LIVWRK, a Brooklyn-based development firm, is making its first foray into Miami commercial real estate, The Real Deal has learned.
The company, led by founder and CEO Asher Abehsera, is under contract to buy a 2.5-acre assemblage in Wynwood, according to sources. East End Capital is selling the properties at 2400 and 2500 North Miami Avenue in Miami. LIVWRK will partner with the neighboring property owner at 48 Northwest 25th Street
Abehsera confirmed that the deal is under contract. A source said the price is about $25 million, and the sale is expected to close in about a month and a half.
Abehsera said his company is interviewing architects from around the world to “do something that’s more elevated from a design perspective” than what has been built in Wynwood so far.
The assemblage could be developed into more than 650,000 square feet with a mix of residential, retail, hotel or creative office, Abehsera said.
East End Capital had planned to develop the North Miami Avenue properties into two mixed-use projects with co-living, micro units, coworking and traditional office space. The New York and Miami-based firm, led by founder Jonathon Yormak, secured approvals for the projects last year.
The other parcel is owned by 3 CI Holdings LLLP, an entity managed by Catherine DeFrancesco, owner of Sol Yoga, and Andy DeFrancesco. Alex Karahkanian and Cahane sold the office and retail building on that site to the DeFrancesco entity last year for $17 million.
In March, East End Capital sold a Wynwood retail property that was in foreclosure to Cahane’s Forte Capital Management and Jon Krasner’s 7G Realty for $11.8 million.
East End and its Australian investors were recently ordered to pay back a $5.5 million deposit tied to a failed sale of their office tower in downtown Miami.
In Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, LIVWRK and CIM Group are in contract to sell the rental portion of their luxury development at 85 Jay Street to RXR Realty for $220 million.
A downtown Miami investor is looking to sell his assemblage near Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus.
The 1-acre assemblage at 222 Northeast First Avenue, and 50 and 60 Northeast Third Street, hit the market unpriced. The three lots are zoned T6-80-O, which means they can be developed into an 80-story tower, or even taller in exchange for public benefits.
Property records show entities managed by investor Daniel Stone own the three properties. The parking lots are next to Miami Dade College and across the street from the David W. Dyer Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.
Rani Hussami of Apex Capital Realty has the listing. According to a zoning study by architect Kobi Karp, the property could be developed into more than 1 million square feet of residential, hotel and office space with 80 percent, or 36,000 square feet, of the lot covered.
Records show Demeris Inc., led by Stone, paid $2 million for the two lots on Third Street in 2006, and another Stone-led LLC paid an undisclosed amount for the larger property immediately south in 2008.
Two blocks north, a similarly sized lot at 49 Northwest Fifth Street recently hit the market. That property, across from Brightline’s MiamiCentral station, is unpriced, but could trade for more than $40 million, according to the listing brokers.
Also nearby on Northeast Third Street, Grand Station Apartments recently launched leasing. Rovr Development built the 30-story tower on top of the existing Courthouse Center garage. Retired baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez invested in that project.
Miami will soon welcome a new Silicon Valley tenant.
Fintech startup Nirvana Technology, headed by tech veteran Bill Harris, signed a three-year lease for 3,700 square feet in Miami’s Wynwood district.
Asking rent for the office at 120 NE 27th Street was $38 per square foot, landlord Bill Rammos told Commercial Observer. The deal closed last month, and Nirvana is set to take occupancy this coming fall.
Other tenants of the two-story building include construction firms, Brodson and Plaza, and another California transplant, Crexi, a commercial real estate tech company.
“Millennials value the mix-use — where you have office spaces, good restaurants, good entertainment at night, and good housing. That’s all coming together in Wynwood,” said Rammos. These amenities help lure future tech employees, he added.
The digital bank startup plans to hire 50 employees based in Miami by the end of the year, and 200 by 2022, according to a statement from Nirvana. The company aims to simplify the finances of everyday consumers.
“We’re bringing the fire of Silicon Valley — innovation, ambition and mission — to the new Silicon Beach,” Harris said in prepared remarks.
The executive has a long and impressive tech resume, which includes stints as serving the CEO of fintech giants PayPal and Intuit, and as a board member of web hosting company GoDaddy.
Since the pandemic hit, Miami has attracted high-profile companies, thanks to its pro-business mayor and the state’s low taxes.
New-to-market tech tenants have settled in Wynwood, a trendy neighborhood famous for its eclectic murals. Back in March, heavyweight venture capital firms Founders Fund and Atomic inked 10 leases at the Wynwood Annex, a 60,000-square-foot office complex. Apple is also said to be scouting offices in the neighborhood.
DWNTWN Realty Advisors’ Tony Arellanorepresented the landlord.
When she came from Boston in the late 90s to study at the University of Miami, Mileyka Burgos-Flores quickly got homesick. She missed the food and flavor of her Dominican family and she was desperate for a Dominican hair salon. The cafeteria workers she’d befriended at school had the answer: we’ll take you to el barrio, they told her.
That’s how Burgos-Flores, executive director of the Allapattah Collaborative, got to know the neighborhood built up by Black Miamians and immigrants from the Caribbean and Central America. She soon picked up on Allapattah’s distinctive features. The breezy porches where neighbors actually talked to each other across the fence. The cosmopolitan bodegas and the street vendors residents knew by name. And of course, local watering holes like Club Típico Domínicano, the 1980s restaurant that shimmies into a nightclub with live music on the weekends.
“It’s a very warm and welcoming neighborhood,” said Burgos-Flores, whose work entails preserving the neighborhood and helping its small businesses thrive. “People don’t just go into local businesses to get their hair done, or to eat or to do their taxes. They go to hang out; they know each other and they keep an eye out for each other.”
That kind of pride among local residents is what drew art collector Mera Rubell to the area in 2019. Along with her husband Don and son Jason, the family converted a warehouse complex that previously housed a wholesaler of rice, beans and other food items into the Rubell Museum, previously located in Wynwood. The site sits cradled by the metroline and railroad tracks.
“This was a new frontier,” Rubell said. “Our dream was to create a kind of concentrated destination for culture. What’s nice is we’re not displacing anybody. These were old buildings that can no longer accommodate the heavy warehouse use it needs.”
The museum is just one of a collection of art spaces in the area, which runs from State Road 112 south to the Miami River and west from Interstate 95 to Northwest 27th Avenue. Jorge Pérez’s El Espacio 23 has also called industrial Allapattah home for the last two years. The newest addition to the art scene, Superblue, across the street from the Rubell, turned a warehouse into an immersive art space in May. The private museums are neighbors with a massive wholesale grocer; across the street, an open-air fruit market sells tropical fruit juices, coconut water and varieties of mangoes and bananas that swing from an awning.
Other recent additions have drawn people to the neighborhood through their bellies. Even on a weekday at lunch it can be hard to snag a parking spot at Hometown Barbecue, a New York transplant whose Brooklyn location is considered one of the country’s best barbecue spots.
It’s all quickly snowballing to turn Allapattah into Miami’s newest “it” spot. Burgos-Flores’ friends in the neighborhood share sightings of limousines ferrying partygoers to underground nightlife in the area. The charm that caught her eye two decades ago is still present; Allapattah remains a place where the word “authentic” still rings true. But there’s no denying things are changing.
New rentals are popping up and just as quickly evaporating due to demand from those who want to be close to the Miami Health District.
The latest is 14-story No. 17 Residences, on Northwest 17th Avenue. Renters — primarily medical and graduate students and health district employees quickly snapped up apartments, according to Lisette Calderon, CEO of developer Neology Life Development Group. Apartments start at $1,300 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom layout.
“What I see that is exciting is the neighborhood being reimagined,” Calderon said.
Housing-wise, four other projects are in the pipeline.
The highest profile project on the books is a collection of eight buildings — many rising on stilts — designed by Danish star architect Bjarke Ingles for developer Robert Wennett. The project, at Northwest 12th Avenue, calledMiami Produce Center, will include residential units, hotel, office, retail space and a trade school on nineacres formerly home to a produce market. Permits have not yet been drawn, and the timetable is not yet set, said Javier Aviñó, Wennett’s representative for the project and Bilzin Sumberg partner.
Already underway is a senior affordable housing community at 1396 NW 36th St. The 13-story Mosaico should open by January 2022, said Jake Morrow, a principal at developer Interurban.
Along with No. 17 Residences, Neology is planning another 14-story rental nearby at 1625 NW 20th St., dubbed Allapattah 16.
Also in permitting is a third 14-story rental building, Allapattah 14, at 1470 NW 36th St.
For Burgos-Flores, whose work entails helping local mom and pops thrive, taking the foot off the accelerator just a bit seems wise.
“We love all this development that could potentially happen in the area, but we want it to be inclusive and equitable,” she said.
Small businesses she helps in the neighborhood are frequently priced out by rising rents, she said. The average resident is unlikely to be able to afford the luxury units coming up in the area. The median household income in the 33127 zip code is $34,510, according to the county demographic data from this year. Around 31% of the residents live below the poverty line. Displacing a community of people – many of whom first arrived via displacement after refugee crises in their home countries – would shred the neighborhood’s identity, Burgos-Flores said.
“People who live here want to stay,” she said. “And if they go, they want to go because they want to, not because they’re pushed out. They want to have the opportunity to stay and the opportunity to own here.”
A foreclosure lawsuit over a commercial property in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood has been resolved after a partial sale of the property and a new mortgage.
Elizon DB Transfer Agent LLC filed a foreclosure complaint in October 2020 against 2900 NW 1st Ave BSD LLC and loan guarantor Baruch Singer over an $8 million mortgage. The loan allegedly matured on Sept. 1, 2020, without being repaid.
The borrower owns the 14,442-square-foot commercial building at 2900 N.W. First Ave., apartment buildings of 2,053 and 1,642 square feet at 120 and 112 N.W. 30th St., along with the 28,309 square feet of land they are built on.
Recently, 2900 NW 1st Ave BSD LLC sold a 51% interest in the property for $9.5 million to Big Fan LLC, managed by Douglas Levine in Miami Beach, according to county records. JPMorgan Chase Bank then provided an $11.5 million mortgage on the property, with both owners listed as borrowers.
Elizon DB Transfer Agent withdrew the foreclosure lawsuit and filed notice with the county that the $8 million mortgage was fully repaid.
The first purpose-built Class A office space will rise in the Sunset Harbour district of Miami Beach after a mixed-use project won approval from the city commission last week.
With an influx of business and wealth migration to South Florida, many are looking at Miami Beach as a place to relocate.
Eighteen Sunset will span more than 60,000 square feet and offer luxury residential, retail and residential accommodations in one building. The five-story building will have two floors of Class-A office space, a residential penthouse with a rooftop, 32,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space with a deck overlooking Biscayne Bay, and street-level retail and restaurant space.
“We haven’t even begun marketing this and yet we’ve had a lot of interest and demand from various folks for all aspects of the project. I think we’re hitting it just at the right time,” said Brad Colmer of Deco Capital Group, the development firm behind Eighteen Sunset.
The third and fourth floors will be 32,000 square feet of office space for finance and investment firms, family offices, technology firms, and professionals seeking waterfront views. Deco Capital Group has enlisted a best-in-class team to represent Eighteen Sunset, with Stephen Rutchik of Colliers International leasing the building’s office space, and Sara Wolfe of Koniver Stern marketing the retail offerings.
The penthouse has 15,000 square feet of indoor space and sits one floor above the office space, where an executive can live and work under the same roof. The rooftop deck will have a pool, hot tub and outdoor dining area. The penthouse owner will also have a private garage that has room for at least six cars on the building’s second floor and direct elevator access.
“The Penthouse at Eighteen Sunset will be the pinnacle of luxury and exclusivity in Miami Beach, making it unlike any private residence the city has seen,” said Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman, which is selling the penthouse. “This is perfect for a buyer drawn to the idea of taking an elevator down to the ground floor and being immersed in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood that offers everything from sidewalk cafes and coffee shops to trendy boutiques and a marina across the street. All of this is available in a building offering beautiful views and the amenities and security features of a world-class building.”
Eighteen Sunset, located between Purdy Ave. and Bay Road, will overlook Biscayne Bay and Maurice Gibb Park, close to dining and retail destinations. The project is the newest development by Deco Capital Group, a Miami-based real estate development and investment firm.
“We have a covered breezeway as well as covered sidewalk space,” Colmer said. “I can’t think of many other buildings in South Florida that are going to have the amount of covered outdoor space that we have and the indoor and outdoor connectivity for ground-level activation. I think that offers a lot of exciting opportunities.”
Colmer says construction is expected to start around September and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
In what attorneys say is the first ruling of its kind in Miami-Dade County, a popular retail store on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach is required to pay rent despite hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A force majeure clause is common in leases and can sometimes allow a party to not fulfill their contract when there is a circumstance beyond their control or an “act of God.”
Guess? Retail Inc., the clothing store, alleged that the COVID-19 pandemic left it unable to pay its rent. The retailer refused to pay after it had to close its operations around March of last year — something Guess said was done to protect the health and safety of customers and employees, and comply with government safety guidelines.
“This seems to be a case of the first impression in South Florida that will likely be relied upon by other jurists as litigation regarding force majeure provisions move through the court system,” said Bruce Weil of Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the attorneys who represented the landlord, The Denison Corp.
Weil argued there wasn’t anything unique about the clause, and that its provisions are pretty standard.
The lease states that the term force majeure encompasses, “acts of God, labor disputes (whether lawful or not), material or labor shortages, restrictions by any governmental authority, civil riots, floods, or other cause beyond the control of the party asserting the existence of force majeure.”
It also said, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this lease, tenant shall not be excused from payment of base rent, operating costs, or any other sum due under this lease by reason of force majeure.”
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter R. Lopez found that The Denison Corp.’s lease had an unambiguous force majeure clause and ruled Guess must pay no matter what — even during a pandemic.
The ruling is a win for landlords who still need that income to pay their expenses and continue operation. Weil said he hopes that landlords and tenants will be able to sit down and work together to avoid lawsuits since the pandemic has caused hardships for everyone.
Weil and his associate Laselve Harrison worked together in the case and believe the lawsuit will change the way all contracts are written in the future to make sure that pandemics are specifically named as an example of a force majeure incident.
“Force majeure clauses are certainly going to be scrutinized going forward because of the pandemic, with both landlords and tenants seeking clarity about what circumstances excuse performance under a lease,” said Weil.
Mark Steiner of Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo represented Guess and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Miami Beach staff have targeted six city properties that could sell for a total of over $70 million that could then fund capital improvements.
The big-ticket sale in the group would be the land that currently houses the soon-to-be-moved North Shore Branch Library at 7505 Collins Ave., which is estimated to be worth $58 million to $65 million, according to a presentation from the city’s Property Management Department.
Commissioners and administrators held preliminary discussions about the properties at the most recent Finance and Economic Resiliency Committee meeting, where Director of Property Management Adrian Morales explained that the six properties were narrowed down from a total of 136 assets that officials and consultants CBRE identified as showing “potential for disposition.”
The money from selling any of these properties, Commissioner David Richardson said, could fund other city projects but should not be used to fill gaps in city operations.
Some of the properties, said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, could potentially be leveraged into public-private partnerships, while others could be sold outright. The committee tasked staff with looking further into the proposed properties, in particular the library, and returning with recommendations.
Other properties identified for possible sale include an 8,700-square-foot pump station vacant lot at 8100 Hawthorne Ave. valued at roughly $1 million, a 12,105-square-foot vacant lot on Pine Tree Drive valued at $2 million to $2.4 million, and a 31,808-square-foot vacant lot on Sunset Drive valued at an estimated $5 million to $5.3 million, according to the presentation.
However, Mr. Richardson noted that he had previously believed that the Sunset Drive site was a public park, and that many members of the community might see it as public green space as well.
The department identified two more properties that don’t yet have price estimates; a 2,757-square-foot vacant lot on Commerce Street and a 15,313-square-foot lot on 87th Terrace.
Residential lots, Mr. Samuelian said, may be “low-hanging fruit” for a sale, though he said how the funds should be used is a separate discussion.
Selling the parcel that currently holds the library, which will eventually be moved into a new complex on 72nd Street as part of a General Obligation Bond project, could be a good way to make up the existing $40 million funding gap for that project, Mr. Richardson said. Mr. Arriola said he wondered if the $40 million gap was actually accurate or if it could be lower, and Mr. Samuelian said that $40 million would be a lot to spend on one project and that there would need to be further discussions.
As downtown Miami continues to evolve, one of the area’s most strategically located development sites has hit the market. The 37,857-square-foot parcel, currently occupied by a three-story building, is across the street from MiamiCentral’s main entrance.
MiamiCentral is home to the MetroRail, MetroMover, Tri-Rail, MetroBus, the Trolley system and Brightline, a commuter train that connects Miami to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and soon Orlando. Colliers’ Urban Core Division brokers Mika Mattingly, Executive Managing Director, and Cecilia Estevez, Associate, are marketing the property, located at 49 NW 5th Street. The site, which doesn’t have an asking price, could sell for over $40 million.
“This opportunity is unmatchable,” said Mattingly, who leads Colliers’ Urban Core division. “The buyer could build up to 400,000 square feet and 435 residential units just steps away from a mass-transit hub. Brightline projects 12 million visitors annually will ride the train, giving this property great exposure and a competitive advantage over other residential developments. The developer would be exempt from having to build residential parking spaces due to its proximity to public transit.”
The T6-80 zoning of the property would permit several uses, including residential, hotel, office and retail. The maximum height permitted at the site is 80 stories with unlimited height available through public benefit bonuses.
The development site is home to a building of historic value that could be demolished or designated as a historical landmark to be included on the National Historic Registry. Under such designation, the Citadel building, as it is called, would be protected, and the developer would be able to allocate the air rights to the northern parking lot.
The Citadel was built in 1925 to house the Salvation Army in response to a growing demand for religious and humanitarian services during the land boom of the 1920s. Although only a portion of this historic building survives as the entry portico to an office complex, the existing architectural details reveal the rare Venetian Gothic subtype of the Gothic Revival style, according to the City of Miami.
Today, Citadel is home to CenturyLink, a telecommunications company with over two years remaining on the existing lease. The building is currently producing significant revenue.
“This property is ideal for an efficient and cost-effective redevelopment with the ability to receive supplemental cash flow throughout the planning and approval process,” Estevez said.
The site is located blocks away from the Perez Art Museum, the Frost Museum of Science, Biscayne Bay, Miami Worldcenter, Miami Dade College and several residential and office buildings.
A new high-end market with a restaurant, bean-to-bar chocolate station, patisserie and cocktail bar is coming to Wynwood.
Ananda Market, led by partners Antonio Ortega and Piero Pini, signed a 10-year lease for nearly 12,500 square feet at 310 Northwest 25th Street.
Forte Capital Management, led by Chaim Cahane and Dov Tepper, and Jon Krasner’s 7G Realty recently paid $11.8 million for the retail property at 310-318 Northwest 25th Street. They acquired it from East End Capital. Existing tenants include Barcelona Wine Bar and Grace Loves Lace, an Australian wedding dress store.
The market and restaurant will be led by chocolatier and pastry chef Jorge Kauam, Ortega said. Construction is slated to begin in about six to seven months, and the concept could open in about 10 months. Ananda will sell pastries, elaborate chocolates, breads, cocktails, and organic and sustainable food products. At night it will also function as an event space.