Real Estate News

Jackie Siegel (Photos via Getty, Courtesy Jackie Siegel)

Jackie Siegel (Photos via Getty, Courtesy Jackie Siegel)

Calamity besets Versailles once more.

The troubled 90,000-square-foot mansion at the heart of the 2012 documentary “Queen of Versailles” suffered $10 million in damages thanks to Hurricane Ian, Page Six reported.

The estate’s sovereign, Jackie Siegel, told the outlet the storm flooded several floors of her home at 6121 Kirkstone Lane in Windermere, Florida. A particularly expensive element of the damage is the recently installed 24-karat crown molding now crumbling to the former model’s living room floor, the publication reported.

Siegel anticipates a cost of around $100,000 to pump out the water.

6121 Kirkstone Lane in Windermere (Google Maps)

6121 Kirkstone Lane in Windermere (Google Maps)

She and her timeshare executive husband David Siegel, and their troubled mega mansion have made headlines since director Lauren Greenfield captured their lives in the fallout of the global financial crisis.

The couple bought the property in the gated community of Lake Butler Sound near Orlando in 2003 for $4.8 million, records show. The Siegels started construction on Versailles, one of the largest single family homes in America, a year later. The 13-bedroom, 23-bathroom mansion spans three floors and sits on a 10.1 acre lot, according to records.

Realtor.com shows the property was listed in 2013 for $65 million.

Before Hurricane Ian hit, construction was set to finally wrap in early 2023, according to the outlet. But that timeline has been pushed back once again.

With David’s Westgate Resorts doing $1.4 billion in revenue in 2021, the couple should have the funds to move forward with repairs to the home Jackie Siegel called a “masterpiece.”

Versailles was far from the only home Hurricane Ian devastated. Early estimates of property damage are in the billions, according to the BBC. The storm’s death toll climbed to 21 as of Friday, making it one of the deadliest in the state’s history, POLITICO reported.

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Ronny Finvarb with rendering of plans for a new project in Sunset Harbour (Finvarb Group, Getty)

Ronny Finvarb with rendering of plans for a new project in Sunset Harbour (Finvarb Group, Getty)

Developer Ronny Finvarb is returning to the Miami Beach Design Review Board with plans for a new project in Sunset Harbour.

At next week’s meeting, the board will vote on plans for the developer’s mixed-use project at 1790 Alton Road in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood. Finvarb previously sought to build a hotel on the property, but the city commission unanimously passed a zoning overlay district that banned the construction of new hotels last year. Instead, it encouraged the development of new office projects.

Sobe 18 LLC, an affiliate of the Bay Harbor Islands-based Finvarb Group now plans a five-story building with 12 residential units, a rooftop deck with a private pool and bar, and restaurant space on the first and second floors, according to the plans. It’s unclear if Finvarb plans to rent the units out as apartments or sell them as condos. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Many Sunset Harbour residents fought Finvarb’s plan to build a 36-key hotel on the 0.2-acre lot on Alton Road, which he purchased for $4 million in April last year.

The new overlay district increases the height limit for office buildings to 65 feet from 50 feet in the area bounded by 20th Street, Alton Road, Dade Boulevard and Purdy Avenue, and allows some residential units in office building projects. On top of banning new hotel development, the district also requires a conditional use permit for new projects of over 25,000 square feet.

In May, Finvarb Group and Chahine Investment Group secured $44.6 million in financing for their Thompson Hotel-anchored mixed-use project planned for 1685 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

Last year, Finvarb Group paid $10 million for The Landon Bay Harbor-Miami Beach, a 46-key hotel in Bay Harbor Islands.

Finvarb’s Miami Beach portfolio also includes the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach nearby at 1750 Alton Road, the Residence Inn by Marriott South Beach and the Courtyard by Marriott South Beach.

The board will also vote on developer Stuart Miller’s plans for a mega mansion on Star Island at next week’s meeting.

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Lennar Corp.’s Stuart Miller with a rendering of the property

Lennar Corp.’s Stuart Miller with a rendering of the property

Lennar Corp.’s Stuart Miller is seeking approval for yet another mega mansion on Star Island in Miami Beach.

Miller, executive chairman of one of the largest homebuilders in the country, is going big on plans for 4, 5 and 6 Star Island Drive, according to the proposal filed with the city. The waterfront property is next door to his existing mansion. The Miami Beach Design Review Board will vote on the plans on Tuesday.

Domo Architecture + Design designed Miller’s proposed two-story, 120,000-square-foot estate with a green roofscape, gardens, a master suite with its own terrace and plunge pool, upper and lower lagoon pools, a koi pond, home office that connects to a conference room, and a gym pavilion with a spa and massage room. The 120,000 square feet includes indoor and outdoor space.

Property records show a trust owned by Miller paid $16.5 million for 4 and 5 Star Island Drive in 2018, and another Miller-owned trust paid $9.4 million for 6 Star Island Drive in 2004. Miller lives in a renovated and expanded estate at 7 Star Island Drive. He grew up on the ritzy island, and has bought and sold other properties there over the years.

In 2016, he secured approval for a James Bond-esque mansion at 11 Star Island Drive, but eventually sold the lot to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin in 2020 for $37 million.

Griffin, who is relocating his Chicago-based companies, Citadel and Citadel Securities, to Miami, has also assembled a number of properties on the Miami Beach island. In late 2020, he paid $25 million for 10 Star Island Drive. And a year later, he acquired the estate at 8 Star Island Drive for $75 million.

Star Island attracted other new buyers during the pandemic. Last year, billionaire Anthony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of LoanDepot, paid $30 million for the waterfront mansion at 34 Star Island Drive.

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Premium Digital Control & Automation's Marc Farbstein and Fortress Anchors' Dylan Hallerberg with 52 Royal Palm Drive (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Premium Digital Control & Automation’s Marc Farbstein and Fortress Anchors’ Dylan Hallerberg with 52 Royal Palm Drive (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

The CEO of a home automation company bought a furnished waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale for $9.7 million.

Records show Marc Farbstein bought the house at 52 Royal Palm Drive from Dylan Hallerberg. Farbstein is chairman and CEO of Premium Digital Control & Automation, a Hollywood-based firm that specializes in digitized control systems for homes and businesses.

Hallerberg is the third generation of his family to lead Fortress Anchors, a marine anchor manufacturer headquartered in Fort Lauderdale.

Steven Romaniello of Florida Luxurious Properties had the listing. Farbstein’s sons, Max and Ryan Farbstein, of Douglas Elliman, represented him in the deal.

Hallerberg bought the nearly 7,000-square-foot house for $6.8 million in March of last year, records show. The newly constructed, five-bedroom, five-bathroom home received its certificate of occupancy in late 2020, according to Romaniello. The 0.3 acre property has 100 feet of waterfront.

Romaniello said the seller did not spend as much time in Florida as he originally planned, and had no interest in renting out the house.

“He didn’t want to have the property sitting vacant. He took advantage of the market increase,” Romaniello said.

Hallerberg sold the home for $8.7 million, with another $1 million tacked on for the furnishings, according to Romaniello.

The sale comes just as brokers are gearing up for the busy winter season. Despite rising mortgage rates and a market slowdown from the Covid frenzy, Romaniello said pricing remains strong.

“There is a little bit more inventory,” he said, “Everything is priced competitively.”

Fort Lauderdale saw multiple record-breaking sales over the summer months. In July, a waterfront estate set a new Broward County price record when it closed for $28.5 million. Just a month later, that record was shattered by another waterfront estate that sold for $32.5 million.

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Rentyl Resorts' Nick Falcone (Rentyl Resorts)

Rentyl Resorts’ Nick Falcone (Rentyl Resorts)

Nick Falcone came up with the idea for his vacation rental startup, Rentyl Resorts, over the dinner table with his dad, developer Art Falcone, and his brothers.

Orlando-based Rentyl, which Falcone and his brothers Dan and Matthew launched in 2018, has inked partnerships with major resorts including Margaritaville, Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear’s Den, and Hilton properties.

Rentyl, which is part of the Falcones’ NDM Hospitality, has more than 400 employees and operates in 25 markets, managing 10,000 rental properties. A majority are in Florida — including Hilton hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Miami — and half of Rentyl’s properties are abroad, Falcone said. Rentyl is also looking to close out a $25 million fundraising round soon. Major investors include billionaire Vinnie Viola, Equity Resources CEO Jack Fiorela and Land South principal Patrick Marino.

Falcone, a founding franchisee of BurgerFi who owns the Miami-Dade territory for the fast food chain, also plans to open a BurgerFi/Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza combined location at Miami Worldcenter, a master-planned mixed-use development that his father is co-developing.

The Real Deal spoke with Falcone about the startup, partnering with developers, and working with his dad.

How did you come up with the idea for Rentyl Resorts?

My father’s a developer, and he never really sold product at a vacation home resort. It’s always been to buyers, the people who actually live in the house. Orlando is the first time that every single buyer was pretty much asking ‘How do I rent it? How do I make money off of it?’ So that conversation was just very intriguing, and it led my brothers and [me] to study the industry and realize that we felt that there were holes in regards to how people were doing it, ways that we could enhance the vacation home industry and take it to another level.

Did you always plan to work in the industry?

Despite the fact that [my dad] was really successful in real estate, he would tell us, ‘You have to create your own name and your own reputation.’ And so we would always have interest in what he did and what he does, and a lot of excitement of wanting to learn about real estate, but at the same time, do it in a way that created that identity for ourselves. With what we’re doing, we’re really excited because it really gives us the best of both worlds. We get to work closely with him. And we get to work closely with other developers and really get our feet into the development space. But we’re able to combine that with tech and hospitality.

What stands out about Rentyl’s tech? You said that users can earn points in Rentyl’s loyalty program that can be used for dining, shopping, etc. But it can also be used toward a down payment on a home purchase. Can you explain that?

Let’s say you’re making transactions through the program, you’re going on vacation, you’re going out to eat and you’re accruing points. You’ll have the ability to go onto the platform, you’ll see houses or apartment rentals that are available. If you have enough points to put toward the down payment, then you would have the ability to do so. You know, if not, then you have the ability to see how [many] points you need to be able to put toward the down payment. Right now, you would have to have enough points for the entire down payment. But we’re also working on something to where it could just be points going toward a partial down payment. We’re going to be talking with tons of developers around the country.

On the business side, we work with people that use hotel systems, and we work with people that use home systems for their property management. And we have an adapter that allows us to take that inventory in and push it out in unique ways, in essence that other technologies wouldn’t be able to do.

How is the hospitality market performing?

Last year exceeded everyone’s expectations in a major way, it was much stronger than pre-Covid. I would say in talking with most people, we are starting to see the numbers come down more to reality, but again, still in a very healthy place. Obviously, the looming potential of a recession is definitely weighing on a lot of people’s strategies. But it’d be interesting to see where that all goes with the midterms and where the economy goes. As of right now, we haven’t seen anything drop off a cliff.

How would Rentyl fare in a recession?

We do anticipate that a downturn in the economy actually would help us pick up more partnerships — more people will be wanting to find new ways to get bookings. We are higher [priced] than the average Airbnb, based on the fact that we’re providing more of a full-service, resort experience with standards and everything else. But we’re still seeing that when you break down our pricing on a bedroom-by-bedroom price point, it’s typically a little bit lower per bedroom than a hotel. One of the things that we’re building in our tech is the ability for installment payments. That’s something that we believe will be very helpful for consumers, especially as we potentially go through a recession.

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2201 Collins Avenue (Google Maps)

2201 Collins Avenue (Google Maps)

The former W South Beach condo of world renowned architect Zaha Hadid sold again, this time for $6 million. The buyer is a Florida-based real estate developer.

Records show Thomas Robert and his wife Ann Chan bought the combined units 726, 728, and 730 at 2201 Collins Avenue from M. Reada “Ray” Bassiouni. Bassiouni owns the Boston-based security company ATI Systems. Robert operates GC Land Development LLC in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Christopher Adeleke of Douglas Elliman brought the buyer, and Angelica Garcia of Elliman had the listing.

According to records, Bassiouni bought the condo for $5.8 million in 2018. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom unit spans 2,541 square feet, according to a release. The 20-story W South Beach condo-hotel was built in 2009, records show.

Bassiouni had listed the condo on and off since March 2021, when he asked $8 million for the unit. Realtor.com shows the condo sold for about $500,000 less than its last asking price of $6.5 million.

Hadid bought the units for $4.2 million in separate deals over a five-year span, and designed the remodel herself. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect was celebrated for her designs of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, and Galaxy SOHO in Beijing. She was overseeing construction of her design for the Miami condo tower One Thousand Museum when she died in Miami Beach in 2016.

One Thousand Museum was completed in 2019. Marc Anthony purchased a unit in May 2021 for $11 million. He is among several celebrities who own condos at the 84-unit tower, including David and Victoria Beckham.

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Waterfront Bpca Raton property (NE 32nd Street LLC, Getty)

Waterfront Boca Raton property (NE 32nd Street LLC, Getty)

A Palm Beach County developer listed a development site in Boca Raton for single-family homes for $43 million. The catch? The property is mostly underwater, and would have to be filled in.

William Swaim, of NE 32nd Street LLC, said the site, on the west side of Northeast Eighth Avenue and south of Northeast 32nd Street, is asking $46.5 million if it were to be filled and built with a seawall. Swaim said the property is a “unicorn,” and after a legal battle has been legally declared as buildable land.

The 4-acre parcel is zoned for about 1.8 units per acre, which means a buyer would likely build at least four homes and up to about seven. If a buyer purchases additional land that Swaim owns in the Intracoastal Waterway, he estimates that about 12 homes could be built. He called it one of the last undeveloped waterfront sites on the market in Boca Raton.

The property has about 600 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway, where Swaim said homes have been appreciating in value monthly by more than 10 percent over the past 18 months.

This month, Robert Kelly, a former chairman and CEO of Bank of New York Mellon, sold his waterfront home in Boca’s Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club to a luxury retailer for $9.4 million. Kelly bought the property in 2013 for $3.7 million, records show.

In July, luxury carpet mogul Steven Stark and his wife, Candice Stark, bought a flipped mansion in the same community for $17.2 million, a 60 percent markup from its purchase price a year earlier.

Earlier this year, yacht broker Joseph Perez sold his waterfront Boca home for $6.3 million to the wife of a rock salt tycoon.

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Hurricane Ian pummeled southwest Florida, possibly killing hundreds of people and destroying homes, bridges and other structures in its path.

The storm, which was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm on Thursday, could become a hurricane again as it leaves Florida and heads for the Carolinas. It largely bypassed South Florida, but continued to dump rain on central Florida, flooding homes and leaving other destruction in its wake.

At least 12 people were reported dead, according to the Palm Beach Post, though that number is expected to rise into the hundreds as search and rescue teams continue their efforts. The reconstruction process will take years in some parts of the state, with the cost of insurance expected to increase further and the number of insurers to continue to dwindle.

In the counties under evacuation orders, only 18.5 percent of homes have National Flood Insurance Program coverage, the New York Times reported.

Portions of the Sanibel Causeway, which connected Sanibel and Captiva islands to the mainland, were destroyed and washed away by storm surge. Aerial photographs showed homes that had been stripped into pieces, appearing like matchsticks.

More than 7.2 million homes with a combined reconstruction value of $1.6 trillion were within the impact area of the hurricane’s moderate and high flash flood risk bands, CoreLogic estimated earlier this week.

The hurricane was expected to hit the Tampa and St. Petersburg area harder, but ended up veering south, devastating Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Naples and other cities.

A number of major developers, including the Related Group, Mast Capital, John Catsimatidis and Key International, have projects in the Tampa Bay area, where the real estate market has boomed. Blocks from the bay, Catsimatidis’ firm Red Apple Real Estate is building the tallest tower on Florida’s Gulf Coast, a 46-story, 301-unit condo tower in St. Petersburg, spanning 1.3 million square feet.

Related’s Tampa projects include a residential and retail tower along the riverwalk and the two-phase Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tampa. The Miami-based firm has said that it has more than $1.5 billion in development in the region.

In a statement provided to The Real Deal, Related Chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez said the hurricane was “a reminder of just how fragile life is” and the importance of communities coming together. Pérez said that none of Related’s projects were affected, and thanked the people who helped prepare and secure Related’s sites.

“My heart goes out to all of the families and businesses that were impacted by the storm,” he added.

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The Apollo Companies' Edward Abbo and a rendering of the 12-story, 278-unit apartment development in Dania Beach (The Apollo Companies, City of Dania Beach DRC)

The Apollo Companies’ Edward Abbo and a rendering of the 12-story, 278-unit apartment development in Dania Beach (The Apollo Companies, City of Dania Beach DRC)

UPDATED, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.: A developer won site plan approval for a 12-story, 278-unit apartment building in Dania Beach.

The Dania Beach City Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve a variance from zoning rules and a site plan proposed by First Dania Beach LLC, a partnership between the Apollo Companies, an Aventura-based firm led by CEO Edward Abbo, and North Miami Beach-based Liberty Base Investments, led by Leon Ojalvo. The property is near the intersection of Stirling Road and Federal Highway.

“We are vertically integrated, so we are going to build it in-house,” Abbo told Dania Beach commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night. “We build all over Florida … We have built more than 7,000 residential units.”

The multifamily development, called 101 Dania Beach, would have 134 one-bedroom apartments, 83 two-bedrooms, 21 three-bedrooms, 35 studios, and five live-work units on the ground floor that would front Southwest First Court.

Amenities will include a rooftop pool and barbecue area, a fitness center, co-working space, package-delivery lockers, and an on-site park. The site plan also includes a parking garage with 357 spaces, six street parking spaces, and a bicycle storage facility.

First Dania Beach LLC paid a total of $2.6 million this year and last year to acquire and assemble the 1.86-acre site, according to property records. The development site is just west of the popular Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant at 128 South Federal Highway in Dania Beach. The multi-address site behind Jaxson’s touches Southwest First Street (101-117), Southwest First Court (105, 111, 119, and 125-127), and Park Avenue East (110, 118, 124, 126).

The Apollo and Liberty entity made its apartment project much denser by responding to city incentives to provide on-site open space and adopt sustainable building standards. The developer got a bonus of about 200 units and five floors for 101 Dania Beach by designing it with a passive, on-site green space spanning 10,390 square feet, and by adopting the Florida Green high-rise building standard.

City commissioners approved a variance to local zoning rules that would have required one tree every 15 feet along streets. Apollo plans to plant fewer trees for traffic safety reasons, according to its application to the city.

Apollo’s portfolio in South Florida includes Quantum Apartments in Fort Lauderdale, Turnberry Plaza office building in Aventura, Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown hotel, and Hilton Aventura Miami hotel, according to its website.

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Montford Group' Sunju Patel and Opterra Capital Glenn Alba with 2940 Collins Avenue (Montford Group, Getty)

Montford Group’ Sunju Patel and Opterra Capital Glenn Alba with 2940 Collins Avenue (Montford Group, Getty)

UPDATED, Sept. 30, 10:35 a.m.: A joint venture bought the Hilton Garden Inn Miami Beach from Baywood Hotels for $28 million.

Montford Group and Opterra Capital, led by Sunju Patel and Glenn Alba, respectively, bought the eight-story, 96-key hotel at 2940 Collins Avenue, records show.

The price equates to $292,000 per room.

The partnership secured a $20.2 million mortgage from Georgia-based Synovus Bank to finance the deal, records show.

Baywood Hotels, led by President Al Patel, bought the property in 2013 for $12.5 million, records show. Built in 1935, the hotel sits on 0.2 acres. Baywood completed extensive renovations over a two-year period after the firm acquired the property, according to Sunju Patel and Alba.

Through their partnership, dubbed TMGOC Ventures, Montford and Opterra have invested in 14 hotels across the Southeast, primarily in South Florida and South Carolina, Sunju Patel and Alba said.

The Miami Beach purchase was the result of a conversation among friends. Sunju Patel and Alba were at drinks with Al Patel when he mentioned wanting to sell the hotel.

“We approached him to buy, and it was as simple as that,” said Sunju Patel.

The joint venture had been eyeing the Miami market for quite a while, but the Covid surge in pricing made it a difficult market to crack — until the Hilton Garden Inn opportunity came along, he added.

“We got in at the right price,” he said.

The investors plan to expand upon the renovations Baywood completed in 2015, and intend for the hotel to remain a Hilton. Improvements to the lobby, bar, and some of the rooms are in the works, according to Alba.

Patel said the duo has been in talks with the city for three months already, mainly regarding an exterior paint job.

South Florida’s hotel market has had a busy few weeks. Wurzak Hotel Group bought the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Deerfield Beach-Boca Raton for $27 million, the group’s fourth South Florida acquisition.

A Toronto-based investment firm paid $39.3 million for the Lord Balfour hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.

Tom Assouline and members of the Busch beer family purchased the Red South Beach hotel on Collins Avenue, near the Hilton Garden Inn, for $33 million.

And Chetrit Group’s lender for its shuttered Tides South Beach hotel scored a legal victory, when a judge ruled that the developer had violated its mortgage agreement.

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From left: Property Markets Group's Ryan Shear, Kevin Maloney and Dan Kaplan with Elser Hotel & Residences

From left: Property Markets Group’s Ryan Shear, Kevin Maloney and Dan Kaplan with Elser Hotel & Residences (Property Markets Group)

UPDATED, Sept. 30, 12:45 p.m.: Property Markets Group and Greybrook secured a $235 million refinancing for the Elser Hotel & Residences condo tower in downtown Miami.

Franklin BSP Realty Trust is the lender, with the debt fund RMWC also providing a $25 million mezzanine loan for the recently completed 49-story, 646-unit condo-hotel at 398 Northeast Fifth Street, according to a press release. New York-based Franklin BSP, formerly known as Benefit Street Partners Realty Trust, is a real estate investment trust with more than $6.3 billion of assets.

Centennial Bank and Square Mile Capital provided the developers with $161.5 million in financing in 2019. The refinancing pays off the $114.5 million principal balance and provides new financing for the developers, records show.

PMG, led by Ryan Shear, Kevin Maloney and Dan Kaplan, and Greybrook, previously planned to build and operate the project as rentals called Society Biscayne. They converted it to short-term rental friendly condos earlier this year due to increased demand for that type of unit.

The Elser, which includes over 19,000 square feet of amenities, 32,000 square feet of office space and about 5,000 square feet of retail space, was built on the same block as the planned Waldorf Astoria Residences Miami, and just north of the PMG-developed X Miami rental tower.

PMG and Greybrook launched condo sales this summer with prices starting in the $600,000s. Highgate will manage the short-term rentals. The units range from 400-square-foot studios to 1,300-square-foot three-bedroom units.

Amenities include a double level amenity deck with a pool, co-working spaces, gyms, a lobby and cocktail bar from the Jaguar Sun owners, and a Cafe Domino coffee lounge.

PMG paid $55 million for the property in 2018.

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(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Mortgage rates hit their highest level in 15 years, continuing a surge that’s likely no longer a big surprise in the market, but not any less painful.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate reached 6.7 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of lenders reported by the Wall Street Journal. The figure marks the sixth straight week the average increased and the highest average rate since July 2007.

The unceasing rise in rates comes as the Federal Reserve keeps raising benchmark interest rates in an effort to tamp down inflation, including a raise of three-quarters of a point after its Sept. 21 meeting. Mortgage rates have less to directly do with the Fed’s rates than the 10-year Treasury yield, which is influenced by Fed rate expectations.

Mortgage rates have been on a wild ride since the start of the pandemic, but the increases of late are particularly stark. A week ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association had the average rate at 6.25 percent, while Freddie Mac put it at 6.29 percent. A year ago, Freddie Mac’s average recorded rate was less than half of that, a smidge over 3 percent.

Rates hit record lows at the start of the pandemic, creating an environment for a frenzied housing market. The good times for prospective homebuyers didn’t last, though, and many are feeling pinched by rates, along with the continued rise of sales prices — even if they’re climbing at a slower rate.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index posted a 2.3 percentage point difference in July from the previous month, the fourth straight month of deceleration and the largest difference recorded in the index’s history.

Home prices may continue to decline as the Fed keeps making moves, but if mortgage rates continue to climb, the combination could complicate back-of-the-napkin math for buyers.

Rising mortgage rates aren’t only impacting homebuyers. They are also having a crushing effect on mortgage, proptech and brokerage firms, forcing layoffs throughout the industry.

— Holden Walter-Warner

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(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

When it comes to Compass, the whales are buying the dip.

Several dozen institutional investors have taken up positions in the residential brokerage as of the end of the second quarter, according to an analysis of SEC data by Nasdaq.

Institutional investors collectively own $665 million of Compass’ Class A common stock, or about two-thirds of the outstanding shares, according to the analysis, which defined institutional investors as those managing north of $100 million. The disclosures, which were filed at the end of second quarter, show that 68 of them have taken new positions in Compass, while 109 have increased their holdings in the firm. Sixty-five investors reduced their holdings, while 38 exited their stakes entirely. Meanwhile, a total of 25 investors made no changes to their holdings.

The numbers indicate that at least among the biggest players, there’s a sense that there’s a bargain to be had. Compass went public in April 2021 with a stock price of $20. Its stock price as of June 30, when these disclosures were filed, was $3.6. At close of trading on Sept. 28, its stock was at $2.6.

The company’s largest shareholder is SoftBank, which co-led its $550 million Series E round in December 2017, which valued the brokerage at $2.2 billion, according to PitchBook. It also co-led Compass’ $400 million Series F round in December 2018 (at a $4.4 billion valuation) and its $500 million Series G round in November 2019 (at a $6.4 billion valuation). SoftBank disclosed on Aug. 5 that its losses on Compass at the time exceeded $500 million. According to the analysis, it owns nearly a third of Compass.

Two major money managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, have upped their stake in the brokerage. Vanguard, which recently acquired 13.8 million shares, now owns 7.4 percent of Compass. BlackRock, meanwhile, bought 11.2 million shares, increasing its stake in the company to three percent.

Utah-based Wasatch Advisors acquired the largest new position in the brokerage, paying $9.5 million for around 4 million shares, followed by Boston-based Geode Capital with a $6 million investment.

New positions from institutional investors, however, represent a smaller portion of shares compared to firms that cashed out. Institutions that closed their position in the stock collectively held 25.5 million shares, much higher than the 17.9 million shares from new investors. Venture capital firm Thrive, led by Joshua Kushner, reported the largest divestment, selling nearly 7.3 million shares.

Compass went public with a market cap of nearly $7 billion, compared to its current market cap of $1.1 billion. Its losses in the 18-month period since January 2021 total nearly $800 million, nearly $300 million of that this year. It downsized its full-year revenue estimates to between $6.15 billion and $6.45 billion, compared to earlier guidance of $7.6 billion and $8 billion. The company declined to comment.

The firm is now in deep cost-cutting mode, looking to shed over $300 million in expenses this year. It has done multiple rounds of layoffs and scaled back on programs like Compass Concierge, and also said it will take a harder line on agent commission splits.

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A photo illustration featuring a rendering of the Edition Residences Edgewater (left), the Belmar Condominium at 419 Northeast 19th Street (middle), and a rendering of Aria Reserve (right) (Getty Images, Google Maps, Melo Group, Two Roads Development, Master Brokers Forum)

A photo illustration featuring a rendering of the Edition Residences Edgewater (left), the Belmar Condominium at 419 Northeast 19th Street (middle), and a rendering of Aria Reserve (right) (Getty Images, Google Maps, Melo Group, Two Roads Development, Master Brokers Forum)

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

It wasn’t so long ago that Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood was a faceless, unappreciated section of the city, known for disjointed streets and deteriorating homes and apartment buildings. But as neighboring areas such as Wynwood, the Design District, and the Arts District enjoyed massive redevelopment and rebranding success, the neighborhood bordered by Biscayne Bay, the Florida East Coast Railway, 17th Street and 37th Street suddenly caught on as fertile ground for high density development. We explore the new identity and innovative developers breaking ground in Edgewater in this edition of South Florida by the numbers.

62

Number of stories in each of the two towers at Melo Group’s planned Aria Reserve, making it the tallest dual-tower waterfront residential project in the United States upon completion. As part of the project, the highly successful public baywalk that runs along the eastern border of Edgewater will be extended. [TheNextMiami]

Two (Roads)

Name of local developer partnering with the Edition brand for the first of a three-tower luxury condo project. This tower will have 185 units and 55 stories, with units starting at $1.7 million. While this Edition Residences project will not have a hotel component, it will have six guest suites that owners can reserve. [TheRealDeal]

$12 million

Total price paid by SB Development and Hazelton Capital Group for all 13 units at the Belmar Condominium at 419 Northeast 19th Street, an average of $923,076 per unit. This potential development site would be the pairing’s second in Edgewater in as many years, having also bought a five-bedroom house at 480 Northeast 29th Street and two adjacent vacant lots for $12.2 million. [TheRealDeal]

1.4

Acres of land in an assemblage recently purchased at 1851 Northeast 2nd Avenue by developer Rotem Rosen for $30 million. The property currently includes a supermarket, a preschool, and a vacant lot. The previous owners paid $5.6 million for the parcels between 2011 and 2014. [SFBJ]

109,643

Square feet of office space (in addition to 6,122 square feet of commercial space and 399 units) that will be available in a new mixed-use residential tower recently approved unanimously by the Miami Urban Development Review Board. Developer 2600 Biscayne Property LLC is proposing the 40-story tower at 2626 Biscayne Boulevard, in the heart of Edgewater. [MiamiToday]

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.

The post South Florida by the numbers: Living on the Edge(water) appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

Joseph Chetrit and The Tides South Beach (Getty, The Tides South Beach)

Joseph Chetrit and The Tides South Beach (Getty, The Tides South Beach)

The lender for the Chetrit Group’s Tides South Beach hotel notched a win in its $45 million foreclosure case.

Safe Harbor Equity’s affiliate sued CG Tides and other companies linked to New York-based Chetrit Group over the long-shuttered Tides, a 45-key hotel at 1220 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. The lender’s suit, filed in February 2021, alleged that Chetrit stole $2 million in insurance money tied to damages from Hurricane Irma, without the lender’s knowledge or consent, and allegedly defaulted on its loan.

This month, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. granted the lender’s partial summary judgment. Following hearings in August and September, Echarte ruled that Chetrit did breach its mortgage agreement by transferring the insurance funds to its company bank account and the personal bank accounts of Joseph and Meyer Chetrit without their lender’s consent or knowledge.

The judge also ruled that the Chetrit entities breached their mortgage when they allowed their insurance coverage to lapse for months, and that they defaulted on the loan when they failed to pay it back by the extended maturity date of Dec. 20, 2020. Emails included as attachments to the filings revealed that the Chetrit ownership allowed insurance coverage to lapse at the start of hurricane season in 2020.

The loan is backed by the Art Deco hotel on Ocean Drive, as well as a mixed-use building fronting Collins Avenue that Chetrit redeveloped. Chetrit secured the $45 million loan in 2014 from Ocean Bank, which sold the debt to the Safe Harbor Equity entity in January 2021.

The judge wrote in his order that the filings show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact regarding the occurrence of the foregoing defaults or the date on which default interest begins to accrue” according to the loan documents.

“We are grateful for the time that the court took to consider this matter, and we believe it came to the right result,” a spokesperson for Safe Harbor Equity wrote in a statement to The Real Deal.

Chetrit and its attorney, Dennis Richard of Richard and Richard law firm, did not respond to requests for comment.

Safe Harbor alleged that the insurance proceeds belonged to Ocean Bank, and by keeping the check without the bank’s approval, the Chetrit entities allegedly committed grant theft. Chetrit alleged that it notified Ocean Bank’s then-chief lending officer, Ralph Gonzalez-Jacobo, of the insurance check. Gonzalez-Jacobo died in late 2019, according to his obituary.

Chetrit has projects scattered across Miami Beach and Miami that have stalled at various stages. The firm owns the closed Miami Beach Resort, an oceanfront property at 4833 Collins Avenue, the under-construction Collins Park hotel redevelopment, and a development site along the Miami River where the firm planned to build a $1 billion project with 1,700 residential units, 330 hotel rooms, 266,000 square feet of retail and office space, and more than 2,000 parking spaces.

In May, Chetrit secured a $94 million construction loan for a planned waterfront luxury condo development in Pompano Beach. New York-based Madison Realty Capital provided the financing for Chetrit’s site at 2629 North Riverside Drive.

The family owned firm also recently completed a bulk purchase of condos at the aging Hollywood Beach Resort.

Last year, Chetrit sold a Miami Beach apartment hotel to its operator, Royal Stays Miami, for $42 million.

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(Photos via Getty Images)

(Photos via Getty Images)

Hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida Wednesday afternoon, creating catastrophic storm surge, flash flooding and powerful wind gusts, knocking out power to more than 1.1 million customers.

After gaining strength over the Gulf of Mexico, the Category 4 hurricane made landfall at 3:05 p.m. at Cayo Costa in the Fort Myers area at sustained wind speeds of 150 miles per hour.

Photos and videos of the flooding and storm surge show cars and buildings partially submerged in water, including a fire station in Naples. The storm surge was forecast to reach as much as 18 feet in some parts of the west coast of Florida.

More than 2.5 million people were under an evacuation order prior to the storm. According to CoreLogic, over 7.2 million homes with a combined reconstruction value of $1.6 trillion are within the impact area of the hurricane’s moderate and high flash flood risk bands.

Hurricane Ian marks the fourth strongest hurricane and one of the most dangerous storms to make landfall in Florida’s history. All of Cuba was left without power after Ian hit the island as a Category 3 storm on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday at 5 p.m., the majority of customers in Florida’s Lee County had lost power, with hundreds of thousands in the dark in Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota counties combined, according to poweroutage.us.

As the hurricane moves northward, it is expected to continue to dump heavy rain on parts of Florida for the next day or two.

Before it made landfall on the Gulf coast of Florida, two tornadoes touched down in South Florida, flipping airplanes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines and uprooting trees. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were spared hurricane-force winds and storm surge, though some flooding was reported.

Here are photos of the hurricane’s destruction:

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  • FORT MYERS FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 29: Stefanie Karas stands in her apartment after flood water inundated it when Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers, Florida. Mrs. Karas is an artist and was salvaging what she could from her home. The hurricane brought high winds, storm surge and rain to the area causing severe damage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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From left: Vladislav “Bobby” Yampolsky and Robert P. Kelly along with an aerial view of 419 East Coconut Palm Road (Getty Images, Google Maps)

From left: Vladislav “Bobby” Yampolsky and Robert P. Kelly along with an aerial view of 419 East Coconut Palm Road (Getty Images, Google Maps)

A former chairman and CEO of Bank of New York Mellon sold his waterfront home in Boca Raton’s Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club to a luxury retailer for $9.4 million.

Records show Robert and Rose Kelly sold the house at 419 East Coconut Palm Road in Boca Raton to Vladislav Yampolsky. Yampolsky, who goes by Bobby, emigrated from Ukraine as a child and owns the luxury goods retailer ECJ Luxe, which sells timepieces, jewelry, designer bags and yachts through its stores in Boca Raton, Sunny Isles Beach and Charlotte, N.C.

Robert Kelly was chairman and CEO of Bank of New York Mellon from 2007 till 2011. He resigned in the wake of the global financial crisis after a falling out with other bank leaders, Fortune reported at the time. Last year, he joined the board of S&P Global.

Jonathan Postma of Coldwell Banker Realty represented both the buyer and the sellers.

The Kellys bought the property in 2013 for $3.7 million, records show. The 6,957-square-foot house has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, according to the listing. Records show the home was built in 1999 on 0.4 acres, and has 102 feet of deep water frontage.

Yampolsky’s purchase marks the second significant sale in Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in recent months. Luxury carpet mogul Steven Stark and his wife, Candice Stark, bought a flipped mansion in the private community for $17.2 million in July.

Luxury sales were active in Boca Raton this past spring. A transportation titan paid $7.4 million for a non-waterfront home in March, downsizing from his waterfront mansion. That same month, internet celebrity Bhad Bhabie bought a mansion from a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker for $6.1 million.

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2100 NW 84th Street and American Tower's Tom Bartlett and Baptist Health's Brian Keeley (Google Maps, American Tower, Baptist Health)

2100 NW 84th Street and American Tower’s Tom Bartlett and Baptist Health’s Brian Keeley (Google Maps, American Tower, Baptist Health)

American Tower, a global communications infrastructure real estate investment trust, bought a data center in Doral from Baptist Health South Florida for $34 million.

Records show American Tower bought the data center at 2100 Northwest 84th Avenue from Miami-based Baptist via a Delaware LLC.

American Tower is a publicly traded REIT headquartered in Woburn, Mass., with operations across six continents and a portfolio of 222,000 communications sites, according to its website. Led by CEO Tom Bartlett, American Tower acquired CoreSite Realty Corp., another data center REIT, for $10.1 billion last year, Bloomberg reported.

Baptist Health is a non-profit health care system led by CEO Brian Keeley. The organization operates 12 hospitals and 50 out-patient facilities across South Florida, according to its website.

Records show Baptist bought the Doral facility for $11 million in 2004. The 137,938-square-foot center was built on 4.5 acres in 1990, per records. According to a JLL marketing brochure from earlier this year, the property was renovated in 2000. Baptist listed the property, aiming for a two-year partial-sale leaseback, the brochure showed, however it is unclear if the deal with American Tower included a leaseback.

The sale equates to $247 per square foot for the 4.3 megawatt data center.

The push toward 5G and advancing technologies has driven demand for data centers nationwide, boosting prices and rents across the sector.

Developers have targeted Doral for major industrial investments in recent months. Chicago-based industrial developer Bridge announced in July its plans for a 2.6 million-square-foot project on 175 acres in Doral, near Miami International Airport. The preliminary plan for the project, called Bridge Point Doral, is for six buildings, each ranging from 165,000 square feet to 900,000 square feet. The first building is set to be completed next year.

In February, Seagis Property Group paid $16 million for a warehouse development site next to its Transal Park facility in Doral. The purchase came two months after Seagis acquired two other Doral industrial properties in separate deals totaling $28.6 million.

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Constellation's Eduardo Otaola and Boschetti's Jose Boschetti with rendering of proposing a 15-story, mixed-use luxury rental project (LinkedIn, Boschetti Group, Arquitectonica, Getty)

Constellation’s Eduardo Otaola and Boschetti’s Jose Boschetti with rendering of proposing a 15-story, mixed-use luxury rental project (LinkedIn, Boschetti Group, Arquitectonica, Getty)

Constellation Group and the Boschetti Group are proposing a 15-story, mixed-use luxury rental project near the Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, where development has boomed in recent years.

The city’s development review board will review plans for 4241 Aurora Street on Friday, Constellation Group Principal Eduardo Otaola said. As proposed, 4241 Aurora would include about 70 apartments, 20,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail and a 5,000-square-foot park.

The site, an entire city block, is just north of the Nordstrom store at Brookfield Properties’ Merrick Park mall and west of Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Miami-based Constellation and Coral Gables-based Boschetti tapped Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Raymond Fort of Arquitectonica to design the project. Because the site is within the city’s Design and Innovation Overlay District, the design is Mediterranean with an “innovative” touch, Otaola said. The developers seek a Mediterranean-design bonus for the building.

Otaola said they met with the neighborhood to get feedback on the plans, and that the taller building they are proposing would be in exchange for the park.

At Friday’s meeting, Constellation and Boschetti are seeking a transfer of development rights that will provide an additional 26,000 square feet of floor area ratio, as well as remote parking for about 60 of the 200 required parking spaces, according to the developers’ application. Jorge Navarro, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, is representing the developers.

Constellation and Boschetti are also developing the nearby office and retail project at 4225 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. That’s expected to break ground next year.

Constellation is expected to close on its share of the property at 4241 Aurora early next year. Property records show Brookfield Properties sold the 0.7-acre site to a Boschetti affiliate in January for $6.1 million.

After going before the development review committee, Otaola said the project will be heard by the Coral Gables Board of Architects. He hopes to break ground by the second or third quarter of next year.

“We’re trying to go as low density as possible,” Otaola said, citing the firm’s market research. “The demand for two- and three-bedrooms was astounding.”

A number of apartment projects have been built or are planned just east of Merrick Park and south of Bird Road in Miami. Developers are also working on two high-end senior living projects north and south of the mall, including the Watermark at Coral Gables on LeJeune Road and Belmont Village Senior Living next to the Collection dealership.

Boschetti owns a site next to the Watermark project as well, records show.

In August, Hines paid $430 million for the LifeTime-branded mixed-use multifamily development at 237 South Dixie Highway in Coral Gables.

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D.R. Horton's David Auld with an aerial of the development site (D.R. Horton, WGI)

D.R. Horton’s David Auld with an aerial of the development site (D.R. Horton, WGI)

Homebuilder D.R. Horton won a rezoning for Hunters Manor, a planned infill development of 59 single-family homes in Pompano Beach.

The Pompano Beach City Commission voted Tuesday to rezone the 9-acre development site from “single-family residential” (RS-3) and “multi-family residential” (RM-12) to “residential planned unit development” (RPUD).

The rezoning increases from 56 to 59 the number of single-family homes that Arlington, Texas-based D.R. Horton can build on the Hunters Manor site. A plat approved in 2016 restricts the 9-acre Pompano Beach site to a maximum of 65 detached single-family homes.

Prices for homes at Hunters Manor will probably start “in the low $400,000s,” Scott Backman, an attorney representing D.R. Horton, said at a city commission meeting two weeks ago, when commissioners tentatively approved the rezoning on first reading.

Houses at master-planned Hunters Manor will have four or five bedrooms and will range in size from 1,739 square feet to 2,717 square feet. Design options include one- or two-story houses with one- or two-car garages. The residential development will have an internal network of sidewalks, a mail kiosk, and an open-air pavilion.

Three years ago, the city selected D.R. Horton’s Hunters Manor proposal in response to an RFP, or a public request for proposals, to develop housing on the infill site, which is owned by the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. The agency issued the request for proposals in September 2019 and D.R. Horton won the RFP award in November 2019.

D.R. Horton is under contract to pay the CRA $1.6 million for the site, according to a property disposition and development agreement between the CRA and D.R. Horton.

“The project has been working its way through this process for quite some time,” Backman, the attorney for D.R. Horton, said at the Sept. 13 commission meeting. “The RFP award went to my client [D.R. Horton] just before Covid set in, and so the process has taken a little bit longer.”

Founded in 1978 by Donald R. Horton, D.R. Horton ranks as the largest homebuilder by volume in the U.S. since 2002, according to its website. The company operates in 105 markets in 33 states across the country.

The Pompano Beach development site is just east of Powerline Road, bounded by Northwest 9th Street on the north side and Northwest 6th Street on the south, and by Northwest 18th Avenue on the east and Northwest 19th Avenue on the west.
D.R. Horton’s project takes its name from Hunters Manor Park, an 8.4-acre, open-space park that borders the development site on its south side. Single-family homes are along the north and west sides of the site. The new Marquis Apartments, a 100-unit affordable housing development, is also along the north side of the site. The east side is bordered by an auto body paint shop, church property, and vacant land.

“There were several residential homes on the subject site in the past, but it is currently vacant … [and] represents a void in the Hunters Manor neighborhood,” according to a report on behalf of the CRA by construction engineering and consulting firm WGI.

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Douglas Elliman's Howard Lorber and Tongo's Brandon Wright (Getty Images, LinkedIn/Brandon Wright)

Douglas Elliman’s Howard Lorber and Tongo’s Brandon Wright (Getty Images, LinkedIn/Brandon Wright)

When residential dealmaking dries up, brokerages have to find unconventional ways to generate money.

Douglas Elliman rolled out a payday loan service platform to its brokers, providing an alternate source of revenue as the industry braces for a down market.

Tongo, a third-party platform backed by New Valley Ventures, Elliman’s investment arm, lets brokers borrow up to 75 percent of a pending commission for a 3 to 5 percent fee charged every 30 days. Tongo announced last week that it had completed a $7 million seed round.

The move is a way to give brokers liquidity, said a spokesperson for Elliman, who insisted that it was unrelated to the humdrum state of the residential market.

“The timing comes entirely because we recently discovered Tongo and are enthusiastic about their solution,” the spokesperson said.

Still, a cooling market with less deal flow means that brokers may have to wait longer, for fewer checks. Tongo described its service as a “cash on demand” debit card product that could help agents stabilize cash flows.

And Elliman isn’t the only brokerage announcing new products. Keller Williams this month said it will provide wealth management training to its brokers, with an eye toward potentially licensing out such training to other firms. And commercial firm Walker & Dunlop is getting into the private lending business with Walker Private Lending, focused on multifamily property owners.

It’s all happening against the backdrop of extreme economic uncertainty. Cushman & Wakefield in late August predicted a mild recession driven by high oil prices and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told the New York Post that home prices could fall by 20 percent through the middle of next year.

That could spell trouble for Elliman, which did not grow its revenue in line with some of its competitors in the second quarter. Elliman’s revenues rose just under 20 percent between the first and second quarters of this year, whereas Compass, eXp and Anywhere all saw rises of at least 30 percent.

Elliman’s stock is down 62 percent this year.

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100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach with Ally Visram and Howard Wurzak (Wurzak Hotel Group, Google Maps)

100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach with Ally Visram and Howard Wurzak (Wurzak Hotel Group, Google Maps)

Wurzak Hotel Group is bringing a little Philadelphia-style hospitality to Deerfield Beach.

The firm bought the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Deerfield Beach-Boca Raton for $27 million, marking its fourth hotel acquisition in Broward County.

Led by the father-son duo Howard and Jake Wurzak, the Philadelphia-based firm bought the 221-room hotel at 100 Fairway Drive from Vista Myrtle Beach LP, an affiliate of Vista Group, records show. The price equates to $122,000 per key.

Wurzak secured a $27.5 million loan from Amerant Bank to finance its purchase of the 6.2-acre property, records show.

Vista had paid $22.3 million for the hotel in 2018, or $101,000 per key. The 162,600-square-foot hotel was built in 1985, and has 16,800 square feet of event space and 10 meeting rooms.

Brothers Amin and Ally Visram head the Binghamton, N.Y.-based Vista property management group as CEO and COO, respectively. Vista owns a portfolio of hotels sprinkled across the U.S. and Canada, including the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C., according to its website. The firm’s other investments include retirement communities, shopping centers and office space.

Wurzak owns three other hotels in Florida, including the Element Fort Lauderdale, the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel, and the Dalmar, also in Fort Lauderdale, according to the firm’s website. The rest of the group’s portfolio is spread across Pennsylvania and Virginia.

South Florida’s hotel market has experienced a flurry of activity in recent weeks. Members of the Busch beer family joined forces with Tom Assouline of Assouline Capital to buy the Red South Beach hotel for $33 million. Toronto-based Catalyst Capital Group bought the Lord Balfour hotel in Miami Beach for $39.3 million. And in a lawsuit between RH, the luxury furniture brand formerly known as Restoration Hardware, and its Miami Design District landlord, court documents revealed plans for a $100 million renovation and RH branding of the historic Savoy hotel in Miami Beach. The lawsuit was settled, but it remains unclear if the plans for the Savoy are still in play.

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Kevin Shannon (Photos by Kevin Scalon)

UPDATED Sept. 8, 2022, 12:45 p.m.: Whether it’s Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Meta’s campus in the Bay Area or a 30-story office and data center in Downtown L.A., Kevin Shannon has sold it all.

The Newmark broker’s 33-person team has brokered nearly $7.5 billion worth of real estate deals this year alone. And while dealmakers tend to specialize in one or two asset classes, Shannon doesn’t discriminate. He’ll close the $730 million sale of a Seattle office tower to Boston Properties one month and a $520 million deal for a multi-state industrial portfolio leased to Amazon the next.

“I’m a busy beaver,” Shannon said. “We cover a lot of territory.”

That wasn’t always the case. After graduating from the University of Southern California — as almost every real estate professional in L.A. seems to have — in 1981, Shannon scored a job as a broker with Colliers Seeley, representing office and industrial tenants in L.A. County’s South Bay region. 

Burned out by years of hustling as a leasing agent, Shannon pivoted to investment sales, arranging three deals for commercial properties in Carson, Long Beach and Torrance — no easy feat in the midst of the early-1990s recession.

“Those three sales weren’t large or anything, but they were significant because they occurred when nothing was selling,” he said, rattling off the precise square footage of properties he sold three decades ago.

Within five years, he’d started Colliers Seeley’s investment sales division. By 2006 he was at CBRE, running investment sales for the West Coast, and nearly a decade later joined Newmark, where he took on the full range of commercial classes. 

The Real Deal caught up with Shannon shortly after he got back from his vacation home in Hermosa Beach to discuss his career, his expensive taste in wine, his marquee deals and what keeps him up at night. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Birthday: June 11
Hometown: Pasadena, California
Lives: Palos Verdes, California
Family: Married, four children

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Pasadena. I moved every two years — I went to four different grade schools and three different high schools. For about two years in high school, I was in Texas. My dad moved to [Ernst & Young predecessor] Arthur Young in Houston for a promotion. 

But then he got bit by a fire ant while he was out hunting and went into a coma. We moved back to L.A. after he realized how allergic he was. It wasn’t great growing up, moving around so much, but it taught me a lot, the ability to meet new people. 

How did you get your start in the business?

I took an introductory real estate class at USC with [professor and veteran real estate consultant] Rocky Tarantello. I fell in love with it, and I ended up taking 20 units of real estate. When I got out of college, I applied for both principal and broker jobs. We were in a recession period, so the only people hiring were brokers. I ended up starting as a broker, and lo and behold, I’m still a broker. I’ve been fortunate. 

I started out as a leasing broker in Torrance in the South Bay of L.A., which included LAX Airport, El Segundo and Long Beach. In 1996, though, I decided to give up leasing. I was doing well, but I decided I wanted to switch full-time to investment sales. 

What prompted that decision?

Being a multi-tenant leasing guy in the South Bay, it wasn’t fulfilling enough. There was this one project in Torrance at the time called the Del Amo Executive Plaza, and [automotive company] TRW pulled out of 156,000 square feet. I think I literally did 132 small, little leases to fill it back up. I got a little burned out … so I transitioned to full-time sales. 

What deal do you consider to be your big break?

In 1991, the sales market had stopped. We were in a recession and nothing was selling. I ended up selling three deals that year — One Civic Plaza in Carson, a 127,000-square-foot office building; the 81,000-square-foot South Bay Business Center in Long Beach for Union Pacific Railroad; and the Voyager Court in Torrance, a 64,000-square-foot flex building. 

One Civic Plaza in Carson was actually a workout deal. There were liens, and the debt was high. I was still a leasing agent, but I think those were the only three sales in the South Bay during that time period. 

I ended up getting a lot of calls from appraisers because I’d done those sales, and that’s where my appetite got whetted. 

I actually went to my boss and told him I was going to go to Coldwell Banker. He asked why, and I said because I want to be an investment broker and Colliers Seeley didn’t have an investment firm. He came back later that week and said, “I’m going to have you start our investment division.” 

Was it tough to make a name for yourself? 

Yes. I was not known as an investment broker. The good news was that nobody really had a good track record of sales during that time period, because there were hardly any sales going on. I had a fighting chance. 

If you’re coming into the business today, and you’re trying to compete against Steve Silk at Eastdil Secured or Darla Longo at CBRE, or me, it’s hard. Our track record is so long. But when I broke into investment sales, there weren’t a lot of successful track records because of the economy. 

You said in 2016 that your favorite deal to work on was the $1.2 billion sale of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. Is that still the case? 

Yeah, I mean it was December 20, 2012, and it was the biggest deal in the country that year for all food groups. It really did a lot of things for my career. 

What else is on the highlight reel?

The $520 million sale [of an Amazon-leased warehouse portfolio] to Mirae Asset Global Investments was great. It was a challenging time, and Mirae was a great buyer; they did what they said and came through and honored their deal. Getting that done at a time when interest rates were rising was very satisfying. 

The sale of the Google campus in Seattle was a spectacular outcome for Vulcan, which is the family office of [Microsoft co-founder] Paul Allen.

Being part of the Meta sale with Tishman Speyer and Steve Golubchik at Newmark was great. That was a great sale. 

Setting the record is always gratifying. As rents continue to move up, new products should set records. 

Last year was insane for some asset classes, like industrial and multifamily. What are you seeing now as interest rates rise?

I always hate when I get a call and an asset hasn’t performed well and they want to sell it. It’s always disappointing. There are always cycles, and we’re in a down cycle now. Some clients aren’t doing as well as you’d hope, and others in the life sciences and industrial and multifamily arenas aren’t making as much money as they could have at the peak of the market.

But if your industrial property doubled in value in the last three years and it’s off 15 to 20 percent, whatever it is now, that’s still a nice profit. On the office side, that’s not always the case. Some of these deals are not profitable, and those are harder for me. 

What’s your biggest regret? 

Gosh. I worked at Colliers Seeley and it was primarily an industrial firm, office leasing wasn’t its strength. Maybe it would have been easier if I started at a firm that emphasized office leasing and sales. My ramp-up time would have been faster. But it all turned out for the best.

You spend your summers in Hermosa Beach — where else do you like to go?

I love [the resort] Paws Up in Montana. It’s a place where you can take your dogs and you’re doing different things as a family every day. The food is wonderful, the scenery is gorgeous. It’s fun to fly fish, go on ATVs and go water skiing as a family. It’s glamping, but it’s great to have everyone there, and the kids can’t get distracted. 

So you have pets.

Two goldendoodles. Nacho and Olive. 

What other hobbies do you have?

I do like to snow ski as well, but for whatever reason, my kids aren’t as fond of skiing as my wife and I are. Every time we’d go, they’d race each other down the hill and almost kill each other. They were so competitive skiing that it probably wasn’t as fun as it should have been. They have more fun going to Montana.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

I love going to Napa Valley and going wine tasting. I like red, almost any Pétrus. 

You also do some charity work.

My favorite charities are the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, which is an order of nuns that my aunt founded in Guatemala. Then I’ve been on the board of the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters for over 25 years — [JLL broker] Craig Meyer was the president and got me on that. Then, the USC Caruso Catholic Center, I just became the vice chair. I’m a passionate Trojan and passionate about Catholicism, so it’s a combination of both. 

Who are you supporting in the L.A. mayoral election?

I am a big proponent of Rick Caruso. I know him through my work with the USC Caruso Catholic Center, and I know he will get stuff done. He’s a doer, and I would never bet against him. I know the polls aren’t favoring him right now, but you never count Rick Caruso out. He would be terrific, and L.A. needs him. He’s not worried about what people think about him, he’s just going to do it and get it done.  

How did you meet your wife?

At the Peninsula hotel after a listing presentation. I was with six of my colleagues from Colliers Seeley and she was with five of her friends, and we had one friend in common with both groups, so we ended up talking to each other. 

Do your kids want to go into real estate? 

My son is interested in it, but his dream job is to be the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. My eldest daughter thinks residential real estate is interesting; I think she’s watched too much “Selling Sunset.” But she studied for her real estate license over the summer. Then my youngest daughters, it’s too early, I don’t know yet. 

What would your line on your tombstone be? 

I would say, great husband, great father, great community member. 

What keeps you up at night?

You know, when the market is good, you don’t worry about much. You worry about losing presentations, thinking about if there’s something I should have said differently, is there an angle that I missed. When the market is in a tougher spot, like it is now, I worry about getting my clients’ deals done. Some deals are not easy today. Everything’s harder, including industrial and multifamily. Some of the multi-tenant office deals right now are pretty challenging. I worry about being able to perform, whether the capital markets will allow me to perform.

Correction: This article was updated with an accurate sales total for Kevin Shannon’s Newmark team.

The post The Closing: Kevin Shannon appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

(The Real Deal illustration with Getty Images)

(The Real Deal illustration with Getty Images)

Contractors started cleaning up construction job sites from Tampa to Miami late last week ahead of Hurricane Ian’s expected landfall in Florida.

At one site in St. Petersburg, Coastal Construction boarded up glassless windows to secure the property. The glass shortage exacerbated by the pandemic means that the project has gaping holes that had to be tightly secured.

Statewide, contractors and developers have been locking down their construction sites, removing loose items so they do not become projectiles, and making sure that construction cranes are unlocked so they can act as weathervanes when hurricane force winds approach the state.

“I’m often surprised that many contractors or developers do not have a hurricane preparedness toolkit or protocol. They do it off the cuff.”

— Attorney Lisa Colon

The storm, a Category 3 hurricane just off western Cuba as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm that will bring a devastating storm surge to Florida’s west coast as it makes landfall. The hurricane could create more than $258 billion in damage to over 1 million homes, according to CoreLogic. South Florida is under a tropical storm warning. The storm surge in Sarasota, for example, could reach 12 feet in some areas, meteorologists predict.

 

Suffolk Construction’s John Murphy, safety director for the Southeast region, said the company re-evaluates its hurricane procedures each spring. It is also looking at the effects that rising water from “excessive rain” will have on its construction sites, according to a statement from Murphy. Suffolk has more than 20 projects across Florida.

Coastal Construction's Sean Murphy

Coastal Construction’s Sean Murphy

Coastal Construction, with five projects in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and about 20 in South Florida, all in various stages of development, could lose about two weeks of work for some projects, said Co-President Sean Murphy, who is not related to Murphy of Suffolk. Coastal completed bulk cleanups of job sites last week, including bracing loose items, removing portable toilets, emptying dumpsters, lowering construction elevators, cleaning up trailers, unlocking cranes and documenting conditions before the hurricane, he said.

The delays and heavy rainfall likely won’t have a significant impact on projects in South Florida, especially after a dry summer. Murphy said that work days lost as a result of hurricanes aren’t part of the standard “weather days” baked into contracts, though each developer approaches that differently.

“Once the storm passes and conditions are safe, we go out to the site and assess any damage,” Murphy added.

Lisa Colon of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr

Lisa Colon of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr

Construction attorney Lisa Colon of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr stressed the importance of documenting a project’s condition before and after the storm, as well as having the appropriate insurance. The insurance market could also take a big hit, depending on how catastrophic the damage.

“On the contractor’s side, it’s really important to document the site. Who’s going to be on site at the first opportunity? How are you going to document if the site suffered any damage?” Colon said. “Some damage may be obvious. Some damage may not be obvious.”

Projects with open roofs are “rather susceptible at this point,” said Greg Main-Baillie, executive managing director for Colliers’ Florida development services group. Colliers has projects statewide, in Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and South Florida.

Older condo buildings up and down the coast undergoing restoration projects should be securing their swing stages, clearing drainage areas and making sure that parking garages are cleared, he said.

Colliers’ Greg Main-Baillie

Colliers’ Greg Main-Baillie

“We have to make sure all of those [swing stages] are tied down and safe so they don’t become flying cats in the wind,” Main-Baillie said.

Regardless, he and others emphasized that developers and contractors, including subcontractors, need to have a plan in place months in advance.

“I’m often surprised that many contractors or developers do not have a hurricane preparedness toolkit or protocol. They do it off the cuff,” Colon said. “These are things you should definitely have in place, like a company employee handbook.”

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6345 Collins Avenue (Colliers)

6345 Collins Avenue (Colliers)

Unit owners of the oceanfront Casablanca condo-hotel in Miami Beach are seeking a bulk buyer who could redevelop the historic structure and expand it.

Colliers was tapped to list the property at 6345 Collins Avenue unpriced, according to the brokerage’s website. The 200,000-square-foot condo building, on a nearly 2-acre site in North Beach, was built in 1948. It has about 350 residential and commercial units, according to property records.

Recognizable by its valet entrance with statues of four men partially wrapped in white towels, the building features 260 feet of ocean frontage. A team led by Colliers’ Gerard Yetming and Ken Krasnow are listing the property. Colliers did not respond to requests for comment.

Condo associations of older properties all along South Florida’s coastline are increasingly seeking to sell their buildings as development sites. That trend has accelerated in the year since the deadly Surfside condo collapse that killed 98 people, as unit owners learn they have to pay for major repairs — or they can cash out in the hot market for land.

The post-war Casablanca, designed by architect Roy France, is a contributing structure in the North Beach Resort Historic District, which protects it from demolition barring a five-sevenths vote of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. A buyer would be able to add additional floor area ratio (FAR) totaling about 45,000 square feet and height, pending approval from the historic preservation board, of up to 200 feet in total.

Nearby at 6701 Collins Avenue, billionaire developer and Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross is proposing a two-tower residential and hotel complex on the oceanfront site of the historic Deauville Beach Resort, which is being demolished due to safety concerns. Because Ross is seeking an increase in FAR in the historic district, a referendum is up for voters Nov. 8.

Owners at the Casablanca include individuals and companies, property records show. Some own multiple units, like the Schecher Group, led by hospitality investor Richard Schecher, with 30 units; AJS Property Group with 14 units; and Patkra Investments, linked to Crescent Heights’ Bruce Menin and Abraham Galbut, with seven units.

Older buildings require expensive maintenance, and building departments across South Florida are keeping a closer eye on aging properties following the June 2021 collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside. Though developers have targeted condo terminations for years as a way to acquire prime waterfront real estate, unit owners in these buildings may be more amenable to selling in the wake of the collapse.

New condo legislation may also push more owners to sell. In May, the state passed legislation that eliminates the ability of associations to waive reserve requirements, institutes 30-year inspections of condo buildings three stories or taller — or 25 years if within three miles of the coast — and requires associations to conduct reserve studies with structural components.

The law also opens liability to condo boards and their members if they fail to comply.

Last year, the condo association of the Castle Beach Club at 5445 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach tapped Colliers to list their 4-acre, 570-unit development for sale, also unpriced. The property has 576 feet of beach frontage. The Related Group and 13th Floor Investments made an offer to purchase the property for $500 million, with the goal of ultimately knocking it down and building a new luxury project on the site.

A year after closing on the majority of units at 5333 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Mast Capital and Starwood Capital Group launched sales of a planned luxury condo development for the site, called The Perigon. An affiliate of Mast Capital bought out the majority of units at the site’s existing La Costa condo building last summer. The city of Miami Beach had declared the building unsafe.

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(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

Home prices slowed their roll this summer — at a historic rate.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index posted a 15.8 percent annual gain in July, down from June’s 18.1 percent increase. Not only was it the fourth straight month of deceleration, but the 2.3 percentage point difference was also the largest recorded in the index’s 27-year history.

Before the spring, one had to go back to November for signs of deceleration in housing prices. The market appears to be normalizing, however, as rising mortgage rates and inflation hamper would-be buyers.

The 10-city composite, which measures the nation’s 10 largest metros, increased 14.9 percent in July, down from 17.4 percent in June and 19.1 percent in May. The 20-city composite jumped 16.1 percent in July, down from 18.7 percent in June and 20.5 percent in May.

Price growth deceleration is not the same as price growth decline. Decelerating growth in recent months is still high from a historical perspective and overall prices are still on the rise, notching regular records.

But the market still has the potential to turn further toward buyers as the Federal Reserve continues ramping up interest rates in an effort to curb inflation.

“Given the prospects for a more challenging macroeconomic environment, home prices may well continue to decelerate,” said S&P’s Craig Lazzara in a statement.

Tampa was top among the major metros with a 31.8 percent year-over-year gain in home prices in July. It was the city’s fifth straight month atop the chart, but Miami is on its heels, sporting a 31.7 percent increase in July. Dallas held on to third for another month, coming in slightly shy of a 25 percent increase.

All 20 cities posted gains year over year, but none of the cities posted a stronger gain in July than June, marking deceleration across the board.

Home prices soared at the start of the pandemic when buyers were freed up by remote work and drawn by different climates and more space. Low inventory has been among the factors propping up prices since.

Mortgage rates have surged since the start of the year, cutting the buying power of many Americans. Demand for mortgages has become more volatile, slowing down sales and alleviating ballooning prices.

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Andreas Helgstrand with 13625 50th Street South

Andreas Helgstrand with 13625 50th Street South (Getty, Google Maps)

Helgstrand Dressage sold off part of its 78-acre Wellington equestrian estate for $11.4 million.

Helgstrand Windsome LLC, led by Andreas Helgstrand, sold 35 acres at 13560 Indian Mound Road to Good Friday LLC, managed by Abraham Weissbrod, records show.

Matt Johnson of Engel & Völkers Delray Beach had the listing, and Jonathan Potsam of Coldwell Banker Realty represented the buyer.

Andreas Helgstrand is an accomplished equestrian who established his dressage horse sales and training operation in 2009 with his wife Marianne Helgstrand. According to its website, Helgstrand Dressage maintains locations in Germany and Denmark. The operation has sold more than 800 horses since its inception, including world champion and Olympic horses. Helgstrand himself won an Olympic bronze medal for the Danish team in 2008 for his ride with Blue Hors Don Schufro.

Helgstrand bought the original tract of 78 acres for $17.5 million in 2020, records show. It was formerly known as Windsome Farms.

An LLC affiliated with Transworld Oil USA bought the estate for $2 million in 1989 and completed construction of the facility in 1995. Helgstrand’s center includes 52 horse stalls, residences and tack rooms, as well as trails and training rings.

The 35-acre portion Helgstrand sold is undeveloped land, and the listing marketed it as a development opportunity.

Wellington’s busy season is just around the corner. Equestrian and real estate activity picks up in the winter and early spring in the inland town, when the global horseback riding elite move in for several months of competition.

Marc Oken, a private equity boss and former CFO of Bank of America, bought a spec mansion for $9.5 million this month. His daughter Alise Oken is a competitive show jumper. Also this month, an Irish jumper with a horse sales business sold his equestrian estate for $14 million. Lou Pai, an ex-Enron executive whose daughter Natalie Pai rides in Wellington, bought an equestrian estate for $8 million in May.
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(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

More deals for homes are getting left out to dry in the Sun Belt than anywhere else in the United States.

Some of the pandemic’s hottest housing markets counted the highest rates of home purchase cancellations last month, according to Redfin. The southern region fell on the higher side above the nationwide rate of 15.2 percent in August, as buyers think twice about the same destinations that shot to popularity among remote workers seeking more space and warmer weather.

Jacksonville saw the most contract cancellations last month. In the Florida city, 26.1 percent of deals that went under contract last month were called off. The report notes that contracts didn’t need to be signed in August for them to count towards the share.

Among the other top 50 metros in the nation, cities ranked in the top ten with cancellation rates above 20 percent included Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston.

Meanwhile, coastal cities saw fewer cancellations as workers settled into whatever employment reality they found themselves in, including potential office returns. Newark boasted the smallest cancellation rate at 2.7 percent. Other metros with cancellation rates below 10 percent included San Francisco, Nassau County on Long Island, New York City, San Jose and Oakland.

Overall, the cancellation rate was roughly in line with the past few months. About 64,000 purchases fell through in August, fairly in line with July’s revised rate of 15.5 percent. According to Redfin, the pre-pandemic rate hovered around 12 percent.

“House hunters today are taking their time and exploring their options, whereas six months ago, they had to act quickly and pull out every stop to compete because homes were selling almost immediately,” said Redfin agent Tzahi Arbeli.

With competition across the country easing, prospective homebuyers are able to conduct inspections they were waiving at the height of the market. Other contingencies around financing and appraisals are falling by the wayside as well.

The gain in mortgage rates may also be fueling home purchase cancellations. While buyers lock in rates when they go under contract, pre-approved buyers may have been under the impression they were getting a lesser rate, creating a potential cause for cancellation down the line.

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Allied Partners' Eric Hadar and RH's Gary Friedman with the Savoy hotel (Allied Partners, Getty, Google Maps)

Allied Partners’ Eric Hadar and RH’s Gary Friedman with the Savoy hotel (Allied Partners, Getty, Google Maps)

UPDATED, Sept. 28, 11:10 a.m.: The high-end furnishings retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware planned to spend $100 million to renovate and brand the historic Savoy hotel in Miami Beach.

RH, led by CEO Gary Friedman, was finalizing a lease for the entire Savoy Hotel & Beach Club. RH planned to convert the Ocean Drive property into a “state of the art” hotel with retail space, RH showrooms, RH-run food and beverage operations, and an RH beach club, documents included in a recently settled lawsuit reveal. The plans were included in filings tied to RH’s lawsuit against its landlord in the Miami Design District, which was settled last week.

It’s unclear if the deal between RH and the Savoy’s owner, New York-based Allied Partners, is still in the works, since the lease’s expected start date has passed. Corte Madera, California-based RH was negotiating a 49-year lease term that would have started in mid-March of this year. RH would pay $7 million to $9 million in annual rent and cover the cost of the renovations.

The lease for the two Art Deco buildings at 425 and 455 Ocean Drive was in its final stages, and Allied had hired Ackman-Ziff to secure long-term, fixed-rate financing for the property, according to an attachment included in the lawsuit. Emails show that Ackman-Ziff was finalizing the lease about a year ago.

Allied Partners, RH and Marc Warren of Ackman-Ziff did not respond to requests for comment.

After publication, Brown Rudnick attorney Michael Bowe, who represents Allied Partners, disputed that the Restoration Hardware deal was in the works.

Allied Partners, led by founder and CEO Eric Hadar, litigated to acquire the hotel during the Great Recession after it had purchased the defaulted note backing the property, according to the financing pitch. The historic property was completed in 1937 and 1941.

“Given the property’s large size and oceanfront location and Miami Beach’s supply/demand dynamic, Hadar selected the RH net lease strategy as the one that best meets his tax, operational and strategic goals,” Ackman-Ziff’s pitch reads.

Allied Partners, meanwhile, recently sued an architect and engineer who allegedly tore down portions of the Savoy without the owner’s authorization. Allied is seeking $50 million from architect Kevin Gore and Miami-based engineer Elvis Torres and his company, Ortus Engineering.

In the Miami Design District, RH planned to open a temporary flagship in a group of buildings owned by Apollo Commercial Real Estate and Michael Comras. The furnishings retailer sought to connect the properties into a combined title so that RH could operate one single gallery/store with pathways. RH alleged in the lawsuit it filed early this year, which was recently settled, that Apollo and Comras were stonewalling its plans.

RH has been expanding further into hospitality and branded real estate. It recently opened its first RH Guesthouse in New York, with two restaurants, nine guest rooms and a rooftop infinity pool. In South Florida, it opened a $26 million West Palm Beach gallery and restaurant in late 2017.

This month, RH revealed plans for a major mixed-use project with a guest house, residences, winery and possibly an organic farm on an 850-tract of land the company purchased this summer in Napa. In a recent earnings call, Friedman also said that RH was close to closing on a property in Europe.

Keith Larsen contributed reporting.

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Randy Walker with 60 Edgewater Drive (ExCo Group, Brown Harris Stevens)

Randy Walker with 60 Edgewater Drive (ExCo Group, Brown Harris Stevens)

Marc Kovens, the developer of Gables Club, sold his penthouse for $7.3 million after nearly 20 years.

Records show Kovens sold penthouse unit TSE in Gables Club at 60 Edgewater Drive in Coral Gables to Randy and Hilal Walker. Randy Walker is the former CEO of IBM Asia, and joined the University of Miami Herbert School of Business as an executive-in-residence in February, according to an announcement from the college.

Allison Blumenthal with Brown Harris Stevens had the listing, and Ashley Cusack with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty brought the buyer.

Kovens completed Gables Club, a waterfront, 16-story two-building condo complex, in 2003. Kovens also developed Boca Teeca in Boca Raton, as well as Bal Harbour Tower and Bal Harbour 101, in Bal Harbour.

Records show Koven’s Gables Club penthouse had been deeded to him since construction was completed. In 2014, his then-wife Helene Kovens was removed from the deed. The couple filed for divorce in September 2020, and the divorce was finalized in July 2021, court documents show.

The 7,980-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom penthouse has a gym and a theater, according to records and the listing. Gables Club also offers a deep-water marina, tennis courts, a spa, restaurant, and private club house.

While the South Florida residential market has begun to slightly cool, Coral Gables condos have maintained strong demand.

A penthouse in Milano at Deering Bay sold for $2.7 million in July. Location Ventures finished its Villa Valencia condo development that same month, and was 95 percent sold, with more than $100 million in closed sales.

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Gables Club Tower II at 60 Edgewater Drive in Coral Gables (Condo.com, Getty)

Gables Club Tower II at 60 Edgewater Drive in Coral Gables (Condo.com, Getty)

Condo sales volume and average sale prices rose last week in Miami-Dade County.

Sales totaled $126.3 million, above the $107.9 million from the week prior. The average sale price also jumped to $765,000 from $714,000 a week earlier.

Prices for the top 10 sales ranged from $2.2 million to $7.3 million, compared to $2.7 million to $15 million the previous week.

Gables Club in Coral Gables took the top spot last week. Unit TSE at 60 Edgewater Drive Collins Avenue pulled in $7.3 million. Allison Blumenthal with Brown Harris Stevens had the listing, and Ashley Cusack with Berkshire Hathaway represented the buyer.

Continuum on South Beach, in Miami Beach, took second place with a $6.5 million sale. Roland Ortiz with One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller, and Sonia Toth with Brown Harris Stevens worked with the buyer.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Sept. 18th to Sept. 24th:

(Condos.com)

(Condos.com)

(Condos.com)

(Condos.com)

Most expensive

Gables Club, 60 Edgewater Drive, unit TSE | 265 days on the market | $7.3M | $911 psf | Listing agent: Allison Blumenthal with Brown Harris Stevens | Buyer’s agent: Ashley Cusack with Berkshire Hathaway

Least expensive

Lake Villa, 739 Crandon Boulevard, unit PH1 | 224 days on the market | $2.2M | $990 psf | Listing agent: Monica Slodarz with Compass | Buyer’s agent: Roberta Fittipaldi with United Realty

Most days on market

Porsche Design Tower, 18555 Collins Avenue, unit 1701 | 846 days on the market | $5.8M | $1,384 psf | Listing agent: Heloisa Arazi with AMG International Realty | Buyer’s agent: Allison Turk with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty

Fewest days on market

Surf Club, 9111 Collins Avenue unit N-712 | 6 days on the market | $3.8M | $3,056 psf | Listing agent: Ximena Penuela with Fort Realty | Buyer’s agent: Ximena Penuela with Fort Realty

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Lil Wayne and 6480 Allison Road in Miami Beach (Getty Images, Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

Lil Wayne and 6480 Allison Road in Miami Beach (Getty Images, Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

Lil Wayne is looking to rake in millions of dollars with the sale of his waterfront Miami Beach mansion.

The Grammy Award winning rapper, whose legal name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., listed the seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom and two-half-bath home at 6480 Allison Road for $29.5 million. That’s about 75 percent more than he paid for the mansion four years ago.

The 10,632-square-foot home sits on a just over a half-acre lot on Allison Island with 110 feet of water frontage, a pool and cabana. Spec home developer Laurent Harrari built the mansion in 2017.

6480 Allison Road (Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

6480 Allison Road (Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

Lil Wayne paid nearly $17 million for the estate in 2018, records show.

Cyril Matz of Douglas Elliman is the listing agent. The Wall Street Journal first reported the listing.

The mansion includes a movie theater, a wine cellar and a great room with 22-foot ceilings.

6480 Allison Road (Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

6480 Allison Road (Become Legendary/Douglas Elliman Realty)

Five years ago, Lil Wayne sold his house on nearby La Gorce Island for $10 million, about $1.7 million less than his purchase price a year earlier, records show. That property, which featured a skate park on the roof and a shark lagoon, was the subject of a swatting incident, where police were falsely sent to the home.

On Allison Island, recent trades include developer Todd Michael Glaser and his partners Scott Robins and Jonathan Fryd’s $7.9 million purchase of a waterfront lot on the other side of the island. Glaser plans to build a 10,000-square-foot mid-century modern style mansion on the property, he said last month.

In January, Alan Courey, a kitchen, bath and flooring mogul, sold his waterfront home next door to Lil Wayne’s Allison Island property for $16.5 million, records show. The house, at 6470 Allison Road, was built in 1939 and is likely a teardown.

Though home sales have slowed in recent months, celebrity buyers and ultra-high net worth individuals are still closing on deals. Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin paid $106.9 million for Adrienne Arsht’s waterfront Miami estate this month, near the site of his planned headquarters for Citadel.

And in August, Christian Slater sold his Coconut Grove home for 10 percent above its asking price following a bidding war.

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Moto Capital Group's Marcos Lima with 350 Ocean Drive

Moto Capital Group’s Marcos Lima with 350 Ocean Drive (Loopnet, LinkedIn, Getty)

UPDATED, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.: A Toronto-based investment firm paid $39.3 million for the Lord Balfour hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.

The property, now called the Balfour Hotel, had been subject to an out-of-court UCC foreclosure about two years ago. It was also at the center of a lawsuit filed last year by its former co-owner and operator, Life House hotels.

An entity led by Marcos Lima of Moto Capital Group sold the 81-key hotel at 350 and 344 Ocean Drive to Catalyst Balfour Property LLC. The buyer is an affiliate of Toronto, Canada-based private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. It financed the acquisition with a $20 million loan from Madison Newbond, the institutional lending platform of New York-based Madison Realty Capital and Newbond Holdings, according to a press release.

The property traded for about $485,000 per key.

The U.S. arm of Henley, a United Kingdom-based private equity firm, paid nearly $35 million for the hotel in 2019 and partnered with the hotel startup Life House. Moto Capital provided a $10.3 million loan to the then-Henley entity at the time of the purchase. Henley renovated the property, but ran into bad timing due to the pandemic, and didn’t reopen the hotel.

In September 2020, then-mezzanine lenders Leste Group and Moto Capital completed the UCC foreclosure of the property. The hotel later reopened.

In November of last year, Life House affiliates sued the Moto Capital-controlled entity that owned the hotel, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit in April.

The hotel includes a three-story corner building constructed in 1940, a four-story building next door that was completed in 2018, plus a pool and Jacuzzi, the Mehzcla Restaurant and a lobby bar and lounge.

Catalyst Capital, led by Managing Partner Newton Glassman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driftwood Hospitality was operating the Balfour Hotel, according to its website. It’s unclear if Driftwood will continue to manage the hotel.

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TJX Companies' Carol Meyrowitz and a rendering of the Homesense store (TJX Companies)

TJX Companies’ Carol Meyrowitz and a rendering of the Homesense store (TJX Companies)

Home furnishings retailer Homesense will open its first store in the Southeast at the Sawgrass Mills shopping center in Sunrise.

Homesense, owned by the same parent company that owns TJMaxx and Marshalls, will open a 33,710-square-foot store in the northeast corner of Sawgrass Mills.

A spokeswoman for Homesense said the retailer’s store at Sawgrass Mills will open in late 2023. It will open in a section of Sawgrass Mills called Anchor B, where discount apparel and accessories retailer Primark opened a store in 2020. In 2019, the Sunrise City Commission approved an amendment to the original 1989 site plan for Sawgrass Mills, allowing the mall’s owner, Simon Properties Group, to redevelop the Anchor B building.

“Anchor B was formerly occupied by a single tenant and was subdivided following approval of a site plan for the Primark store,” according to a city staff report. “Primark currently occupies the northeast section of Anchor B … Primark [plans] to occupy the remaining southwest portion of Anchor B.”

Homesense will be leasing the space from Simon. No details are available on the terms of the lease.

Last month, Sunrise commissioners approved an amendment to the Anchor B building site plan allowing construction of a Homesense store, with its own exterior entry doors, next to the Primark store. The amended plan includes a “portal” façade element around the entry to Homesense that is architecturally compatible with the Primark store’s entry.

Homesense has 40 stores in the United States, half of them in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and none south of Virginia, according to its website.

Homesense is a discounter that often buys merchandise from distressed sellers, such as manufacturers that overproduce goods and overstocked vendors seeking close-out deals to sell inventory in bulk, its website states. Homesense stores have no walls between merchandise departments, so the retailer can easily expand and contract departments to respond to changes in market conditions.

Homesense, TJMaxx, Marshalls and other retail chains are owned by publicly held TJX Companies, which is headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts.

TJX reported that the net sales of its household goods business segment, including Homesense, declined 8 percent to $3.9 billion during the six months ended July 30, down from $4.2 billion in the same period last year.

The parent company also said its profit margin on household product sales sagged to 4.4 percent during the six-month period ended in July, from 10.3 percent in the same period last year, due to factors including higher employee wages.

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12428 Cypress Island Way (Google Maps, Getty)

12428 Cypress Island Way (Google Maps, Getty)

A private equity boss bought a spec mansion in Wellington for $9.5 million from a retired hedge funder.

Records show Marc Denis Oken, as trustee, bought the house at 12428 Cypress Island Way from Cypress Equestrian LLC, managed by Maurice Perkins III.

Oken co-founded the Charlotte, N.C.-based private equity firm Falfurrias Management Partners with Hugh McColl Jr. in 2006. Prior to that, Oken was CFO of Bank of America, and McColl was the bank’s CEO and chairman. Oken’s daughter, Alise Oken, is a show jumper.

Perkins is the retired co-founder of MPK Capital Management, a New York-based hedge fund that oversees a multibillion-dollar portfolio. He retired in 2011, according to a company announcement. Perkins’ wife Debbie Perkins is an equestrian and rides in Wellington.

David Welles of Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller, and Mark Norman of Douglas Elliman brought the buyer.

Records show Perkins bought the property for $725,000 in 2012. The listing states the 8,845-square-foot home was completed last year. The mansion includes five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms and sits on 0.7 acres in the Cypress Island community, near the Cypress Golf Club and the Palm Beach Polo Club.

Perkins also owns the equestrian estate at 14775 Equestrian Way, according to records. The 7.3 acre property is on the market for $22.5 million. Records show Perkins bought it via an LLC in 2011 for $3.3 million. Welles has the listing, which shows the estate includes seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, as well as a barn with 14 horse stalls.

The horse-dominated city of Wellington is gearing up for its busy winter season, when the global equestrian community gathers for several months of polo and jumping competitions. It is a busy time for real estate there, as well.

This month, an Irish jumper sold his equestrian estate for $14 million. A former Enron executive sold his equestrian estate in May for $8 million. Bill Gates sold an equestrian estate for $26 million in March.

[contactauthor email=”kate.hinsche@therealdeal.com” text=”Contact Kate Hinsche”

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(Getty)

(Getty)

The latest shortage wreaking havoc on the country? Land.

Developers are increasingly struggling to find suitable land for residential developments, the Wall Street Journal reported. Land-use restrictions such as zoning and infrastructure issues are among the challenges making it difficult to find sites near major metropolitan areas.

With scarcity comes inflated prices. Morris Davis, a professor of finance at Rutgers Business School, pegs national residential land to cumulatively be worth more than $20 trillion. Davis estimated land accounts for 47 percent of home values, up nine percentage points from a decade ago.

The Sun Belt fielded the lion’s share of migration spurred by the pandemic, and it has the land costs to prove it. Data from CoStar-owned Land.com reported by the Journal show the region’s average price of vacant land per acre more than doubled over the past two years.

Cities like Austin, Phoenix and Tampa are attracting new residents, but rising land costs keep a vicious cycle in motion by making it more difficult to build and, in turn, exacerbating local housing shortages.

In Tampa, zoning limits most of the city to nothing larger than single-family development. In late 2019, Hillsborough County issued a moratorium on rezoning for new housing affected much of the county in an attempt to slow down new development amid community concerns about local infrastructure.

Lackluster infrastructure is also a factor in ballooning land prices. The absence of public transportation and limited investment in new roads limits areas available for development and inflates the value of land near city centers, handing homeowners more traffic-filled trips to the office or downtown.

Ryan Williams, executive chairman of real estate investment firm Cadre, bemoaned the increasing difficulty of building multifamily properties in hot Sun Belt markets.

“Now, almost across the board, you’re fighting for land,” Williams told the Journal. “It’s a literal land grab.”

There is a chance land prices fall as the Federal Reserve continues to wage battle against inflation. High interest rates and construction costs could slow the rising cost of land. Landowners, disincentivized to sell due to the soaring value of the ground beneath them, could be in for a rude awakening if values plummet, à la 2008.

But if land inflation keeps unfolding, it may never stop. Owners under the impression values will keep rising will stay waiting for a bigger payday, blocking developers out of more opportunities to build.

— Holden Walter-Warner

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Ryan Serhant

Ryan Serhant

When celebrity broker Ryan Serhant left Nest Seekers in 2020 — striking out on his own months into a pandemic that had all but shut down New York City’s real estate market — the industry thought he was crazy.

“They were like, ‘Are you sick? Is something wrong? Why would you ever do this when New York is on fire?’” Serhant recalled two years later, noting he did struggle.

On the latest episode of The Real Deal’s weekly podcast “Deconstruct,” Serhant sat down with host Isabella Farr to talk about starting his eponymous firm at a time when most businesses were preparing for the worst.

In December 2020, Serhant brokered the sale of an apartment at 157 West 57th for half what its seller had paid for it. At 565 Broome Street, he sold a penthouse for $22.5 million — less than half its asking price. But just a month later, the market had begun to turn and Serhant sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, for $132 million.

“After every tragedy is an amazing wheel of the human spirit to recover really fast,” he said.

The high won’t be here forever, Serhant conceded, noting that residential brokerages won’t be able to top last year’s remarkable highs given rising interest rates. As the market turns again, many industry eyes will be on Compass and its march toward profitability.

Serhant said the brokerage, which gobbled up market share in the years leading up to its IPO by attracting top agents with cutting-edge technology and financial incentives, has focused on trying to “disrupt the market” as much as it has on real estate.

“It’s just like the rich kid who comes into school and he starts breaking everyone’s glass toys,” he said. “People might say, okay, well, he’s rich, I’m gonna go over there, that’s fun and exciting, and he just broke my toy so I guess I gotta go play with his toys. But slowly over time, people don’t want to play with that kid anymore.”

Serhant, who starred in nine seasons of “Million Dollar Listing New York” before Bravo put the series “on pause” in July, said that while the show may be off the air, he won’t be for long.

“Do you think I would stay off your screen?” he said. “No, I’m addicted to this stuff.”

Catch the whole conversation on the latest episode of “Deconstruct,” now streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

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Deerwood Town Center at 12085-2107 Southwest 152nd Street in Miami-Dade County, One Biscayne Tower at 2 South Biscayne Boulevard in Miami and 2990 Ponce office building in Coral Gables with Gildenson Real Estate's Eduardo Gildenson and CP Group’s Angelo Bianco (Google Maps, Gildenson Real Estate, CP Group)

Deerwood Town Center at 12085-2107 Southwest 152nd Street in Miami-Dade County, One Biscayne Tower at 2 South Biscayne Boulevard in Miami and 2990 Ponce office building in Coral Gables with Gildenson Real Estate’s Eduardo Gildenson and CP Group’s Angelo Bianco (Google Maps, Gildenson Real Estate, CP Group)

Quest Workspaces, CMA CGM Group I One Biscayne Tower I Miami

CP Group scored two leases for its One Biscayne Tower in downtown Miami.

Co-working space provider Quest Workspaces took more than 26,000 square feet for its flagship Miami office, and logistics company CMA CGM Group renewed its 20,000-square-foot lease, according to a CP news release.

The tower at 2 South Biscayne Boulevard is now 77 percent occupied, the release says.

Lance Benson of Newmark represented Quest. Jeremy Hakala and Clay Sidner of Newmark represented CMA.

Late last year, Royal Caribbean leased two full floors totaling 51,000 square feet at One Biscayne.

CP, in partnership with Sabal Capital Management and funds managed by Rialto Capital Management, bought the 38-story tower for $225 million a year ago.

Renuity, Heise Suarez Melville, others I 2990 Ponce I Coral Gables

Six months after purchasing the 2990 Ponce building in Coral Gables, BEA Equities and Gildenson Real Estate have secured 45,000 square feet of leases in seven deals.

Home improvement firm Renuity took 22,000 square feet; law firm Heise Suarez Melville took 8,000 square feet; Fat Tuesday took 4,700 square feet; Altermark took 1,000 square feet; TCG Advisors took 1,300 square feet; and AJP Ventures took 1,700 square feet, according to a news release from the landlord’s broker. Real estate investment and development firm Mas Investment Group renewed its 6,000-square-foot lease.

All tenants have moved in except for Renuity, which will open its office next month.

Kevin Gonzalez and Jake Freeman of Colliers represented the landlords.

Mexico City-based BEA and Dallas-based Gildenson bought the six-story building at 2990 Ponce de Leon Boulevard for $24.7 million in March. AJP managed the property.

Benjamin Cojab is CEO of BEA Equities. Eduardo Gildenson is president of Gildenson Real Estate.

Amped Fitness I Deerwood Town Center I Miami-Dade County

Amped Fitness will open early next year at Deerwood Town Center in south Miami-Dade County.

The gym took 18,000 square feet at the shopping center at 12085-12107 Southwest 152nd Street, according to a news release from the property’s owner, Courtelis Company. Deerwood is in an unincorporated area of the county.

Jim Zaydon of Courtelis represented the landlord, and Charles Silver of Big Box Broker represented the tenant.

St. Petersburg-based Amped, led by CEO Travis Labazzo, lists 11 locations in Florida and Alabama on its website.

The gym appears to be in expansion mode. It opened a 34,500-square-foot location at 7007-7181 West Broward Boulevard in Plantation in November.

Miami-based Courtelis has developed more than 5-million-square feet of properties, including The Falls open-air shopping center, which is also in unincorporated south Miami-Dade, according to its website. W. Douglas Pitts Sr. is Courtelis’ chairman and Elias Vassilaros is CEO.

The 288,000-square-foot Deerwood spans 22.7 acres, property records and Courtelis’ website show.

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Tyler Heckaman, Alejandro Arellano, Brad Berzins and Noah Gens (Getty)

Tyler Heckaman, Alejandro Arellano, Brad Berzins and Noah Gens (Getty)

As South Florida enters a busy season, real estate firms are making talent acquisitions. Here’s a quick roundup of the movers and shakers to know this week:

JLL is expanding its Florida executive team. The commercial real estate firm promoted Noah Gens to the head of Florida property management services, and Brad Berzins as a managing director to focus on industrial and office sectors. Gens was previously a senior vice president with JLL, based in Chicago. Prior to joining JLL, Berzins founded NAI Skyway National Partners, a commercial real estate firm, where he focused on industrial and flex leasing.

JLL currently manages a portfolio of more than 40 million square feet in Florida. Cushman & Wakefield recently poached 32 JLL employees in Miami, essentially also snatching the assets managed by those teams.

Coral Gables-based Codina Partners hired Alejandro Arellano as vice president of development. Arellano will oversee construction and management of projects at the 250-acre mixed-use development Downtown Doral. Arellano was a senior development manager at FCI Residential Corporation for nine years prior to joining Codina.

Coconut Grove-based Eden Multifamily announced its new director of land acquisition, Tyler Heckaman. Heckaman was previously senior vice president and head of acquisitions for Basis Industrial, formerly known as MCSS.

Eden is in an expansion mode. The Florida-focused developer recently opened an office in Charlotte, N.C., hoping to gain a foothold in the mid-Atlantic market.

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53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere, FL and Starwood Capital Group chairman Barry Sternlicht (Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere, FL and Starwood Capital Group chairman Barry Sternlicht (Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Barry Sternlicht’s latest affordable housing play in Florida stretches beyond Lake Worth.

Starwood Capital Group spent $91.8 million for a 669-unit affordable housing portfolio in the state, Multi-Housing News reported. Comprising four different communities, the transaction breaks down to roughly $137,000 per unit.

All four assets were completed between 1994 and 2007, developed under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. All four will remain affordable under Starwood.

The 94-unit Villas at the Cove Crossing at 2738 Lantana Road and 2735 Donnelly Drive in Lake Worth sold for $16 million from an entity tied to Equity Management Partners, records previously revealed. Equity Management flipped the property for a 62 percent gain from its purchase five months earlier.

The other properties involved in the portfolio deal include: the 184-unit Overlook at Monroe at 100 Wilner Circle in Sanford; the 241-unit Sonrise Villas Apartments at 53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere; and the 150-unit St. Luke’s Apartments at 915 Quincy Street in Lakeland.

Marcus & Millichap’s Evan Kristol represented both the sellers and buyer in the deal; Kristol confirmed to The Real Deal that Equity Management was the seller of the other three properties in the portfolio.

CBRE Capital Markets originated Freddie Mac loans on all of the properties. Each community includes swimming pools, clubhouses and laundry facilities.

Starwood has a growing portfolio of low-income rentals in Palm Beach County. In December, the firm spent $176.4 million for affordable housing complexes in Greenacres and West Palm Beach.

The Miami Beach-based company also ridded itself of some South Florida holdings this year. In July, it sold a Plantation medical office for $45.5 million. At the start of the year, Starwood sold the Westland Mall in Hialeah. Centennial acquired the property by assuming Starwood’s $149.4 million mortgage.

— Holden Walter-Warner

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Matthew Baron and Alirio Torrealba

Matthew Baron and Alirio Torrealba (LinkedIn, Hightail, Getty)

MG Developer and Baron Property Group secured a $148 million construction loan for a nearly 600-unit planned apartment complex in Hialeah, as development ramps up in the city.

Coral Gables-based MG Developer, led by CEO Alirio Torrealba, and New York-based Baron Property Group, led by Matthew Baron, expect to break ground on Metro Parc in December and complete the project in the second quarter of 2024. Post Road Group provided the 30-month loan for the development planned for 955 East 25th Street and 980 East 26th Street, according to a press release. Stamford, Connecticut-based Post Road is an alternative investment firm.

Metro Parc is a planned two-building, 10-story, 559-unit project that will mark the tallest residential development in Hialeah. The developers assembled the site for about $12.7 million last year, records show.

Ayush Kapahi of HKS Real Estate Advisors and Colliers International’s Dmitry Levkov and Jeffrey Donelly arranged the financing.

Units at Metro Parc will range from 500 square feet to 800 square feet, and the buildings will have co-working spaces, a pool, gym, a marketplace and ground-floor retail space, according to the release.

Developers and major investors have been flocking to Hialeah, where apartment rents and home prices have surged. Prestige Companies recently sold a multifamily portfolio in Hialeah for $17.2 million, or 30 percent more than it paid for the properties a year ago.

A joint venture between Prestige and Florida Value Partners also plans to redevelop a Salvation Army site at 7450 West Fourth Avenue into 100 two-story townhouses and a three-story retail and apartment building.

Earlier this year, Dacar Management, a Dania Beach-based firm, scored an $81 million construction loan for a 244-unit apartment and retail project at 3685 West 85th Path in Hialeah.

Metro Parc marks the first project in Hialeah for MG Developer and Baron Property Group. MG’s other developments include the planned Gables Village, the completed Althea Row and soon-to-be-completed Biltmore Row, all in Coral Gables. This month, the company and its partner Baron Property Group finished assembling land near Coconut Grove and Coral Gables for a two-tower apartment project south of Bird Road.

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Dev Motwani and Nitin Motwani with a rendering of 530 North Birch Road (Adache Group Architects)

Dev Motwani and Nitin Motwani with a rendering of 530 North Birch Road (Adache Group Architects)

Merrimac Ventures won approval to expand its planned boutique condo development near the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale commissioners on Thursday approved a site plan amendment that adds 11 units and a fourth floor, to create a four-story, 32-unit building at 530 North Birch Road.

Asking prices for condos will top $1,000 per square foot, said Dev Motwani, who runs Merrimac Ventures together with his brother Nitin Motwani.

The development site is in Fort Lauderdale’s Central Beach area. The property currently houses a 14-room hotel and a parking lot. The site is one block from the oceanfront and directly west of the new Four Seasons Residences Fort Lauderdale, which counts Merrimac Ventures among its co-developers.

“It’s right behind the Four Seasons. It’s just our family. We’ve owned the property for decades,” Dev Motwani told The Real Deal. “It will be a luxury boutique building that we may or may not brand. We haven’t decided yet.”

In 2019, Merrimac Ventures won city approval of the original site plan for a three-story condo with 21 units at 530 North Birch Road. But Motwani said construction was delayed by the pandemic and by slow progress on the city’s master plan of development for the Central Beach area, which finally was completed in May of this year.

“This is a master plan process that was going on for years. Then obviously, Covid slowed it down even more,” Motwani said. “The biggest change was, before, the code really kind of forced you to do these large units, you know, 3,000-plus square feet. Now you’re able to do more units in the same amount of space. That’s what allowed us to lower our unit sizes.”

Merrimac Ventures reduced average unit size by 20 percent to about 2,300 square feet, “which will be a more affordable product,” according to a statement the company submitted to the city. The Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously approved the amended site plan at its Thursday meeting.

The amended site plan also raised the height of the planned condo from three stories to four stories, or from 120 feet to 144 feet. “Previously, you were [only] allowed to go up to 120 [feet],” Motwani said. The new plan also increased the number of parking spaces from 48 to 68 and added a
fourth level to the development’s parking podium.

Preconstruction sales probably will start in the upcoming winter tourism season, but Merrimac Ventures hasn’t yet selected a brokerage to handle sales.

“We usually like to decide on that closer to launch, and we’re contemplating a launch this season,” Motwani said. “There are a couple other projects in the area that are selling, so we might decide to wait a little bit.”

The permitting phase of the unnamed condo project will take six to nine months, and construction will take 16 to 18 months, he said.

The market for the units probably will include residents of the Northeast
and foreign buyers as well as South Floridians, Motwani said.

“We also expect to see Miami-Dade residents moving north, and Broward residents who have a big house out west, and they’re either downsizing to move to a condo, or they just want a pied-à-terre.”

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Codina Partners’ Armando Codina and Ana-Marie Codina Barlick with 5350 Park condo project (Codina Partners, Getty)

Codina Partners’ Armando Codina and Ana-Marie Codina Barlick with 5350 Park condo project (Codina Partners, Google Maps, Getty)

Codina Partners now has a $7.8 million bill for allegedly refusing to pay a general contractor that built a Downtown Doral condo project.

Last week, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas entered a final judgment in favor of Grycon, a Fort Lauderdale-based construction firm that won a non-jury trial in July against Codina affiliate 5350 Park for wrongful termination. In May 2020, Codina fired Grycon on the same day the developer obtained a final certificate of occupancy for the 19-story, 251-unit tower also called 5350 Park at 5350 Northwest 84th Avenue, court records show.

Codina is led by Executive Chairman Armando Codina and the firm’s CEO Ana-Marie Codina Barlick.

Thomas ordered Codina’s affiliate to pay $6.4 million for unpaid work at the condo project, $512,000 for unpaid work at an adjacent parking garage and $940,000 in interest. In addition, Grycon is also entitled to $3.6 million in damages from 5350 Park’s insurer, Arch Insurance.

Stuart Sobel, Grycon’s lawyer, said 5350 Park will also have to pay for his client’s attorney fees. “We have a hearing on a motion to litigate the amount of attorney fees next week,” Sobel said. “Under the contract, they have to pay it.”

However, Codina won’t back down, Sobel said.

“It doesn’t make a lot of business sense to keep fighting,” Sobel said. “They should shut this down. But they are not sitting down at the table to negotiate a resolution.”

The Codina affiliate recently filed a notice to appeal Thomas’ final judgment.

“There is really nothing new here,” Codina Partners General Counsel Joe Jimenez said. “We disagree with the court’s decision. We feel there are quite a number of errors, both factual and legal, and we will pursue our rights.”

Jimenez reiterated a previous statement to The Real Deal that Grycon “fell woefully short of its obligations,” which resulted in a proper firing from the job consistent with the construction contract.

In 2020, shortly after the termination, Grycon sued the Codina affiliate, alleging the developer was seeking to avoid paying a final bill of $3.6 million for the condo project, and about $500,000 for the garage. 5350 Park has a pending countersuit that was filed last year.

Armando Codina previously touted his firm’s impeccable record of avoiding construction litigation during its 42-year history, until the Grycon lawsuit. At the time, Codina said his company has “an undisputed reputation for having fair and honest business relationships.”

Citing testimony and evidence at trial, Thomas found that Grycon had substantially completed the condo project because 5350 Park received its certificate of occupancy, and unit closings had begun months before the building was ready for use.

Codina has built three condominiums at Downtown Doral, including 5350 Park. The company plans to add five more condo buildings to the master-planned mixed-use community.

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John Howard Kunkel with 1030 Stillwater Drive (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

John Howard Kunkel with 1030 Stillwater Drive (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

John Kunkel, founder and CEO of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group, bought a waterfront Miami Beach home for $6.8 million.

Records show Kunkel bought the 4,477-square-foot house at 1030 Stillwater Drive from Silvana Rodrigues and David Albin. Kunkel secured a $4.7 million loan from City National Bank of Florida to finance the purchase.

Miami-based 50 Eggs’ popular restaurants include Yardbird Table & Bar in Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Singapore; Chica in Miami, Las Vegas and Aspen; and Wakuda in Las Vegas and Singapore. Yardbird also plans to open soon in Denver and Chicago, according to 50 Eggs’ website.

Rodrigues is a real estate agent with Sharp Realty. Records show she bought the property with then-husband Roberto Rodrigues in 1994 for $300,000. A previous house on the 0.2-acre property was built in 1949. In 2012, the current five-bedroom, four-bathroom house was built, according to Realtor.com.

Realtor.com shows the property has been listed for sale on and off over the years, most recently asking $3.5 million in 2020. It was not listed at the time that Kunkel bought the property.

Kunkel is a longtime Miami Beach resident. Records show that in 2005, Kunkel bought a house at 1398 Bay Drive in Miami Beach with his ex-wife, Jennifer Alison Kunkel, for $1.6 million. Their renovation of the home was featured on an episode of My Big Amazing Renovation on HGTV. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2020, and John Kunkel was removed from the deed that year.

While Miami Beach’s pandemic-fueled frenzy has begun to cool, demand for waterfront homes remains strong. Last month, spec developer Todd Glaser and his partners bought a 0.5 acre waterfront lot on Allison Island for $7.9 million, with plans to build a 10,000-square-foot mid-century modern mansion. That same month, relatives of Bal Harbour Shops founder Stanley Whitman sold a waterfront house in Miami Beach for $9.5 million.

Other buyers are turning to non-waterfront properties in the area. Major Food Group co-founder Mario Carbone just paid $4.3 million for a non-waterfront home on Miami Beach’s Palm Island.

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Related's Stephen Ross, Swire Properties' Kieran Bowers and renderings of One Brickell City Centre (LinkedIn, Getty, Swire Properties and Related Companies)

Related’s Stephen Ross, Swire Properties’ Kieran Bowers and renderings of One Brickell City Centre (LinkedIn, Getty, Swire Properties and Related Companies)

Swire Properties and Stephen Ross’ Related Companies can expand their planned One Brickell City Centre skyscraper, a move they say is geared toward attracting top tenants.

The Miami City Commission approved an amendment to Miami-based Swire’s special area plan allowing for larger floor sizes. Commissioners also approved a development agreement that outlines public benefits to the city, during a commission meeting on Thursday.

The 1,000-foot tower, planned for 700 Brickell Avenue and 799 Brickell Avenue, will mark the tallest commercial high-rise in Florida and one of the tallest buildings in the state.

The floor plates will now range from 40,000 square feet on taller floors, to 60,000 square feet on lower floors, filings show, with the building capped at 2.85 million square feet. A spokesperson for the developer said the floor plates are the largest “ever approved” in the city of Miami.

Construction could begin next year, according to a statement from the developers.

The public benefits include a new fire station for the area. At Thursday’s meeting, Swire’s attorney, Spencer Crowley, said it could complete and open a temporary fire station within four months, pending permit approvals. Swire will also work with the city to find a better site for a permanent station. If not, it will likely build the permanent station at 158 Southwest Seventh Street, which is west of Brickell City Centre.

One Brickell City Centre will mark the second phase of Swire’s $1 billion-plus mixed-use development. The first phase, with retail, office, hotel and residential components, spans nearly 5 million square feet. Arquitectonica is the architect.

New York-based Related, led by billionaire developer and Miami Dolphins owner Ross, has grown its office portfolio in West Palm Beach over the years. Related Companies recently unveiled plans for its latest development, a 25-story building with 456,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail in downtown West Palm called 515 Fern.

Ross is also hoping to close on his purchase of the historic Deauville Miami Beach hotel, if he can secure voters’ blessing in November to build his proposed project on the site. Ross enlisted architect Frank Gehry to design that project.

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1600 Northeast Second Avenue, a & E District

1600 Northeast Second Avenue (Loopnet, Getty)

The Sabet Group is the latest out-of-town multifamily developer to plant a flag in South Florida, acquiring a redevelopment site in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District.

An affiliate of Sabet, a Los Angeles-based and New York-based multifamily development firm led by Andre and Edward Sabetfard, paid $14.3 million for the 0.5-acre property at 1600 Northeast Second Avenue, records show. The site currently houses a 10,700-square-foot commercial building that was completed in 1950.

The seller, Miami Cash Register, managed by President Eileen Myers Soler, paid $410,000 for the property in 1985. Miami Cash Register, an office and point-of-sale equipment repair shop, was headquartered in the building.

Ruben Ruban and Ashley Bloom with SVN Commercial Partners represented the seller. The property received seven offers since hitting the market in January and sold at the asking price, Ruban and Bloom said.

The site has city approvals for a 25-story residential project with 250 units. It is in an Opportunity Zone, which allows investors to achieve tax breaks by reinvesting capital gains into development projects in underserved neighborhoods. The site is also near a Miami-Dade Metromover station, so the developers could seek bonuses for projects close to public transit. The property could also be redeveloped into an office building or hotel under the current zoning, Ruban said.

Sabet is a family-owned commercial real estate development and management firm with more than 35 years of experience, according to the company’s website. Sabet’s portfolio is mostly multifamily, but the firm is in the “concept planning phase” of deciding what to build on the Arts & Entertainment District property, Ruban and Bloom said.

“This is their first project in Miami and second in Florida,” Bloom said. “Sabet is a family owned entity out of California and New York, so this represents another sale where owners from those states are shifting to Florida.”

Sabet owns a multifamily project in Lake Mary, Ruban said.

South Florida’s multifamily market has seen an influx of developers from other states looking to capitalize on the region’s booming rental demand and record rents.

During the first half of this year, South Florida multifamily sales hit $5 billion, the second-highest amount in a six-month period on record, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. Many buyers of multifamily projects and development sites are first-time buyers in South Florida, Cushman found. “Out-of-state private capital investors will continue to dominate the market,” the report states.

Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based LCOR is among the new multifamily players setting up in the Arts & Entertainment District. In May, the firm paid $49 million for a 1.1-acre vacant lot at 1775 Biscayne Boulevard where LCOR plans to build a 540-unit apartment tower.

Also in May, Clearline Real Estate, a New York-based developer led by former Kushner executive Jenny Bernell, bought a 0.9-acre property at 1550 Northeast Miami Place for $19.8 million. The site has city approvals for a 240-story apartment project with 427 units, but the height could be doubled as a bonus through a city public benefits program.

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(Getty)

(Getty)

Ten bucks is a small amount, but it was big news in the rental market last month.

The median rental price in the U.S. fell by $10 month-over-month in August, the first monthly decline since November, according to a Realtor.com report. It was also the first time since then that the median rent — which came in at $1,771 — didn’t hit a record high.

In other bad news for landlords and good news for tenants, rents were only 9.8 percent higher in August than they were a year earlier. That broke a streak of 13 consecutive months of double-digit annual growth.

Landlords are still in a better position than they were half a year into the pandemic. While rent growth is trailing off, the national median rent was 22.8 percent higher than it was in August 2020.

In a development that helped neither side, however, rental affordability worsened, as inflation outpaced wage growth. Rent accounted for an average of 26.4 percent of paychecks across the country in August, up from 25.7 percent a year ago. Still, the rule of thumb is to spend less than 30 percent of a paycheck on housing, meaning a majority of tenants were paying affordable rents.

That was not true everywhere, though.

Miami sported the highest share of income going towards rent in August, a hefty 46.5 percent of paychecks, on average. Los Angeles had the second-largest burden, 40.7 percent. New York and Tampa also had shares above 32 percent.

The rental market looks better for tenants in the middle of the country. In Oklahoma City, for instance, the median rent was only $973. The rent-to-income share in the city was 17.5 percent, the lowest mark among the 50 largest metros in the country.

Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale noted in the report that the numbers are beginning to turn in tenants’ favor.

“If these trends and typical seasonal cooling persist, renters may be better able to keep housing costs to a relatively manageable portion of their budgets in the months ahead,” Hale said.

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Invesca Development Group’s Bernard and Michael Hsiao with the development site at 4300-4400 Northwest Ninth Court in Plantation (Invesca, Google Maps)

Invesca Development Group’s Bernard and Michael Hsiao with the development site at 4300-4400 Northwest Ninth Court in Plantation (Invesca, Google Maps)

Invesca Development Group secured the funding it needs to move forward on a Plantation apartment complex.

The development firm scored $76.5 million to build the 330-unit Pixl complex on a 6.7-acre site it owns at 4300 Northwest Ninth Court, according to a notice of construction commencement filed this month. An affiliate of New York-based Madison Realty Capital was the lender, records show.

It’s unclear when Invesca bought the development site. No deed is recorded and the entity the developer uses to own the property has not been reorganized to reflect a change in leadership.

Pixl is a comeback story of sorts for Invesca. The firm has been largely off-radar since the death of its CEO Christopher Longsworth in late 2020.
The deal also marks a continuation of the development firm’s relationship with Madison Realty, which is led by Adam Tantleff, Josh Zegen and Brian Shatz.

In early 2020, Invesca borrowed $102 million from Madison in part to complete the construction of a 214-unit Pompano Beach apartment project.

Invesca, which Longsworth founded in 2001, is a developer that also offers property and construction management services, according to its website. The Plantation-based firm is led by Michael and Bernard Hsiao.

Its completed projects include the 21-building, 147-townhouse Strata community on 13 acres immediately south of Pixl. Also, the 10-story Modulus condominium will be built nearby Strata and Pixl, with the three projects altogether comprising a master-planned community.

The Pixl loan comes at a time when questions have been raised on South Florida’s apartment construction market. Although multifamily has been one of the region’s most robust asset classes because of the high demand from out-of-state transplants, the Fed’s interest rate hikes could put a damper on development activity.

Plus, the record rental hikes experienced over the past two years started to cool this summer, with rates still rising but just at a calmer pace.

As of August, South Florida lost its long-running national lead in annual rent growth, as New York, Chicago and Boston surpassed the region, according to a Realtor.com report.

In other Plantation residential development, Lennar scored the rezoning needed to develop 40 single-family houses at 100 South Hiatus Road in July. That same month, PulteGroup paid $6.9 million for an 86-townhouse project development site at 777 American Express Way.

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Black Lion's Robert Rivani with One Thousand Museum

Black Lion’s Robert Rivani with One Thousand Museum

On the prowl for South Florida retail condo properties, Robert Rivani nabbed prime restaurant space at One Thousand Museum.

Black Lion Investment Group, Rivani’s Los Angeles-based firm, paid $6.4 million for the 6,500-square-foot commercial condo on the ground floor of the luxury condominium at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard.

The seller is an entity managed by Louis Birdman and Gregg Covin, who co-developed One Thousand Museum with Gilberto Bomeny, Kevin Venger and Todd Michael Glaser.

Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, One Thousand Museum is considered one of the more iconic buildings added to the city’s skyline in the 2010s. Crooner Marc Anthony is the latest celebrity to join a star-studded roster of owners at the 62-story tower that includes David and Victoria Beckham, LoanDepot billionaire Anthony Hsieh and actress Selena Ward.

Rivani said he’s been eyeing the space for a while, but the recent ramp-up in luxury condo development activity in downtown Miami convinced him to make an offer.

He noted new projects like Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami and the E11even branded towers are breaking ground. It was an all cash, off-market deal, Rivani said.

Since last year, Black Lion has hunted down several retail condos in Miami and Miami Beach as Rivani seeks to bring in a little Hollywood flair to South Florida’s culinary scene.

“I look at it as acquiring prime properties on a Monopoly board,” he said.

Among the first commercial units Black Lion acquired is an 11,400-square-foot space at the SLS Lux Brickell in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. The firm purchased the retail condo for $13.5 million in May of last year and then leased it to Reggaeton megastar Bad Bunny and Miami hospitality guru David Grutman. The duo recently opened Japanese steakhouse Gekko.

In July, Black Lion sold a waterfront space at the Four Ambassadors Condominiums, also in Brickell, for $13 million. Prior to the sale, Los Angeles supper club Delilah signed a long-term lease to open its third location in the 10,700-square-foot commercial unit.

In April, Black Lion paid $11.5 million for a 12,000-square-foot restaurant building adjacent to The Continuum South Beach condominium in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood.

Rivani’s company has also shelled out a combined $46.8 million to buy the ground-floor commercial condos in Marea, a six-story boutique condominium also in South of Fifth; Wynwood Arcade, a nearly 23,000-square-foot retail and restaurant building in Wynwood; and a 12,300-square-foot restaurant space at the Amara at Paraiso condo tower in Coconut Grove. Black Lion renamed the Wynwood property as Wynwood Jungle.

Rivani also owns a waterfront penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach that he acquired for $7.5 million in May.

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Red South Beach at 3010 Collins Avenue, Tom Assouline and August “Gussie” Busch (Instagram/gussiebusch, Google Maps, Getty)

Red South Beach at 3010 Collins Avenue, Tom Assouline and August “Gussie” Busch (Instagram/gussiebusch, Google Maps, Getty)

UPDATED, Sept. 23, 10:05 a.m.: Tom Assouline and members of the Busch beer family hope to make a splash in Miami Beach with their purchase of the Red South Beach hotel for $33 million.

A joint venture of Assouline Capital and Busch Real Estate, led by August “Gussie” Busch, paid $300,000 per key for the 110-room hotel at 3010 Collins Avenue, they said.

The buyers financed the deal with a $31 million loan from Michael Dell’s MSD Partners. Max Ralby of HKS Real Estate Advisors in New York arranged the financing.

The seller was 3010 Collins LLC, an entity led by French developer Simon Nemni, records show. The Moderne-style building, which in past lives has been called the Munroe Towers and The Villa Capri All Suites Hotel & Beach Club, among other names, was built in 1939 by Charles Rubin and designed by T. Hunter Henderson, according to the hotel’s website.

The property, which comes with a pool, restaurant and gym, last sold in 2009 for $9 million, records show. The buyers plan to renovate the property and reposition it by the end of next year, they said, though they will continue to operate it as a hotel.

Busch, a former football player at the University of Alabama, reality TV star and great-great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch, said his family’s investment marks the first of “many” to come in Miami Beach. The joint-venture partners said they’re looking at additional hotels, as well as multifamily properties.

Brigitte Lina with One Sotheby’s International Realty and Olivier Hannoun of Champagne & Parisi Real Estate co-brokered the deal.

Assouline said he’s been targeting underperforming hotels since the start of the pandemic. Last year, Assouline’s LWHT Property Management, a Coral Springs-based firm, paid $27.2 million for six boutique hotel and motel properties in Fort Lauderdale Beach. He has acquired and managed about $150 million worth of real estate in South Florida, he said.

The Busch family, among the wealthiest in the U.S., ran Anheuser-Busch until 2008, when Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate InBev completed a $52 billion hostile takeover of the company. A number of family members and heirs to the beer fortune have owned homes in South Florida.

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11733 Valeros Court in Palm Beach Gardens with PharmaCord's Nitin Sahney (Google Maps, LinkedIn, Getty)

11733 Valeros Court in Palm Beach Gardens with PharmaCord’s Nitin Sahney (Google Maps, LinkedIn, Getty)

A health care entrepreneur picked up a home in the Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens for more than three-times what its sellers paid three years ago.

Nitin Sahney, founder and CEO of Indiana-based PharmaCord, and his wife Michele paid $8.8 million for the 6,400-square-foot home at 11733 Valeros Court, records show.

Seller John Ciardullo bought the property for $2.7 million in 2019, adding his wife Evelyn to the deed earlier this year, according to records. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom, which sits on 0.6 acres, was built in 2006.

The home has evidently had some work done since then. Shoreline Building Group LLC filed a construction lien against the property and John Ciardullo on Sept. 16, the same day the deed was filed, stating that he owes the West Palm Beach-based construction company nearly $72,000 for work completed between February and July.

Daniel Leiva, founder of Shoreline Building Group, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prior to founding PharmaCord, Sahney was CEO of Omnicare, a pharmacy business acquired by CVS for $12.7 billion in 2015. He’s among a growing number of luxury buyers taking an interest in Palm Beach Gardens and its gated golf communities. Brokers say homes in inland Palm Beach County have long been undervalued, and that the market is just beginning to catch up.

A New York-based hedge fund manager bought a double-lot mansion in Old Palm Golf Club in July for $22.5 million, a record sum for the community.

Palm Beach Gardens’ waterfront market has also been strong in recent months. Local developers Robert and Myron Miller, a father and son duo, bought a waterfront mansion for $11 million in August, only to immediately relist it for $13.9 million.

Brokerages have noticed the uptick. Corcoran recently opened an office in Palm Beach Gardens, planning to focus on the city and its neighbors in the northern parts of Palm Beach County.

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Truist Securities' John Gregg with 7600 Northwest 82nd Place (Truist Securities, JLL)

Truist Securities’ John Gregg with 7600 Northwest 82nd Place (Truist Securities, JLL)

Truist Securities paid $59.4 million for a national food distributor’s cold storage facility in Medley.

An entity managed by Allison Mcleod, a managing director for the Atlanta-based investment banking firm, acquired the 178,000-square-foot warehouse at 7600 Northwest 82nd Place, records show. Led by CEO John Gregg, Truist Securities is part of Charlotte-based Truist Financial.

Coral Gables-based Quirch Foods sold the property in a sale-leaseback deal that breaks down to about $333 per square foot.

Max La Cava and Brian Shanfeld led a JLL team that represented Quirch Foods, a press release states. The building on the 15-acre site was completed in 2001, records show.

In a statement, La Cava said the Medley property received interest from an array of investors because Quirch Foods remaining at the facility provides an attractive yield and guaranteed cash flow. It’s also a favorable deal for Quirch Foods because the company gets a significant infusion of capital while maintaining control of the cold-storage facility, La Cava said.
Founded in 1967, Quirch Foods signed a 10-year lease with extension options until 2062 at the Medley facility, records show. The company imports and distributes mostly meat food products and operates 23 facilities in 10 states and Puerto Rico, according to Quirch Foods’ website.

Nationwide, investor appetite for cold storage facilities is rising, according to a June CBRE report. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to an investor survey are pursuing freezer warehouses this year, up from 22 percent last year, CBRE found.

Freezer warehouses are at a premium in South Florida due to low inventory for cold-storage facilities amid high demand for such properties. In May, North Sioux City, Iowa-based Vertical Cold Storage paid $66 million, or $240 a square foot, for a Medley freezer warehouse spanning nearly 275,000 square feet.

In December, Acme Smoked Fish Group acquired a cold storage and food processing facility in Pompano Beach for $15.8 million. Acme paid roughly $366 per square foot for the 43,000-square-foot building.

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From left: AMLI Residential’s Gregory Mutz; Terra’s David Martin; Grand Peaks Properties’ Luke Simpson; Related’s Jorge Perez; and Grand Peaks Properties' Nick Simpson (Getty Images, AMLI, Terra, Grand Peaks Properties, Related, Corwil Architects, Arquitectonica)

From left: AMLI Residential’s Gregory Mutz; Terra’s David Martin; Grand Peaks Properties’ Luke Simpson; Related’s Jorge Perez; and Grand Peaks Properties’ Nick Simpson (Getty Images, AMLI, Terra, Grand Peaks Properties, Related, Corwil Architects, Arquitectonica)

Miami’s skyline continues to fill up.

Four proposed Miami projects won approvals on Wednesday, but one developer’s planned tower hit a snag during a city board meeting.

Related Group and Merrimac Ventures’ condominium at Miami Worldcenter, AMLI Residential’s second apartment project in Miami, Rilea Group’s mid-rise rental building near the airport, and Terra and AB Asset Management’s Coconut Grove apartments scored approvals from the Miami Urban Development Review Board.

Grand Peaks Properties’ plan for a new multifamily project in Brickell crashed by a 5-1 nay vote.

Empire Brickell | Grand Peaks Properties

Grand Peaks Properties’ Empire Brickell project (Corwil Architects)

Grand Peaks Properties’ Empire Brickell project (Corwil Architects)

Denver-based Grand Peaks’ design of its proposed 26-story apartment tower bordering Little Havana and Brickell could use more contemporary flair, according to a majority of the UDRB’s members.

“To me, it seems outdated,” board member and architect Gia Zappatini said. “It feels to me like it was built in the ‘70s. Is there something you can explore in the façade of the building that is a little more modern?”

Another URDB member, architect Willy Bermello, said the design looked even older. “When you look at the architectural expression…when you look at these protruding columns, it looks like something you would be doing in Miami Beach in the 1950s. I am not sure that is what you want, but it comes off like that,” he said.

Yet, Grand Peaks representatives declined an offer to delay a vote so that the project’s architect, Albert Cordoves, could tweak the building’s aesthetics.

“Unfortunately, we have some contractual obligations,” Grand Peaks’ lawyer Ines Marrero said. “We cannot come back next month. We need a decision today.”

As a result, the board voted 5-1 to reject Grand Peak’s project and its requested waivers for a 10 percent increase in floorplates to accommodate larger apartments and 14 percent parking reduction to 344 spaces in the building’s proposed garage and eight on-street spaces.

Grand Peaks, led by Luke Simpson and Nick Simpson, can request that Miam’s planning director ignore the UDRB’s decision and approve Empire Brickell’s current design and waivers.

However, the board voted to require that the planning director provide the UDRB with a written explanation if Empire Brickell gets the greenlight.

The 1-acre development site is at 901 Southwest Third Avenue and 244 Southwest Ninth Street. Empire Brickell would feature a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, according to plans submitted to the city.

The Crosby | Related and Merrimac

Jorge Pérez’s Related and the Motwani family’s Merrimac are proceeding with plans for a 33-story, 450-unit short-term rental friendly condominium at 601 North Miami Avenue and 25 Northeast Sixth Street.

Dubbed The Crosby, the tower will include micro-units of 350 square feet. The small condos necessitate city approval, which the board granted at its meeting.

As the city pushes for less reliance on cars and more public transit use, the tower won’t have residential parking. The site is walking distance from several Metrorail stops. Also, The Crosby residents can use 2,000 parking spaces that are part of Miami Worldcenter, Merrimac’s Nitin Motwani told the board.

Still, some board members had a hard time understanding the lack of parking, calling it a building for “the new Miami.” Others pushed for more bicycle and scooter spaces than currently planned.

“Being an urban building and one that doesn’t have any parking and you want to promote walking and alternative rides, I do see the lack of parking for bikes and scooters,” said board member Ligia Ines Labrada.

Coconut Grove-based Related Group and Fort Lauderdale-based Merrimac bought the half-acre development site for $12 million in December.

Motwani, Art Falcone and CIM Group are the master developers of the 27-acre Miami Worldcenter, much of which has been completed.

3001 Northeast First Avenue | AMLI

AMLI Residential’s Midtown Miami project (AMLI)

AMLI Residential’s Midtown Miami project (AMLI)

In Midtown Miami, Chicago-based AMLI got the green light to tweak a previously approved design for a 389-unit apartment tower with 28,000 square feet of retail at 3001 Northeast First Avenue. The changes include allowing the project to rise 21 extra feet to 330 feet, although it would remain at 31 stories, and a slight parking reduction by four spaces, according to city records.

Arquitectonica also tweaked the design so that part of the building is low-rise and the rest appears as if it’s two towers, shedding a previous “big slab” look, architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica told the board.

AMLI, led by Gregory Mutz, paid $30.5 million for the 1.8-acre development site in November. The property is half a block from AMLI’s 719-unit AMLI Midtown Miami apartment complex at 3000 Northeast Second Avenue that was completed in 2020.

The Residences in the Grove | Terra and AB Asset Management

Terra and AB Asset Management’s Residences in the Grove (Arquitectonica)

Terra and AB Asset Management’s Residences in the Grove (Arquitectonica)

A proposed redevelopment of The Malone hotel in Coconut Grove into an apartment building made it through the UDRB with minimal discussion.

Miami-based Terra and Miami Beach-based AB Asset Management are co-developing The Residences in the Grove at 2835 Tigertail Avenue. The joint venture plans a five-story building with 174 units, 24,000 square feet of retail and 344 parkings spaces, according to plans submitted to the city. Terra is led by CEO David Martin and AB Asset is led by co-founder and principal Getzy Fellig.

The Malone’s 2.2-acre site’s zoning allows the proposed project, but the UDRB is required to review developments of more than 200,000 square feet. Designed by Arquitectonica, Residences in the Grove will feature a coral rock façade and other architectural elements that aim to fit Coconut Grove’s character.

“I think it is a breath of fresh air,” said UDRB member Anthony Tzamtzis. “It is beautiful. I like how you took advantage of the existing site and created something at a very human scale.”

Airport site | Rilea

Miami-based Rilea’s plan for a six-story apartment building also was approved, though not without some suggested changes.

Alan and Diego Ojeda’s Rilea wants to develop 162 units at 4301 Northwest Seventh Street in Miami’s Flagami neighborhood. The site’s zoning technically allows for eight stories, but the Federal Aviation Administration requires a lower height because of its proximity to Miami International Airport. The project will rise 60 feet and 11 inches, the maximum allowed by the FAA.

UDRB members recommended developers try to increase the ceiling height for some of the retail portions, which Rilea’s representatives said is 11 feet, adding that it is also partly constrained by the overall project’s height limitation. A board member suggested 15 feet is a more appropriate height, and another also took issue with the pool being in the courtyard instead of on the roof.

Atlantic Voyager, led by Francisco Valdez, owns the 1.5-acre site. It is now home to a two-story, 43,000-square-foot retail center, records show. The owner retained Rilea to develop and manage the project, city records show.

The project will rise in an area that hasn’t received as much attention from developers as centralized neighborhoods like Brickell.

This is a “very weak corner in the city,” UDRB Chairman Ignacio Permuy said. He added that Rilea’s project “is very inviting for the pedestrians and for all circulation in this area.”

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South Florida

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

South Florida home sales continued falling in August, as rising rates and still-growing prices kept buyers on the sidelines.

Closed dollar volume across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties totaled $4.7 billion, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, which counts sales recorded on the Multiple Listing Service. Residential sales have been on the decline, as mortgage rates continue to rise and affordability continues to be a major issue for buyers.

Miami-Dade County

Residential sales fell 24 percent, year-over-year, to 2,505 closings last month. Single-family home sales dropped 21 percent to 1,032, while condo sales decreased 26 percent to 1,473, according to the report.

The median price of single-family homes in Miami-Dade County grew 10 percent to more than $551,000, while the median price of condos increased nearly 12 percent to $375,000.

Dollar volume totaled $1.8 billion, with single-family home dollar volume declining 29 percent to $1 billion, and condo dollar volume falling by about the same percentage to $802 million.

Broward County

Home and condo sales fell 21 percent, year-over-year, to 2,700 closings in Broward County. Single-family home sales took a bigger hit, dropping 26 percent to 1,202 sales. Condo sales declined about 17 percent to 1,498 closings.

The median price of single-family homes increased about 14 percent to $562,500, while the median price of condos rose 20.5 percent to $265,000.

In Broward, total dollar volume fell to $1.4 billion last month. Single-family home dollar volume declined 20 percent to $896 million, and condo dollar volume decreased 5.5 percent to $527 million.

Palm Beach County

Residential sales fell 25 percent, year-over-year, to 2,310 closings in Palm Beach County last month.

Single-family home sales declined 20 percent to 1,292 closings, and condo sales plummeted 30 percent to 1,018 closed sales in August, according to the reports.

The median price of single-family homes grew 18 percent to $565,000, while the median price of condos jumped 25 percent to $291,000.

Dollar volume across Palm Beach County totaled $1.5 billion, with single-family home dollar volume dropping 13 percent to $1.1 billion, and condo dollar volume dropping about 20 percent to $416 million.

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Estates at Acqualina (Getty, Estates at Acqualina)

Estates at Acqualina (Getty, Estates at Acqualina)

Billionaire Andrey Blokh bought an oceanfront unit at the newly completed Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach.

Blokh, a Russian-American cannabis investor who is the second-biggest shareholder of Curaleaf, and his wife, Marina Mikhailovna, paid $5.9 million for unit 1103 in the south tower of Estates, at 17909 Collins Avenue, according to property records. Blokh and Curaleaf founder Boris Jordan, a fellow Russian-American billionaire, are said to have built Curaleaf together, Forbes reported.

Sunny Isles is also known as “Little Moscow” because of its large Russian population. Blokh’s condo is part of the 154-unit, 49-story oceanfront tower that was completed this summer. An affiliate of the Trump Group is developing the two-tower project, which features Karl Lagerfeld-designed lobbies and a 45,000-square-foot amenities villa. More than 110 closings have been recorded to date.

Blokh’s billionaire status has fluctuated. Last year, Forbes pegged his net worth at $1.9 billion, but reported in March that his fortune, which included about 20 percent of Curaleaf’s stock, had fallen to under $1 billion. Blokh made his money while he was president of Sibneft, a Russian oil company that Roman Abramovich owned.

Estates at Acqualina is the third luxury development for Jules and Eddie Trump (no relation to the former president) in Sunny Isles Beach. Prices for units ranged from about $4 million to $35 million for the penthouse. Estates at Acqualina also includes three single-family homes. The amenities building will include an ice skating rink, bowling alley and the Avra Miami Estiatorio restaurant.

Other buyers include South African wine mogul Lance Ellman, and his wife, Caryn; Ferraro Foods owner Michael Giammarino; Avra Group co-owner Nick Tsoulos; and luxury broker Ryan Mendell.

The Trump Group revealed initial plans for the two-tower complex in 2015, and construction began in 2018. It launched sales of the second tower more than two years ago.

The developer and its general contractor sued each other over issues tied to project delays and allegedly unpaid work, but the lawsuits were both settled earlier this year.

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FleetCor Technologies' Ronald Clarke and 194 Spyglass Court (Ceridian, Google Maps)

FleetCor Technologies’ Ronald Clarke and 194 Spyglass Court (Ceridian, Google Maps)

The billionaire CEO of FleetCor Technologies, an Atlanta-based digital payments company, bought the waterfront mansion next door to his Jupiter home for $15.7 million.

Records show Ronald and Leeanne Clarke bought the house at 194 Spyglass Court from Thomas Bigony and Randall Bigony, as trustees of their late mother’s estate.

Ronald Clarke was the highest paid CEO in Georgia in 2016, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. His take that year –– $21.7 million –– landed him among the ranks of Starbucks and Walmart CEOs for executive pay packages. “People want to reward brilliance,” Leeanne Clarke told the outlet.

Forbes pegs his wealth at $1 billion.

The Bigony brothers’ mother, Kit Bigony, died in June. Their father, Fred Bigony, founded Massachusetts-based Harvey Building Products in 1961. Thomas Bigony is the current CEO of the company. Randall Bigony is principal and COO of Kipling Capital.

Gary Pohrer and Donna Hutchins of Douglas Elliman represented both the buyers and the seller in the sale.

Records show Fred and Kit Bigony bought the property in 1998 for $1.1 million. Built in 1999, the mansion spans 9,290 square feet and has 102 feet of water frontage. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house sits on 0.7 acres with an outdoor kitchen and a private dock. It’s in the heart of Admirals Cove, a private community that requires that residents join its country club.

The Clarkes have owned the house next door at 196 Spyglass Court since 2007, when they bought the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home for $4.7 million, records show. Also on the waterfront, the 5,692-square-foot house was built in 1991 on 0.6 acres.

Clarke’s latest purchase is part of a growing trend among wealthy South Florida homeowners to expand their turf and enhance their privacy.

Pohrer said buying a property next door, or at least considering it, is fairly standard these days.

“People are considering [that] if the house next door to them comes available, they’ll at least take a look at it,” he said.

Jupiter’s residential market is strong, with buyers flocking to its golf-centric gated communities and more affordable waterfront homes. Leonard Abramson, a former titan of the health insurance industry, sold his waterfront Admirals Cove home last month for $7 million. Also in August, a retired utility chief sold his renovated Bear’s Club mansion for $15 million, and a hedge funder bought a waterfront property for $10.3 million.

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Balzebre Investments' Robert Balzebre with 8710 Southwest 72nd Street

Balzebre Investments’ Robert Balzebre with 8710 Southwest 72nd Street (Google Maps, Balzebre Investments, Getty)

A leaky roof forced Winn-Dixie to close a South Miami store, and now the grocer wants landlord Robert Balzebre to pay up.

In a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, the Jacksonville-based grocery chain is seeking a court order to force Balzebre, principal of Miami-based Balzebre Investments, into fixing the roof of the Winn-Dixie store. It anchors the Sunset West shopping center at 8710 Southwest 72nd Street.

Winn-Dixie also is seeking $601,000 in damages and losses as a result of the company closing the store since July 14, the lawsuit states.

Winn-Dixie and its attorney Jeffrey York did not respond to requests for comment.

The friction between Winn-Dixie and Balzebre comes as retail real estate investors are aggressively pursuing grocery store-anchored shopping centers in South Florida.

Sunset West’s property manager, who did not want to be identified, but spoke on behalf of Balzebre, said Winn-Dixie bears responsibility because the company has not replaced its old air conditioning equipment on the roof.

“We were there with all the Winn-Dixie people a few weeks ago, and one of their units was shedding so much water that it was pouring into the store,” the manager said. “It was condensation from the unit, not rain.”

The landlord has done everything possible to “maintain the quality of the roof and continues to do so,” including spending “large sums of money for emergency repairs and addressing the issues to get them back open,” the manager said.

Winn-Dixie has leased the property since 1969, the lawsuit states. Balzebre’s family purchased the Sunset West shopping center, anchored by the grocery store, in 1992 for $897,400, records show.

According to an Aug. 18 letter Winn-Dixie’s attorney York sent Balzebre’s lawyers, a roof inspection in May commissioned by the landlord found that the “moisture content in large areas of the gravel roof membrane, the fiberboard insulation and the existing lightweight concrete were considered unacceptable per the 2020 Florida building code.”

The four-page-letter includes an itemized list of Winn-Dixie’s alleged damages, including about $149,000 in lost inventory, close to $98,000 in structural repairs and $60,000 in rent. Winn-Dixie also threatened to demand payment for future losses and damages until the store is safe to reopen and the roof is repaired, York’s letter states.

Balzebre Investments is a boutique real estate firm that owns commercial properties in five states, including Florida. The company owns The Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in Miami Beach, Johnson Square shopping center in Hollywood and four development sites in Coral Gables, Vero Beach and near Sweetwater, Balzebre’s website states.

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Fischer & Co's Cliff Fischer with 100 Royal Palm Way PH-1

Fischer & Co’s Cliff Fischer with 100 Royal Palm Way PH-1 (Google Maps, Fischer & Co)

The founder of Dallas-based Fischer & Co. bought an oceanfront Palm Beach penthouse for $15 million, his third condo purchase in the area.

Records show Clifford and Rhonda Fischer bought unit PH-1 of One Royal Palm Way, a condo building at 100 Royal Palm Way, from a Delaware LLC named for the address. The true seller is unknown.

Linda Olsson of Linda R. Olsson represented both the buyers and the seller.

Fischer founded his namesake commercial real estate tenant representation firm in 1985, which counts FedEx, Dollar General and IBM among its clients. He started the company with his ex-wife Gail Fischer, and the pair split ownership as part of their August 2019 divorce settlement. Litigation continued following the divorce, including allegations by Fischer & Co. that Gail Fischer withdrew $5 million of company funds in a breach of fiduciary duty. The court sided with Cliff Fischer and the company, dismissing Gail Fischer’s civil suit in April 2021.

Cliff Fischer married Rhonda Fischer in December 2019. She is the widow of Calvin Howard Wilkins, the former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands under George W. Bush.

The Fischers’ new penthouse spans 2,870 square feet, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, records show. The unit’s defining feature is a 3,000-square-foot wraparound terrace facing the oceanfront, according to the listing.

The previous owners bought the condo, built in 1969, in 2000 for $2.7 million, records show. The listing states it was renovated, however Olsson declined to comment on the work completed.

Rhonda and Clifford Fischer also own a condo in the Bristol in West Palm Beach. They bought the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,826-square-foot unit in 2021 for $7.7 million, according to records.

Property records also show Cliff Fischer independently owns a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in the President in Palm Beach. He bought the unit with Gail Fischer in 2011 for $220,000. She was removed from the deed in 2019.

Condos represent a smaller piece of the Palm Beach residential market, which is dominated by the island’s luxury single-family homes. Pandemic-triggered migration to Palm Beach brought unprecedented demand and led to surging prices during the last two years, a trend that has just begun to simmer.

According to Olsson, the Palm Beach condo market remains strong. Nancy Shevell McCartney, Paul McCartney’s wife, sold her late father’s condo for $13.5 million in June. That same month, developer Todd Glaser and his partners bought the Tiffany condo on Worth Avenue for $15.5 million with plans to flip the unit. Terry Taylor, the largest private auto dealership owner in the nation, bought a Palm Beach condo for $7.5 million in May.

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Mario Carbone and the Palm Island house (Getty Images, Google Maps)

Mario Carbone and the Palm Island house (Getty Images, Google Maps)

Mario Carbone purchased his own slice of Miami Beach real estate, The Real Deal has learned.

The Major Food Group co-founder purchased a non-waterfront home on Palm Island, sources said. Property records show Gregory Rumpel, senior managing director of JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group, and his wife, Jacqueline, are the sellers of the five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom house.

Carbone and his longtime girlfriend, celebrity publicist Cait Bailey, will be living in the home together, according to a source.

Carbone paid about $4.3 million for the 3,422-square-foot renovated house. Built in 1925, the two-story home was designed by architect George Fink, according to the listing. It hit the market at the end of June for close to $4.2 million, and sold above the asking price at the end of August, according to Realtor.com. Nancy Batchelor with Compass represented the sellers. Douglas Elliman agent Kaila Mardoyan represented the buyer.

Batchelor and Mardoyan declined to comment.

Carbone’s Palm Island home sits on a 6,000-square-foot lot. The Rumpels paid about $1.3 million for the property in 2013, records show.

New York-based Major Food Group, led by Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, has grown quickly in South Florida since expanding to Miami in late 2020. Zalaznick and his wife, Alison, paid $15 million for a Sunset Islands mansion in Miami Beach last year. Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and his wife, Alicia, sold the property to the Zalaznicks.

This summer, Major Food Group parted ways with Michael Stern’s New York-based JDS Development Group to co-develop a hotel-condo tower in Brickell.

Major Food Group, which has more than 30 restaurants, hotels and private clubs around the world, opened Carbone and HaSalon in South Beach, Dirty French Steakhouse in Brickell, Sadelle’s at The Boca Raton Resort & Club, Sadelle’s in Coconut Grove and the members’ only ZZ’s Club in the Miami Design District.

The company also plans to open a 10,000-square-foot Sadelle’s Restaurant and Market Place at 1212 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, which will include a gourmet market.

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From left: Letitia James, Donald Trump, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

From left: Letitia James, Donald Trump, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

UPDATED, Sept. 21, 2022, 12:50 p.m.: The New York attorney general made a long-awaited move on Wednesday, filing a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and some of the former president’s children.

In the 220-page lawsuit, Letitia James alleged large-scale fraud by Trump and his organization, claiming property values were inflated to land more favorable loans or lower taxes.

The lawsuit said there were more than 200 instances of fraud in a 10-year period, including inflated values at marquee Trump properties, including 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.

The consequences James is seeking in the lawsuit are far-reaching. James is asking for the named members of the Trump family to be ousted from leadership of the Trump Organization, along with an independent monitor appointed to oversee the company’s financial practices.

The attorney general also wants the family banned from acquiring real estate in New York for five years and wants some of the company’s New York operations shut down. Additionally, Trump and his children who are defendants — Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr. — would be banned from serving as officers or directors of any New York company.

James referred the findings of her investigation to federal prosecutors; her office doesn’t have jurisdiction over most criminal matters.

At 40 Wall Street, a 1 million-square-foot office tower, James’ lawsuit alleged that bank-ordered appraisals valued the property at $200 million as of Aug. 1, 2010, and $220 million as of Nov. 1, 2012. Yet Trump’s firm listed the building’s value at $524 million and increased it to $527 million in 2012 and to $530 million in 2013 — “more than twice the value calculated by the ‘professionals,’” according to the lawsuit.

James also alleged that Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower was “valued as being 30,000 square feet when it was 10,996 square feet” and pegged to be worth $327 million, or $29,738 per square foot, in 2015. At that point, only one apartment in New York City had ever sold for $100 million or $10,000 per square foot, according to the complaint.

That $100 million apartment sold in a new tower, while Trump’s building was 30 years old and its record sale was $16.5 million, or $4,500 per square foot, in 2015.

In another example, James claims that “rent-stabilized apartments at Trump Park Avenue were valued as if they were unrestricted, leading to a nearly $50 million valuation for those units.” However, an appraisal that recognized the units’ stabilized status valued them collectively at just $750,000, according to the complaint.

It’s worth noting that the civil lawsuit is just that: a lawsuit. Proving the accusations is an uphill battle, as property valuations are highly subjective. Showing intentional fraud will be necessary, but that will likely require a cooperating witness or problematic email, a communication tool Trump avoids.

A lawyer for Trump, in a statement to NBC News on the lawsuit, repeated the former president’s oft-touted claims that James is motivated by politics.

The lawsuit “is neither focused on the facts nor the law — rather, it is solely focused on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda,” lawyer Alina Habba told the outlet. “It is abundantly clear that the attorney general’s office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place.”

Trump has consistently denied wrongdoing and invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 400 times in an August deposition with James’ office, only answering a question about his name. Eric followed with a similar response, invoking the right more than 500 times in October 2020.

Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s eldest son who is an executive at the Trump Organization with his younger brother Eric, answered investigators’ questions in August, along with his sister Ivanka, a former executive at the company.

The civil lawsuit is the latest headache for Trump, who was recently subjected to an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, his club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida. He is facing a federal investigation regarding storage of sensitive documents, which the former president has claimed were declassified.

This story has been updated with additional context. 

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Babak Ebrahimzadeh with The Contemporary

Babak Ebrahimzadeh with The Contemporary (Getty)

Babak Ebrahimzadeh is the latest investor and developer to bet on the growing West Palm Beach office market.

Through his Miami-based Florida Mastermind, Ebrahimzadeh wants to build a 12-story office building with 150,000 square feet of space at 1545 Centrepark Drive North, he told The Real Deal. The project, to be called The Contemporary, will be within the city’s Commerce Pointe Corporate Center.

An affiliate of Ebrahimzadeh paid $5.5 million for the 1.2-acre site in June. It now houses a 10,000-square-foot office building constructed in 1993, according to property records.

Construction is expected to start in the middle of next year and be completed in 2025.

Ebrahimzadeh is part of a growing trend of developers zeroing in on the West Palm office market, but his approach is slightly different. While the hype has centered around the downtown area, his project is farther from the urban core.

Ebrahimzadeh’s building would be close to major thoroughfares, along Australian Avenue and near I-95. He aims to attract tenants priced out of Class A projects, which command $80 per square foot to $100 per square foot, he said. Rates at The Contemporary would be about $60 a square foot.

Ebrahimzadeh has been a Palm Beach County real estate investor for some time, both through his Florida Mastermind and in joint venture with Gatsby FL. In August, Gatsby FL, whose other partner is Nader Shalom, paid $30 million for the four-building retail and office plaza at 25 and 45 Northeast Second Avenue and 220 Northeast First Street in downtown Delray Beach.

Gatsby FL also has taken over the planned PGA Tower office and retail project, paying $17.5 million, last month for the 7-acre development site at 11200 RCA Center Drive in Palm Beach Gardens.

Ebrahimzadeh and Shalom also own the 800 Brickell office tower in Miami’s Brickell. They paid $125.5 million for the property in 2019.

In his solo ventures, Ebrahimzadeh sold a downtown Delray Beach office and retail building at 411 East Atlantic Avenue for $18.5 million in January. The buyers were James and Marta Batmasian, who are prolific Palm Beach County real estate investors.

In downtown West Palm, Stephen Ross’ Related Companies cemented itself as the biggest Class A office owner. Last week, Related announced plans for another project, the 25-story 515 Fern building. It is already building One Flagler at the foot of Royal Park Bridge.

Since last year, Related has acquired three existing office buildings and half of the ownership interest in a fourth.

At One Flagler, which is dubbed the “hedge fund tower” for the financial firm tenants it is expected to attract, asking rents hit $180 a square foot this year, a new high for South Florida.

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BH Group’s Isaac Toledano with a 55th floor unit at Jade Signature (Yizhak Toledano, The Carroll Group)

BH Group’s Isaac Toledano with a 55th floor unit at Jade Signature (Yizhak Toledano, The Carroll Group)

BH Group’s Isaac Toledano paid $15 million for a penthouse in Sunny Isles Beach, about 20 percent less than its sale price three years ago.

Toledano, whose legal and Hebrew name is Yizhak, and his wife, Liat, purchased a 55th floor unit at Jade Signature, at 16901 Collins Avenue, via a Delaware LLC called EIN OD Melvado Trustee For SI 55. The entity financed the purchase with a $10.5 million loan from City National Bank, revealing the Toledanos’ ownership of the LLC.

Property records show Gabius Miami Properties LLC, led by Silvia L. Rosen, sold the nearly 9,200-square-foot penthouse for more than $1,600 per square foot. Rosen is president and chief investment officer of Miami-based LionX Advisors Corp., according to her LinkedIn.

The seller paid $18.5 million for the six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bathroom condo in 2019, a year after the Sunny Isles Beach building was completed.

The unit features a roughly 5,200-square-foot wraparound balcony, its own gym, pool and service quarters.

Jade Signature penthouse terrace (The Carroll Group)

Jade Signature penthouse terrace (The Carroll Group)

Fortune International Group, led by Edgardo Defortuna, developed the oceanfront 57-story, 192-unit tower at 16901 Collins Avenue. It was designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

Compass’ the Carroll Group represented the buyer and seller in the latest sale. Chad Carroll and Matthew Dugow were the listing agents, while Sheerelle Toledano, daughter of the Toledanos, represented the buyers.

Carroll also recently represented scrap metal mogul and crypto mining entrepreneur Adam Weitsman, in his $23.5 million purchase of another penthouse in the building.

BH Group and Toledano have become more active in South Florida over the past year. The firm is partnering with Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi and mega developer the Related Group on three projects: an ultra luxury condo development planned for Fisher Island, the mixed-use Transit Village project in West Palm Beach, and a planned condo project on the bayfront site of the closed White House Inn in North Miami.

Last month, BH Group paid $11 million for the site of a planned 30-story, 400-unit apartment tower in North Miami Beach.

The company also plans to redevelop the Southland Mall property in Cutler Bay with its joint venture partner Electra America. The partnership paid just over $100 million in May for the nearly 80-acre site, which is in an Opportunity Zone.

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Terra's David Martin and AB Asset Management's Getzy Fellig with rendering of Residences in the Grove (Terra Group, LinkedIn, Getty)

AB Asset Management’s Getzy Fellig and Terra’s David Martin with rendering of Residences in the Grove (Terra Group, LinkedIn, Getty)

After embarking on projects throughout Miami-Dade County, David Martin’s Terra is making another play on a market it knows well: Coconut Grove.

Miami-based Terra and Miami Beach-based AB Asset Management want to replace The Malone hotel at 2835 Tigertail Avenue in Miami with a five-story apartment building, according to city records. The Residences in the Grove would have 174 units; 24,000 square feet of retail; and 344 parking spaces.

Miami’s Urban Development Review Board will vote on the project at its Wednesday meeting. The proposal fits in the existing city zoning for the site, but the board still reviews projects, including those over 200,000 square feet.

Terra and AB Asset, through an affiliate, bought the 2.2-acre site that now is home to the 140-key hotel for $31 million last year. The existing three-story building, completed in 1966, was once apartments, city records show.

The Arquitectonica-designed project will include a coral rock façade and other features that will blend with Coconut Grove’s greenery, according to an emailed statement from Martin.

Construction of Residences in the Grove is expected to start next year, Martin said in his statement.

AB Asset, led by co-founders Zalman “Getzy” Fellig and Shmuel “Sam” Zalmanov, has residential and retail real estate investments in South Florida, as well as in Louisiana, Georgia, New York, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to its website.

Terra has a long history of developing in Coconut Grove but has been focused on other Miami-Dade markets recently.

In Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Terra is developing the first phase of its CentroCity mixed-use project. It includes a revamp of the existing plaza and construction of a 470-unit apartment complex at 3825 Northwest Seventh Street, next to Magic City Casino.

In Bay Harbor Islands, Terra is building a residential project with offices and retail at 1177 Kane Concourse.

The developer also is making a major play on South Beach. Terra and Russell Galbut’s GFO Investment are building the Five Park condo tower at the entrance to the barrier island at Fifth Street, on the site of the former South Shore Hospital. A few blocks north, the duo also wants to redevelop the Miami Beach Community Health Center at 710 Alton Road.

Terra also has other projects in the works in Coconut Grove. It is developing the Mr. C Residences condominium, and its Grove Central apartment and retail project topped off this summer.

Terra’s completed Coconut Grove projects include the Grove at Grand Bay condominium, known for its pair of twisting towers; and Park Grove condos.

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Electra America's Joe Lubeck with rendering of Southplace City Center (Electra America)

Electra America’s Joe Lubeck with rendering of Southplace City Center (Electra America)

An Electra America joint venture is planning a $1 billion overhaul of Southland Mall in Cutler Bay.

Electra, its multifamily affiliate Tampa-based American Landmark, and Miami-based real estate firm BH Group are planning to add mixed-use components to the 80-acre site. They will include a 150-key hotel, 60,000 square feet of medical office space, 150,000 square feet of retail out parcels and a community amphitheater, a press release states.

In May, the partnership paid $100.3 million for the indoor retail center at 20505 South Dixie Highway. The new project is called Southplace City Center.

The proposal, submitted to the town of Cutler Bay, also calls for the phased-in development of 4,395 apartments, as well as updating the existing 808,766-square-foot mall with cosmetic improvements and the addition of new retailers, including a specialty grocer, the release states.

Electra America, led by managing partner Joe Lubeck, and its partners plan to break ground on the first apartment building in 2023, with an expected completion of early 2025, the release states. Rents will start at $2,500 a month. Lubeck is also CEO of American Landmark.

Southplace City Center is being master planned by MSA Architects.

The joint venture bought Southland Mall from Wells Fargo Bank as trustee for a JP Morgan Chase commercial mortgage-backed securities trust, which seized the property in February of last year. The previous owner lost a $68.7 million foreclosure judgment.

The deal did not include a Mercedes-Benz dealership and a former Sears store and auto center that are also on the property.

The redevelopment site is in an Opportunity Zone, a federally designated area meant to encourage development and job creation in low-income communities. So the partnership could attract investors seeking tax benefits from funding a project.

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6001 Southwest 70th Street (Google Maps)

6001 Southwest 70th Street (Google Maps)

Duncan Hillsley Capital dropped $17.5 million on a bulk purchase of condos geared toward college students in South Miami, two months after it settled a lawsuit with the seller.

Records show a Delaware LLC linked to the investment firm bought 70 units in Valencia, a 301-unit condo building at 6001 Southwest 70th Street. The seller is MHS Valencia LLC.

The buying entity secured a $13 million mortgage from Coral Gables-based Amerant Bank to finance the purchase. The mortgage lists Duncan Hillsley’s Boca Raton headquarters address, and the firm’s co-founder and President Shane Hillsley signed as the mortgagor.

Duncan Hillsley is a real estate investment firm that specializes in underperforming assets, with a portfolio spanning several Florida markets, according to its website.

The price equates to $250,000 per unit.

The seller is registered to MHS Real Estate Capital LLC, a Florida corporation managed by Jupiter-based Saleh H. Alamoudi. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

In December, Duncan Hillsley sued MHS Valencia LLC to close the sale, court records show. The buyer and seller were midway through escrow when Alamoudi’s legal counsel informed the buyer that he would be backing out of the deal due to a “strange situation” and family trouble, according to the complaint. The lawsuit was settled in July.

Valencia’s website bills it as a housing option for University of Miami students, with the choice to rent or buy units. A one-bedroom unit in the building is currently listed for rent at $2,200 per month, and a similar one-bedroom recently sold for $260,000, the website shows.

Alamoudi had bought 80 Valencia units in a bulk purchase in 2011 for $13.5 million, according to records. An affiliate of Miami-based Astor Companies developed the building in 2004, records show.

Duncan Hillsley’s Valencia bulk buy is the firm’s second in South Florida in recent months. In August, Duncan Hillsley paid $25.1 million for 143 condos in a 238-unit building in Sunrise. The price equated to about $176,000 per unit. The firm also secured a loan from Amerant Bank to finance that deal.

The firm’s investment in student housing follows a national trend of developers and private investors taking interest in a long-underserved market. New York City-based Blackstone made a major investment in student housing in April, paying $12.8 billion for American College Communities.

In South Florida, FCP and Mill Creek Residential partnered on a student housing development earlier this summer, dropping $25 million on a nearly 5-acre site near Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

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Starwood’s Barry Sternlicht with 5060 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road

Starwood’s Barry Sternlicht with 5060 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road (Katz & Associates)

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Property Trust is the latest landlord to cash out of a grocery store-anchored shopping center in South Florida.

An affiliate of Starwood, based in Miami Beach and Greenwich, Connecticut, sold Grove Market, a 77,000-square-foot shopping center at 5060 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in Westlake, for $19.5 million, records show. The deal breaks down to about $253 a square foot.

A consortium of four entities managed by three different individuals bought the 8.75-acre property, financed with a $14.5 million mortgage from ConnectOne Bank.

The buyers include Michael Gleit, managing partner of Edge Ventures, a Brooklyn-based family office specializing in retail real estate; Peter Tiflinsky, a principal of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey-based Premier Developers; and Jacob Khotoveli, founder and managing partner of Hollywood-based JBL Asset Management.

JLL’s Eric Williams brokered the sale. In 2016, Starwood paid $3.4 million for Grove Market when the shopping center was without an anchor tenant, records show.
Built in 1999, Grove Market signed Winn-Dixie to a long-term lease for a 53,000-square-foot store last year. The grocer recently opened, according to Jon Cashion with Katz & Associates Retail Real Estate Advisors, which will continue to handle leasing at Grove Market. Other tenants include Napa Auto Parts, Planes Dental, Gator Shack and Sunshine Nails of PB, a leasing brochure states.

It’s been a seller’s market for grocery store-anchored shopping centers in South Florida. This month, a joint venture between Pebb Enterprises and Banyan Development sold Mainstreet at Boynton in Boynton Beach for $33 million, or $630 a square foot. Katonah, New York-based Carlyle Management bought the 52,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by Sprouts.

Last month, Weston-based commercial real estate investor Beth Azor sold Plantation Crossing in Plantation to the Madrid-Miami partnership Azora Exan for $22.2 million. Azor fetched about $314 a square foot for the 70,000-square-foot, Aldi-anchored shopping center.

Also in August, Miami Beach-based Savitar Realty Advisors sold Palm Trails Plaza for $17 million, nearly double the previous sale price in 2016 of $9.1 million. Boca Raton’s James Batmasian acquired the 77,000-square-foot retail plaza anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

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A photo illustration of Compass' Robert Reffkin (Compass, Getty Images)

A photo illustration of Compass’ Robert Reffkin (Compass, Getty Images)

Compass announced Tuesday that it has conducted another round of layoffs, billing the step as a “significant action” en route to its goal of becoming profitable.

“The Company believes it is in a position to reduce its go forward investment in technology given the maturity of the Company’s technology platform,” it said in an SEC filing Tuesday. “As a result, a significant portion of the Workforce Reduction involves reductions in headcount on the Company’s product and engineering team.”

Compass has stated that it has invested $900 million in its tech platform, but the breakdown of those expenditures is unclear, and industry rivals have long questioned the return on that investment.

“As entrepreneurs, you are no strangers to making hard decisions for the long-term success of your businesses,” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin said in an email Tuesday to the firm’s agents, which was viewed by The Real Deal. “I am more excited than ever about what we are building together.”

Compass did not provide specifics on the number of layoffs, but they are likely to be substantial given that they necessitated an SEC filing and that the filing noted costs of between $23 million and $26 million for severance and termination benefits. When the company laid off 450 employees in June, it incurred severance and termination-related costs of between $15 million and $16 million. Given that, it’s likely the layoffs this time around were larger, though the company declined to comment beyond the filing.

The company plans to cut its expenses by $320 million this year.

Reffkin continues to employ a “nothing to see here” approach. He said in the agent email that he and president Neda Navab would host a “fireside chat” Wednesday to “talk about why we are so confident in the company we are building, how we are navigating through this moment in the market while maintaining a strong financial position, and how we are going on the offense to dispel the narratives that have been circulating about Compass.”

Compass’ losses in 2021 and the first half of this year totaled nearly $800 million, according to its financial statements. Its stock price hit an all-time low of $2.50 shortly after the opening bell Tuesday and was trading down about 4.7 percent as of late morning.

Harrison Connery contributed reporting.

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ASG's Steve Reardon, DoorLoop's Ori Tamuz and David Bitton (ASG, DoorLoop)

ASG’s Steve Reardon, DoorLoop’s Ori Tamuz and David Bitton (ASG, DoorLoop)

DoorLoop, a Miami-based rental property management software startup, raised $20 million from Alpine Software Group, a Silicon Valley investment firm.

The Series A round adds to $10 million that the proptech firm, led by founders Ori Tamuz, CEO, and CMO David Bitton, raised last year. Tamuz and Bitton founded DoorLoop in 2019 and rolled it out to clients last year. The software allows landlords and property managers to automate services, including listings, tenant screenings, maintenance requests, rent collection and more.

Bitton said the company recently launched its API integration, which means it can work with other software, like Salesforce and Mailchimp.

Bitton said DoorLoop will use the Series A money to double its employee count from about 50 to 100 in the next year, as well as invest in marketing and in the software, and expand internationally. It has a development office in Tel Aviv. The company plans to “quadruple” its development team and add features for landlords and property managers.

Alpine Software Group is part of the Alpine Investors umbrella. San Francisco-based Alpine Investors is a multibillion-dollar private equity firm led by founder and CEO Graham Weaver.

ASG invests in vertical SaaS (software as a service) companies. In 2018, it acquired one of Tamuz and Bitton’s former companies, the practice management software startup PracticePanther, which ASG merged with Bill4Time into ASG LegalTech.

Bitton said DoorLoop caters to small to mid-market landlords and property managers with up to 1,000 rental units under management, and that it is looking to expand into homeowners associations, student housing, self storage and affordable housing.

A number of tech firms and startups have expanded to Miami over the past two years. Bitton, a South Florida native and University of Miami graduate, said the firm is open to remote hiring.

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Easton Group’s Edward Easton and 3121 Northwest 125th Street (Easton Group, Google Maps)

Easton Group’s Edward Easton and 3121 Northwest 125th Street (Easton Group, Google Maps)

UPDATED, Sept. 20, 1 p.m.: The Easton Group nabbed a northwest Miami-Dade warehouse, beefing up its South Florida industrial portfolio.

An Easton affiliate paid $14.3 million for the 76,000-square-foot building at 3121 Northwest 125th Street, records show. The deal breaks down to $188 a square foot.

The buyer obtained a $7 million mortgage from the seller, Hammersmith Limited Partnership, led by President Steven Hammersmith, records show. CBRE represented the seller.

In 1995, a Hammersmith affiliate paid $474,000 for the 2.7-acre site and completed the warehouse in 1998, according to property records.

Easton Group’s Dalton Easton said the property was not officially listed, but that his firm did have to compete with other bidders. “There really wasn’t an asking price,” Easton said. “It was just whoever put in the best offer to buy the property. We are trying to add well-located, functioning buildings to our portfolio. We believe this is one of them.”

Doral-based Easton Group, a commercial real estate development and investment firm, was founded in 1974 by CEO Edward Easton.
In April, another Easton affiliate also paid $14.3 million for a 5.8-acre outdoor industrial site with a 30,000-square-foot truck terminal in Hollywood.

South Florida’s industrial market continues to put in a strong performance. In the second quarter, industrial landlords across the tri-county region raised average asking rents by more than $1, year-over-year, including a $3 increase in Palm Beach County, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The vacancy rate in all three counties dropped below 4 percent in the second quarter, the report shows.

“There are scarce opportunities to buy,” Easton said. “But the industrial market is still competitive. There’s a lot of tenant demand and a lot of industrial capital being pushed toward Miami-Dade.”

Easton Group is among the most active industrial buyers in South Florida. In December, the firm paid $6.5 million for a 9-acre development site in Riviera Beach where Easton has city-approved plans for a truck terminal. Last year, Easton and its partner LBA Logistics paid $29.4 million for a 26.4-acre property in Hialeah where the joint venture is developing two spec warehouses totaling 463,000 square feet.

Boca Raton-based real estate investor James Batmasian recently jumped into the highly competitive South Florida industrial market. Last month, Batmasian paid $15.5 million for a portfolio of three industrial properties in Lake Park, Mangonia Park and Riviera Beach.

Also in August, Sunny Isles Beach investor Yakov Cohen paid $10.7 million for an Aventura industrial complex spanning 35,000 square feet. The sale price equated to more than $300 a square foot.

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Jade Signature (Google Maps, Getty)

Jade Signature (Google Maps, Getty)

Condo sales volume in Miami-Dade County rose last week, while the average price declined.

Sales totaled $107.9 million, above the $91.2 million from the week prior. The average sale price of $714,000 fell below the $754,000 a week earlier.
Price ranges of the top 10 sales stayed relatively stable, from $1.7 million to $15 million, compared to $1.7 million to $9.2 million the previous week.

Jade Signature in Sunny Isles Beach took the top spot last week. Unit PH5503 at 16901 Collins Avenue pulled in $15 million. Chad Carroll and Matthew Dugow with Compass had the listing, and Sheerelle Toledano, also with Compass, represented the buyer.

Mansions at Acqualina, also in Sunny Isles Beach, took second place with a $5.5 million sale. Cassio Galiza with Podium Realty Group represented the seller, and Marvin Anhalt with Anhalt Realty worked with the buyer.

Leaflet map created by Adam Farence | Data by © OpenStreetMap, under ODbl.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Sept. 11th to Sept. 17th:

Most expensive

Jade Signature, 16901 Collins Avenue, unit PH5503 | 223 days on the market | $15M | $1,633 psf | Listing agents: Chad Carroll, Matthew Dugow with Compass | Buyer’s agent: Sheerelle Toledano with Compass

Least expensive

Balmoral, 9801 Collins Avenue, unit PH7 | 299 days on the market | $1.7M | $1,011 psf | Listing agent: Boris Vertsberger with FIP Realty Services | Buyer’s agent: Joelle Oiknine with One Sotheby’s International Realty

Most days on market

Balmoral, 9801 Collins Avenue, unit PH7 | 299 days on the market | $1.7M | $1,011 psf | Listing agent: Boris Vertsberger with FIP Realty Services | Buyer’s agent: Joelle Oiknine with One Sotheby’s International Realty

Fewest days on market

Akoya, 6365 Collins Avenue, unit 1201 | 1 day on the market | $2.5M | $1,420 psf | Listing agent: Estevam Hirschbruch with Coldwell Banker Realty | Buyer’s agent: Andres Fernandez with Miami Rent-Sell Property Management

(condo.com)

(condo.com)

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Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger and Damac's Hussain Sajwani with the Surfside collapse site (LinkedIn, Farees Jamal CC0 via Wikimedia Commons, Getty)

Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger and Damac’s Hussain Sajwani with the Surfside collapse site (LinkedIn, Farees Jamal CC0 via Wikimedia Commons, Getty)

Family members of the victims of the Surfside condo collapse met with Damac Properties, the new owner of the site, Monday evening, leading to a tense exchange over a future memorial.

The public meeting opened with Martin Langesfeld, whose sister Nicole Langesfeld died, walking over to Damac’s representative to hand him photos of the 98 people who perished in the collapse of Champlain Towers South on June 24 of last year. Langesfeld wants a memorial to be built on part of the 8777 Collins Avenue site where the victims died, calling it “the most important thing for us as families.”

“Something needs to go on the site as respect, the reason you guys will be profiting,” Langesfeld said. He called for Damac to yield a few feet on the north side of the site, saying that is where one of the staircases collapsed, killing many of the victims.

Surfside town officials have designated 88th Street, immediately north of the former Champlain Towers South, for a memorial, although Langesfeld disputed that the entirety of the street is dedicated. Mayor Shlomo Danziger said the town would have to check with transportation officials.

“If you’re trying to build where 98 souls are there… how are you going to build thinking you’re not going to damage any other family?” said Nicole’s mother, Andrea Langesfeld. “You’re looking for money, a return of investment. We are looking for respect of our loved ones.”

Damac, led by founder and chairman Hussain Sajwani, plans to build a Cavalli-branded luxury condo development on the oceanfront property. The Dubai developer was the sole bidder, paying $120 million for the 2 acres of land in July. At Monday evening’s meeting, Damac’s representative said the developer expects to begin construction in the first half of 2024.

The representative said Damac is willing to listen to the families to understand what they are seeking, but at the same time, it’s a commercial venture. “We have to look after our shareholders’ interests,” he said.

A major stumbling block to moving forward: Damac needs to know what kind of memorial the families envision, whether it’s a plaque, or a wall paying homage to the victims, or something else. For his part, Langesfeld said the families can’t provide a concrete answer until they know how much of the site Damac would yield for a memorial.

Although both sides reiterated they are willing to collaborate, another exchange came when Langesfeld said he had been trying to reach out to Damac for over a year to discuss a memorial. The Damac representative said it’s unclear whom Langesfeld could have been calling, as the site purchase was “up in the air” until recently.

“What if it was your kids, or your parents? What would you want?” Langesfeld asked the Damac representative, who didn’t respond.

Danziger, acting as a mediator of sorts during the meeting, at one point responded to Langesfeld’s notion that this was a negotiation. Ultimately, Damac owns the site, and the families of those who died are making “an ask,” Danzinger said.

“I think the fact that [Damac representatives] are at the table,” he said, “says a lot.”

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Ron DeSantis and Peter Thiel (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Ron DeSantis and Peter Thiel (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Even tech billionaire and Republican mega donor Peter Thiel thinks housing prices and rent are too damn high in Florida.

Thiel, a Miami Beach transplant from Silicon Valley, warned conservatives that soaring real estate prices in Florida make the Sunshine State more like California than they would like to admit. Speaking at the National Conservatism conference held at Jeffrey Soffer’s JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura on Sept. 11 and 12, Thiel said that if conservatives are going to have a “high-growth alternative” to states like California, the real test will be if real estate prices come down.

“The fact that real estate in Florida has melted up over the last two or three years is not evidence that you’re succeeding in building a better model than California,” Thiel said, according to the publication UnHerd. “I worry that’s evidence you’re becoming like California.”

Still, Thiel, who has been vocal about the exodus to Miami from Silicon Valley, called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “probably the best in terms of offering a real alternative to California.”

Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal, Founders Fund and Palantir Technologies, moved to Miami Beach in late 2020 with his $18 million purchase of two adjacent waterfront homes on the Venetian Islands.

Since then, home prices and rents have skyrocketed across South Florida as companies moved or expanded to the region. People were also able to work from home in a state that had few Covid restrictions and no state income tax. This year, the region became the least affordable housing market in the country.

Even Thiel’s Founders Fund opened an office in Miami’s Wynwood, where a number of tech firms have launched outposts.

“The temptation on our side is always going [to] be to just say we’re not California… We don’t like tech, we don’t like California, we don’t like the woke stuff,” he said, according to UnHerd. “All of that’s true … but it’s not a way we get back to broad-based growth that’s not just some kind of real-estate racket.”

– Katherine Kallergis

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Ethan and Ruthie Assouline (Getty, Douglas Elliman)

Ethan and Ruthie Assouline (Getty, Assouline Team)

UPDATED, Sept. 23, 4:20 p.m.: A top Miami and New York-based broker team returned to Douglas Elliman after a four-year stretch at Compass, The Real Deal has learned.

Ruthie and Ethan Assouline’s Assouline Team is back at Elliman as of Monday. The husband and wife-led luxury residential team expanded to Miami in late 2020 and closed on sales totaling more than $300 million in both markets since then, Ruthie Assouline said.

The group, which includes Oliver Gold, Eytan Namiech and Samantha Hershbein, is working out of Elliman’s 1111 Lincoln Road office in Miami Beach and its 575 Madison Avenue office in New York. The Assoulines left Elliman for Compass in early 2018, and split their time between both markets equally, Ruthie Assouline said.

At Compass, the team set records in South Florida with the $44 million sale of 6360 and 6342 North Bay Road in Miami Beach to Gabe Plotkin, founder of the investment management firm Melvin Capital Management, a major short-seller of GameStop. Plotkin’s purchase marked the highest priced sale on North Bay Road. The Assouline Team was also involved in the $29 million sale of 3029 Brickell Avenue in Miami, Madonna’s former estate, and the $37.5 million sale of an oceanfront home and lot in Miami Beach’s Altos Del Mar neighborhood to Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli.

The team recently represented the buyer of a $16.5 million full floor at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed 18 Gramercy Park in New York.

Ruthie Assouline said the team was not speaking with other brokerages, but that Elliman provided “great opportunities” that fit into the team’s strategy. The Assouline Team is looking for “really good rockstar agents” with two to three years of experience in New York and Miami, she said. Assouline spoke highly of her time at Compass, which recently stopped offering agents equity or cash incentives as it embarks on a major cost-cutting plan.

In May, top Palm Beach agent Margit Brandt left Compass after six months with the brokerage to join Premier Estate Properties. On the flip side, Compass nabbed the 30-person Riley Smith Group, which left Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty after 17 years, in June.

More recently in September, a top Compass team in New York, led by Wesley Stanton and Jordan Hoch, also returned to Elliman from Compass.

The migration of wealthy buyers from the Northeast to Miami has helped fuel the Assouline Team’s growth over the past two years, as it has with other top brokers and teams. Assouline said she expects that her clients will continue to travel back and forth, buying and selling homes, even as the overall residential market slows down.

An earlier version of this story misstated when the Assouline Team expanded to Miami.

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Allied Partners founder Eric Hadar and The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club at 425 Ocean Drive (Google Maps, Getty)

Allied Partners founder Eric Hadar and The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club at 425 Ocean Drive (Google Maps, Getty)

Allied Partners is seeking $50 million from an architect and an engineer who allegedly tore down portions of a historic Miami Beach hotel without the owner’s authorization.

In two separate lawsuits filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, an Allied entity sued Kevin Gore, an architect based in Palisades Park, New Jersey; and Miami-based engineer Elvis Torres and his company, Ortus Engineering.

Allied, a New York-based real estate investment firm founded by Eric Hadar, owns The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club at 425 and 455 Ocean Drive in the city’s South of Fifth neighborhood. In 2005, Allied paid $28 million for the oceanfront property, which consists of two Art Deco buildings completed in 1937 and 1941, records show.

Hadar, Gore and attorneys representing Allied and the architect declined comment. Torres did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2017, Hurricane Irma damaged the two buildings, known as Arlington East and Arlington West, the complaints state. The Category 4 storm caused significant damage to Arlington East, which has most of the Savoy’s 75 rooms. Arlington West, which houses the hotel kitchen, restaurant, cafe, an event space and 31 rooms, was damaged, but to a lesser extent, the complaints state.

Allied has been unable to reopen Arlington East until the building is restored to its prior state, and the restaurant and event space at Arlington West also remained closed, the lawsuit states. A current estimate shows it will cost nearly $30 million to restore the two buildings to their original state, before they were demolished. The lawsuits state the Savoy Hotel also suffered $20 million in lost profits.

According to the Gore lawsuit, Allied retained the architect to create design plans and oversee the restoration of Arlington West so it could reopen. Arlington East “would be mothballed behind a firewall until a later restoration phase,” the lawsuit states.

Allied provided Gore with strict instructions to leave Arlington East alone and that he needed to ensure the renovation plans and permits for Arlington West were secured before commencing work, the complaint states. Any deviation by Gore could jeopardize a master permit Allied obtained in 2013 for “valuable redevelopment and expansion rights for the hotel,” and hurt the developer’s relationship with Miami Beach city officials, according to the lawsuit.

Allied rejected Gore’s insistence that the remediation work incorporate major elements of the master permit, including the internal demolition of Arlington East. Despite Allied’s demands that Gore stick to just repairing Arlington West, the architect expanded the project’s scope “without professional design plans or required permits” to remove rooms, concrete floors, mechanical risers, plumbing, and life and fire safety systems throughout Arlington East, the lawsuit states.

“Gore’s 11th-hour detour from the authorized plan ultimately made it impossible to reopen” Arlington West in time for the 2018 edition of the Art Basel art fair in Miami Beach, one of the busiest tourism weeks in the city, the lawsuit states. Allied also alleges that Gore’s deviation prompted the city of Miami Beach’s building department to declare Arlington East an unsafe structure that has remained uninhabitable since then.

According to the lawsuit against Torres and Ortus Engineering, the engineer and his firm negligently facilitated and enabled the internal demolition of Arlington East and Arlington West without any approved construction plans and permits. Torres and Ortus attempted to get plans approved after the demolition work had been completed, the lawsuit alleges. The engineer also allegedly assured Allied that the city would approve the plans, even though it deviated from the master permit.

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Florida Showcase speaker spotlight: Corcoran’s Pam Liebman
Whether it’s from her leadership at the helm of one of the country’s biggest brokerages or her recent stint on reality TV, you already know Pam Liebman.

The Corcoran Group CEO, who’s led the company as CEO for over 20 years and been in the industry for nearly 40, is a longtime real estate A-lister and a luxury resi expert. Now you can see her take the TRD stage this fall as she joins us for our annual South Florida Showcase + Forum.

Named one of the most powerful women in New York by Crain’s, Liebman led Corcoran’s expansion from New York City into the Hamptons and South Florida, as well as the firm’s global spread. She’s also led some major Corcoran mergers, like the 2020 takeover of Citi Habitats.

Liebman now has her sights on Florida’s red-hot market. Along with other big players in the Florida real estate industry, she’s even contributed to the reelection campaign of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is seeking to make the city a new big tech hub and maintain the influx of new residents (and new homebuyers).

Formerly an opponent of the luxury real estate reality genre, Liebman’s flip flop reflects a larger debate within the industry, one that took center stage at TRD’s showcase in New York this spring. On this panel, she’ll join celeb broker-turned-CEO Ryan Serhant, with more panelists to be announced. They’ll discuss the future not only of South Florida resi, but its elevation into the national public eye. With its wild market, South Florida has become a huge topic of discussion for brokers across the country. Can it stay that way? And what will happen next?

We’ll find out. Grab your tickets before September 23rd to take advantage of the early bird rate. See you at Mana!

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Grand Peaks Properties' Luke Simpson and Nick Simpson; renderings of the proposed Empire Brickell project (Corwil Architects, Grand Peaks Properties, Getty)

Grand Peaks Properties’ Luke Simpson and Nick Simpson; renderings of the proposed Empire Brickell project (Corwil Architects, Grand Peaks Properties, Getty)

Grand Peaks Properties doesn’t want to be left out of the Brickell bonanza.

The Denver-based multifamily firm proposes a 26-story apartment tower on an acre, spanning two adjacent lots at 901 Southwest Third Avenue and 244 Southwest Ninth Street in Miami, according to Miami records. Grand Peaks has the property under contract for an undisclosed amount.

Dubbed Empire Brickell, the project will target families by offering large units. Out of 250 units, 112 will be three-bedroom apartments, 49 will be two-bedroom apartments with a den, 40 will be two bedrooms, 44 will be one-bedroom apartments with a den, and five will be one bedrooms, according to the project application filed to the city of Miami late last month.

The Miami Urban Development Review Board will vote on the project at its Wednesday meeting, including on a waiver to allow for a 10 percent increase in the floorplates to 193 feet and 7 inches that is needed to accommodate the two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

Among other waivers Grand Peaks is requesting, the developer wants a 14 percent parking space reduction to 344 spaces in the garage and eight on-street spaces. That’s still less than the 30 percent reduction allowed for projects near public transportation stops. Empire Brickell is within a half-mile of the Brickell Metrorail station.

Last year, development site owner Progesti Corp., led by Jose Nunez, put the property on the market, along with a nearby lot at 180 Southwest Ninth Street. The lots on which Grand Peaks plans to develop now house a three-story, 68-unit multifamily building that was constructed in 1962, property records show.

At the time Progesti put the site on the market, the listing broker told The Real Deal all three sites could fetch more than $25 million.

Valuations of development sites have skyrocketed since then, as the dollar volume for development site trades reached $808 million in Greater Downtown Miami last year. That’s a 155 percent increase over three years, according to Colliers data.

Grand Peaks, led by co-CEOs Luke Simpson and Nick Simpson, is a multifamily buyer, developer and manager, according to its website. Among its South Florida holdings is the 264-unit Cascades at the Hammocks apartment complex at 10605 Hammocks Boulevard in southwest Miami-Dade County, which Grand Peaks bought last year for $63 million.

Grand Peaks’ website does not list any other projects in Brickell, Miami’s primary financial district that is experiencing a residential development boom.

Menesse International wants to build a 24-story apartment tower with 350 units at 143 Southwest Ninth Street, after paying $23.5 million for the site in July.

Also, Property Markets Group plans a pair of towers with 803 residential units between Southwest Eight and Ninth streets and west of Southwest First Avenue and the Metromover tracks.

Billionaire hedge funder Ken Griffin and his firm Citadel have made major real estate plays in Brickell, scooping up two development sites and an office building this year. Citadel and Citadel Securities also are moving their headquarters from Chicago to Brickell, currently leasing a temporary space at OKO Group and Cain International’s 830 Brickell office tower that is under construction.

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AJP Real Estate’s Alberto Pérez and Thor Equities’ Joseph Sitt with Wynwood Walk and MedSquare Health medical offices ( AJP Real Estate, Thor Equities)

AJP Real Estate’s Alberto Pérez and Thor Equities’ Joseph Sitt with Wynwood Walk and MedSquare Health medical offices ( AJP Real Estate, Thor Equities, Google Maps)

Cardiovascular Centers of America, HCA Florida Institute for Gynecologic Oncology I MedSquare Health I Kendall

A year after finishing a Kendall medical office plaza, AJP Real Estate and Mas Group fully leased the property. http://therealdeal.com/miami/tag/kendall/

In the recent flurry of deals, Cardiovascular Centers of America took 8,000 square feet; Centers for Imaging and Research of America took 9,000 square feet; and HCA Florida Institute for Gynecologic Oncology took 6,800 square feet at MedSquare Health at 9408 Southwest 87th Avenue, according to a news release from CBRE, whose Gordon Messinger represented the owners.

Also, My OB/GYN Specialists expanded its MedSquare space by 1,600 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

Two of the tenants are moving from elsewhere in Miami-Dade County. Centers for Imaging and Research is relocating from 2760 Southwest 97th Avenue in the University Park neighborhood, and HCA Florida is moving from 7800 Southwest 87th Avenue in Sunset.

The three-story, 116,000-square-foot MedSquare complex is just south of Baptist Hospital.

Alberto Pérez’s AJP and Juan Carlos Mas’ Mas Group paid $5.4 million in 2016 for the 4.4-acre development site, which formerly was a synagogue. A community council approved the project in 2018.

AJP, based in Coral Gables, is a commercial real estate buyer, developer and manager, according to its website.

Mas is a member of the family whose late patriarch, Jorge Mas Canosa, co-founded MasTec engineering and construction firm based in Coral Gables. His son, Jorge Mas, chairman of MasTec, is an investor in the Miami Freedom Park project that will include a Major League Soccer stadium and mixed-use complex on Miami’s Melreese golf course.

Other MedSquare tenants include GastroHealth, VITAS Healthcare, Dental Care Alliance, Miami Plastic Surgery and LifeStance Health.

Velvet Taco I Wynwood Walk I Miami

Velvet Taco will open its first Florida restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

The restaurant leased 3,000 square feet at Thor Equities’ Wynwood Walk retail and dining complex on the southwest corner of Northwest 29th Street and Northwest Second Avenue, according to a Thor news release.

Velvet Taco will open in the spring across from Bottled Blonde restaurant and beer garden. It will front Northwest Second Avenue.

The fast-casual dining brand, founded by Randy Dewitt in 2011 and led by CEO Clay Dover, has more than 30 locations in Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Oklahoma, according to the release and media reports. Velvet Taco is based in Dallas.

New York-based Thor is led by Joseph Sitt.

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Fortune CEO Edgardo Defortuna

Fortune CEO Edgardo Defortuna

Developer and broker Edgardo Defortuna is carefully choosing which projects his firm, Miami-based Fortune International Group, picks up amid a flood of new development in the pipeline. He’s also keeping a close eye on still-rising construction costs and supply chain issues, as well as the affordability crisis in South Florida.

Defortuna, president and CEO of Fortune, said the company is storing items such as kitchen appliances in warehouses and is visiting factories and suppliers to lower costs. But one issue he can’t control is the soaring cost of land, he said during an interview with The Real Deal at his Brickell office this month. In most cases, developers can only justify paying today’s prices if they build condos, he said, contributing to the lack of affordable and workforce housing.

Fortune’s pipeline includes the planned St. Regis Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, Ritz-Carlton Residences in Pompano Beach, and the short-term rental-friendly Nexo Residences in North Miami Beach.

Here’s what Defortuna had to say about the state of the market:

We’re hearing about an increase in Colombian buyers. How is the political landscape in Latin America affecting South Florida real estate?

The bigger news lately was the election in Colombia turning significantly to the left, but so far it has not really materialized in significant changes in policies and in government. It could still go either way. But the feeling of the Colombian businessmen and potential Miami clients is that they still need to move money out of the country and diversify, and obviously, real estate is a great place for them to be.

Colombia is always buying. I was looking at the sales report for a project that we have here on Brickell and a project that we have in Wynwood, and in the last three months, Colombia has had the bigger percentage of buyers than any other country, including the U.S. You might say it’s maybe an overreaction or a reaction of panic, and that it’s going to taper off. I’m not sure if that’s the case. And Chile is another example… Many of the Chileans are really watching [the political situation] very closely. It seems like money’s already moving out of the country in a fairly significant way. Brazil is another huge question mark.

What types of properties are these buyers looking at? Preconstruction?

In general terms, because nobody just picks up and goes [to the U.S.], they like the new construction, because it’s shinier, it’s more attractive and it’s paid in installments. And so for most people, unless they have to exit really abruptly or there are safety issues, then the process is more longer term. The beneficiary of that is preconstruction. To a certain extent, the existing inventory could benefit favorably, but that would compete with the U.S. buyer. But from an inventory point of view, there isn’t much that has been completed.

How is the brokerage side of the business doing?

We’re expanding our footprint more into Broward. We’re opening offices in Fort Lauderdale, and the office that we have in Boca Raton has grown. So we feel that the movement, even our own from a development point of view, is also going [north], expanding to Pompano. We’re looking at a project in Palm Beach, because obviously getting waterfront sites, especially what we like to do, it’s more and more difficult.

We’re bidding on sites to buy or joint venture. If the owner wants to sell, of course, we’re always willing to listen. But most people today that have good sites are not sure if [the market] is going to go up, or if they should wait it out.

Are more condo sales launches expected in the fall and winter?

Developers are more cautious. Yes, we’re all moving [forward with] the design and the plans for projects we have in the pipeline, but are more cautious about when to launch, and seeing what the impact of interest rates [will be] and the talk of recession. There are projects that make sense no matter what, and there are others that are a little bit more marginal in terms of ‘should we launch,’ ‘should we not launch?’ Developers, it’s like human nature, think that their project is the best product out there, and it doesn’t matter if yours doesn’t sell, theirs should sell.

As a brokerage company, we’ve been a lot more selective about what we would consider taking on. We need to consider all the factors because obviously our motto is we’ve never taken a project that hasn’t been successful on the sales side, so I don’t want there to be a first one. But with that being said, I’m very optimistic that the future looks very good.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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 Related Companies' Stephen Ross and a rendering of 515 Fern (Getty, Red Leaf NY)

Related Companies’ Stephen Ross and a rendering of 515 Fern (Getty, Red Leaf NY)

Stephen Ross can’t get enough of downtown West Palm Beach.

Already the biggest office property owner in the city, Ross’ Related Companies now plans a 25-story building that will bring 456,000 square feet of work space and 15,000 square feet of retail to downtown West Palm, according to a company news release.

The tower, called 515 Fern, will rise next to the Brightline passenger train station and steps from the 360 Rosemary office building, which Related completed last year and has fully leased.

Public records show that a half-acre lot immediately east of 360 Rosemary bears the address 515 Fern Street.

The site owner ties to a Montreal-based entity affiliated with Normand Lepine, according to state corporate filings. The ownership entity paid $5 million in 2010 for the lot, which now has a 6,000-square-foot office building, a deed shows.

Construction will start next year, with completion expected by 2025, according to the release.

New York-based Related also is developing the 25-story One Flagler office building, dubbed the “hedge fund tower” for its expected financial tenant base, at the foot of the Royal Park Bridge, overlooking the Lake Worth Lagoon.

Aside from new construction, Related has been on a shopping spree in downtown West Palm.
Last year, it purchased the two-tower Phillips Point; as well as CityPlace Tower, which Related originally developed in 2008 with CP Group; and half of the ownership interest in Esperanté Corporate Center for an undisclosed amount.

In February, Related and partners paid $35 million for the Reflections office properties at 400 and 450 South Australian Avenue, also in downtown West Palm.

Ross’ bet on the area started more than two decades ago when Related completed the mixed-use complex Rosemary Square, rebranded as The Square last year, following a facelift.

His wager on offices comes as downtown West Palm has become a magnet for financial firms. Related likely is leveraging its Big Apple connections to help fill its buildings.

Among recent leases, Larry Find’s investment management behemoth BlackRock subleased a 360 Rosemary space that company employees have come to call the “snowbird office.”

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Bourn's Andrew Bourns with 15173 and 15134 Natures Point Lane

Bourn’s Andrew Bourns with 15173 and 15134 Natures Point Lane (Bourns Sport Horses, Getty, Google Maps)

Irish jumper Andrew Bourns sold his nearly 11-acre equestrian estate in Wellington for $14 million.

Records show Bourns, as manager of Lisbeg South LLC, sold the home and equestrian center at 15172 and 15134 Natures Point Lane to fellow horse trainer Jodi Vasquez, as manager of Natures Point LLC.

Bourns is a professional jumper and used the property to operate the U.S. arm of Bourns Sport Horses, his horse sales and training business.

Vasquez and her husband, Freddie Vasquez, are accomplished equestrians and owners of Messenger Hill Farm, an equestrian facility and training center in Libertyville, Ill.

Robert Ross of Keller Williams had the listing, and Matt Varney of Wellington Equestrian Realty brought the buyer, according to Redfin. Neither agent could be immediately reached for comment.

Bourns bought the 10.7-acre property for $4.7 million in 2014, according to records. The estate is across the street from Grand Prix Village, the center of the equestrian world in Wellington. Records show Bourns completed construction of the facility in 2016.
The estate includes four owner’s bedrooms, four staff bedrooms, two tack rooms, two hay rooms, 10 paddocks, and a 24-stall barn, according to the listing. Also included in the sprawling property are a riding arena, grass jumping field, and a rear gate with private access to a riding path into the Grand Prix Village.

Bourns told the Chronicle of the Horse in a February interview that he tries to spend seven to eight months of the year in Wellington. Bourns won big riding his horse Sea Topblue in January’s NetJets Grand Prix CSI4*, taking home the $216,000 prize.

It is unclear whether Bourns Sport Horses will relocate within Wellington, or to another American equestrian community, or to one overseas. The horse training operation maintains locations in Ireland and the Netherlands, operated by Bourns and his father Richard Bourns, according to its website.

The sale closed in advance of Wellington’s busy season, when riders and spectators descend upon the inland Palm Beach County village for the famous Winter Equestrian Festival, the global hub of equestrian sports during the season.

Wellington real estate revolves around horses. While demand for waterfront and beach access rule elsewhere in Palm Beach County, ponies set the tone in this market.

In May, ex-Enron executive Lou Pai dropped $8 million on an equestrian estate with a 37-stall stable. His daughter, Natalie Pai, is an equestrian and competes in Wellington. Billionaire Bill Gates sold his estate for $26 million in March, a few months after his equestrian eldest daughter Jennifer Gates married Olympic equestrian Nayel Nassar. Nancy Malnik, Alvin Malnik’s wife, bought a $12.3 million estate with both a riding and jumping arena in October. The couple’s daughter, Sterling Malnik, is a competitive equestrian on the junior circuit.

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American Landmark CEO Joe Lubeck and the High Ridge Landing apartment complex at 3609 High Ridge Way in Boynton Beach (American Landmark, Google Maps)

American Landmark CEO Joe Lubeck and the High Ridge Landing apartment complex at 3609 High Ridge Way in Boynton Beach (American Landmark, Google Maps)

American Landmark sold a Palm Beach County apartment complex for $71 million, nearly 70 percent above its purchase price four years ago.

An entity managed by Zoe Buchard of Kent, Washington, and Gary and Susan Burchard of West Palm Beach bought High Ridge Landing at 3609 High Ridge Way in Boynton Beach, records show. The buyer obtained a $37.5 million loan from the Western Southern Life Insurance Company.

The deal breaks down to $386,000 per apartment for the 184-unit complex completed in 2017. In Broward County, multifamily investors paid an average of $300,000 per apartment during the first six months of this year, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. During the same period, South Florida clocked $5 billion in multifamily sales, the second highest six-month total on record.

High Ridge Landing’s seller, an entity managed by Joe Lubeck, CEO of Tampa-based American Landmark, bought the multifamily project for $41.9 million in 2018, records show. American Landmark disclosed the company spent $500,000 upgrading High Ridge Landing, a press release states.

The garden-style rental community is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Monthly rents are between $1,855 and $2,855, according to Apartments.com.

Founded by Lubeck, American Landmark specializes in distressed multifamily properties, owning and selling more than 150,000 apartments during its 25-year existence, according to the firm’s website. American Landmark currently owns more than 32,000 units.

In South Florida, American Landmark has been both offloading and adding assets to its portfolio. Last month, the company and its partner, Washington D.C.-based RSE Capital, sold the 316-unit Park Colony Apartments in Hollywood for $69.5 million, $13.5 million above the joint venture’s 2018 purchase price.

Also in August, American Landmark paid $60.5 million, nearly double the previous sale price in 2016, for Glen at Cypress Creek. The 214-unit garden-style apartment community is in North Lauderdale.

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Restoration Hardware’s Gary Friedman, Michael Comras and Apollo's Ben Gray (Getty, Comras Company, LinkedIn)

Restoration Hardware’s Gary Friedman, Michael Comras and Apollo’s Ben Gray (Getty, Comras Company, LinkedIn)

Restoration Hardware’s foray into the Miami Design District was supposed to jump-start the redevelopment of a less glamorous part of the high-end retail and dining neighborhood.

But now the deal has turned into a train wreck.

Restoration Hardware is suing its landlord, an entity connected to Apollo Commercial Real Estate and Michael Comras, alleging that the partners didn’t hold up their end of the deal and are seeking to push RH out of its lease. RH, which says it began paying rent in November, alleges Apollo and Comras are stonewalling its plans and preventing it from using the eight properties on Northeast 39th Street, from North Miami Avenue to Northeast First Avenue. It has yet to open.

The high-end home furnishings retailer signed a four-year lease last year for a gallery space, with the expectation it would open by the end of 2021. Gross annual rent started at $1.6 million, according to a copy of the lease.

The lawsuit reveals that RH was also finalizing a long-term lease at the Savoy Hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Under that proposed deal, the Savoy Hotel would rebrand as a RH hotel, with plans for RH to spend upward of $100 million on renovations. It’s unclear if the deal is still in the works. Allied Partners, which owns the property, did not immediately return a request for comment.

RH filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in January. At the heart of the dispute is RH’s goal of connecting neighboring properties into a combined title so that RH could operate one single gallery/store with connecting pathways.

Depiction of premises

The Design District properties RH leased

But that plan hit a roadblock: The retailer was required to get Apollo’s signoff before the city of Miami could approve or deny the unity of title, according to RH’s lawsuit.

Apollo declined to comment.

As negotiations between RH Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman and Apollo and Comras dragged on, Friedman doubled down on his goal, according to text messages attached to the court docket that were obtained by The Real Deal, and that have since been removed from the public record.

“You’ve got good cash flow, no capital investment, no fucking around with a bunch of buckethead tenants with multiple leases, and an anchor tenant that gives you a much better chance of renting the other space,” Friedman texted Comras in April 2021.

In a motion filed in June to dismiss the lawsuit, the Apollo/Comras entity argued that RH was required to take the lease as written. Apollo/Comras also claim the lease does not require the landlord to file any applications with the city of Miami. Apollo and Comras further allege that RH failed to submit plans to the landlord prior to its deadline of July 6.

Apollo/Comras also said RH tried to shield Friedman from being deposed for longer than two hours, arguing that he did not have direct knowledge of construction documents and drawings, according to a since-removed motion filed Sept. 11. Text messages from the lawsuit, however, show that Friedman was very involved in negotiations over the site.

At one point, Friedman texted Comras to “do something big or stay put” and referred to the site as “the no man’s land” of the district, according to the motion.

Friedman wrote that the boom the Miami Design District is experiencing is only temporary because of Covid, and soon people would move back to New York City and other areas.

Friedman did not immediately return a request to comment. RH’s attorney also did not return a request to comment.

“We can help you legitimize the next couple of blocks and enter into real discussions with the right tenants for the next generation,” Friedman wrote. “Otherwise you risk the status quo, and the same pile of crap.”

Apollo and Comras’ short-term plan had called for pop-up shops and restaurants surrounding Restoration Hardware. Eventually, it planned a major redevelopment.

Friedman also warned Comras to tell Apollo “not to make the same mistake twice,” likely referring to the site’s convoluted history.

From 2015 to 2016, RedSky and JZ Capital paid top dollar to acquire more than 2.5 acres along Northeast 39th and 40th streets from North Miami Avenue to Northeast First Avenue. The assemblage mostly consisted of smaller retail buildings. In total, RedSky and JZ paid about $236 million. Apollo provided about $220 million in financing to RedSky and JZ.

But RedSky, one of the more aggressive buyers in Downtown Brooklyn, ran into financial issues. RedSky and JZ began liquidating their portfolio in Brooklyn. In 2020, Cushman & Wakefield listed RedSky and JZ’s 14 Miami Design District properties. JZ ultimately wrote down its Design District portfolio to zero dollars because of the high carrying costs and excessive supply in the area, according to JZ’s 2020 annual report.

By last year, Apollo had taken control of the JZ RedSky Design District property entity, according to Florida corporate records. It’s unclear how much of a stake Comras has in the development site.

According to RH’s complaint, “Monetary damages would be inadequate to compensate RH.” Still, it said it is seeking “tens of millions of dollars.”

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2100 Northwest Miami Court, 2101 Northwest First Avenue and 2127 Northwest First Avenue (Google Maps, Getty)

2100 Northwest Miami Court, 2101 Northwest First Avenue and 2127 Northwest First Avenue (Google Maps, Getty)

In a span of weeks, a second Wynwood development site is hitting the market with an asking price above $30 million.

Miami-based real estate investor Joseph Cohen is listing the 1-acre assemblage with an asking price of $35 million, according to Juan Andres Nava and Andy Charry with Metro1 Commercial, the brokers marketing the site.

Across Miami, development sites are selling at record prices, with nearly $808 million in sales last year.

Cohen, owner of the nearby Wynwood Block retail building, acquired the assemblage’s three properties at 2100 Northwest North Miami Court, 2101 Northwest First Avenue and 2127 Northwest First Avenue for a combined $3.2 million between 2012 and 2014, records show.

With large development sites in Wynwood virtually gone, Cohen is following in the footsteps of New York-based Thor Equities, led by Chairman Joe Sitt. About three weeks ago, Thor placed a 0.7-acre development site on the market with an asking price of $32 million. The five-parcel assemblage at Northwest 28th Street and Northwest Second Avenue is primed for a mixed-use project.

“Joseph’s property is the largest parcel available in [Wynwood],” Nava said. “Anything else that’s an acre or more has traded. Given the scarcity of land, at this moment it presents an opportunity for the influx of developers coming from all over the world into Wynwood.”

Cohen’s assemblage has three converted warehouses totaling about 54,000 square feet that can be redeveloped into a five-story mixed-use project with 162 residential or hotel units. However, a 2020 amendment to Wynwood’s zoning code allows bonuses for three additional stories and increased density of either 244 apartments or 488 hotel rooms, Nava said. The potential for a bigger development factored into the asking price, he added.

“Very few properties have closed since that zoning [change was adopted],” Nava said. “We have an opportunity to capture that value, and that is how we arrived at that price.”

To get the bonus height and density, developers have to abide by certain requirements. Among them, building units of 600 square feet or less, and paying $20,000 per additional unit into a neighborhood trust fund, Nava said.

The evolution of the Wynwood buyer pool also factored into the asking price, Charry said. “Before, you had a specific group of developers and investors who were willing and able to purchase these types of properties,” he said. “From an asset class standpoint, you not only have multifamily, you also have offices and hotels. That creates a little bigger buyer pool.”

Charry noted Cohen’s assemblage is surrounded by new projects that are under construction or in the pipeline such as Quadram Global’s Arlo mixed-use hotel, Clearline Real Estate’s mixed-use apartment project and Fisher Brothers’ proposed apartment building on the site of the former Miami Rescue Mission headquarters.

In the most recent of those deals, Clearline paid $19.1 million for its 1.4-acre development site in Wynwood in April.

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Sabadell Financial Center at 1111 Brickell Avenue in Miami, 110 Tower at 110 Southeast Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale and The Gateway at Wynwood at 2916 North Miami Avenue in Miami with J.C. De Ona of Centennial Bank’s Southeast Florida division, Dominic Montazemi of Cushman & Wakefield, Chris Lee of CBRE, Shelby Rosenberg of R&B Realty Group and Todd Rosenberg of Pebb Capital (Google Maps, LinkedIn, Pebb Capital, R&B Realty Group, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE)

Sabadell Financial Center at 1111 Brickell Avenue in Miami, 110 Tower at 110 Southeast Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale and The Gateway at Wynwood at 2916 North Miami Avenue in Miami with J.C. De Ona of Centennial Bank’s Southeast Florida division, Dominic Montazemi of Cushman & Wakefield, Chris Lee of CBRE, Shelby Rosenberg of R&B Realty Group and Todd Rosenberg of Pebb Capital (Google Maps, LinkedIn, Pebb Capital, R&B Realty Group, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE)

UPDATED, Sept. 17, 2:02 p.m.: On a recent visit to New York, Todd Rosenberg tested lenders’ appetite to bankroll his planned purchase of a trophy Sunshine State office tower.

Seemingly, it should be a slam dunk of a financing deal. After all, Rosenberg isn’t betting on any office market but on the it office market: South Florida.

The ballyhoo over corporate newcomers to the tri-county region has reached a near-deafening pitch. Elliott Management. CI Financial. Founders Fund. Atomic. OpenStore. Vibrant Capital Partners. And, of course, Ken Griffin’s Citadel. They are among the high-profile companies making splashy expansions or relocations to South Florida over the past two years.

As the U.S. office market’s vibrancy remains in question amid patchy returns to cubicles, South Florida has emerged as an unexpected outlier, nabbing tenants fleeing high-tax states. Rents at glitzy towers have reached a new local high of over $100 per square foot, and formerly off-the-radar areas have gained national recognition. Case in point: Downtown West Palm Beach is recast as the “Wall Street of the South.”

By all means, what lender wouldn’t want to bet on South Florida offices?

As Rosenberg learned, the leasing frenzy is not enough to offset high borrowing costs precipitated by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. And many financiers now have stepped back from office lending altogether. No exceptions. Not even for South Florida.

“You do have a situation where a lot of institutional capital just makes a macro decision,” said Rosenberg, co-founder of Boca Raton-based Pebb Capital. “And they throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

In the ensuing quandary, owners and potential buyers have been unable to see eye-to-eye on pricing. It has led to a slowdown in sales, and prompted sellers to take properties off the market, according to brokers. While sellers expect plump payment for their buildings due to tenant demand, buyers who have to borrow at high interest rates can’t meet the prices.

“The last few months,” said Dominic Montazemi of Cushman & Wakefield, “have been particularly tough for sales.”

In the first half of this year, Miami-Dade County office investment sales reached $740.6 million, largely bolstered by Citadel’s $286.5 million purchase of 1221 Brickell. That represented just 39 percent of last year’s total deal volume, according to Avison Young.

From the first quarter to the second quarter, Broward County investment sales dropped 74 percent to $320 million, and Palm Beach County’s dropped 55 percent to $632 million, Avison’s reports show.

Properties were put on the market early this year, only to be taken off over the past four months once the bid-ask gap became evident. Among them: the 110 Tower near downtown Fort Lauderdale, according to sources. IP Capital Partners, a co-owner of the tower, declined comment.

Fort Lauderdale, however, is not the epicenter of the new-to-market company influx. Many firms are opting instead for West Palm Beach and Miami.

Wynwood is now portrayed as the “Silicon Valley of the South” and Brickell is essentially becoming not only a financial mecca but also Griffin and Citadel’s domain. So investment sales there surely won’t feel the sting of high borrowing costs, right?

Not so.

The Sabadell Financial Center at 1111 Brickell was taken off the market this year, sources said. This, even though the tower reaped its own bonanza from the influx of Northeast firms. Billionaire Israel Englander’s New York-based hedge fund Millennium Management took 74,000 square feet. KKR, which co-owns the building, declined to comment.

In Wynwood, brokers consistently boast about quick office lease-ups and bemoan the lack of available space due to incessant demand. Yet, The Gateway at Wynwood building was put on the market in the second quarter and taken off mid-summer.

“The value was not appreciated in today’s market,” said Shelby Rosenberg, of R&B Realty Group, which developed Gateway.

His strategy reflects that of many others who opted to take their buildings off the market: Keep leasing and bet that the high costs of materials and labor, as well as of construction financing, will preempt office development, keeping supply tight. Then, test the sales market again.

“We felt that there is not going to be an oversupply in the coming months, and that bodes well for an asset that is complete and [located] where the demand is still high,” Rosenberg said. “There’s better value tomorrow.”

Bridging the gap

Exactly when this “tomorrow” of higher valuations and closing of the bid-ask chasm will come remains unclear. Some brokers are betting on a pickup in sales in the fourth quarter, and others expect it early next year.

As the Fed signals more interest rate hikes this year, trade activity will depend on whether higher rents will be enough to balance buyers’ borrowing costs.

Across Miami-Dade County, asking rents climbed 8.7 percent, year-over-year, to $47.65 a square foot in the second quarter, according to Colliers. In the first half of the year, almost 3 million square feet of office space was leased.

That is the “tip of the iceberg,” said Chris Lee, of CBRE, as more tenants are on tap.

“We are coming to a point where the rise in rents is offsetting the rise of interest rates,” he said.

But J.C. De Ona, president of Centennial Bank’s Southeast Florida division, isn’t seeing it yet. Plus, “not every property is going to see some of these record-breaking [rent] numbers we have seen in Brickell and West Palm Beach,” he said.

South Florida commercial real estate in general remains a hedge against inflation, which bodes well for an uptick in office sales, said Charles Foschini of Berkadia. Buyers who can purchase with cash have nothing stopping them.

As for Rosenberg, his Pebb Capital isn’t giving up on its planned office building purchase.

Pebb, which negotiated down the original price that was set prior to the summer, is looking at putting in more equity to reduce the level of debt, Rosenberg said.

During his early September trip to New York, it became evident that higher borrowing costs aren’t as much of an issue as lenders’ blanket decision to recede from office lending, even when Rosenberg explained South Florida is an anomaly market.

“So the individual person I am speaking with gets it,” Rosenberg said. “But it’s out of their hands.”

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Shoma Group's Masoud and Stephanie Shojaee; renderings of new North Bay Village (Shoma Group, Getty)

Shoma Group’s Masoud and Stephanie Shojaee; renderings of new North Bay Village (Shoma Group, Getty)

UPDATED, Sept. 16, 10:50 a.m.: Shoma Group is pivoting its plans from apartments to condos at a North Bay Village site it acquired earlier this year.

Shoma, led by Chairman Masoud Shojaee and President Stephanie Shojaee, is launching sales of the Shoma Bay condos, with prices starting in the $400,000s, according to a press release. The Coral Gables-based developer tapped Craig Studnicky’s ISG World to lead sales and marketing of the units.

Shoma Bay will be a 21-story mixed-use project with 327 condos on a 2.8-acre property, according to the release.

Shoma paid about $16 million for the site at 1850 79th Street Causeway in May, with plans for a multifamily and retail development anchored by Publix. North Bay Village approved the project in March, with a 36,000-square-foot Publix, and about 6,300 square feet of retail, including a rooftop lounge and Shoma Bazaar food hall.

The switch from rentals to condos comes as rent growth is finally slowing in South Florida. Other developers have made similar changes. In July, Property Markets Group and Greybrook changed a new downtown Miami rental tower to a condo tower, now called The Elser Hotel & Residences.

Units at Shoma Bay will start at 360-square-foot studios and go up to nearly 1,500-square-foot three-bedroom condos. The average price per foot for all units is about $900, a spokesperson said.

Construction is expected to begin next year and the building could be completed in late 2024. MSA Architects is the project architect and Adriana Hoyos is designing the interiors.

Amenities will include a lounge, bar, spa, gym, pool deck, library and kids club. The building will also have a 2,600-square-foot co-working space and charging stations for electric cars.

Sunbeam Television Corp., led by the Ansin family, has been a major player in North Bay Village. The company bought a waterfront assemblage of more than 6 acres next to its WSVN-Channel 7 TV station in three deals last year totaling $56.5 million.

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From left: Isaac Toledano, Teddy Sagi, Jorge Pérez and Michael Masanoff with a rendering of Transit Village (Related, LinkedIn, Rendering via Arquitectonica)

From left: Isaac Toledano, Teddy Sagi, Jorge Pérez and Michael Masanoff with a rendering of Transit Village (Related, LinkedIn, Rendering via Arquitectonica)

It’s not unusual for ambitious projects to stall for years and then to fizzle out entirely, due to financial woes or the hassle of government approvals. Yet, a project lingering for almost two decades making a major comeback is rare.

That’s the story of Transit Village, a planned, massive mixed-use development that would rise atop a major West Palm Beach bus station and next to a transit hub for Tri-Rail and Amtrak passenger trains, and Greyhound buses.

Billionaire Jorge Pérez’s Related Group and Teddy Sagi’s Globe Invest invested in Michael Masanoff’s project last year, and the developers just scored a city board’s approval for new plans, overhauling those approved in 2015.

The West Palm Beach Downtown Action Committee voted 4-1 on Wednesday, a final step before Transit Village can obtain site plan approval. Although city planning staff members generally aired in favor of the new plans, they raised concerns, including over one of the building’s designs and the garage podium façade.

Transit Village would span 1.3 million square feet in four 25-story buildings on 6.6 acres at 150 Clearwater Drive, according to city records.

Plans call for 986 residential units across three towers along the western and northern portion of the site, as well as 180,000 square feet of offices and 108 hotel keys in a tower on the property’s southern tip, the developers’ application and city records show. The residences will include 165 micro-units, and of the remaining 821 units, 42 will be workforce housing.

Transit Village also will have 49,000 square feet of retail. The buildings will connect to a nine-story podium, elevated to almost 100 feet, with roughly 2,000 parking spaces, records show.

Compared with the 2015 plans, the developers decreased the hotel keys by nearly 200, and the office space by 120,000 square feet, but increased the residential units by 578, and doubled the retail space. They also scrapped 12 live-work units.

The reason for the project stalling isn’t clear, although a source indicated it had to do with numerous amendments to agreements with government agencies that were necessary because of changes of plans. Masanoff didn’t return a request for comment.

In 2010, he won a request for proposals by Palm Beach County, which owns the site, to develop the property. The city also was involved in the committee that selected the developer.

The developers are under contract to purchase the site for an undisclosed price from the county.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Masanoff pushed for approval, saying agreements with governmental agencies come with deadlines. “Our clock is ticking,” he said.

Pérez’s Miami-based Related Group and Sagi’s Cyprus-based Globe Invest family office invested in the project along with BH Group, a mysterious investment firm that The Real Deal tied to Isaac Toledano.

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, Related President Jon Paul Pérez told the board.

The site is “the hole in the doughnut,” he said, referring to construction surrounding it, including a University of Florida campus slated to rise west of Transit Village.

Among the issues city planner Chris Kimmerly raised is that the upper floors of the northernmost building don’t step down, or progressively drop in height to minimize the impact on an adjacent historic property on the corner of Banyan Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue.

“It’s a historic building but it’s also an industrial building,” board member Brian Cheguis responded, adding that more construction is bound to rise around it. “We are recreating the vernacular across here and creating that new edge.”

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(Getty)

(Getty)

An economic downturn would cool housing markets across the country, but few areas appear more exposed to price declines than New York City and Chicago.

The two metropolitan areas are home to some of the bubbliest markets in the country, according to an analysis by real estate data firm Attom. Of the 50 counties most vulnerable to falling home prices, nine are in and around New York City, and six are in the Chicago area.

The analysis, first reported by Bloomberg, ranked 575 U.S. counties based on foreclosure, unemployment and mortgage delinquency rates, as well as general affordability. The data comes as mortgage rates climb above 6 percent for the first time since 2008, and inflation — which includes housing costs — remains high.

Attom's Rick Sharga (Attom)

Attom’s Rick Sharga (Attom)

“Given how little progress has been made reducing inflation so far, the Fed’s actions seem more and more likely to drive the economy into a recession,” Rick Sharga, a research executive at Attom, told Bloomberg. “Some housing markets are going to be more vulnerable than others if that happens.”

While Manhattan ranked 52nd on the list, its surrounding suburbs showed even greater risk of price declines. Passaic and Essex counties in Northern New Jersey claimed the top two spots. Bergen, Ocean, Union and Sussex counties also placed in the top 50, as did Brooklyn, Staten Island and Rockland County.

In the Chicago area, Will County placed fifth on the list, followed closely by Cook and Kendall counties in sixth and seventh. Cook County was the only county in the top 25 with more than 1 million residents.

California was also well represented, with 13 of the top 50 counties. California, Illinois and New Jersey alone accounted for 33 of the 50 most vulnerable counties.

– Joseph Lovinger

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Rendering of Prospect's plans to develop Advantis Lauderhill and Prospect's Navish Chawla (Prospect Real Estate Group, Getty)

Rendering of Prospect’s plans to develop Advantis Lauderhill and Prospect’s Navish Chawla (Prospect Real Estate Group, Getty)

The developer of an apartment complex with as many as 275 units in suburban Lauderhill is targeting tenants priced out of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Young professionals and young families “who can’t buy a house and can’t afford the downtown Fort Lauderdale rents, that’s the group we’re kind of pinpointing,” Navish Chawla, a partner in the development arm of DeLand-based Prospect Real Estate Group, told The Real Deal.

Prospect plans to develop Advantis Lauderhill, a mixed-use development with an apartment complex and 9,000 square feet of commercial space on West Commercial Boulevard in Lauderhill, a stairway-shaped suburb northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Prospect plans to charge monthly rents ranging from $1,400 to $2,200, Chawla said, describing it as market-rate apartments for the working class. Asking rents averaged $2,639 last year in Fort Lauderdale, the highest among nine sub-markets in Broward County, according to a rental property research report by Cushman & Wakefield.

The Lauderhill City Commission on Wednesday approved a special exception use that allows Prospect to build as many as 275 apartments on the vacant, commercially zoned development site at 8456 West Commercial Boulevard.

The owner of the site, Parabens Group LLC, previously won city approval of a site plan for a coffee shop with a drive-through on the easternmost 1.3 acres of the 6.4-acre site. Parabens, led by two Aventura-based managers, Diego Besga and Luciano Gesuiti, bought the property in 2017 for $4.5 million, records show.

Prospect is under contract to acquire the development site, and Chawla said the price is “in the neighborhood of $30,000-plus per door,” or about $7.3 million.

Advantis Lauderhill will have studios and apartments with as many as three bedrooms. Renderings of the development show a five-story rental complex. The initial site plan that Prospect submitted to the city had 245 apartments, but refinements to the site plan might change the total number of units, Chalwa said.

The 24-month construction phase of the Advantis Lauderhill development is set to start in the second quarter of 2023, he said.

Prospect, which recently relocated its Central Florida headquarters from New Smyrna Beach to DeLand, has been active in South Florida.

In July, Prospect and Midtown Capital Partners scored a $64.5 million construction loan for the joint-venture development of Advantis Station, a 242-unit apartment development in the Flagler Village area just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

In May, Prospect won city approval in Lake Worth Beach for another Advantis-branded rental housing development, a low-rise cluster of four apartment buildings with 230 units.

The company is also set to acquire a development site in Tamarac, Chawla said, declining to elaborate.

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Jane Holzer with 980 S Ocean Boulevard

Jane Holzer with 980 S Ocean Boulevard (Getty)

Palm Beach’s town council voted unanimously on Wednesday to send Andy Warhol star Jane Holzer’s planned mansion to the next stage of design review.

Holzer submitted designs for a new, two-story, 10,775-square-foot home at 980 South Ocean Boulevard. The plans come with a special request for an exception on the project, as the lot is smaller than the minimum 20,000 square feet required by the town’s zoning laws. She also applied for a permit to demolish the existing two-story home at the property.

Holzer is a veteran of the Palm Beach real estate scene. The daughter of real estate investor Carl Brukenfeld, and ex-wife of the late real estate investor Leonard Holzer, she now commands an empire of her own. Records show she controls a multimillion-dollar portfolio spread across Palm Beach County, including both residential and commercial properties. She is both landlord and investor of local French restaurant Le Bilboquet on Worth Avenue.

She was also one of the late Warhol’s first muses and lifelong friends. The pair met in 1964, according to published reports, and the artist quickly started casting the socialite in his films. Warhol featured Holzer as one of the faces of his iconic silkscreen series, and in 2014 the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach hosted the exhibit “To Jane, Love Andy,” curated by Holzer.

Women’s Wear Daily columnist Carol Bjorkman dubbed Holzer “Baby Jane” after the popular film starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford that premiered in 1962.

Records show Holzer bought the South Ocean Boulevard property via a trio of LLCs for $8 million in 2020. She told Avenue Magazine during a profile interview in March that the existing house “gives her allergies.” Her 4,353-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom teardown was built in 1950, according to records.

The native Palm Beacher, once profiled in Tom Wolfe’s “Girl of the Year” essay, commissioned Dailey Janssen Architects and Lang Design Group for the designs presented to the council.

The plans show the Vogue cover girl intends to fill in the property’s existing pool, build a new one, and dig out a basement. Designs for the two-story home include a gallery for her extensive art collection. She owns so many Warhols she lost count, Holzer told W Magazine in 2014.

With the latest approval from the council, Holzer’s plans now go to the Palm Beach Architectural Commission for closer inspection.

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LM Restaurants' Lou Maoshakos and an aerial view of 1755 Southeast Third Court in Deerfield Beach (Facebook/LM Restaurants, Google Maps)

LM Restaurants’ Lou Maoshakos and an aerial view of 1755 Southeast Third Court in Deerfield Beach (Facebook/LM Restaurants, Google Maps)

The Moshakos family’s LM Restaurants wants to open a waterfront dining and hotel venue next to an eatery it owns in Deerfield Beach.

LM Restaurants, through an affiliate, bought the 1.7-acre vacant development site at 1755 Southeast Third Court for $10 million from an entity led by Phillip Schuman, according to records. The property is just south of East Hillsboro Boulevard.

Julie Berry and Sheila Roux of CBRE represented the seller. Tom Prakas and Chas Prakas led the Prakas & Company team that represented the buyer.

The property last traded for $3.5 million in 2007, records show.

LM, which owns The Cove Waterfront Restaurant + Tiki Bar immediately south of the development site, envisions a casual restaurant and a boutique hotel on the property it purchased, according to Tom Prakas. This is a tentative proposal, as the Moshakos won’t embark on plans until early next year and could tweak plans.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based LM owns several brands, including the Carolina Ale House,
Bluewater Waterfront Grill, according to its website. Lou and Joy Moshakos started LM, and their daughter, Amber, joined them in leading the restaurant group recently.

Their South Florida venues include the waterfront Oceanic and Lucky Fish, which are adjacent to each other in Pompano Beach.

In October, Dania Beach commissioners approved negotiating an agreement with LM to redevelop the former Dania Beach Grill, closed since 2019, on the city-owned site at 65 North Beach Road. It would become Lucky Fish, Dania Beach.

Deerfield Beach has experienced some retail deals over the past year. Miami-based investor Ronny Finvarb, with Ark Restaurants as a minority member, bought the oceanfront JB’s on the Beach restaurant at 300 Northeast 21st Avenue, as well as a nearby parking lot, for $11 million in March of last year. A few months later, Finvarb bought the office-retail building with restaurants at 233-249 Northeast 21st Avenue in Deerfield Beach for $9.3 million.

James Batmasian’s Investments Limited, which he runs with his wife, Marta Batmasian, is considered among the biggest commercial property owners in Boca Raton, and has been betting on Deerfield Beach. This summer, the Batmasians bought the Lakes at Deerfield apartment complex at 1100 South Military Trail for $46 million, and the Walmart Neighborhood Market-anchored Palm Trails Plaza at 1101-1149 South Military Trail for $17 million.

Developers have also shown an appetite for restaurants elsewhere in South Florida. Robert Rivani’s Black Lion Investment Group has homed in on Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood, where he scooped up two properties with plans to lease them to restaurants.

In April, Black Lion paid $11.5 million for the building at 200 South Pointe Drive. In December, the company purchased the ground-floor commercial unit at the Marea residential condominium at 801 South Pointe Drive for $19 million.

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Jose Luis Zapata with 505 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard (Orchestra Hotels, Google Maps)

Jose Luis Zapata with 505 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard (Orchestra Hotels, Google Maps)

At an oceanfront Hilton-branded condo hotel in Fort Lauderdale Beach, developers Joseph Cabanas and Jose Luis Zapata are allegedly blocking a group of investors from renting and selling their units, according to court documents and interviews with some of the owners.

It’s a nasty fight that’s ignited a series of lawsuits over the last two years against Q Club Hotel, an entity managed by Cabanas that owns the hotel component at the Q Club Resort and Residences at 505 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. The hotel portion of the 25-story high-rise is known as the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

Although he is not listed on Q Club Hotel’s corporate records, Zapata developed the 350-unit building in 2007, and his development entity designated Cabanas as the hotel component’s owner representative, according to court records. The units are a mix of studios, hotel suites, and one-, two- and three–bedroom condos.

“It has been a nightmare,” said Barbara Cortopassi, who owns a Q Club unit on the 16th floor. “I have been unable to rent my suite since they kicked me [out of the hotel program.] People are paying out-of-pocket while generating no income.”

The unit owners and the complaints, including a February lawsuit filed in Broward County Circuit Court by the condo-hotel’s condominium association, allege Q Club Hotel is violating the building’s condominium declaration and rules and regulations. They claim it is part of an ongoing campaign to punish investors who don’t use the hotel management system to handle bookings and hotel guest services.

Cabanas, who heads Doral-based Cabanas Group, and Zapata, lead director of Fort Lauderdale-based Orchestra Hotels, did not respond to requests for comment. Lawrence Litow, the attorney for Q Club Hotel, also did not respond to phone messages and an email requesting comment.

Cabanas and Zapata also partnered to develop the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, a financially troubled condo-hotel project completed in 2017 that was late and over budget. In December 2016, Zapata sold his 51 percent interest in the Conrad to Canada-based Heafey Group and the Pegula family, owners of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Two years later, the Heafey-Pegula partnership and the Cabanas entity that owns a 49 percent stake in the Conrad, sued each other in Miami-Dade Circuit Court over management of the condo-hotel and alleged breaches of contract. Both sides reached a mediated private settlement in 2020, records show.

At the Q Club property, Cabanas is manager of the hotel component, according to recent letters he sent Cortopassi and other unit owners. He notified them that they are in violation of Q Club Hotel’s rules and regulations governing who is authorized to enter their condos and the type of locks they can install on their unit doors.

In December, Cortopassi and four other owners hired Port City Company, an Aventura-based brokerage led by managing partner Michael Webster to market and rent their units for hotel stays. Port City is also marketing some units for sale.

“My group got involved because these private owners haven’t been able to rent their units since they were kicked out of the hotel program,” Webster said. “We took over management of about 10 units. However, because [Q Club Hotel] still controls the front desk, if we don’t get their permission in advance and don’t have a security escort, we don’t have access to the units.”

Over the last nine months, Q Club Hotel and Hilton employees have taken extreme measures to stop him and his team from entering his clients’ units for showings and regular cleanings and maintenance, Webster said. That has included threatening them with trespassing, even though he has a power of attorney from his clients. Last week, the front desk blocked him from using the elevators, he added.

According to the condo association’s February lawsuit, Cabanas and Zapata controlled the board of directors from the project’s completion in 2007 until 2020. During that time the board adopted condo rules and regulations that gave the hotel unit entity unilateral control over individual unit owners’ ability to rent their part-time residences on a short-term basis, the lawsuit states.

In January, even though individual unit owners had since taken over the board, Q Club Hotel adopted and is attempting to enforce new “unreasonable and unequal regulations” on unit owners who are not in the hotel management program, the lawsuit states. The condo association also alleges Q Club is in violation of the building’s condominium declaration.

For instance, Q Club Hotel now requires the unit owners that are not in the hotel program to submit names of potential guests and tenants 15 days in advance of their stay for approval by the hotel operator. Anyone staying in their units cannot bypass the front desk, and owners must be present at the time of check-in in order for their guests and tenants to gain access to the residences, the Q Club Hotel’s rules and regulations document states. Q Club Hotel also bans non-hotel program owners from hiring their own housekeepers to clean their units.

Recently, Q Club Hotel passed a new rule prohibiting non-hotel program owners from renting their units for a period of less than 60 days.

In a counterclaim to the condo association’s lawsuit, Q Club Hotel claims that the condo declaration “clearly and unambiguously” grants the hotel component owner the authority to implement regulations for hotel bookings, front desk check-ins and hotel guest services. Q Club also asserts that its rules are “reasonable and necessary to ensure safe and orderly operation of [the condo-hotel],” as well as to avoid any confusion that individual units are associated with the Hilton hotel component.

In addition, Q Club Hotel alleges the association’s new board of directors is “illegally constituted and has lacked the authority to act since, at least, June 6, 2021, when the board was usurped by bad actors in the condominium.”

Andrew McNeil, an investor who lives in Bangkok and owns seven units, including two with a partner, is looking to cut his losses, but is stuck litigating Q Club Hotel over the sale of the condos.

In February, McNeil and his partner, Nouhad Abou Atallah, sued Q Club Hotel seeking to enforce a settlement agreement in a previous complaint requiring the hotel component owner to buy the units. The recent lawsuit accuses Q Club Hotel of refusing to consummate the deals because the plaintiffs balked at paying the hotel ownership entity more than $85,000 in unexplained “shared costs” when the transactions were set to close in January.

“I am sitting in limbo with my units empty and accruing costs,” McNeil said. “As the litigation dragged on, [Q Club Hotel] kept changing the rules more and more to put more pressure on us.”

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From left: Jorge and Jon Paul Perez, Larry Krueger, Isaac Toledano and Teddy Sagi with 6 Fisher Island Drive (Getty, Google Maps, Wanxiang America, YizhakToledano.org)

From left: Jorge and Jon Paul Perez, Larry Krueger, Isaac Toledano and Teddy Sagi with 6 Fisher Island Drive (Getty, Google Maps, Wanxiang America, YizhakToledano.org)

UPDATED, Sept. 16, 1:45 p.m.: Jorge Pérez’s Related Group and its partners closed on their purchase of the last condo development site on exclusive Fisher Island in Miami Beach.

Miami-based Related, billionaire Teddy Sagi, BH Group and Chicago-based Wanxiang America RE Group paid $122.6 million for the property at 6 Fisher Island Drive, records show. The Related-led group entered into contract to buy the 6.5-acre property last year. Fisher Island developer Heinrich Von Hanau sold the site.

The developers are targeting ultra high-end buyers with their planned 50-unit luxury condo project. Prices for typical units will be about $30 million, while the penthouses will hit the market for more than $60 million, according to Related. Tara Bernerd Partners will design the interiors and Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design, which has been active on Fisher Island, will be the architect.

The Real Deal broke the news of the deal in December. Bloomberg reported the closing earlier Wednesday.

The developers financed the deal with an $85 million loan from Madison Realty Capital. Berkadia’s Scott Wadler arranged the joint venture equity between Wanxiang America, a limited partner, and the other partners.

Fisher Island, one of the most expensive ZIP codes in the country, reaped the benefits of the hot luxury residential market during the pandemic. That prompted von Hanau, and now Related and its partners, to move forward with the last vacant sites on the island. This year, former pro hockey player Patrick Dovigi paid $21.3 million, or a Fisher Island record of $4,811 per square foot, for a unit at Palazzo Della Luna, developed by von Hanau.

In June, von Hanau began selling homes at The Links Estates at Fisher Island, a 12-mansion development asking an average of about $33 million per house. Broker Dora Puig, who has handled sales for von Hanau’s recent developments, is listing the properties.

The 6 Fisher Island Drive development is expected to launch invitation-only sales at the end of the year, according to a press release. Units will range from three to five bedrooms, and buyers will receive membership to the Fisher Island Club, according to a separate release from the lender.

The building will also include three villas and two penthouses.  

It marks the first known project that Wanxiang America RE Group is working on in the region, and one of a handful that Related, Sagi and BH Group have planned in South Florida. Last year, the trio invested in the planned mixed-use Transit Village project in West Palm Beach. Sagi is founder of the Cyprus-based gambling software developer Playtech and owns a portfolio of real estate in London through LabTech Investments.

The Fisher Island property is zoned for up to 10 stories and up to 57 units. Though it’s Related’s first and only condo development on Fisher Island, the firm, led by Chairman and CEO Pérez and his sons, President Jon Paul, and SVP Nick, also plans to develop a luxury office building on nearby Terminal Island.

Developers continue to launch sales of new luxury condos in South Florida, despite an overall slowdown in buying activity. St. Regis, Rosewood, Bentley, Ritz-Carlton and other high-end brands are working with developers on waterfront projects across the tri-county region.

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Lyon Living CEO Frank Suryan Jr. and 4108 Pine Island Road in Sunrise (Lyon Living, Courtyards at Sunrise)

Lyon Living CEO Frank Suryan Jr. and 4108 Pine Island Road in Sunrise (Lyon Living, Courtyards at Sunrise)

A garden-style rental community in Sunrise traded for $13 million above its previous sale price three years ago.

An affiliate of Lyon Living, a Newport Beach, California-based multifamily real estate investment firm, paid $33.1 million for Courtyards at Sunrise, a 128-unit apartment complex at 4108 Pine Island Road, records show. The buyer obtained a $28 million loan from Comerica Bank.

The deal breaks down to about $260,000 per apartment.

Led by Chairman and CEO Frank Suryan Jr., Lyon Living owns and manages 38 multifamily properties in California, Colorado, Nevada and Florida, according to its website. The company also owns the garden-style apartment community Atwater at Sunrise at 10000 Reflections Boulevard in Sunrise.

A Walker & Dunlop team led by Still Hunter and Kaya Suarez brokered the sale on behalf of the seller, an affiliate of Tamarac-based Ortsac Investments, according to a press release. In 2019, Ortsac paid $20.2 million, or $158,000 per unit, for the complex, records show. At the time, the 6-acre property was known as Horizons Apartments. Totaling nearly 167,000 square feet, the community was completed in 1975.

Courtyards at Sunrise is 98 percent leased, the release states. Over the last 60 days, the previous owner raised rents by an average of 40 percent on all new leases and 14 percent on all renewals, according to Walker & Dunlop. The property is a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Despite rising interest rates and slowing renter demand, investors are still betting big on South Florida’s multifamily market. Investors paid record per-unit prices in the tri-county region during the first six months of the year, shelling out an average above $300,000 per apartment in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

From January through June, apartment properties accounted for $5 billion in sales, the second-highest amount on record, Cushman’s mid-year South Florida multifamily update states. Investors paid a total of $5.7 billion for multifamily assets in the second half of last year.

This month, Marty Caparros’ Prestige Companies sold a multifamily portfolio in Hialeah for $17 million, 30 percent above the firm’s purchase price last year. The buyer, Miami-based Puchero Corp., paid $200,000 per apartment.

In Pompano Beach, Pulso Capital Group paid $551,000 per unit in a $21.5 million deal for Stellar at Palm Aire, a community of 39 rental townhomes.

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 Wayne Bergman, and Mayor Danielle Moore with 710 South Ocean Boulevard

From left: Wayne Bergman, and Mayor Danielle Moore with 710 South Ocean Boulevard (Zillow, Getty, Town of Palm Beach)

Palm Beach is hiring lobbyists to fight a Florida law that upended the island’s historic preservation program.

Florida’s legislature in March unanimously passed a building regulation law that allowed the demolition of any non-historic single-family homes in flood zones, without local review. The law, House Bill 423, went into effect on July 1. It does not apply to homes designated as historic before Jan. 1. Homes designated as historic after that date may remain protected from demolition at the whim of the property owner.

That puts a serious damper on Palm Beach’s decades-old historic preservation program. As of January, Palm Beach had 359 properties landmarked as historic, under the jurisdiction of its Landmarks Preservation Commission. The commission reviews and approves any alterations to landmarked properties. It also votes to grant landmark status.

Town officials say earlier drafts of House Bill 423 did not include the demolition language.

“This thing sort of snuck through,” said Wayne Bergman, director of planning, zoning and building during a Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting last month.

“I don’t usually editorialize things, but I will say, in my opinion this is a poorly crafted and misguided law,” he said at the time.

Palm Beach Town Council members and staff strategized the town’s opposition to the demolition bill during a council meeting on Wednesday. Officials agreed to hire lobbyists to make the town’s case in Tallahassee. But they held off on a decision on whether the town will advocate for a complete rescinding of the law, or an amendment to the language that protects its historic preservation program.

A coalition of sorts is already in the making. Palm Beach council members named Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and St. Augustine as possible allies in the fight against HB 423, all cities with robust historic preservation programs impacted by the law.

Spec developers like Todd Michael Glaser have already moved to take advantage of the new demolition law in Miami Beach, buying homes to tear down.

Given the law’s application across flood zones, the stakes are high for low-elevation historic communities in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

According to Bergman, the demolition law applies to “every square inch of Palm Beach.”

The change comes at a time of dramatic change for the barrier island community. Pandemic-fueled migration and corporate relocations caused a population boom for the historically sleepy vacation town.

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Moishe Mana, 48 East Flagler Street (left) and 76 East Flagler Street (right) (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images and Google Maps)

Moishe Mana, 48 East Flagler Street (left) and 76 East Flagler Street (right) (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images and Google Maps)

A group of Moishe Mana’s downtown Miami tenants filed a lawsuit against the developer’s companies, alleging they were fraudulently evicted from their spaces, The Real Deal has learned.

Las Hermanas Restaurant Corp., Vive Cafe Restaurante, Golden Palace and Isabel Alteration sued Mana Miami Management LLC and 48-76 East Flagler Realty LLC on Tuesday. The two restaurants, jewelry store and alterations shop allege they were forced to move out on short notice last year, under the “false pretense” that the properties at 48 and 76 East Flagler Street were structurally unsafe.

The tenants allege that the buildings only needed minor repairs, and that they suffered damages, including the theft of their fixtures and inventory.

Mana Common said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation. The city did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The tenants were given days to evacuate about a year ago, after Mana Properties said it commissioned structural engineering reports ahead of planned renovations of the two properties. The reports, Mana said, determined the buildings “have significant structural issues and should not be occupied.”

The notice provided to tenants said that 76 East Flagler Street was at risk of collapse, a sensitive issue especially in the months following the deadly Surfside condo collapse. The June 2021 tragedy that killed 98 people put pressure on owners of older structures in need of repairs.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleges that the Mana-led entities violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

A notice from the city of Miami on June 17 stated that the city’s unsafe structures panel determined the building at 48 East Flagler Street could be repaired within 120 days, or about four months.

Attorney David Winker, who represents the tenants, said the two restaurants have not been able to reopen. Winker questioned why Mana had the tenants move out when Mana has not filed new plans.

“We feel my clients were lied to,” Winker said. “Any reasonable inquiry would have shown minor repairs were needed, and there was no need to rush people out of that building.”

Mana has spent roughly half a billion dollars over several years assembling land in downtown Miami, where he plans to create Mana Common, a startup and tech hub. Mana’s downtown portfolio totals more than 1.3 million square feet spread across 70 buildings, but he has been slow to make significant construction progress. The Nikola Tesla Innovation Hub is under construction.

The investor and developer, who owns Mana Wynwood and surrounding land, has also been assembling properties in Miami’s Allapattah.

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(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)

Home buyers in 2022 are up against man-made and natural risks alike, and their changing search processes could sink home values in some areas.

Buyers with access to flood-risk information were more likely to make offers on homes with lesser risk than those without such access, according to a Redfin study. The three-month trial, conducted between October 2020 and January 2021, involved more than 17 million users, half of which had access to property flood-risk scores from First Street Foundation.

Users who looked at homes with severe or extreme risk ultimately bid on homes with moderate risk: the average risk score from viewing to bidding dropped 54 percent. Meanwhile, the control group — lacking the flood-risk data — bid on homes with an average severe risk score of 8.5 when viewing homes with the same hidden risk score.

A severe or extreme risk score was most likely to move the needle for buyers with access to the information, with no significant change in bidding patterns for homes with lesser risk scores.

If buyers equipped with flood-risk data are less likely to bid on homes in significant danger, the effect could be profound in the riskiest markets.

“As more house hunters become aware of climate risk, homes in endangered areas will likely receive fewer offers, causing home values to fall,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.

Those who live in formerly redlined areas may be at the biggest disadvantage, as those communities have a larger share of homes with high flood risk, according to a previous Redfin analysis.

Prospective buyers were also likely to change their search habits. Those with access to the risk data who viewed homes with an average 9.5 score before the study dropped to viewing homes with an average 8.5 score after starting the study. The control group didn’t see any meaningful change in average risk score of homes viewed by users.

Users in the experimental group only clicked through the flood risk section of a listing 2.8 percent of the time, but the report notes that may be because the score preview was deemed sufficient enough not to warrant a more in-depth analysis. The trial group’s users in Cape Coral topped the market rankings for clickthrough, followed by Houston and New Orleans.

Redfin last year began adding risk information to its listings, partnering with ClimateCheck data to provide rankings for fire, heat, drought and storm risks.

New Jersey nonprofit Climate Central recently estimated roughly $34 billion of real estate was at risk to be fully or partially flooded due to rising sea levels across the country in the next 30 years.

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Jorge Mas, David Beckham and rendering of Miami Freedom Park (Getty, Arquitectonica)

Jorge Mas, David Beckham and rendering of Miami Freedom Park (Getty, Arquitectonica)

Miami Freedom Park, the sprawling, mixed-use soccer stadium development planned for the Melreese Country Club site, secured its final zoning approvals.

The Miami City Commission voted 4 to 1 in favor of the planning ordinances, allowing the developers to move forward with the project planned for 1400 Northwest 37th Avenue, near Miami International Airport.

MasTec billionaire Jorge Mas and his brother Jose Mas, retired soccer player and part-time Miami resident David Beckham, and Los Angeles-based Ares Management are partners in the development and the soccer team, Inter Miami CF.

Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes voted against the ordinances at Tuesday’s commission meeting, calling the decision to move forward with the project a “mockery.”

Commission chair Christine King, and commissioners Ken Russell, Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz de la Portilla voted in favor of changing the land use designation of the property, rezoning the land for the Miami Freedom Park Special Area Plan, and approving the development agreement between the city and the developers for the 73-acre portion of the 130-acre property. The latter required a 4/5 vote.

Beckham’s previous attempts at building a soccer stadium in Miami failed, though the Miami Freedom Park project is a much larger mixed-use development that includes a 25,000-seat stadium.

Overall, the partners plan to build a 750-key hotel, 400,000 square feet of office space, 600,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space mostly within a “soccer village” near the stadium; and nearly 5,000 parking spaces with rooftop sports fields. Arquitectonica, led by Bernardo Fort-Brescia, is designing the plans.

The development agreement also calls for the remediation of 58 acres into a public park.

Greenberg Traurig attorney Iris Escarra, who represents Beckham and his partners, was not immediately available for comment.

Miami Freedom Park’s developers scored final approval of a 99-year lease for the site in April, nearly four years after voters approved that the city and the developers negotiate the lease. Inter Miami has been playing at the temporary home it built over the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

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Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue (Getty)

Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue (Getty)

An investor plans to convert an Art Deco apartment building in Miami Beach back to its original use as a hotel.

The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board on Tuesday approved plans for the Henry Hohauser-designed property at 1360 Collins Avenue. The owner, led by Jim Cavanaugh of Miami Beach, plans to redevelop the 25-unit building into a hotel with a new rooftop deck. The board greenlit the certificate of appropriateness for the partial demolition and renovation of the building.

Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue

Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue

The three-story building, constructed in 1939 as a 50-room hotel, now includes a ground-floor restaurant that replaced the former lobby. Records show 1360 Commodore LLC paid $2.8 million for the property in 2004.

Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue

Rendering of the project at 1360 Collins Avenue

The property owner plans to redevelop the building into a 46-room hotel with units ranging from 206 feet to 349 feet, add a rooftop pool, bring back the historic flagpole, and restore other historic features, including the banding and window eyebrows. The developer will also add back a lobby entrance and front lobby desk, according to the application. Miami-based Beilinson Gomez Architects designed the plans.

Next door, the Nakash family paid $6 million in May for the 10-room, three-villa property at 1350 Collins Avenue. It’s near their Casa Casuarina hotel, which was previously known as the Versace Mansion.

Both Collins Avenue properties are in the mixed-use entertainment (MXE) district in Miami Beach, where short-term rentals are allowed. In August, residents approved an FAR (floor area ratio) incentive for developers who want to convert existing apartment-hotel properties to residential.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted in favor of the redevelopment of the Shore Club at 1901 Collins Avenue, by denying a rehearing of the board’s May approval. Witkoff and Monroe Capital plan an Auberge-branded luxury hotel and condo project. The Setai, led by the Nakash family, sought the rehearing.

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Regalia at 19575 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Armani Residences at 18975 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Asia Brickell Key at 900 Brickell Key Blvd, and Muse at 17141 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach (Condo.com)

Regalia at 19575 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Armani Residences at 18975 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Asia Brickell Key at 900 Brickell Key Blvd, and Muse at 17141 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach (Condo.com)

Miami-Dade’s condo sales in August show signs of recovery from the summer doldrums.

Top condo sales for August totaled $145.4 million — up from July’s $104.5 million, but still down from June’s $219.1 million.

Multiple Listing Service data from condo.com show August’s sale prices for the top 46 condos ranged from $1.3 million to $12.5 million, nearly level with July’s range of $1.2 million to $12.4 million.

A $12.5 million sale at Muse in Sunny Isles Beach topped August’s list. Bill Hernandez and Bryan Sereny with Douglas Elliman had the listing for unit UPH-1 at 17141 Collins Avenue. Mariam Kaira with Optimar International Realty represented the buyer.

A $10.7 million sale at the Regalia, also in Sunny Isles Beach, snagged second place. Jill Hertzberg with Coldwell Banker Realty represented the seller for unit 17 at 19575 Collins Avenue. Eric Grabois with Envision Realty Group worked with the buyer.

August’s top 46 sales average $3.2 million, above July’s average of $2.6 million, but below June’s average of $4.8 million.

The average price per square foot came to $1,260 and ranged from $490 to $3,015. In July, the average price per square foot was $1,070, and $1,684 in June.

Leaflet map created by Adam Farence | Data by © OpenStreetMap, under ODbl.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 46 sales for August:

Most expensive

Muse Residences, 17141 Collins Avenue, unit UPH-1 | 107 days on the market | $12.5M | $2,047 psf | Listing agent: Bill Hernandez and Bryan Sereny with Douglas Elliman | Buyer’s agent: Mariam Kaira with Optimar International Realty

Least expensive

Vizcayne South, 253 Northeast Second Street, unit 4408 | 30 days on the market | $1.3M | $696 psf | Listing agent: Maria Pillar Lecha Puig with eXp Realty | Buyer’s agent: Alexandra White with Compass Florida

Most days on market

Mansions at Acqualina, 17749 Collins Avenue, unit 801 | 505 days on the market | $6.3M | $1,356 psf | Listing agent: Denise Rubin with Coldwell Banker Realty | Buyer’s agent: Denise Rubin with Coldwell Banker Realty

Fewest days on market

Ocean Club, 711 Crandon Boulevard, unit 202 | 1 day on the market | $2.6M | $1,260 psf | Listing agent: Geysa Guarconi with KB Realty | Buyer’s agent: Geysa Guarconi with KB Realty

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A rendering of the proposed office building and Michael Shvo (Kobi Karp, Shvo)

A rendering of the proposed office building and Michael Shvo (Kobi Karp, Shvo)

Michael Shvo is doubling down on Miami Beach’s office market.

Fresh off obtaining city approval for an office project along Alton Road, Shvo has filed plans for a six-story office building at 1665-1667 Washington Avenue, according to city records.

The Kobi Karp-designed development would have 21,000 square feet of offices on the top five floors, 58 parking spaces, a 1,000-square-foot ground-floor coffee shop and a 5,500-square-foot rooftop amenity deck. The site is just over a quarter of an acre.

The Miami Beach Planning Board is expected to vote on the proposal Sept. 20.

Shvo’s eponymous New York-based company, through an affiliate, bought the property at 1665 Washington for $4.5 million in February, property records show. It currently houses a three-story office building spanning 10,000 square feet. The vacant lot at 1667 Washington Avenue was included in Shvo’s $103 million purchase of the Raleigh Hotel in 2019.

In his other South Beach office development, Shvo wants to build a 250,000-square-foot project that will include retail on the site of a commercial strip at 1656-1680 Alton Road — including the former home of Epicure Gourmet Market & Café — as well as an adjacent parking lot at 1677 West Avenue.

In June, the Miami Beach Planning Board approved vacating an alley to allow the project to proceed. The Alton Road building still needs design approval from the city.

Shvo’s office projects come as South Beach approaches a crossroads. Developers and some city officials are calling for office construction that would help shed the area’s party image. Yet, others are pushing back over traffic concerns and questions regarding demand to lease the space.

In November, Miami Beach voters will cast ballots on plans by two development teams — one led by Don Peebles, and the other by Integra Investments and including Barry Sternlicht as a partner — to build offices on separate sites near Lincoln Road.

Shvo, who started out as a broker before becoming a developer in New York, initially set his sights on Miami Beach’s oceanfront hotel market, with plans for redevelopment. He and his partners, Turkish investor Serdar Bilgili and Deutsche Finance, bought the Raleigh, South Seas and Richmond hotels for a total of $243 million in 2019. The partnership hit rough patches, with heated lawsuits erupting between Bilgili and Shvo. The suits were settled, with Shvo and Deutsche pursuing their plans for the hotels.

They plan to restore the properties and develop a 17-story, 44-unit condo tower on part of the Raleigh site. The high-end Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage the Raleigh and brand the new tower.

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