide, marking the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. It was the highest October price in the 10-year history of the report.

Rendering of The Main Las Olas

The developers of The Main Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale just closed on two loans totaling nearly $204 million, property records show.

LO3 Investors LLC received a $118.3 million loan for 201 East Las Olas Boulevard and 212 Second Ave LLC secured an $85.6 million loan for 212 Southeast Second Avenue. Husky Finco LLC, an affiliate of Blackstone Mortgage Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust managed by the Blackstone Group, is the lender.

Stiles and Shorenstein Properties broke ground on the mixed-use office, residential and retail project in October. The developers are leasing the land from Broward College. The 2.7-acre project will include 357,000 square feet of Class A office space, a 341-unit apartment tower, restaurants and retail space.

The 25-story office tower is being designed by architect Cooper Carry, and will feature 12-foot floor-to-ceiling glass and 10-foot ceilings, an outdoor amenity deck on the 10th floor, a fitness center, a 5,400-square-foot outdoor plaza, and a 16,000-square-foot penthouse office suite. Stiles, which is handling office leasing for the development, announced that Akerman LLP, Berger Singerman LLP and BBX Capital are leasing a combined 85,000 square feet at the building.

The building, downtown Fort Lauderdale’s first new office tower in more than a decade, is expected to open in 2020, according to a release from October.

The 27-story residential building will have units ranging from 600 square feet to 1,400 square feet, an elevated pool deck, social lounges and co-working space, a rooftop terrace, indoor dog run and pet grooming spa, package lockers, and a gym. The project is about four blocks from Brightline’s Fort Lauderdale station.

Stiles declined to comment on the financing.

Siena Apartments, Hidden Harbor Apartments, Alexander Living, Luzano Luxury Apartments

Siena and Hidden Harbor – American Landmark | $105M

The top apartment deal in October was the portfolio sale of two separate rental complexes in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

American Landmark purchased the Siena Apartments, a 292-unit apartment community at 8080 Northwest 10th Court in Plantation; and the Hidden Harbor Apartments, a 200-unit community at 222 Kingfisher Way in Royal Palm Beach, for a combined $105 million.

The seller was an affiliate of Fairfield Residential and was represented by ARA Newmark.

Alexander Living – AvalonBay Communities | $103M

AvalonBay Communities made its first foray into West Palm Beach with a $103 million multifamily purchase.

The Arlington, Virginia-based real estate investment trust bought Alexander Living, which consists of a recently completed 20-story, 205-unit rental building called The Alexander; and a six-story, 85-unit building called Alexander Lofts.

The seller was a joint partnership between Ram Realty Advisors and Kolter Urban. The Alexander building was completed last year. The partners converted the Alexander Lofts building into apartments in 2015.

Luzano Luxury Apartments – Praedium Group | $94.1M

An affiliate of Praedium Group paid $94.1 million for a Pompano Beach rental complex completed last year.

The 404-unit Luzano Luxury Apartments, at 100 Northwest 33rd Avenue, traded hands for about $232,920 per unit. It was developed and sold by West Atlantic Boulevard Apartments Investors, which is tied to UBS Realty Advisors.

The 24-acre property last traded for $3.64 million in 2015. The apartment complex features one- to three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a pool, fitness center, clubhouse, playground and a dog park.

Waterford Park Apartments – Residential Management NY | $42.6M

The Brooklyn-based real estate firm Residential Management NY dropped $42.6 million for an apartment complex in Lauderhill.

Waterford Park Apartments LLC, a company tied to TH Real Estate, sold the 272-unit Waterford Park Apartment complex at 7505 Northwest 44th Street to an affiliate of Residential Management NY for about $157,000 per apartment.

It was built in 1987 on a 21.2-acre site. The complex last sold for $21.4 million in 2011. TH Real Estate is an affiliate of Nuveen Investments, which serves as the investment management arm of TIAA.

The buyer financed the deal with a $30.17 million loan from Capital Bank.

The Place at Dania Beach – Guillermina Dawson Trust | $38M

A California-based trust in Guillermina Dawson’s name bought a recently completed apartment complex in Dania Beach for $38 million.

AHS Residential sold the 144-unit, seven-story building at 180 East Dania Beach Boulevard, known as The Place at Dania Beach, for about $264,000 per unit.

The apartment building totals 211,257 square feet and sits on 1.94 acres. The building also has 6,771 square feet of ground-floor retail.

AHS Residential, led by Ernesto Lopes, bought the site in 2013 for $1.6 million.

At The Real Deal‘s fifth annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum, South Florida’s managing editor Ina Cordle moderated a discussion among some of the region’s top players in hospitality. The wide-spanning conversation ranged in topics from competing with Airbnb to the value-add of a certain hotel’s brand.

Panelists included Benjamin Sinclair of Faena Group, Louise Sunshine of The Sunshine Group, Edgardo Defortuna of Fortune International Realty and David Arditi of Aria Development Group.

Check out the full video above and read more coverage from the event here.

“South Florida by the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

GOOOOOAL! It’s been an exciting month for local soccer fans, as voters approved a ballot initiative to establish Miami Freedom Park as the future home of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise. If completed as currently envisioned, the 73-acre complex would feature a stadium, hotel, office, retail and commercial space. (Beckham and his partners also agreed to fund a 58-acre public park next door.) But the match is not quite over yet – the project still requires at least four (out of five) votes from the Miami City Commission to proceed, many citizens are unhappy about the loss of Melreese golf course to make way for the complex, and an ethics complaint over improper lobbying by the team’s owners are just a few of the significant obstacles for the project. We examine the future of professional soccer in Miami in this edition of “South Florida by the numbers.”

MMXX (2020): Roman numeral featured on the recently-unveiled crest for the soccer team, which will be named Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or “InterMiami” for short. The team is slated to begin to play that year – but will most likely do so at a temporary site, with so much uncertainty about the aforementioned complex. [SunSentinel]

$900,000: Estimated amount spent by the team’s ownership group to successfully get the ballot initiative approved by about 60 percent of Miami voters, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. In addition to Beckham, the ownership group includes Miami businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, Sprint chairman Marcelo Claure and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son. [MiamiHerald]

5,000: Estimated number of local children introduced to golf through the First Tee program, for which Melreese serves as the Miami-Dade Chapter site. (First Tee is a youth development organization that also teaches golf’s inherent values to young people.) According to a local board member, the soccer team’s owners have vowed to protect, enhance and expand the program if the proposal for the complex moves forward. [GolfDigest]

$35 million: Maximum amount committed by the Beckham-Mas group for the environmental remediation of the Miami Freedom Park site, which would include dealing with coal ash buried underneath the Melreese golf course. (If the costs exceed $35 million, it is not clear who would be responsible.) [TheRealDeal]

25,000: Number of seats expected to be included at the Arquitectonica-designed soccer stadium, of which the team released updated renderings earlier this month. [TheNextMiami]

This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (Credit: Getty Images, YouTube)

As Google tries to assemble land for a new 21-acre megacampus in San Jose, the city’s mayor took the opportunity to make an example of how local government and tech companies could do business.

“Google will pay full freight for land, taxes, fees, and additional community benefits like affordable housing, in stark contrast to other cities handing out billions in local tax dollars to attract big companies,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement cited by CNBC. “We offered Google no subsidies, and they didn’t ask for them.”

Liccardo famously wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing the incentive packages Amazon expressly solicited for its HQ2, which cities around the country readily offered to the tune of billions, and calling them “a bad deal for taxpayers.”

Google will pay about $110 million for the land on which the company plans to build offices and residents for up to 20,000 employees. Since the project was first proposed in 2016, locals have expressed concern for what the “Google Effect” may mean for San Jose. The City Council will decide on the sale in a December 4 vote.  [CNBC] — Erin Hudson

Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor rendering (Credit: New-Press)

The parent company of low-fare airline Allegiant Air will build more hotel rooms and fewer condos than initially planned at its resort development in Southwest Florida.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. will build no more than 180 condos instead of 720, the number initially planned when the company announced plans in August 2017 for its Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor in Port Charlotte.

Allegiant also will build a 500-room hotel instead of the 75-room hotel it announced last year. The company expects construction of the $420 million first phase of the resort development to start as early as February.

The company has spent $30 million to acquire the 22-acre development site in Port Charlotte, which is seven miles from Punta Gorda Airport, where Allegiant Air is the sole carrier.

Last year, only 75 hotel rooms were planned because it expected condo owners to market their units as vacation rentals through Allegiant and split the income with the company.

But John Redmond, the president of Allegiant, said on a conference call with investors that the company became concerned that “people won’t give us rooms to sell when it’s busiest and the rates are the highest.”

Allegiant may have changed course because hotel guests are likely to stay at the resort for shorter periods of time than condo owners, which could mean more passengers on Allegiant Air flights to and from Punta Gorda Airport, according to Christopher Wesley, a professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University. [Naples Daily News]Mike Seemuth

Rendering of convention center complex in downtown Jacksonville proposed by a company controlled by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Kahn and Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Development LLC.

The city’s mayor is questioning the cost and timing of a plan to build a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville.

About two months ago, Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) received bids after publishing a request for proposals to build a convention center, hotel and parking garage.

But in a Nov. 14 letter to the authority’s chairman, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said the DIA should focus first on developing more downtown amenities before advancing its plan for a new convention center.

In his letter, Curry cited a 2017 feasibility study that cast doubt on the feasibility of a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville.

The study suggested that Jacksonville has fewer downtown amenities and less hotel space than other cities in the Southeast that compete for conventions.

Curry warned in his letter that if Jacksonville “diverts … considerable resources away from other developments for a convention center, we will still be lacking the additional lifestyle and entertainment that ultimately would ensure its success.”

The DIA received three bids to build a complex with a convention center and hotel on the former site of the Duval County Courthouse and City Hall Annex. Demolition of the buildings is under way to clear the site for development.

One of the bidders is a partnership formed by Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo LLC and a company controlled by Shad Kahn, the owner of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Under the partnership’s proposal, the city’s financial obligation would be $936 million under a 30-year lease deal requiring annual payments of $31.2 million.

Jacobs Engineering Group submitted a bid that would require the city to cover the construction cost by making $1.2 billion of payments over 25 years.

A third bidder, Preston Hollow proposed a convention center with a price tag from $450 million to $460 million. Preston Hollow wants the city to provide about half of the funding for a new convention center. [Jacksonville Daily Record]Mike Seemuth

 

Grand Reserve Apartment Homes in Ocala

Jay Ballard

A 263-unit apartment complex in Ocala sold for $35 million, or $133,000 per unit.

The 15-year-old property, Grand Reserve Apartment Homes, was 93.9 percent occupied when the sale closed.

Built in 2003, Grand Reserve Apartment Homes is a cluster of one- and two-story residential buildings.

Ken Delvillar

The average size of the Ocala property’s one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments is 1,031 square feet, and their average market rent is $1.03 per square foot.

Nashville-based Carter-Halston sold the apartment complex to a partnership of Houston-based ApexOne Investment Partners and The Collier Companies of Gainesville.

Jay Ballard and Ken Delvillar of Cushman & Wakefield’s Florida Multifamily Team represented the seller in the transaction. – Mike Seemuth

Four Corners in Cape Coral

Four vacant parcels of land in Cape Coral are listed for sale with an asking price of $12 million, or about $567,000 per acre.

The parcels at 4128-4233 Agualinda Boulevard in Cape Coral total 21.14 acres and are zoned for multifamily, commercial and mixed-use development. The land is cleared and filled to grade.

Four Corners CC, LLC, and The Stephen W. Haywood Revocable Trust own the parcels, known as Four Corners.

“Four Corners is the only commercially zoned property primed for development within a two- to five-mile radius, presenting an investor-developer virtually no competition,” Rosendo Caveiro, a senior vice president of brokerage firm Avison Young, said in a prepared statement. “Multifamily and commercial development in Cape Coral-Fort Myers have not kept pace with the area’s growth.”

Caveiro also said the Four Corners site could accommodate a multifamily housing development with as many as 400 rental units “and still have additional acreage for commercial development.”

Caveiro and Avison Young senior director Dan E. Gorczycki will oversee the marketing and collective sale of the parcels. – Mike Seemuth

Glennn Straub (Source: Casino.org)

A federal judge postponed a bankruptcy auction to sell the unfinished Palm House hotel-condominium building in Palm Beach.

The auction, which had been scheduled to happen Nov. 16, is now scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Dec. 14 in the West Palm Beach courtroom of Bankruptcy Court Judge Erik P. Kimball.

On reason the judge postponed the auction was to give himself more time to decide whether to allow Wellington real estate investor Glenn Straub to participate in the auction by submitting a so-called “credit bid.”

The judge approved a plan that would allow New York-based Related Companies to buy the Palm House property for $32 million unless a higher bid is submitted at the auction.

Straub, who formerly owned the Palm House, contends that a company he controls has a secured claim on the property at 160 Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach that exceeds $37 million.

Straub’s company sold the Palm House in August 2013 for $36 million and provided a mortgage loan of more than $27 million to the buyer, 160 Royal Palm LLC, which defaulted on the loan.

Philip J. Landau, a bankruptcy attorney for the debtor, 160 Royal Palm LLC, argues that Straub’s company, KK-PB Financial LLC, should be barred from participating in the bankruptcy auction by submitting a bid equal to the amount of the defaulted loan.

In an Oct. 5 filing with the court, Landau said Judge Kimball should prohibit Straub’s company from participating in the bankruptcy auction because of lingering uncertainty with respect to the loan by KK-PB Financial, Straub’s role in the Palm House project, and his relationship with indicted developer Robert V. Matthews.

Proceeds from the auction would compensate creditors of 160 Royal Palm LLC, the owner of Palm House, which has $115 million of debt. The company’s creditors include foreign investors who put more than $40 million into the Palm House project through the federal EB-5 visa program. Construction work on the project stopped in 2014.

Matthews and Leslie R. Evans, a Palm Beach attorney, are defendants in a trial that will start in July at a federal court in Connecticut. They face charges of fraud and money laundering in connection with the Palm House project. Federal prosecutors say Matthews and Evans used the federal EB-5 visa program to defraud foreign investors in the Palm House project.

In a related civil case, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Matthews and Joseph Walsh, director of the South Atlantic Regional Center, with fraudulent misappropriation of funds from foreign investors in the Palm House project. [Palm Beach Daily News]Mike Seemuth

(Composite by Kerry Barger for The Real Deal)

The cities that fought until the last minute to win over Amazon are now moving on — some joyfully, some begrudgingly.

Before the news leaked that New York and Crystal City, Virginia, were Amazon’s top headquarters picks, five other cities also seemed poised to nab the golden ticket. Amazon representatives reportedly revisited Chicago, Miami and Newark in late October. Texas appeared a viable contender with sources in early November telling outlets that the company was in advanced talks with both Dallas and Austin.

Some officials and developers in those cities lament the loss; some are downright puzzled. And others are just grateful they had a chance. Here’s how the HQ2 rejects are coping:

Chicago

(Credit: iStock)

The Midwest City’s public and private leaders presented Amazon with 10 proposals for its second headquarters — among them Related Midwest’s The 78, Sterling Bay’s 53-acre project Lincoln Yards and Farpoint Development’s 100-acre campus known as Burnham Lakefront.

But now, those near-winners are already predicting Chicago will lure other corporate relocations instead.

Related Midwest CEO Curt Bailey said in a statement on Tuesday that prospective tenants, including “major corporations, cultural institutions and retailers,” have shown interest in its $7 billion megaproject (which received its first city approval Thursday).

The 78 did come close, though. “What I would take from that exercise is that of 238 municipalities, you probably had close to 1,000 sites combined, and we were top five,” Bailey said in a later interview with The Real Deal. “That makes me feel pretty good about our prospects moving forward on The 78 for other companies.”

Sterling Bay — which planned 6 million square feet of commercial space at its Lincoln Yards site — is also putting Amazon in its rearview mirror. In fact, the developer claims it doesn’t expect to have any trouble filling the it planned for the project now that the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth is out.

Spokeswoman Julie Goudie said in a statement said that “Sterling Bay is moving full steam ahead” with its initial plans.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused to say what Amazon executives told him about why they passed on Chicago, but said losing is part of playing the game.

“If you compete, you have the opportunity to win, and you also have the opportunity to not be successful. That said, Chicago has won more than it has lost.”

Dallas

(Credit: iStock)

Following the official announcement that Amazon would split its new headquarters between New York and Virginia, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings admitted during a press conference that officials had been willing to let Amazon “change the whole direction of the city.” He also added that the two coastal, northeastern cities, seemed to be to more “than what I thought Amazon wanted to pay.”

Developers whose sites made it to the final inning did say they hedged their bets.

Jim Reynolds, senior vice president of development and construction at a West Dallas Investments company, said that “there are specific companies that we know are on the sidelines.”

Reynolds’ company presented Amazon with Trinity Groves, an 80-acre assemblage that West Dallas Investments had cobbled together over the past 15 years. There, the company planned a 9 million-square-foot megaproject. But now that the decision is final, Reynolds said his firm is “anxious” to get a move on.

Meanwhile, other local developers like Cienda Partners, which had its 50-acre project Oak Cliff also listed as a potential site for Amazon, weren’t paying much attention to “the Amazon hoopla,” as Cienda’s managing partner Philip Wise put it.

“We hadn’t paid a lot of attention to Amazon quite frankly with so many people in this competition,” he said.

Miami

(Credit: iStock)

Amazon had a slew of potential sites to pick from across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Perhaps one of the most iconic was the $2 billion, 27-acre megaproject, Miami Worldcenter. The developer was reportedly ready to carve out up to 10 acres of the project for Amazon.

The development’s managing principal Nitin Motwani declined to comment on the status of the project in relation to the Amazon proposal, citing a NDA, but noted that the company has “active conversations going with a variety of people” for the land that was available for Amazon.Though HQ2 “would have been a catalyst,” according to Suarez, he doesn’t see the loss as a setback. Miami will keep looking for a “big tech tenant.” The mayor says he’ll continue to promote the city to potential contenders like Google and Spotify — the latter of which he said has been in “on-and-off” talks with the city.

“I don’t think it slows down Miami one iota,” he said.

Kelly Smallridge, the president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, said the year-long process laid the groundwork for similar bids between counties in the future and said “there’s no hard feelings.”

She described the process of the year-long competition — which has been called a “Hunger Games”-style death match — as “standard.”

“Projects a tenth of the size take three years to make the decision … they stuck to the timeframe they put forward,” she said. “They handled it very well and very quickly.”

Smallridge declined to comment on how the loss of HQ2 would impact any of the sites that were listed as part of South Florida’s proposal, though she contested the sentiment that other large corporations could step in and fill up the large developments.

“We would basically have had to create a city for Amazon,” she said. “There aren’t people in the wings to take 5 million square feet … that just doesn’t happen.”

Newark

(Credit: iStock)

At worst, Newark’s run for Amazon’s HQ2 was an exercise in self-promotion.

“I feel like we just worked on our largest class project ever,” said Aisha Glover, CEO of Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, who worked alongside Mayor Ras Baraka to put together the city’s bid. “No one expected us to land on the list anyway.”

Though Glover says the city’s pipeline of new development has been growing steadily for at least four years, she said there’s been a “significant uptick in interest” since Newark made Amazon’s 20-city shortlist in January. It was “an immediate change in the winds,” according to her, though developers are less enthusiastic.

“Listen, it was always a very long shot that Newark would win,” said residential developer Ron Beit of RBH Group. The company’s SoMa Master Plan project was listed in Newark’s bid. “I think Amazon made a mistake,” he said, but, in the same breadth, he noted developers “were all very sober about it.”

The long-standing relationship with Audible, which was acquired by Amazon in 2008 and is based in the city, made some, like Beit, think “we had a chance,” but “no one was sort of underwriting that in their expectations.”

Commercial developer Ben Korman, chairman and CEO Lotus Equity Group and co-founder of C&K Properties with Meir Cohen, had two of his developments included in Newark’s bid and, hours after Amazon’s announcement, even he admitted that “I don’t think [losing HQ2] means a whole lot.”

That said, Korman said the amount of positive press for the city did go a long way in minting a new reputation that developers like him have been trying to sell for years.

“Newark,” he said, “is definitely a player now.”

Korman described the growth of the city as being “more organic” without HQ2 in the mix, but said his work felt no effect from Amazon’s opting for NYC over the Garden State city.

“To be honest, we tried to help, but we were not invested in any way. There’s not much for me to add. A lot will be said about this process, but I’m not the one to say it,” he said.

Additional reporting by Katherine Kallergis and Keith Larsen.

(Credit: iStock)

Miami city commissioners gave preliminary approval to a proposal that would require private developers to include affordable housing in new apartment buildings in a part of the city where denser development would be allowed.

The “inclusionary zoning” proposal would allow denser development in an area between Northeast Second Avenue and North Miami Avenue from approximately 18th Street south to Interstate 395.

In that zone, which covers approximately 30 city blocks, denser development would be allowed to offset the cost that residential building owners would incur for designating a portion of their units as affordable and workforce housing.

City commissioners approved the inclusionary zoning rules in a preliminary 4-0 vote late Thursday, and they will consider final approval of the rules in December.

The city already has approved denser development in exchange for the inclusion of workforce housing units in about six real estate projects.

Melo Group, for example, won city approval for denser development in exchange for including 255 workforce housing units in three towers the firm is developing. Workforce housing is loosely defined as rental apartments affordable for teachers and police officers.

The proposed inclusionary zoning rules would replace the city’s case-by-case approach to requiring some affordable and workforce housing units in exchange for allowing denser residential developments.

The proposed rules would result in mixed-income rental properties. Affordable housing typically takes the form of rental properties occupied solely by low-income tenants.

Under established legal definitions, affordable housing is for families that make 80 percent or less of the median household income in Miami-Dade County. The threshold of 80 percent or less currently equates to $62,950 or less for a family of four in Miami-Dade. Workforce housing is for families of four with a household income of as much as $94,440. [Miami Herald]Mike Seemuth

(Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

The Los Angeles lawyer famous for representing Stormy Daniels is officially in the market for a new office.

Michael Avenatti’s law firm was officially evicted from its Newport Beach digs on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Avenatti had attempted to ward off the eviction — despite failing to appear for the trial against his landlord, Irvine Co., last month and at Friday’s final hearing — but ultimately Judge Robert Moss sided with Irvine.

The landlord claims his tenant is four months late on rent payments and owes a total of $213,254. Avenatti’s law firm has until Monday to vacate.

Avenatti told the Times that he no longer owns the firm on the hook for not paying rent. That entity, Eagan Avenatti, was once owned by Avenatti, but now he claims there is a new, unidentified owner. He said his current firm is Avenatti & Associates. Though Avenatti & Associates operates alongside Eagan Avenatti in the same Newport office with the same staff, the firm’s had different arrangements with the landlord, he claimed.

“Eagan Avenatti, my former firm, was already in the process of moving. A non-event,” he wrote in an email to the Times. He argued in court that Avenatti & Associates had an “oral rental agreement with the landlord.”

The final order of eviction came two days after Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He was released hours later after posting bond to the tune of $50,000. [LAT] — Erin Hudson

Azul Baldwin Park apartment complex in Orlando

A four-year-old apartment complex in Orlando sold for about $243,000 per unit in a 1031 exchange.

California-based Palm Heights bought the 178-unit apartment complex from Jefferson Apartment Group for $43.25 million.

The Azul Baldwin Park apartment complex is at 4460 Lower Park Road in Orlando, about three miles from the city’s central business district.

Built in 2004 on a 4.04-acre site, Azul Baldwin Park is a LEED-certified property located next to Blue Jacket Park and less than a block from Lake Baldwin in Orlando’s Baldwin Park neighborhood.

Baldwin Park is home to 8,000 residents with an average household income of $155,000 and a 190,000-square-foot, Publix-anchored shopping center called Downtown Village Center.

The sale of Azul Baldwin Park “was for a 1031 exchange,” Peter Sherman, a Los Angeles-based principal of brokerage firm Avison Young, said in a prepared statement.

Sherman represented the buyer of the apartment complex together with Rosendo Caveiro, a Miami-based senior vice president of Avison Young.

Brokerage firm Walker & Dunlop represented the seller in the transaction. – Mike Seemuth

Jeff Jones, managing broker of Engel & Völkers in Naples and Bonita Springs

The number of Naples-area houses and condos sold in October increased 17 percent to 730 from 623 last year.

The Naples Area Board of Realtors also reported that the number of houses and condos listed for sale in October rose to 5,992 from 5,010 last year, a 20 percent increase.

“About 10 percent of the new inventory in our MLS during October was new construction. A good portion of this building is taking place in East Naples [Eastern Collier County], which had the highest single-family home inventory reported in October,” Jeff Jones, managing broker for the Engel & Völkers offices in Naples and Bonita Springs.

Closed sales of houses in October rose to 366, up 22 percent from last year, and closed sales of condos during the month increased 18 percent to 308.

The median sale price of houses in October edged up to $344,000 from $342,000 last year, up 1 percent.

The median sale price of condos in October rose to $265,000 from $250,000 last year, up 6 percent.

Naples-area condos listed for sale in October totaled 2,815, or 9 percent more than last year, while the area’s inventory of houses listed for sale surged 31 percent to 3,177.

“There are some neighborhoods where I still see an oversupply in the spec home market, but I’m also seeing inventory begin to tighten in very desirable areas west of U.S. 41,” Cindy Carroll of Carroll & Carroll Appraisers & Consultants, LLC, said in a prepared statement. – Mike Seemuth

Richard Branson aboard train operated by Virgin Trains USA, formerly known as Brightline (Credit: Virgin Group | Tampa Bay Times)

The private passenger-train operator formerly known as Brightline disclosed plans to become a publicly traded company on Friday – the same day it announced a name change linked to a decision by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to become a minority investor in the company.

Virgin Trains USA, the new name of the passenger-train operator, filed an S-1 form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public.

“Our goal is to build railroad systems in North America that connect major metropolitan areas with significant traffic and congestion. We believe that the economics of passenger rail service offer a highly compelling investment opportunity,” the company said in its S-1 filing.

Outside Florida, the company formerly known as Brightline plans to operate on routes that include Los Angeles to San Diego, Dallas to Houston, and Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as its recently acquired route between Las Vegas and Southern California.

According to the S-1 filing, Virgin Trains expects that its passenger-train service in Florida “will stabilize by the fourth quarter of 2023 or the first quarter of 2024” after a two-year “ramp up period.”

The company disclosed that it operated at a loss of $87 million in the first nine months of 2018. At the end of September, Virgin Trains had about $49 million in cash and more than $600 million in debt.

Virgin Trains now operates in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and eventually will extend its Florida passenger rail service to Orlando and Tampa.

Virgin Trains said in its filing with the SEC that it expects 6.6 million riders a year to pay the company a $73 fare to travel by train between Miami and Orlando.

“Based on our expected fares for an individual traveler, we expect that a trip on our trains between Miami and Orlando will be approximately 25 percent less expensive than driving and approximately 30 percent less expensive than flying. We expect to carry approximately 6.6 million passengers annually,” according to the S-1 filing.

Virgin Trains also said in the filing that it is “an emerging growth company,” which means it “may take advantage of certain reduced disclosure and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies.” [Miami Herald]Mike Seemuth

FIU pedestrian bridge collapsed March 15, killing six people (Credit: CNN)

Designers miscalculated the load-bearing strength of the north end of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge that collapsed and caused six deaths, according to federal investigators.

In an update on the federal investigation of the deadly March 15 collapse, experts from the Federal Highway Administration also reported Thursday that designers miscalculated the structural load on the north end of the FIU bridge.

The design errors were consistent with cracks in the FIU bridge before it collapsed, according to the investigative update.

However, the National Transportation Safety Board didn’t cite those design errors as the cause of the bridge collapse, and its investigation of the catastrophe is expected to continue into next year.

Federal Highway Administration experts determined that designers underestimated of the structural load on the north end of the FIU bridge and overestimated the load-bearing strength “of that same critical section.”

Two days before the collapse, an engineer with FIGG Bridge Group, the firm that designed the FIU bridge, left a telephone message with officials at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to report cracks in the bridge and to convey the firm’s belief that the cracks didn’t indicate a safety issue.

FDOT officials didn’t hear the telephone message until after the bridge collapsed.

According to the university, FDOT attended a meeting to discuss the cracks just hours before the bridge collapsed.

In a statement, FIGG said the investigative update didn’t determine the cause of the collapse and the firm continues to work with the National Transportation Safety Board. [Associated Press]Mike Seemuth

Publix opened a new supermarket in downtown Hollywood on Feb. 22 (Credit: YouTube)

Publix Super Markets plans to build a waterfront store with a dock on Hollywood’s barrier island.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said in a Facebook post that the planned Publix supermarket would have a dock for boaters who want to stock their vessels with groceries.

A spokeswoman for Publix declined to comment.

Lakeland-based Publix intends to build a three-story supermarket at 3100 South Ocean Drive, a one-acre site along the Intracoastal Waterway just north of the Diplomat Beach Resort. The supermarket itself would be on the top floor, and parking would be on the first and second floors.

Graham Penn, an attorney for the owner of the one-acre site, said in a letter to the city government that the planned Publix store would benefit city residents because it would be the first supermarket on the barrier island in Hollywood.

According to Raelin Story, a spokeswoman for the City of Hollywood, Publix is expected to present its plan for the proposed supermarket to the city’s Technical Advisory Committee in December and then to the Planning and Development Board, which makes recommendations to city commissioners. [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

Edward J. Minskoff listed his Faena House condo for $16.5 million (Credit: Wall Street Journal | Douglas Elliman)

New York-based real estate developer Edward J. Minskoff listed his apartment at the Faena House condominium in Miami Beach for sale with an asking price of $16.5 million, about 8 percent more than he paid in 2015.

Edward J. Minskoff

Minskoff is the latest in a series of wealthy individuals who have decided to sell units at Faena House, one of the most expensive condominiums in South Florida.

Minskoff told Mansion Global that his $15.3 million acquisition of the apartment was an “impulse purchase” that he now regrets, because he spends most of his time in New York City or Malibu, California, and spends little time in Miami. Minskoff also said he wants to sell his Faena House apartment quickly and would be content to sell it for the price he paid.

Mansion Global also reported investor Leon Black sold his Faena House condo last year for $12.5 million, which was $4 million less than he paid, and that art dealer Larry Gagosian sold a penthouse unit at Faena House in late 2017 for $12 million, nearly $1 million less than he paid.

Hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin bought two units at Faena House for $60 million and recently took them off the market after listing them for sale for $73 million.

Many of the wealthy owners of Faena House condos bought them as investments and decided to resell them after the Miami-area condo market softened, according to Peter Zawleski, principal of Condo Vultures in Miami, a real estate consulting firm.

But Oren Alexander of brokerage firm Douglas Elliman, one of the listing agents for Minskoff’s condo, told Mansion Global that Faena House is performing better than other high-end condominiums and that the market has revived as wealthy New Yorkers seeking a more favorable tax treatment shop for Miami-area condos. [Mansion Global] – Mike Seemuth

Clockwise from top left: Amazon announces plans to divide its HQ2 between Long Island City and Crystal City, WeWork secures a $3B investment from SoftBank, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices plans to open up new offices abroad, and the MTA will shell out $35M for Grand Central Terminal.

Amazon announces plans to split its HQ2 between Long Island City and Crystal City
After months of speculation and unconfirmed reports, Amazon finally made its long-awaited HQ2 announcement Tuesday. The Seattle-based company said that it would divide its second headquarters between Crystal City in Virginia and Long Island City in New York. The e-commerce behemoth also plans to open a “regional hub” in Nashville for its retail operations division’s tech and management functions. New York State has said it plans to dole out $1.7 billion in tax credits and grants to Amazon for choosing Long Island City, while Virginia has promised to provide the company $574 million in incentives and rebrand Crystal City as “National Landing.” [TRD]

WeWork secures $3B investment from SoftBank, reaching $45B valuation
SoftBank is investing $3 billion in WeWork, giving the rapidly expanding co-working giant a valuation of $45 billion, according to various news reports. The investment will land WeWork in second place on the list of the country’s most valuable startups, surpassed only by Uber and one place ahead of Airbnb. The infusion won’t be SoftBank’s first investment in WeWork. The Japanese conglomerate’s Saudi Arabia-backed Vision Fund invested $4.4 billion in the startup last year and another $1 billion in August through a convertible note. WeWork reported a revenue of $1.2 billion in the first three quarters of 2018, and the investment comes as the company continues to grow. [TRD]

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to open up new offices abroad
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) has global aspirations. The residential brokerage plans to expand to Dubai, Milan, and Vienna, and will partner with Kay & Co. to open up to 10 new offices within the next decade, according to Bloomberg. The company is also eyeing Hong Kong, Madrid, Mexico City, Paris, and Tokyo as it looks to expand. “We’ve got a number of markets already teed up,” Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates, which oversees BHHS, told the outlet. “Eventually we’ll be in all the major metropolitan markets.” BHHS, the second-largest real estate brokerage in the country, recently expanded in Boston and last year bought Westchester County-based brokerage Houlihan Lawrence and the Long & Foster Cos. [TRD]

$1B public offering will allow Boston Properties to invest in more green projects
Boston Properties hopes to raise $1 billion in a public offering and put the expected $988.1 million in proceeds toward green projects across the country. The company already owns and manages 20 million square feet of LEED Gold and LEED Platinum-certified projects, including the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which it co-owns with Hines. Boston Properties has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and its water and energy use by 2025. If the public offering is a success, the company will also repay debt and invest in a short-term securities purchase. The public offering is expected to close at the end of the month. [TRD]

MAJOR MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

The MTA will to pay $35M for Grand Central Terminal instead of continuing to lease it
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been leasing Grand Central Terminal, but now it plans to buy it. The MTA said this week that it would purchase the famous transit hub, along with the Hudson Line from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie and the Harlem Line to Dover Plains, for $35 million. MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber said in a statement that it was cheaper for the MTA to buy the terminal than to continue renting it until 2274, when its lease is up, given current interest rates. “Financially, it makes sense; operationally it makes sense,” MTA board member Carl Weisbrod told the Wall Street Journal. [TRD]

Florida real estate firm fires agent who mocked Andrew Gillum supporters
A South Florida company axed one of its real estate agents after a video showed her mocking supporters of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, the Daily Business Review reported. Gillum, a Democrat, conceded to former Rep. Ron DeSantis on election night, but withdrew his concession amid a recount. Over the weekend, United Realty Group agent Liliana Albarino-Olinick took part in various chants, saying that Gillum’s supporters only wanted him to be mayor “because is black” and calling them “racists,” according to the outlet. Olinick later apologized, saying the incident wasn’t indicative of “the person that I am.” [TRD]

Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto drops more than $100M on Chicago building
Morningstar founder and billionaire Joe Mansueto has shelled out more than $100 million for the iconic Belden-Stratford apartments in Chicago. PGIM is selling the Beaux Arts building to Mansueto, who recently purchased the Wrigley Building for around $255 million. Belden-Stratford houses 297 units and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Mansueto, who is now the executive chairman of Morningstar, has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion. Earlier this year, he bought a 49 percent stake in the Chicago Fire, a Major League Soccer franchise. As for Belden-Stratford, it is nearly fully occupied. [TRD]

Netflix leasing more Hollywood office space as it continues to invest in programming
Netflix is leasing 355,000 square feet of office space in Hollywood. The streaming giant’s lease at Kilroy Realty’s Academy on Vine project, which is still under construction, will start in 2020. Last month, the company announced that it would lease the 13-story Epic office development that’s under construction on Sunset Boulevard, in addition to extending its leases at the Icon building and the Cue building on the Sunset Bronson Studios lot. Netflix’s real estate expansion mirrors its investments in its programming. A Goldman Sachs projection indicated that the company would spend around $13 billion on content this year. [TRD]

Compass buys D.C.-based brokerage for an undisclosed sum
SoftBank-backed Compass has snapped up Washington D.C.-based Wydler Brothers Real Estate as it continues to expand across the country, Inman reported. The deal means that Compass, which broke into the D.C. market approximately four years ago, will now have more than 500 agents in the area, according to the outlet. Earlier this year, Compass bought West Coast brokerage Pacific Union International Realty and San Francisco-based Paragon. BHHS PenFed Realty, Century 21 New Millennium, and Keller Williams Capital Properties are among Compass’ primary D.C. competitors. Compass currently has more than 7,000 agents across the country. [TRD]

Hawaii sees its most expensive single-family home sale ever on Kauai
A waterfront estate on Kauai has sold for $46.1 million in the most expensive single-family home sale Hawaii has ever seen, the Wall Street Journal reported. A trust created by William Strong, the former head of Morgan Stanley’s Asia Pacific operations, and his wife listed the property for $70 million in May 2017, so the home known as Hale ‘Ae Kai did take a price chop. The 15-acre estate has six bedrooms, exterior decks, pools and media and exercise rooms, as well as a farm where coconut trees, exotic palms and other plants grow. Before this, the highest single-family home sale in Hawaii was a Maui home that sold for $41.8 million in 2015. [TRD]



If builders have money, they’re gonna build: Stephen Ross from CNBC.

Most housing markets across the country are dealing with an oversupply of homes, according to Related Companies founder Stephen Ross.

The rental market, however, has remained very strong, as many young people find they prefer renting to buying, Ross told CNBC.

“I think that all goes back to the housing crisis when they saw what happened to their families, you know, in 2008, and the dislocation that occurred,” he said.

Millennials’ homeownership rate is lower than their parents and grandparents, and mortgage application volume dropped by 22 percent year over year.

Additionally, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has reached its highest point since 2010, and the housing industry appears set to see its worst trading year since the 2008 crisis.

“So those rising interest rates will certainly have an impact on the number of buyers and what they’re looking for and what they can afford,” Ross told CNBC. [CNBC] – Eddie Small

Sam Zell (Credit: Getty Images and Pixabay)

He’s bearish on the real estate market, and looking to sell.

Sam Zell’s firm Equity Group Investments has either sold or intends to sell stakes in at least four companies dating back to last October, according to Bloomberg. It has announced one new investment over the same time period.

The firm may look to sell Ardent Health Partners as well. The company, which EGI bought in 2015, is getting ready for a public offering.

The 77-year-old sell has called himself a net real estate seller since 2015 at least. Equity Residential has sold $8.5 billion worth of properties since that year.

“At the moment, we don’t see enormous opportunity,” Zell said to Bloomberg TV in March. “Pricing today, primarily because of the supply-demand scenario in terms of capital, is distorting all markets, and there’s too much capital chasing too little opportunity.” [Bloomberg]  – Eddie Small

9700 West Suburban Drive and Tyler Johnson (Credit: Zignavisual and Getty)

Miami Heat player Tyler Johnson just sold his Pinecrest home for $4.35 million, taking a slight loss on the property.

Johnson, who in 2016 signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Heat, paid $4.82 million for the home at 9700 West Suburban Drive that same year. He listed it the following year for $5.25 million.

The Miami Heat guard just sold it to an undisclosed buyer, according to a spokesperson for One Sotheby’s International Realty. Kimberly Knausz of One Sotheby’s represented Johnson, and Charles Bauer brought the buyer, according to Redfin.

The six-bedroom, 9,476-square-foot mansion includes dual chef’s kitchens, a home office, theater, entertainment room with a bar and pool tables, a basketball court, in-ground trampoline, pool, pool house and summer kitchen.

It was built in 2009 and sits on more than an acre of land.

Earlier this year, Johnson’s teammate James Johnson paid $5.2 million for the seven-bedroom, 7,700-square-foot home at 8955 Southwest 63rd Court, also in Pinecrest.

Just this week, Major League Baseball All-Star Eugenio Suárez paid $4.55 million for the 8,287-square-foot Pinecrest house at 6220 Southwest 108th Street.

2000 Ocean in Hallandale Beach breaks ground

Shahab Karmely, founder and CEO of KAR Properties, celebrated the groundbreaking for 2000 Ocean, the developer’s new luxury oceanfront condominium in Hallandale Beach.

Fortune International Group is handling sales at the 64-unit boutique project at 2000 South Ocean Drive. 2000 Ocean will rise as a 38-story glass tower designed by Enrique Norten of Ten Arquitectos with units furnished by Italian design brand Minotti.

Residences by Armani/Casa hosts dinner with Master Brokers Forum

Residences by Armani/Casa hosted a dinner for the Miami Master Brokers Forum bringing together more than 120 master brokers at its sales gallery at 18325 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach.

The dinner was followed by a panel discussion moderated by MBF chair Jeff Morr and featuring Mayor Francis Suarez from the city of Miami; Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli from the city of Coral Gables; and Philippe Houdard, co-founder of Pipeline and a director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

Residences by Armani/Casa is being developed by a partnership between Dezer Development, the Related Group and Rockpoint Group.

At The Real Deal‘s fifth annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum, Editor-in-Chief Stuart Elliott moderated a panel on how South Florida developers are financing and building amid the late stages of a market cycle. Panelists included Jules Trump (The Trump Group), Moishe Mana (Mana Group), Michael Stern (JDS Development), Louis Birdman (Birdman Real Estate Development) and Kieran Bowers (Swire Properties).

Check out the full video above and read more coverage from the event here.

A Brightline train and Richard Branson

Within two weeks, Brightline will be known as “Virgin Trains USA.”

Brightline announced on Friday that Richard Branson’s Virgin Group will provide a minority investment and form a strategic partnership with the high-speed passenger rail company. Under the partnership, Brightline will be renamed this month and will transition to Virgin Trains USA branding in 2019, according to a release.

The company did not disclose the size of Virgin’s investment and said Fortress Investment Group will retain majority ownership.

Brightline currently operates passenger rail service in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and has plans to expand into Orlando and Tampa in the future. The company recently announced plans to construct a high-speed rail system to connect Las Vegas to Southern California.

Brightline provided few details about what its partnership with Virgin means for Brightline beyond a rebranding and renaming. A spokesperson for the company declined comment.

According to the release, the partnership “could help to provide access to millions of customers with the potential for increased ridership from other Virgin branded travel and hospitality businesses, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Hotels and Virgin Voyages.”

In August, Brightline’s operator All Aboard Florida secured $1.75 billion in federally issued tax-exempt bonds which will allow Brightline to expand rail service to Orlando.

The Palm Beach Post reported in October that Brightline’s passenger volume increased to 106,090 in April, May and June, up from 74,780 during the first three months of the year, but far below projections.

Brightline, whose parent company is Florida East Coast Industries, also owns real estate near its stations, including the nine-acre MiamiCentral near downtown Miami.

Rendering of Oasis at Wynwood

Carpe Real Estate Partners just closed on a $10 million construction and acquisition loan for Oasis at Wynwood, a mixed-use adaptive reuse project on North Miami Avenue.

Iberia Bank is the lender. David Weitz and Erik Rutter of Carpe paid $14 million in March for the 1.65-acre site at 2335 North Miami Avenue from Goltens Miami, a marine engine repair company.

As planned, Carpe will convert four warehouses totaling 35,000 square feet and a 35,000-square-foot courtyard. Rutter said the firm is in permitting and plans to break ground on the creative office and retail development “imminently” and turn the spaces over to tenants as early as December 2019. The developer plans to go before the Wynwood Design Review Committee soon.

The project will include about 20,000 square feet of office space with 30-foot ceiling heights, a private deck, 4,000 square feet of mezzanine space and access to parking; 17,000 square feet of flexible retail; a courtyard with an outdoor food hall, public seating, landscaping and art exhibits, according to its website. Six shipping containers will be able to house up to 12 vendors.

Zach Winkler of JLL is handling retail leasing and Brian Gale of Cushman & Wakefield is handling office leasing. Rutter declined to provide asking rates.

Carpe could eventually build a new project on the site. The property is zoned T-6-8 and T-5, which means it can be developed into 12 and eight stories, and between 400,000 square feet and 600,000 square feet.

Rendering of MIMO apartment

The development group behind a new American Legion building and apartment complex in Miami’s MiMo District just scored a $51 million construction loan.

The developer, ACRE GCDM Bay Investments, will use the loan to fund the construction of its contentious project in the quiet 3.5-acre residential area off of Biscayne Boulevard at 6445 Northeast Seventh Avenue. The developer is planning to build a 237-unit apartment building, 435 parking spaces and a new 15,000 square-foot American Legion facility.

The planned American Legion building will replace the former American Legion Post 29, which was demolished in 2016 and had been a popular hangout spot in the neighborhood for decades.

ACRE GCDM Bay Investments is led by a partnership that includes Global City Development principal Brian Pearl, Midtown Group principal Jon Samuel, and Asia Capital Real Estate partners Leslie Menkes, Blake Olafson and Michael Van Der Poel.

Pearl of Global City declined comment through a spokesperson.

Coastal Construction is the contractor for the project and filed a notice of commencement to begin construction on the site, according to property records.

So far, the development group has been quiet about its previously proposed second phase of the project, called Legion West. Previous plans called for 476 condos and three towers as tall as 176 feet for phase two, and the developers sought to gain a Special Area Plan  from the city, only to later call off the plan

The project had been highly contested by some of the neighbors who were concerned about traffic and building height.

Commercial real estate brokers, agents and appraisers made more money than ever last year, even as transactions slow because of tight inventory.

A survey by the National Association of Realtors found that the median gross annual income for commercial members hit an all-time high of $150,700 last year, almost $30,000 more than 2016.

Transactions dropped to a median of seven in 2017 from eight the year prior, but the median dollar value of sales hit $602,500 from $543,500 in 2016. Median transaction volume was up to $3.87 million last year, a $370,500 increase from 2016.

On the leasing side, median gross volume was up to $705,500 from $538,500 in 2016.

The growth in income and transaction volume “has convinced more and more members to enter the commercial industry,” according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

NAR represents 1.3 million people in the residential and commercial industries and 2,324 people responded to its commercial survey.

Brokers were the highest paid of the bunch, taking in an annual gross income of nearly $187,000, but income was up across the board. NAR’s commercial members with less than two years of experience saw their median annual income rise to $44,000 last year from $31,500 in 2016.

The figures for 2018 and beyond might end up telling a different story. Rising interest rates and lower demand for office and retail space could hold back growth in the sector.

Deal volume rose 4 percent in the first half of 2018 over the same period last year, but that’s likely a momentary bump, Colliers International U.S. Chief Economist Andrew Nelson told Bisnow last month. He expects volumes to drop in the future.

“We’re close to the actual top of the market,” he said. “It’s always difficult to call the top of the market with any precision, but I think we’re very close to it.”

Bruce Flatt and David LaRue (Credit: iStock)

After facing some opposition, Brookfield Asset Management will move forward with its $6.8 billion purchase of Forest City Realty Trust.

Forest City’s shareholders voted in favor of the deal on Thursday morning, the company announced. The vote clears the way for Brookfield to buy the real estate investment trust, a deal that is expected to close on or before Dec. 10.

The news follows failed efforts to stall the shareholder vote. Forest City’s former CEO Albert Ratner had filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, seeking to delay the vote. He called the Brookfield deal a “shameful value giveaway” that deprived shareholders of as much as $5.8 billion. But an Ohio judge on Wednesday refused to halt the vote.

Forest City announced the deal in July, after rejecting an earlier bid from Brookfield.

(Credit: iStock, Pixabay, and Wikipedia)

Don’t call it a “buyer’s market.” Don’t call it a “correction.” But the fact is that a sobering change is taking shape in the housing market — an unmistakable cooling trend that defies an economy that is showing impressive growth, has the lowest unemployment rate in years and the highest home-equity levels on record.
Anyone thinking of selling or buying a home shouldn’t ignore it. Doing so could cost you money, time and maybe a great opportunity.

Call it a re-balancing. For years since the end of the financial crisis, prices in most markets have increased steadily — by single digits annually in most places, double digits in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and others that have vibrant employment growth plus persistent and deep shortages of homes for sale. Sellers were in the saddle.

That was then. This is now:

— Sales of existing and new homes have been sagging for half a year. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, resales have been dropping since the spring compared with year-earlier levels. At the end of the third quarter, resales were 2.4 percent below their level at the end of the same quarter in 2017. That’s despite growing inventories of homes available for sale in some areas, reversing the boom-time pattern of bidding wars that pushed prices to record levels and drove buyers batty.

— Mortgage rates hit their highest level in nearly eight years in early November — 5.15 percent for a conventional 30-year fixed-rate loan — according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Lending Tree, an online network that pairs mortgage applicants with lenders, reported last week that the average annual percentage rate quoted to shoppers was 5.27 percent. Buyers with good scores between 680 and 719 were quoted 5.42 percent.

Though rates in the 5’s may sound reasonable to people who purchased or refinanced a home a decade ago, they are disturbingly high to millennials and other young buyers and magnify the affordability challenges they already face. Higher rates are also daunting to the millions of owners who have mortgages with rates in the mid-3-percent to 4-percent range. Rather than pursuing a move-up or downsizing purchase — requiring a new mortgage at today’s rates — many of them prefer to hunker down on the sidelines, further reducing sales activity.

— Sellers are cutting their list prices. According to research by realty brokerage Redfin, 28.7 percent of prices of homes listed for sale in major markets during the month ending October 14 saw reductions. That’s the highest share of homes with price drops recorded since Redfin began tracking this metric in 2010. One of the key reasons for the cuts: Demand by shoppers is down by more than 10 percent compared with a year earlier. Consumer psychology is shifting as well: A national survey by Fannie Mae released last week found that the net share of Americans who believe it’s a good time to buy has fallen to just 21 percent, while the net share who say it’s a good time to sell is 35 percent.

There are other signs of cooling underway that could be cited, but you get the point. The cycle has moved from seller-advantage to at least mildly purchaser-advantage in many parts of the U.S. Bear in mind, of course, that the cooling trend nationwide may not mean the same things are happening in your neighborhood. In fact, some cities with moderate housing costs are seeing price increases, homes selling above list, and tightening inventories. According to Redfin, nearly 40 percent of homes in Buffalo, New York, are selling above list at median prices 8.5 percent higher than last year’s. In Richmond, Virginia, 29 percent of homes are selling above list; in Akron, Ohio, 22 percent are selling for more than the original asking price, as are 23.2 percent in Greensboro, North Carolina.

So what does this mean to you as a potential seller or buyer? Top of the list: Speak to multiple realty professionals to get a good handle on where your local market is relative to the national cool-down. If you’re a seller, the key to your transaction will be getting your list pricing right. If you’re a buyer, take your time but keep in mind: If you shop diligently, this fall could be a smart time to catch a deal — a marked-down price on the house you really want.

225 West Wacker Drive in Chicago and Brett White (Credit: iStock and Hines)

Cushman & Wakefield reported revenues of $2.07 billion during the third quarter, an increase of 21 percent over the same time last year.

Expenses during the quarter rose 17 percent on the year to $2.06 billion, for operating income on the quarter of $11 million.

“We’re making good progress in our financial, operational and strategic growth objectives,” CEO Brett White said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call Tuesday evening.

It was Cushman’s second earnings call since the company went public with its $765 million initial public offering in August.

Cushman was saddled with a significant amount of debt following the IPO, and during the third quarter the company refinanced its debt facilities. Cushman issued $2.7 billion of first-lien debt that carries a seven-year maturity.

The company paid off its second lien, and completed a new revolving credit facility of $810 million with a five-year maturity.

Fee revenue in the Americas grew 20 percent in the quarter, driven by a 34 percent increase in leasing growth and 25 percent in capital markets, the company said. White also said he expects strong office leasing numbers to continue into 2019.

Cushman’s stock price late Wednesday afternoon was at $18.65 per share, up from its IPO price of $17 per share.

(Credit: iStock)

The Treasury Department drastically increased the number of all-cash deals that are subject to its anti-money laundering rules on Thursday.

Starting Nov. 17, title insurance firms will be required to disclose the identity of LLC buyers who spend $300,000 or more on the real estate purchase.

Previously, the rule applied to cash deals above $3 million in Manhattan and $1.5 million in New York City’s other boroughs. The threshold was $2 million in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego; $1 million in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida; and $500,000 in San Antonio, Texas.

The government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) disclosed the revised rules Thursday. Like previous Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), the onus is on title insurance companies to comply with the order. Purchases using virtual currency are now also covered by the GTO.

The ruling applies to 12 major metro areas including New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, San Antonio, San Diego and Seattle.

FinCEN initially launched the LLC disclosure rule in March 2016 in an attempt to stop the flow of dirty money into real estate, but critics have long said the rules have gaping loopholes.

In May, FinCEN re-upped the rules but instructed title companies not disclose details of the new rules.

Aurelio Fernandez, Petco

Memorial Healthcare Systems just bought a Petco store in Pembroke Pines for $6.5 million, just a few months after acquiring the Toys “R” Us next door.

Memorial Healthcare Systems, one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country, purchased the 15,775-square-foot building at 12251 Pines Boulevard for $412 per square foot, property records show.

C. Kennon Hetlage, executive vice president of west operations at Memorial Healthcare System said the Petco and Toy’s “R” Us buildings will be used as part of the expansion of Memorial Hospital West.

Hetlage said plans for the development of the site are currently underway and will include the relocation and expansion of the Memorial Cancer Institute. Construction is anticipated to begin in mid-to-late 2019, according to Hetlage.

The site includes a parking lot, and the combined property totals 94,857 square feet. The building was originally built in 1990 and renovated in 2004.

Alexandra Escudero of Fortune International Realty represented the seller in the deal.

Petco, a privately-held pet retailer with about 1,500 locations, purchased the building for $5.8 million in 2015, records show.

In August, Memorial Health Systems bought the 15,755-square-foot Toys “R” Us store. The Pembroke Pines store was one of about 800 Toys “R” Us stores across the country that closed after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Landlords are now struggling to find new tenants for those properties.

Three of South Florida’s top retail landlords agree that their sector’s so-called apocalypse is “greatly over-exaggerated.”

The conclusion came out in a recent panel discussion at The Real Deal‘s annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum led by associate web editor Katherine Kallergis. The panelists included Craig Robins of DACRA, Jackie Soffer of Turnberry and Jonathon Yormak of East End Capital. Read more coverage from the event here and check out the video above for the full conversation.

Foreign-born homeowners tend to own homes in metropolitan areas with higher home values, according to a new report.

Homeownership rates among immigrants is highest in Miami and San Jose, California, where a quarter of foreign-born residents own their homes, according to the report by LendingTree.com, first reported by the New York Times.

The report examined ownership rates among foreign-born and native-born residents in the 50 most populated metropolitan areas of the country.

Home values were above the national average of $220,200 in eight of the 10 cities with the highest rates of ownership among immigrants. San Jose has one of the highest, if not the highest, average home values in the country at $957,700.

About 14 percent of immigrants in New York own their homes, according to the study, which also found that cities with many immigrant homeowners tend to have lower percentages of native-born homeowners than cities with very few foreign-born owners.

The 10 cities with the lowest homeownership rates among immigrants also tended to be further from the coasts. Pittsburgh had the lowest rate — just 2 percent of foreign-born residents own their homes there, according to the report.

Cities with the lowest homeownership rates among immigrants also had high ownership rates among U.S.-born residents. Rates for U.S. citizens in the 10 cities with the lowest foreign-born homeownership rates were between 57 percent and 68 percent.

None of those metro areas had home values above the national average. The highest average home value was in Columbus, Ohio, where the typical home is worth $182,300.

Overall, homeownership has declined in the U.S. since the recession because of higher lending standards, more expensive homes, and low supply. The homeownership rate as of April was 64.4 percent, down from a peak of 69.4 percent in April 2004. [New York Times] – Dennis Lynch

Rendering of 3621 South Ocean

A new luxury townhome project in Highland Beach just recorded its first two sales, including one to the founder and chairman of SBA Communications, Steven E. Bernstein.

The north building of the six-unit townhome project at 3621 South Ocean Boulevard was recently completed by a joint partnership between Sean Posner’s Grafton Street Capital, Capital Development Group International and Halstatt Real Estate Partners. The south building consists of three units and is expected to be completed as early as next week.

Property records show Bernstein paid $6.9 million for townhome U-1 at the development. Bernstein’s SBA Communications, based in Boca Raton, owns and operates wireless infrastructure in North America and Latin America.

Townhome U-2 sold for $6.6 million to Joel Zychick, who acted as a trustee of the Stuart Siegel irrevocable trust.

Bill Hennessy of the Posner Group said the partners bought the land in 2015 for about $11 million. The property spans a little more than an acre and features 201 feet of ocean frontage. The development team broke ground on the project in 2016.

“Highland Beach zoning for multifamily is very rare and probably not available right now,” Hennessy said. “We thought there was an opportunity at that price point, because new single-family homes in the area are selling between $15 million to $20 million.”

The five-bedroom, six-bathroom, four-story townhomes each feature a pool, rooftop deck, high ceilings and two-car garages. Chris Leavitt and Ashley McIntosh of The Leavitt McIntosh Team at Douglas Elliman are handling sales for 3621 South Ocean. Prices begin at about $6 million.

Leavitt said he’s recently seen strong interest from buyers based in New York, and is planning a fourth showing for some of the remaining units.

Grafton was co-founded by Posner, the grandson of the late real estate mogul and former corporate raider Victor Posner, and his business partner Jed Resnick in 2014. Past projects in South Florida include at least three spec homes in Miami Beach, built in partnership with Todd Michael Glaser, one of which traded for about $30 million and another for $19.5 million.

Rendering of North Beach development (Credit: Dover, Kohl & Partners)

Miami Beach greenlit the voter-mandated upzoning of North Beach on Wednesday more than a year after residents endorsed a zoning increase for a ten-block area of the neighborhood.

Property owners are now able to build twice as much as they were previously allowed to in the Town Center area, which mainly consists of retail plazas, vacant lots and apartment buildings between Indian Creek Drive, Dickens Avenue, 72nd Street, Collins Avenue, and 69th Street. By a vote of 6 to 1, the commission approved the referendum to a thunderous applause of an audience filled with North Beach residents and real estate brokers.

North Beach boosters hope the zoning increase will jumpstart economic development in what some describe as a blighted area.

Developer Robert Finvarb said the new zoning change will enable him to build two 220-foot-tall buildings at 71st Street and Abbot Avenue that will be geared toward recent college graduates.

“At the end of the day, it’s about bringing millennials to the city because that is going to create the vibrancy that’s going to support the retail, the office, everything else,” said Finvarb, who intends to build the projects in partnership with fellow real estate developer Matis Cohen.

“You need to create a product that will attract kids who are graduating from college, starting their first jobs, and looking to find a place to raise a family.”

Finvarb said the details are still being worked out, but he intends to build a project that will include retail, restaurants and 700 market-rate affordable residential units ranging between 400 and 800 square feet. Finvarb added that he intended to present plans to the city within the next four or five months.

Under the city’s Save Miami Beach charter amendment, any increase in floor area ratio (used by the city to calculate future density for properties) must be approved by Miami Beach voters.

In November 2017, for the first time ever, Miami Beach voters approved an FAR increase for the Town Center to 3.5. Previously, the FAR ranged between 1.25 and 2.5. Several months of discussions on the design guidelines for the future Town Center area followed.

Following pleas from North Beach residents and business owners for more incentives for developers wishing to build in the Town Center area, the commission agreed to amend the code to allow structures up to 220 feet in height on large lots north of 71st Street, following design review board approval. Developers were also given 21 months from the date of approval to obtain building permits in order to avoid a public benefit charge of $3 per square foot to build above 125 feet.

The proceeds would be used to help preserve historic structures in North Beach, improve area parks, enhance public transportation and other “quality of life” initiatives.

Jerry Libbin, president of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, thought the public benefit fee was unfair. “Why are you treating North Beach differently?” he asked. “A developer on Washington Avenue [in South Beach] was allowed an increase in height with no fee.”

Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman said the fee was a way to encourage developers to build faster. “We want to encourage [development] sooner rather than later,” she said.

The zoning also allowed developers to build small hotel rooms and apartment units in order to encourage market-rate affordable units. But Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, a critic of the zoning increase for Town Center, ridiculed the idea of allowing micro-hotel units as small as 175 square feet, 375-square-foot “co-living spaces,” and 400-square-foot workforce housing units.

“Who is going to want to stay in a 175-square-foot hotel room?” Rosen Gonzalez asked. When Rosen Gonzalez, the lone dissenter for the zoning change, predicted that such small units would likely lower property values in North Beach, the audience in the commission chambers booed.

“As for the micro living,” said Renee Grossman, a Compass real estate agent, referring to the micro units permitted in Town Center, “that exists in Brickell and it’s what millennials do.”

Eugenio Suarez and 6220 Southwest 108th Street

Major League Baseball All-Star Eugenio Suárez just picked up a home in Pinecrest.

Suárez, an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds, paid $4.55 million for the 8,287-square-foot house at 6220 Southwest 108th Street, according to Brown Harris Stevens Miami. Property records show Sierra Development #2 LLC, led by Filiberto Sierra, sold the newly built mansion.

Josie Wang of Brown Harris Stevens Miami represented the seller, who paid $1.15 million for the 39,639-square-foot lot in 2015.

The Pinecrest estate features six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a kitchen with double islands, a media room, guest suite and an outdoor kitchen.

Suárez, a 27-year-old, Venezuelan-born baseball player, played for the Detroit Tigers in 2014 before joining the Cincinnati Reds the following season. In March, he signed a seven-year, $66 million contract with the Reds and was named to the MLB’s All-Star Game this year.

A number of professional athletes call Pinecrest their home. Wang is also listing the estate of retired MLB star Placido Polanco nearby at 6430 Southwest 122nd Street for nearly $4.4 million.

In July, James Johnson of the Miami Heat paid $5.2 million for the house at 8955 Southwest 63rd Court.

A rendering of 500 Alton Road and Russell Galbut

After years of trying to score approval for a taller project at the entrance to Miami Beach, developer Russell Galbut got his first approval for a tower up to 519 feet in height.

Following hours of testimony from nearby residents and deliberation by elected officials on Wednesday, the Miami Beach City Commission unanimously voted in favor of the project, which will include a public park, on first reading. Galbut called the vote “magical” and “a huge opportunity for our community.”

The commission will vote again on second reading on three ordinances related to the 600 Alton Road project, as well as a development agreement between the city and Galbut, on Dec. 12.

Nevertheless, the commission is moving forward with a significant zoning change for three parcels controlled by Galbut’s Crescent Heights at the 500, 600 and 700 blocks of Alton Road.

Galbut currently has the right to build a 281-unit residential building on top of the 120-foot tall skeletal remains of South Shore Hospital, plus a new 75-foot tall, 163-unit multifamily building on the 500 block, and a 60-foot tall, 66-unit building on the 700 block.

Under the proposed zoning, Galbut would be able to build a 550,000-square-foot tower designed by Arquitectonica on the 500 block plus 15,000 square feet of retail on the 600 block. The 519-foot height for 600 Alton was also taller than the 485-foot height cap recommended by the city’s land use committee.

To secure the upzoning, Galbut will have to pay for a new $18.5 million, 3-acre park that would be accessible to the public. The park, which is also designed by Arquitectonica, would include an elevated looped walking path, playgrounds, shade trees, and water retention berms designs to make the public space resilient to sea level rise. The park would have to be completed within four years of the city’s final approval of the project.

Galbut also committed to paying $762,862 toward a bay walk behind the Mirador and Mondrian, two waterfront condominiums near 11th Street and West Avenue that were developed by Crescent Heights.

Galbut withdrew his earlier request to allow short-term rentals, although the developer still sought the right to establish nine “amenity” units, for guests of future 600 Alton Road residents. However, several area residents rejected any form of hotel use, fearing that it would increase traffic and erode the predominate condo character of western South Beach.

Galbut said the project will likely be built as a luxury rental product, at least until the condo market heats up again. “We have in the past built as rentals but condominium quality, and kept them as rentals until the market turned around,” he said.

Galbut has been seeking a massive height increase at the former South Shore Hospital site for years. In 2016, he offered to give the city 20,000 square feet of land for a transit hub in exchange for increasing the height limit at 500 Alton Road from seven floors to 25 stories.

At Wednesday’s commission meeting, not everyone was happy with the proposal. Some felt that the zoning change circumvented the city’s Save Miami Beach charter amendment requiring a voter referendum prior to the city granting any increase in future density rights.

During the session’s public hearing, South Beach preservationist and writer Clotilde Luce predicted that 600 Alton Road would “fail.”

“It will fail because this is a really terrible piece of real estate,” she said, adding that the non-waterfront site is by a busy highway and within sight of a “Ross Dress For Less” sign. “Everything we [the city] is doing is artificially boosting the value of a terrible piece of real estate.”

From left: Panelist Frank Guerra, Moderator Peggy Fucci, Panelists Ricardo Caporal, and Brian Koles (Credit: iStock)

In a Coral Gables office building owned by Altis Cardinal, anchor tenant American Airlines recently slashed its space by nearly half without shedding any employees, according to the real estate development firm’s founder Frank Guerra.

“American went from 27,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet with the exact same headcount,” Guerra told attendees at a Crew-Miami luncheon on Wednesday. “There’s a lot more telecommuting taking place.”

The drastic reduction was a result of creating flexible working conditions for millennial employees, Guerra explained. The office and apartment building developer joined Mattoni Group founder and President Ricardo Caporal and Property Markets Group brand and experience director Brian Koles for a panel discussion on how millennials are influencing changes in how commercial spaces are designed, residential projects are marketed and amenity packages are configured in South Florida. OneWorld Properties broker Peggy Fucci moderated the discussion.

Instead of a single cubicle for an employee that comes in five days a week, corporate tenants now want work stations that can be shared by two or more staffers who come into the office on alternating schedules, Guerra said. On the multifamily side of real estate, millennials want more business amenities than leisure ones, he added.

“We are seeing more office services on the ground floor where it may have been a racquetball court in the past,” Guerra said. “They even want conference rooms because they want to hold meetings where they live.”

Koles touted the emergence of co-living as another millennial-driven real estate trend that PMG believes will produce profitable results. Earlier this year, PMG announced it was launching X Social Communities, a division that matches roommates in fully furnished apartments in buildings owned by PMG. Over the summer, the company opened X Miami at 230 Northeast 4th Street in downtown Miami.

“Co-living with roommates is not something we invented or is a new trend,” Koles said. “I feel very comfortable telling our investors, ‘it’s a good bet.'”

Millennials also want functionality when it comes to equipping buildings with smart technology, Koles said. For instance, he said, X Miami and other PMG properties have package lockers where deliveries can be dropped off. A resident will get an alert in real time that the package has arrived, along with a code to open the locker. “We only use technology to enable convenience,” he said. “It’s not about making something flash.”

Caporal said Mattoni Group now builds more bike stations, places food warmers in communal areas for UberEats deliveries and provides pet amenities. “It needs to be convenient and practical,” Caporal said. “Five years ago, we didn’t have these things.”

Developers are also more in tune with what tenants are posting on social media websites to hold property managers accountable for problems, Guerra said. “Part of any marketing engagement we do requires monitoring social media and reporting any issues,” he said. “If someone complains, we take note and hold our people accountable.”

The goal, Guerra said, is to minimize any potential damage from online complaints. “It’s an effective way to address concerns,” he said. “One posting and the whole world knows.”

Dan Hughes, a founding principal of the retail brokerage Metro Commercial, just paid $10.4 million for a waterfront mansion in Coral Gables.

The 8,300-square-foot home at 9375 Balada Street traded hands for about $1,254 per square foot. The sale marks the priciest deal within the exclusive Old Cutler Bay neighborhood, which consists of 136 homes on more than 150 acres. The previous record sale for the neighborhood was $9 million in 2011, according to a spokesperson for EWM Realty International.

Jose I. Garcia and Elizabeth J. Garcia are the sellers. The couple paid $2.82 million for the property in 2012, records show.

Dennis Carvajal of One Sotheby’s International Realty had the listing. Jessica Adams of EWM’s Riley Smith Group brought the buyer.

Hughes is chairman and principal of Philadelphia-based Metro Commercial, which has several offices, including one in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. The company represents more than 430 properties with 32 million square feet and specializes in project leasing and landlord representation, among other services. According to its website it represents at least 140 retailers, including Dave & Buster’s, PetSmart, European Wax Center and Orangetheory Fitness.

The six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bathroom home sits on a 22,329-square-foot lot. It was built in 2015 and was designed by architect Cesar Molina. Features include floor-to-ceiling windows, a home gym, theater room, pool and dock.

Hughes joins a list of CEOs and celebrities that call Coral Gables home, including singer Marc Anthony and Juan Blazquez, who founded the famous Cuban cracker company, Gilda Crackers.

Salesforce Tower at 1095 6th Avenue and Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas (Credit: Salesforce and REIT)

Boston Properties is betting big on sustainability. The company, which owns and manages 20 million square feet of projects that have LEED Gold and LEED Platinum certification, is looking to raise $1 billion in a public offering to fund its green projects across the country.

Boston Properties expects to make $988.1 million in proceeds from the offering, the firm announced in a press release on Wednesday. The unsecured senior notes have an interest rate of 4.5 percent and mature in December 2028. The company intends to use the proceeds for recently completed and future green projects, which includes the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. The tower, a LEED Platinum property that is considered as one of the greenest office buildings in the country, is jointly owned by Boston Properties and Hines.

The firm also plans to repay debt, particularly senior notes that are due for redemption, in October 2019. The company is also considering investing a portion of the proceeds in a short-term purchase of securities.

Boston Properties in April announced plans to cut its water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. The company, which claims to have exceeded its 2020 target three years early, is planning to further cut its energy consumption by 32 percent, its water use by 30 percent and its greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent.

Deutsche Bank Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon Capital Markets, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Jefferies LLC, Scotia Capital (USA) Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., TD Securities (USA) and U.S. Bancorp Investments are serving as joint book-running managers. The offering is expected to close on Nov. 28.

Adam Neumann and New York City (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

It’s been called a “$20 billion house of cards” and a “Ponzi scheme.” Now, WeWork is being called “too big to fail.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin — author of “Too Big to Fail” — argues in his latest DealBook column for the New York Times that WeWork now has so much space in so many cities, its landlords can’t afford to let it go under.

The co-working giant now controls 15.5 million square feet across 335 locations in 24 countries and says it is the largest tenant in Manhattan, Washington D.C. and London. So, when the next economic downturn arrives, WeWork’s landlords might not be able to evict it even if it can’t pay its rent.

“If they were to let WeWork fail, those landlords would risk depressing commercial real estate prices to such a degree that it would create a serious sense of pain for the country’s largest real estate owners,” Sorkin wrote.

He said a more likely outcome would be for landlords to “swallow hard and renegotiate the lease agreements on more favorable terms to keep WeWork from creating a full-on panic.” They could also have the company start acting as a property manager in the vein of Marriott, which manages rather than owns or leases hotels.

The co-working giant announced in its third quarter earnings that SoftBank had committed another $3 billion to it, bringing its total valuation to $45 billion. It’s now one of the largest U.S. startups, second only to Uber.  [NYT] – Eddie Small

At The Real Deal‘s fifth annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum, senior reporter E.B. Solomont moderated a discussion among the leaders of the country’s top residential brokerages. Panelists included Compass’ Robert Reffkin, Douglas Elliman’s Howard Lorber, the Corcoran Group’s Pamela Liebman , the Agency’s Mauricio Umansky and Julie Leonhardt LaTorre of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates.

Highlights included Liebman speaking out on Zillow; Reffkin fielding questions on Compass reputation for poaching; and Umansky announcing a new South Florida office. Check out the video above to watch the full, colorful conversation.

More than 5,000 industry insiders attended the event, which also had panels focused on development, retail and hospitality. Read more of our coverage here.

Rendering for The Concierge and Group P6’s Ignacio Diaz

Group P6 is moving ahead with its planned luxury senior living facility in downtown Boca Raton, thanks to the city’s community redevelopment agency’s approval.

The Concierge will feature 88 rental units consisting of a mix of assisted and independent living residences as well as memory care beds. The planned 10-story building will also have an array of amenities including a restaurant, spa, home theater and rooftop bar.

The proposed development site is currently owned by Robert Buehl and sits along Southeast Sixth Street between Dixie Highway and Federal Highway, near the site of the Residences at Mandarin Oriental.

The 0.6-acre site currently holds a one-story office building that will be demolished.

The CRA’s ruling comes after it denied the 130,000-square-foot project in July over concerns it would not have enough parking and may strain the city’s fire rescue services.

The development firm then filed a petition with the court claiming the city’s rejection was baseless and discriminated against the elderly.

The most recent design of The Concierge decreases the initial unit count by 41. Ignacio Diaz said he aims to break ground on the project by the fourth quarter of 2019 and expects to score up to $43 million in construction financing.

Among other projects rejected by a Boca Raton governing board include Crocker Partners’ planned Midtown Boca project and an application to build more than 100 homes on a shuttered golf course, submitted by developer Brian Tuttle. Both parties have taken legal action against the city.

1200 Northwest 15th Street, Peter Baccile president and CEO of First Industrial Realty Trust

First Industrial Realty Trust just paid $8.7 million for a 8.4-acre industrial site just off I-95 in Pompano Beach.

The Chicago-based industrial REIT purchased two properties for $24 per square foot at 1200 and 1272 Northwest 15th Street in Pompano Beach. A 46,690 square foot metal building sits on the 1200 Northwest 15th Street parcel.

First Industrial Realty Trust bought the properties from HS-Pompano FL, which is managed by Peter Alevizos.

CBRE’s Larry Genet, Tom O’Loughlin, Robert Smith, Jeff Kelly and Kirk Nelson negotiated a sale on behalf of HS-Pompano FL.

Genet said in a statement that the site received eight offers. The property could be redeveloped in the future as warehouses, according to a press release.

In April of 2004, HS-Pompano FL LLC purchased a portfolio of properties from CBRE, including the recently sold properties.

First Industrial Realty Trust owns and has under development about 64.7 million square feet of industrial space.

South Florida’s industrial market is one of its best performing asset classes due to the scarcity of land and high demand attributed in part to e-commerce. In Broward County, vacancy rates were 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018, according to a report by Colliers International South Florida. Warehouse and distribution rental rates averaged $8.04 per square foot.

Lennar’s Eric Feder and Hippo’s Assaf Wand (Credit: University of Miami Health System (Feder), Plug and Play (Wand), and iStock)

Lennar, the U.S. homebuilding giant, is leading a $70 million series C funding round for a home insurance startup backed by Fifth Wall Ventures.

Mountain View, California-based Hippo Insurance, which launched last year to provide streamlined insurance policies that cut premiums by up to 25 percent, is the latest startup to be partnered with a traditional real estate firm by Fifth Wall Ventures.

Fifth Wall, which led the startup’s $25 million series B funding round in January, arranged the partnership between Lennar and Hippo.

“It’s very consistent with the Fifth Wall model: connecting real estate incumbents with these startup companies,” Brendan Wallace, Fifth Wall’s co-founder, said in an interview.

Launched last year by Blackstone Group alumni Wallace and Brad Greiwe, the venture capital firm says it creates partnerships between traditional real estate companies and tech startups that will service the needs of its investors, offering a circular supply of customers and investors to startups.

Fifth Wall previously introduced Lennar to invest in OpenDoor, a home-flipping startup that can provide a service to Lennar customers, allowing them to “trade-up” and buy a larger Lennar-built home through Opendoor. Lennar and Fifth Wall raised $135 million in its last funding round.

In June, the venture capital firm announced a launched a second real estate technology fund valued at $400 million. In addition to Hippo, Fifth Wall has led funding rounds in co-working company Industrious and property software startup VTS.

Hippo was founded last year by Assaf Wand, a former associate with McKinsey & Co. The firm has since raised $109 million and will use the new funding to accelerate growth on a national scale. Wand said the company now has $20 billion in insured value and services 14 states.

Wand said the company was “eager” to expand its footprint and launch new products.

It is also backed by Felicis Ventures Abstract Ventures, Aquiline, Comcast Ventures, GGV Capital, Horizons Ventures, Munich Re, Pipeline Ventures, RPM ventures and Zeev Ventures.

Eric Feder, vice chairman of Lennar Commercial, will join Hippo’s board of directors and said the partnership reflects the company’s goal to streamline the insurance process for its home buyers.

Hippo competes with startup Lemonade in the tech-driven home insurance space. Lemonade, backed by SoftBank, has raise $180 million for a valuation of $600 million.

Adam Neumann and Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

WeWork is now valued at $45 billion after securing a $3 billion investment from SoftBank, making it the second most valued startup after Uber.

The flexible office startup announced Tuesday in a quarterly earnings report that it had received a warrant from the Japanese megafund to take the stake in the first months of 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The report follows news last month that SoftBank was considering spending up to $20 billion for a majority stake in the startup. It is unclear if the latest announcement is a part in that larger sum.

SoftBank’s nearly $100 billion Vision Fund — which has significant backing from Saudi Arabia — invested $4.4 billion in WeWork last year, one of the largest investments in a U.S. startup.

With its latest valuation, WeWork has now overtaken Airbnb as the world’s second most valued startup, but remains behind Uber, which is valued at close to $60 billion.

In its earnings, WeWork reported that its revenue in the first three quarters of the year totaled $1.2 billion, roughly double 12 months earlier. Adjusting earnings — which doesn’t include interest payments and adjustments for rent incentives — showed a $415 million loss over the same period. That’s four times the $108 million reported a year earlier, but the company said it was expected as it plans to launch 100,000 new desks by the end of the year. The company did not report net loss.

Since WeWork’s launch in 2010, the office-space provider has grown to supply more than 265,000 desks in almost 300 buildings across the world. In September, the company announced it had become the largest office leaseholder in Manhattan with over 5 million square feet.

It has now claimed that title in London and Washington D.C.

In its November issue, The Real Deal examined the explosion of co-working companies, and the scramble to secure office space. As the companies have expanded, the client base has shifted from freelancers and small startups to large blue-chip corporations, the report found. [WSJ] — David Jeans

Warren Buffett, Samuel Bikhit , and Dubai (Credit: Getty Images, Kay & Co, and Wikipedia)

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has teamed up with a London-based firm to expand his residential brokerage to Milan, Dubai and Vienna.

Berkshire is partnering with Kay & Co. — now called Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co. — to open as many as 10 new offices in the next decade, Bloomberg reported. Kay is Berkshire’s second franchisee in Europe. In March, the company added Berlin-based Rubina Real Estate.

The company is also in talks with prospective partners in Paris and Madrid and is mulling expanding into Hong Kong, Mexico City and Tokyo.

“We’ve got a number of markets already teed up,” Gino Blefari, CFO of HSF Affiliates, which includes Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Eventually we’ll be in all the major metropolitan markets.”

Representatives for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices said Brexit’s impact on the housing market in the U.K. didn’t deter it from partnering with a London-based company, which focuses on posh neighborhoods like Mayfair and Hyde Park.

Homeservices of America was the second largest brokerage in the U.S. in 2017, having sold $125.4 billion worth of real estate. It’s been on an acquisition tear, scooping up Long & Foster Cos. and Houlihan Lawrence in the last two years. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel

Bill Hutchinson

UPDATED Nov. 14, 3:40 p.m.: One of Dallas’s largest commercial real estate developers, Bill Hutchinson, is listing his Coconut Grove estate for $9.5 million.

Hutchinson’s 12,863-square-foot Italian-inspired home at 1840 South Bayshore Lane has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms overlooking the bay. Hutchinson renovated the property in 2017 after purchasing it in 2016 for $5.9 million at an auction.

Hutchinson bought the estate from Richard and Cristina Daniels, who paid $750,000 for the plot in 2000, property records show. They custom-built the three-story home in 2009 on an 11,851-square-foot lot.

Bo Mastykaz of Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the listing agent for the property. The listing will go live Wednesday, according to a spokesperson.

Hutchinson’s company, Dunhill Partners, has more than 4.5 million square feet of investments from Texas to Hawaii. It is leading the revitalization of the Dallas Design District, which is northwest of downtown Dallas and is known for its art scene and restaurants.

In Dallas, Bill Hutchinson partnered with Sir Richard Branson to introduce Virgin Hotel, which broke ground in October 2016, according to a release. Virgin Hotels Dallas will be a new building located within the 33 acres that developer Dunhill Partners and Hutchinson, acquired in 2014.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

1801 Southwest First Avenue and AP’s Howard Cohen

A public/private partnership between the Housing Authority of Fort Lauderdale and Atlantic Pacific Communities just paid $1 for city-owned land where it wants to build a new affordable housing complex.

The city of Fort Lauderdale sold the 2.3-acre property at 1801 Southwest First Avenue as part of an effort to repurpose the site that was formerly planned as a facility for the scrapped Wave streetcar system program.

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously approved the sale last week. Fort Lauderdale acquired the property in 2014 through a land swap with All Aboard Florida, a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries. All Aboard is also the company building the Brightline rail service.

“[The Housing Authority of Fort Lauderdale and Atlantic Pacific Communities] can now begin designing the project,” City Manager Lee Feldman said. The partnership has five years to develop the property or it will revert back to the city.

Plans call for more than 100 units designated for families earning less than $78,840 a year, or 120 percent of the county’s area median income – currently pegged at $65,700, according to the Housing and Urban Development.

Feldman said plans will likely have to go before the commission for approval. The partners will also have to rezone the property to allow for multifamily development. Currently, the zoning allows for light commercial and industrial properties.

Jeff Bezos and Matthew Kelly, with Crystal City (Credit: JBG Smith, Getty Images, and iStock)

Two years ago, Crystal City’s office vacancy rate was headed up — so Vornado Realty Trust headed out.

But what may have led Vornado to sell its sprawling property in the Washington, D.C., suburb also could have made the neighborhood an attractive option to Amazon for its much-hyped second headquarters.

The e-commerce giant on Tuesday announced that its new HQ2 will be split between Long Island City in Queens and “National Landing,” effectively a rebranding of Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. The newly created neighborhood also includes parts of nearby Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. The Crystal City location was appealing, in part, because it offered “a huge block of available space,” said Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners. “That’s why this space is attractive. It’s a campus.”

The location offers quick access to transit and lots of available office space, most of which is now owned by real estate investment trust JBG Smith, which the company took over for Vornado in 2016. The REIT, market pros say, may have been holding all those properties, waiting for one big deal to come along.

Enter Amazon. The company will lease 500,000 square feet of existing office space at JBG’s 241 18th Street Street, 1800 South Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive. Amazon will also purchase several development sites from JBG that have a total of 4.1 million square feet of buildable space. As part of the deal, JBG will serve as Amazon’s development partner, property manager and leasing broker.

Though technically not a planned community, Crystal City was built by developer Robert H. Smith, then president of the Charles E. Smith Companies (which was later acquired by Vornado), according to the Washington Post. The neighborhood began taking shape in the 1960s and was named after one of the first apartment buildings to rise in the neighborhood, which had a crystal chandelier in the lobby. That project was called the Crystal House, and the moniker was attached to subsequent projects, like Crystal Towers and Crystal Square. The neighborhood now has a population of a little over 16,000. As part of its deal with Amazon, Virginia’s state government offered Amazon $573 million in grants and tax credits.

In 2010, Arlington County officials approved an ambitious mixed-use plan. It included adding a total of 5.3 million square feet of office space, 1.5 million square feet of new retail space and 7,600 new housing units to the neighborhood. Last month, JBG reportedly secured approval for a four-story retail project as part of the larger plan for the area.

The company also halted plans to convert the 250,000-square-foot office building at 1750 Crystal Drive into residential units. The vacant building will instead remain offices and will include an Alamo Drafthouse, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Meanwhile, in Long Island City, developer Savanna announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a letter of intent to lease approximately 1 million square feet of office space at One Court Square to Amazon.

Over the last five years, Crystal City’s office vacancy rate has hovered at about 20 percent. According to Cushman & Wakefield, it was at 20.1 percent through October. That’s on par with Arlington County on the whole, which had a rate 22.5 percent.

Chad Arnold, Colliers International’s executive vice president of Northern Virginia brokerage, said the exodus of federal agencies and government contractors a decade ago left the area’s office market without a clear direction.

“There was a big sucking sound — everybody moved out and nobody wanted to move back in,” he said. “Buildings in Crystal City were old, tired and frankly, they were obsolete.”

Many tenants instead looked west to places in the state like Tysons, Reston and Ashburn. Goldfarb said that the D.C. office market is in need of “a shot in the arm.” He noted that the tepid office market in part pushed Vornado to shed its assets in the region in 2016.

“It was a difficult space to lease up,” he said.

Already, though, the prospect of a major tenant setting up shop in the neighborhood has been a boon for Chevy Chase, Maryland-based JBG. After reports in the Washington Post that Amazon was in late-stage talks to open its second headquarters in Crystal City, the REIT’s share prices hit a record high of $40.23.

Known as JBG Companies, it was formed in the 1960s by three attorneys from a Rockville, Maryland-based firm, Brown, Gildenhorn & Jacobs. In the next five-plus decades that followed, JBG became one of the largest developers in the Washington-area.

In October 2016, JBG merged with Vornado subsidy, Charles E. Smith Companies, creating a new public company called JBG Smith. As part of the $8.4 billion deal, Vornado shareholders received 73 percent of the new firm’s stock. Vornado’s Steve Roth also became chairman of the board, a position he still holds. The merger immediately made JBG Crystal City’s largest owner of commercial real estate, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The company, which is led by Matthew Kelly, has 48 office properties spanning 13.7 million square feet, 15 multifamily assets totaling 6,307 units and four other assets totaling 765,000 square feet, according to the company’s latest quarterly report. Kelly told the Washington Business Journal last year that his company’s empty office space would likely help attract large tenants like Amazon. On Tuesday, JBG representatives noted that the company owns 6.2 million square feet of existing office space, 2,850 multifamily units and controls 7.4 million square feet of additional development opportunities, not including Amazon’s proposed land purchase, in Nation Landing

According to a June report by financial services company Stifel, the company’s Crystal City office holdings bring in roughly 50 percent of its overall office net operating income and 38 percent of its total NOI.

Over the last few years, underground retail has been moved above ground in an effort to revitalize the area. But Arnold said Crystal City still largely shuts down after 5 p.m. because those who work in the neighborhood don’t live in it. Amazon may not be able to change that on its own — a lot of multifamily development in the neighborhood would need to follow. Still, he said the hope is that Amazon can help attract other tech companies to the area.

Crystal City is just across the Potomac River from Washington and about five miles from Arlington. Because of the swaths of available commercial space, it offers a rare opportunity to create a large campus within an urban framework, industry experts said. Nate Kunes, vice president at cloud-based property-management software company AppFolio, said the region will likely see price increases until residential supply is able to keep up with more demand.

“This obviously will place additional demand on the rental stock,” he said. “It’s going to raise rents for everyone in that area for one to four years before it starts to normalize back.”

JBG “mothballed” much of its office space, Arnold said, turning down government contractors and other prospective tenants who came along. He said many industry professionals have long suspected that Amazon would land in Crystal City.

“It was sort of a no-brainer,” he said. “They might as well have put Christmas wrapping on the buildings and wrote Amazon on them.”

Apartment buildings under construction in New York City (Credit: iStock)

A decade-long apartment boom may be coming to an end.

Federal data shows that multifamily building permits have declined every month since March, suggesting that apartment construction could slow in the next two years, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to the latest Census Bureau data, permits were pulled to build 351,000 units in new properties with at least five units in September. That represented a 9 percent year-over-year decrease.

Such a slowdown would likely ease concerns about oversupply and could mean rent increases for tenants.

Developers added 347,000 apartments across the U.S. last year, which contributed to rent growth that weakened from 5 percent in 2014 to 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018, according to RealPage, a real estate analytics company.

On the West Coast especially, developers are struggling to complete projects due to a shortage in labor. For example, 2,000 rental units that developer Equity Residential expected to deliver this year will instead be completed in 2019 due to a shortage of construction workers in Los Angeles.

“The demand is there,” Paula Munger, the National Apartment Association’s director of industry research and analysis, told the Journal. “But labor’s a big deal. It varies by position, but in general that’s what we’re hearing from our members. The actual completions are being more and more delayed for that reason.” [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel

Carol Brooks and Ken Krasnow

UPDATED Nov. 14, 10:40 a.m.: Colliers International South Florida just closed on the acquisition of Warren Weiser and Carol Greenberg Brooks’ CREC, boosting its retail division.

Coral Gables-based Continental Real Estate Companies was founded in 1989 and now has two additional offices in Jacksonville and Orlando with a portfolio of more than 12 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space.

Brooks and Ken Krasnow, Colliers’ executive managing director and market leader, declined to share terms of the acquisition.

Brooks said that over the years, CREC has been courted by national companies, but that the firm found itself “at a critical inflection point” amid continued consolidation at a national and global level. “This is the one that felt like a natural cultural fit,” she said. “Nothing changes; everything is enhanced. Nobody’s leaving, nobody’s retiring.”

Brooks and Weiser are now vice chairmen at Colliers.

Krasnow said acquiring CREC is “the rocket fuel to really expand our presence and footprint in the lifestyle and urban retail space.”

In addition to its sales and lease brokerage services, CREC offers property management and project management. The company’s listings include One Clearlake, 800 Brickell, 2121 Ponce de Leon, Downtown Dadeland, Kendall Place, and The Galleria at Beach Place.

With the acquisition, Colliers now has 48 retail-focused brokers controlling more than 155 retail tenant representation accounts throughout Florida; and more than 160 broker professionals across the state, according to the release.

CREC’s clients include Zurich Asset Management, Ivy Equities and Deutsche Bank/RREEF.

Brooks has pushed for gender equality in the industry, mentoring a number of her employees. In an interview earlier this year, she said more than half of her employees were women.

Colliers has offices in downtown Fort Lauderdale, on Brickell Avenue in Miami, and in Boca Raton. In 2016, it hired hired brokers Mika Mattingly and Gerard Yetming to lead a new urban core division.

In 2015, Colliers acquired Miami-based Pointe Group Advisors.

John Davis (Credit: Keller Williams, iStock, and Pixabay)

Even has Keller Williams sticks to its growth plan, profit has fallen.

In the third quarter, franchisee owner profit was $54.2 million, down 4.3 percent from a year earlier, the brokerage said. At the same time, Keller Williams’ sales volume has grown — with $93.5 billion in closed deals in the U.S. and Canada. That’s up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the Austin, Texas-based company said in a statement. (The company does not report net income.)

Profit share distributions in the U.S. and Canada were $47.3 million, down 4.6 percent from the third quarter last year. The decline follows other brokerages that have reported more sluggish earnings and warned about the housing market. Realogy’s revenues stagnated in the third quarter — while Redfin’s profit’s tumbled 67 percent.

The slowdown comes as Keller Williams continues a growth initiative program which launched in 2011. Since the end of 2011, the company’s agent count in the U.S. and Canada has skyrocketed 128 percent to 159,631 at the end of last year. Over the same period, sales volume has grown to $315 billion from $97 billion.

“This level of growth contributes to our culture of sharing and plays a big role in fueling our technology investment,” John Davis, president and CEO, said in the statement.

Keller Williams, which claims it’s the largest franchise brokerage by agent count, has also been expanding its artificial intelligence-based assistant, Kelle. Through the service, agents can access listings, market reports, referrals and contacts. A recent addition to the tool was “Market Snaps,” which allows agents to pull hyperlocal market reports through the Kelle mobile app. In the third quarter, 9,712 live referrals were sent via Kelle. That represented $2.3 billion in sales volume.

Outside the U.S. and Canada, Keller Williams agents closed $1.1 billion in sales volume, which was a 31 percent increase. Meanwhile, listings taken volume totaled $5.6 billion in the third quarter — up 12.5 percent from a year earlier.

In the midst of its tech push, Keller Williams acquired Smarter Agent, a platform that connects more than 650 multiple listing services and allows brokers and agents to create branded real estate search apps. The deal, announced in September, makes the brokerage the platform’s largest client — and helps Keller Williams compete against Zillow and Redfin.

Previously, Keller Williams also said it will join eXp Realty and Real in launching virtual brokerages in every U.S. state to connect brokers looking to expand outside of their own markets. The brokerage is also joining Realogy and Zillow in the iBuyer space.

Liliana Albarino-Olinick and the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office (Credit: Google, Twitter)

A South Florida real estate agent protesting Broward’s supervisor of elections was fired over the weekend after she was seen in a video mocking supporters of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

In a video posted on Twitter, United Realty Group agent Liliana Albarino-Olinick chanted “count my vote” with a sign that read, “Fight Corruption in Broward. Fire Brenda Snipes”, and yelled “socialists, socialists” to three elderly black women demonstrating for Gillum at the elections office in Lauderhill, Twitter user Djinn said, according to the Daily Business Review.

Olinick also chanted to Gillum supporters that they wanted Gillum to be mayor “because he is black,” adding that, “If it was a white candidate, they wouldn’t be out. But because he is black, that’s why. Because they are racists, that’s why.”

Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, lost to former Rep. Ron DeSantis last week. The race is one of three in the state undergoing a mandatory automatic recount, and Snipes has been criticized for her handling of the election.

David Chambless, United Realty’s owner and executive vice president, fired Olinick on Saturday along with her husband, Shawn Olinick, who was not in the videos. Both are independent contractors.

Chambless told the newspaper the company wants to “distance ourselves from that association.”

Olinick apologized for her “very inappropriate behavior” and said it was “not the person that I am.” [DBR] – Katherine Kallergis

Robert Reffkin

Another day, another brokerage deal.

Compass is growing its Washington D.C. presence with the acquisition of Wydler Brothers Real Estate, Inman reported. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The deal brings Compass’ agent count in D.C. to more than 500 agents. That represents almost $3 billion in sales volume this year, the report said. Since it was founded in 2016, Wydler Brothers has grown to more than 50 agents and $400 million in sales volume.

Compass first entered D.C. in 2014. Since then, Compass has acquired brokerages from coast to coast and is now targeting $1 billion in revenue. Among them was the blockbuster deal to acquire Pacific Union International Realty, one of the largest brokerages on the West Coast, with $14 billion in sales last year.

In D.C., the company will be competing against Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, which closed more than 14,000 transactions in 2017, according to Inman. Other competitors include Century 21 New Millennium, Keller Williams Capital Properties, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and Washington Fine Properties.

Earlier this year, CEO Robert Reffkin said Compass, which was valued at $4.4 billion in September following a $400 million Series F round, pays between four and six times a firm’s annual pre-tax earnings when making an acquisition.

Compass has become known for aggressively recruiting agents and offering attractive compensation packages. Among the perks is the brokerage’s Agent Equity Program, which allows agents to invest a portion of their earned commissions in stock options. More than 1,000 agents have invested a portion — or in some cases, all — of their commission dollars into stock options totaling more than $20 million, the company said this month.

Nationwide, Compass has more than 7,000 agents, including some 1,400 in New York City. [Inman]Meenal Vamburkar

John Bell, CEO of Bell Partners

UPDATED Nov. 14, 3:35 p.m.: Bell Partners just paid Alliance Residential Partners $67.2 million for a 250-unit apartment complex in Plantation, only a year after it was completed.

Greensboro, North Carolina-based Bell Partners purchased the 11.7-acre property at 6901 West Sunrise Boulevard for $131 per square foot. SunTrust Bank provided a $33.5 million loan to finance the purchase.

Alliance Residential Partners purchased the property to develop the apartments three years ago for $7.5 million.

The apartments include one- two- and three-bedroom units with rents ranging from $1,595 to $2,495, according to Apartments.com.

Amenities include a pool, cabanas, a pool pavilion, a dog park, theater, a fitness club with yoga and boxing studios.

Bell Partners is an apartment investment and management company with almost 50,000 units across 15 states and the District of Columbia. It is also one of the largest apartment renovators in the industry, according to the company’s website.

In September, Bell Partners bought the 300-unit Sheridan Village complex in Pembroke Pines for $91.8 million, property records show.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect number of apartments in the complex.

Taylor Dayne and her unit at Bentley Bay

Pop singer-songwriter Taylor Dayne just paid $1.2 million for a condo at Bentley Bay in South Beach.

Dayne, best known for her hit song “Tell It to My Heart,” bought unit 1602, a two-bedroom plus den, three-bathroom bayfront condo at 520 West Avenue.

Samuel R. Picciotto, who paid $645,000 for the condo in 2011, sold the 1,929-square-foot unit to Dayne for about $622 per foot. The unit hit the market in April, with three price reductions to $1.3 million in August, according to Realtor.com.

Oliver Davis of the Live Work Play Miami Group at Keller Williams represented the seller. Joonok (June) Yang of Miami Investment Realty brought the buyer.

The condo is outfitted with marble floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with electric blinds, and has a terrace that runs the length of the unit, according to the listing.

Born Leslie Wunderman, Dayne’s career has spanned three decades and has included 17 hit singles, three Grammy Nominations, an American Music Award, and over 75 million albums sold worldwide. Among her other hit singles are “Love Will Lead You Back”, “Prove Your Love”, and “I’ll Always Love You.” Dayne, also an actress, recently kicked off her 30th Anniversary Tour in the Design District last month as part of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s “Palm Court Performance Series.”

Built in 2004, the two-tower Bentley Bay was developed by Ricardo Olivier. It underwent $1.5 million in renovations in 2016.

Nearby, at Fifth Street and Alton Road, Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights is proposing a controversial residential tower.  That project will go before the Miami Beach commission on Wednesday.

Stephen Ross and the W Fort Lauderdale

The Related Companies just completed a $140 million refinancing for the W Fort Lauderdale, a 346-room beachfront condo-hotel that it put on the market earlier this year.

KKR Real Estate Finance Trust provided the loan for the property at 401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Records show it takes over a previous $110 million loan issued in 2014, and added $30 million.

In June, Related hired JLL to shop the beachfront project for $275 million. At that price, the project would sell for $795,000 per key. It still remains unsold.

Related bought the project from the Y Group for $90 million in 2009, and later completed a $55 million renovation of the property.

Last year, Related refinanced about 30 unsold condominium units at its Zaha Hadid-designed tower in New York. The $162 million loan was issued in August 2017 from the same New York-based lender, KKR Real Estate Finance Trust.

Rendering of Saratoga Crossings and Howard Cohen

Atlantic Pacific Communities just scored two construction loans totaling $32 million for an affordable housing project in Dania Beach.

The company, which has an office in Bay Harbor Islands, will use the financing to build 176 new affordable homes for elderly residents and families at 701-815 and 1105-1165 West Dania Beach Boulevard. The new building, called Saratoga Crossings, will replace 39 obsolete public housing units, according to an Atlantic Pacific spokesperson.

The developer demolished the older public housing buildings in October and construction began earlier this month. The project will use a 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit, according to the Dania Beach Housing Authority’s website.

Rents in the building will range from $380 to $835 for a one-bedroom; $450 to $1,000 for a two-bedroom; $530 to $1,150 for a three-bedroom. The developer expects to complete the project by the end of 2019, a spokesperson said.

Atlantic Pacific Companies, led by Howard Cohen, and its partners recently won a bid to develop a $172.8 million mixed-use project with a total of 600 residential units on a 90,000-square-foot parking lot at 152 Northwest Eighth Street in downtown Miami. In October, an Atlantic Pacific Communities partnership paid $22.6 million for a 220-unit waterfront affordable senior housing complex in Sunny Isles Beach, known as the Marian Towers.

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg and the Realtor Building at 430 North Michigan Avenue (Credit: NAR)

The National Association of Realtors will add two floors to its 12-story national headquarters as part of a $45 million expansion and renovation of the building.

The city last week granted the NAR a permit to start work on the project, which will add a 13th and 14th floor and will including a glass-walled conference room overlooking the Magnificent Mile, according to Curbed.

The building at 430 North Michigan Avenue also is home to the Chicago and Illinois associations of Realtors. The project will expand the building to a total of 18,000 square feet.

After the building’s new crown is finished next year, workers will turn their attention to renovating the remaining building.

One Development, which is the design and development arm of GNP Realty Partners, will spearhead the project for the NAR, and it will also include new elevators and lobby, along with infrastructure upgrades.

The NAR headquarters sits on a stretch of Michigan Avenue set to see a flurry of activity in the coming years as Golub & Company and CIM Group plan a massive overhaul of the former Tribune Tower complex, which would include construction of Chicago’s second-tallest building.

Next door, billionaire Joe Mansueto earlier this year paid $255 million for the iconic Wrigley Building.

In May, the association raised annual dues 25 percent, from $120 to $150, to go with the extra annual fee of $35 for NAR’s advertising campaign.

NAR hadn’t raised dues since 2012, when members were asked to pay an additional $40. Some $17 of the increase was to be dedicated to upping the group’s political activity spending and the remaining $13 was to help pay for a transaction management platform, zipLogix. [Curbed] — John O’Brien

Clockwise from top left: Crystal City, Long Island City, Downtown Nashville, and Jeff Bezos (Credit: Wikipedia, Getty Images, and Nashville Guru)

It’s official: After more than a year of hype, Amazon has announced that it will split its two new headquarters between Long Island City and Crystal City. And in a last-minute surprise, the company also revealed it will be opening a “regional hub” in downtown Nashville.

The news comes after several reports indicated that Amazon had settled on moving 50,000 employees to Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia, evenly splitting the workers between the new locations. The company announced on Tuesday that it will also create 5,000 more jobs in Nashville.

Amazon kicked off its competition to select a new headquarters in September 2017, a courting process that’s drawn considerable criticism in recent days.

According to Amazon, New York State is providing $1.5 billion in tax credits and grants for the company’s move to Long Island City. The company is expected to set up shop at a 672,000-square-foot building located at 44-36 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.

Virginia is shelling out $573 million in incentives for Amazon’s move to Crystal City. Tennessee is providing $102 million.

Bruce Flatt and Albert Ratner (Credit: Wikidata, Global Cleveland, and iStock)

The former CEO of Forest City Realty Trust is taking his fight against the company’s proposed sale to Brookfield Asset Management to federal court.

Albert Ratner, former CEO of Forest City, filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking to temporarily delay a shareholder vote scheduled for Thursday — calling the deal a “shameful value giveaway.” The complaint is Ratner’s latest salvo against the acquisition, which was announced in July and pegged at $6.8 billion, or $25.35 per share.

The company’s shareholders are voting on the sale Thursday. The price was determined by financials predating third-quarter earnings, which according to an estimate in a proxy statement meant Forest City would pay out $0.72 in dividends per share. But according to Ratner’s suit, Forest City reported more than $715 million net earnings attributable to shareholders last quarter, meaning the company should instead pay out $2.26 in dividends per share.

The complaint claims that Forest City’s board should’ve been aware of the third quarter results when it issued the proxy statement 18 days prior to the earnings release. The public filing, therefore, should’ve alerted shareholders that they would lose an additional $2.26 per share in value, “money that had been earned by Forest City while they were stockholders and that would instead flow to Brookfield under the proposed transaction,” the lawsuit states. Under the proposed agreement with Brookfield, the sale price will be reduced by the per-share amount of any quarterly dividend Forest City declares after May 18, 2018.

The lawsuit alleges that Forest City gave up $5.8 billion in shareholder value by hastily agreeing to the Brookfield deal.

“What has occurred in the third quarter report was never projected in anything put forth and that is wrong,” Ratner told The Real Deal in an interview on Friday. “People bought and sold stock without this information.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Brookfield influenced the selection of an unspecified number of new Forest City board members in April. At the time, eight new directors were named to the board, as a result of a settlement with activist hedge funds — Scopia Capital Management LP and Starboard Value LP, according to the lawsuit. The reorganization shifted control away from the Ratner family, limiting their representation to two members. Brookfield — whose initial bid for Forest City was rejected in March — made a new offer the same day as the new board was sworn in, Ratner said.

Representatives for Brookfield and Forest City declined to comment Monday night.

Ratner’s lawsuit seeks to halt a vote on the sale until 30 days after Forest City issues a corrected proxy on the deal.

Condo sales in Miami-Dade took a nose dive last week, dropping by nearly half.

Condo sales totaled 90 closings for a combined $32.3 million, about $33.3 million less than the previous week and 75 units fewer. Condos last week sold for an average price of about $359,000 or about $293 per square foot.

The priciest deal was at the Carillon Miami Beach. Unit 405 sold for $2.12 million, or nearly $905 per foot. Ines Flax had the listing for more than a year. Courtney Fuhrmann represented the buyer of the three-bedroom, 2,345-square-foot unit.

The second most expensive condo sale was the $2.11 million trade of unit 502 at Miami Beach’s Caribbean. The unit sold for about $1,299 per square foot after 373 days on the market. Seth Feuer represented the seller, and Alan Gabay brought the buyer.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Nov. 4 to Nov. 10. Click on the map for more information:

Most expensive

The Carillon, Miami Beach | #405 | 373 days on market | $2.12M | $905 psf | Listing agent: Ines Flax | Buyer’s agent: Courtney Fuhrmann

Least expensive

The Landmark, Aventura | #1507 | 14 days on market | $630k | $323 psf | Listing agent: Liliana Bancalari | Buyer’s agent: Yael Sultan

Most days on market

Reach, Brickell | #3911 | 416 days on market | $2M | $597 psf | Listing agent and buyer’s agent: Joao Carvalho

Fewest days on market

The Landmark, Aventura | #1507 | 14 days on market | $630k | $323 psf | Listing agent: Liliana Bancalari | Buyer’s agent: Yael Sultan

Richard Jordan, Susan de Franca & a screenshot of FOLIO (Credit: Douglas Elliman and iStock)

Douglas Elliman is turning to tech to give its agents a leg up in the new development market.

Elliman and Knight Frank Residential, which are global partners, are launching a new platform to centralize information and marketing tools for new dev projects. Dubbed FOLIO, the new initiative launched Monday and will be available to the roughly 21,500 agents across both firms.

FOLIO has been about two years in the making, and its launch comes as the New York market has seen a flood of new development inventory. Amid the rout, which has been particularly pronounced on the high end, discounts have deepened and sales have slumped over the last three years.

“It’s a way to make our agents more competitive but also more informed,” said Richard Jordan, senior vice president of global markets at Douglas Elliman Development Marketing. “The industry has been very fragmented with distributing this information.”

The platform is launching with about 150 projects — and over the next year Jordan said the aim is to reach 300 or more. Information ranges from floor plans and unit availability to customized sales and rental comparable data. Because the initiative seeks to give these projects exposure to the firms’ global clients, it also includes buyer guides for the markets and the ability to translate materials into seven languages, including Russian and Chinese.

Information in the platform also updates in real-time, so agents are able to set custom notifications for changes. Users can also directly distribute materials from the platform, via email and social media, including Chinese messaging app WeChat. Centralizing the information and making it more easily accessible is a way of speeding up transactions, Jordan said.

In the third quarter, new development sales in New York plunged 22 percent from a year earlier. The rate of decline was double that of resales, according to Elliman’s latest market report. At the same time, the median sales price slid 9 percent.

In parent company Vector Group’s third-quarter earnings call, Howard Lorber, chairman and CEO, said that, “closings are pretty strong in new development, but that’s from sales two or three years ago.”

Elliman isn’t the only residential firm changing its new dev approach. The slowdown has led Corcoran, a heavyweight in the space, to cast a wider net. The brokerage tapped John Felicetti, a Corcoran Sunshine executive, as its first vice president of new development — and the company will be chasing smaller condominium projects.

As brokerages have experimented with new technology, Elliman said it’s staying away from developing tools in-house, noting that it’s a real estate company not a tech firm. FOLIO was developed with software company Collabra Technology. Earlier this year, Elliman launched a “Douglas,” a centralized marketplace to access internal resources as well as third-party apps.