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13th Floor Assembles Oceanfront Miami Beach Site With $73M Buy

Westgate South Beach Oceanfront Resort at 3611 Collins Avenue_photo credit Trip Advisors 1170x435

13th Floor Investments is assembling a prime oceanfront site in Miami Beach, having purchased an aging resort along Collins Avenue next door to a condo property it terminated last year.

The Miami-based developer paid $73 million for the Westgate South Beach Oceanfront Resort at 3611 Collins Avenue, located north of the Faena district in the Mid-Beach neighborhood, property records show.

The three-story building, which functions as a timeshare resort, was built in 1938 and houses 46 units on 0.8 acres.

The purchase comes eight months after 13th Floor Investments terminated the condo association of All Seasons property, which neighbors the Westgate resort. The move grants 13th Floor Investments full control of the seven-story building, which was completed in 1980 and sits on 0.4 acres.

Combined, 13th Floor Investments’ assemblages span 1.18 acres, and is a likely target for condo development. Bank OZK provided a $51.9 million loan for both properties, according to records. A representative for the developer declined to comment on plans for the site or the price of the All Seasons property, divulging only that Opera Acquisitions LLC, managed by Valerio Spinaci, was a partner and responsible for assembling both properties.

Condo terminations are a growing trend among developers following the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium, which was built in 1981 and was poorly maintained. As owners of similar aging condos face expensive assessments to fund repairs, some are opting to sell to developers, who often tear down the building to construct luxury condominiums.


Source:  Commercial Observer


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Terra Offers $500M For Oceanfront Miami Beach Condo Building

Terra has offered half a billion dollars to buy out an oceanfront condo building in Miami Beach, six months after a Related Group-led venture backed out, according to a letter obtained by Commercial Observer.

Located at 5445 Collins Avenue, the property, Castle Beach Club, sits on 4 acres along the famed Miami Beach strip, offering 576 linear feet along the ocean.

The deal — if finalized — would effectively become the most expensive land purchase in the Miami area. Terra, led by David Martin, will most likely tear down the 18-story building and construct an ultra-luxury condo complex. The site can accommodate a structure up to 200 feet tall.

The proposed buyout is part of a growing trend following the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South, a condominium built in 1981 that was poorly maintained. Some condo associations of similar, decades-old buildings are choosing to sell to developers to avoid footing the bill for costly repairs, now mandated by Florida law.

In late 2021, the homeowners association of Castle Beach Club put the property, which dates back to the 1960s, on the market, hiring a team led by Colliers’ Ken Krasnow and Gerard Yetming to shore up the highest price.

Jorge Perez’s Related Group and 13th Floor Investments first swooped in a year ago, together bidding $500 million. But the joint venture backed out of the deal in October after their financing fell apart as interest-rate hikes rattled capital markets and a handful of unit owners held out.

Last Friday, Terra officially entered the picture, matching Related’s original offer.

A letter penned by Yetming was sent to unit owners announcing Terra’s $500 million bid, which averages out to $877,192 per unit. The property’s 570 unit owners are set to receive individual offers in the next two weeks, after which they will have about two months to decide whether to accept the offer. To complete the sale, Terra will likely need 95 percent buy-in from condo owners.

“We can confirm that Terra has the capability to complete this purchase, and has the funding in place to do so,” according to a letter.

The source of Terra’s financing remains unclear, though the developer is said to have a partner on the deal with whom it previously worked with.

Back in 2022, Terra and seven other firms had bid on Castle Beach Club, according to The Real Deal, which first reported the most recent proposal.


Source:  Commercial Observer

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‘Enough Buildings’: Brickell Residents Oppose Church Plan For Development

Samantha Castellano sits in Mary Brickell Park watching her 5-year-old son scale the rope ladder and slip down the slide. As a Brickell resident for 15 years, she’s seen residential and office towers clog the skyline. At nine months pregnant, Castellano, 38, said she has a big problem with First Miami Presbyterian Church looking to sell some of its land to a developer.

“I think there should be more green spaces and not more buildings,” said Castellano, who would prefer a museum or community space for her growing family. “There’s enough buildings already.”

Owning what is one of the last waterfront properties in Brickell, the church is looking to sell the parking lot and the Key Point Christian Academy building at 609 Brickell Ave. to a real estate firm for the development of a soaring residential high-rise.

Many area employees and residents told the Miami Herald they are concerned about increased traffic, limited outdoor eating options, job loss and the diminution of one of the last green spaces in the city’s financial center. Valeria Gomez, a Brickell receptionist, calls the area a hidden gem. During tours with people she works with, she advertises the many food options in the food truck plaza, located in the church’s parking lot, and the Brickell Key, Biscayne Bay and ocean views.

“You can take a walk and you don’t have to go all the time to Shake Shack or Mary Brickell Village,” she said. “It’s nice. This area is a favorite, at least for my clients.”

The 26-year-old said most days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the plaza is crowded with residents who want to grab a quick bite or account managers who’d like a relaxing lunch outside the office. She recalled the crowds as she got off work after 6 p.m. earlier this week.

“All the tables were filled up, there were people waiting to get help from the food trucks and everything,” Gomez said.

Several of her clients have children enrolled in the K-8 religious school and she said she cannot imagine how the parent would feel with the school closing if the land is sold.

“You’re taking away an educational environment to make room for people outside of the area,” she said. “With that being said, I feel like it’s a terrible idea.”

Traffic jams are unbearable, she added, and a driver could be sitting in gridlock for 30 minutes when the Brickell Avenue bridge raises. With the introduction of another large condo building, she imagines matters getting worse.

“It’s still a beautiful city, I think we have to do a better job at taking care of it and remembering the people instead of the business,” Gomez said.

Church members plan to vote after services Sunday on the land sale. The Brickell-based firm, 13th Floor Investments, has proposed constructing a high-rise condo with retail and restaurants on the ground floor, as well as worship space inside the tower. If the congregation votes in favor of the proposal, the church could receive about $240 million.

Isaac Rondon, World Wide Bistro food truck owner, said he sells his gourmet burgers and Philly cheese steaks from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day in the plaza. The 23-year-old relies on the Brickell customer base for sales and without the plaza he could lose his job. As a historic site in Miami, the church cannot be demolished or relocated.

The church was hit with a $7.1 million tax bill in 2018 by the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, for permitting a portion of church grounds to a for-profit school and the food trucks, violating its religious exemption status.

John Wayland, who works in banking in Brickell, said the land is an underutilized asset and by selling a portion of the property, the church can finance additional resources and services.

“I’m not sure how many more condominium buildings Brickell needs to have going up, but I would also say that I understand the desire to be able to convert an asset into a monetary asset,” Wayland, 53, said.

Chip Hoebeke, a consulting director for a business firm, said the plaza is one of the few spaces in Brickell where visitors and locals can enjoy the comfort of street food in comparison to the influx of high-end, sit-down restaurants in the area. As a fan of the vanilla milkshakes from the World Wide Bistro, he described the food truck plaza as a space for dog owners and parents to decompress.

“This is kind of a release valve for that congestion, and at some point, when you have too much congestion it’s got a negative influence on everybody,” Hoebeke, 47, said.


Source:  Miami Herald

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Car-Free Lifestyles Create Commericlal Development Niches

A car-free lifestyle and commercial real estate development opportunities are closely intertwined, a Miami Association of Realtors commercial conference panel exploring Transit Oriented Development agreed.

“The real story in Florida is population growth,” said Aaron Stolear, associate vice president of 13th Floor Investments. “We are absorbing 1,000 people a day. We will soon be absorbing 10 million people in the next 20 to 30 years. But there is not enough land or space to grow in the urban core. Without a massive transit system, we won’t be able to sustain our growth.”

Eulois Cleckley, director & CEO of Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation & Public Works, agrees and wants to maximize development of the land around transit. He is an advocate of the Smart plan that includes six rapid transit corridors throughout Miami-Dade. 

“Access is important for jobs,” Mr. Cleckley said.

Transit Oriented Development is driven by a decision to enhance or build a web of transit to maximize the space around those transit locations. The panel at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables agreed that with the quick growth and packed urban core of Miami, people need the ability to live all over the county, but with access to transportation to the city. 

The conference brought together 270 realtors on Oct. 1 to discuss the future of real estate in South Florida. One of three panels, South Florida Explored: Transportation, Transit Oriented Development, examined the future of transportation in Miami. 

Moderator and principal of Infinity Commercial Real Estate John W. Dohm led the conversation with five transportation and real estate entrepreneurs and how a car-free lifestyle would excel in Miami.

Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline inter-city rail, made it clear that many people are transit averse.

“People don’t want to get on transits, they don’t understand it. There’s a lot of friction involved with getting people out of their car. We have to enable it in three ways. We need the actual infrastructure to exist. That will involve entities like Brightline and then businesses like Lyft or Uber, ebikes and scooters. So it is an ecosystem,” he said. 

Brightline is to reopen in November in South Florida and plans to offer a fleet of vehicles that are going to pick people up and take them to the transit station.

“We need to provide alternatives to the car. We cannot support any more congestion on our highways,” said Mr. Goddard, who stated that on I-95 the average speed is about 35 miles per hour and isn’t improving. “It’s one of the most dangerous in the country with about 50,000 accidents and 3,000 deaths a year. We need other ways to travel. There’s no one solution, but the community needs to support it.” 


“I-95 has an express bus and is very well-ridden. It is a national benchmark,” Jeremy Mullings, director of South Florida Commuter Services, said. “I represent one of those programs trying to get people to get out of their cars.”

He agreed with Mr. Goddard about transportation being an ecosystem. 

“In the late 2000s, we thought that millennials would get out of cars and ride the transit, but in 2015, when millennials became the dominant sector of the workforce, the transit started to plummet,” Mr. Mullings said. “I think the solution is going to be finding the sweet spot between government and a private sector. We don’t have it figured out yet.”


“When I was living in Brickell, I wouldn’t use my car for months at a time,” said Rafael Romero, senior vice president of retail advisory of Jones Lang LaSalle. “We have to find out where the consumer is comfortable for this car-free lifestyle. Where do they live, work and play? People love the ability not having to travel too far to reach their daily needs.” 

People are happy to be in walking distance of groceries, restaurants or the gym according to Mr. Romero. 

The panel agreed that the goal was to make the transit more appealing.

“Our legacy is to be a catalyst for change, living a car-free lifestyle,” Mr. Goddard said. “Are we giving you an opportunity to try it out?”


Source:  Miami Today

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First Miami Presbyterian Looks To Sell Prime Real Estate For Development In Brickell

The First Miami Presbyterian Church is looking to sell a portion of its prime real estate location for development on the Miami River and church members are set to vote on the possible deal on Sunday, the church’s head of staff and reverend said Monday. The church, the oldest congregation in Miami, wants to move forward with plans to sell the waterfront parking lot and the Key Point Christian Academy building at 609 Brickell Ave. to the Brickell-based real estate firm 13th Floor Investments, according to documents shared with the Miami Herald from a source who had access to the plans at an Oct. 3 meeting of church members.

The source said the plans are for a high-rise condominium with retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. It would also provide the church with congregation space inside the tower. The project would be built on one of the last remaining waterfront properties in Brickell. With views of Brickell Key, Biscayne Bay and the ocean beyond the residential tower would sit between the Icon Brickell and an office tower 701 Brickell.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek said church members will vote on a plan Sunday after services, but he declined to comment on project details.

“This is a real moment before the church. God has blessed this community with an opportunity to potentially serve the people of Miami and the world to scale,” Benek said. “No matter where we land on Sunday, God has been working for the past 125 years to work through this congregation and he will continue to work through this congregation, regardless of the vote.”

According to the proposal, the church would receive about $240 million. Benek declined to comment on any financial arrangements. The 150-member church has faced financial challenges in recent years. In 2018, the church received a $7 million tax bill for allowing some of its property to be used for profit.

Benek said, “We’re not making a decision from scarcity, but of abundance.”

Another source familiar with the plans said church members have not been given enough information ahead of the planned vote this weekend.

“It’s hard to share the opportunities or challenges, because we don’t have enough details about the plan,” the source said. “You need an elected committee of church members to evaluate that. Any plan needs to be evaluated based on the needs of the church and not based on the dollars and cents of a real estate deal.”


Source:  Miami Herald

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Car-Free Life Comes With A Quandary. Fortunately, Milam’s Markets Has Some Answers

Mindful of the traffic woes along U.S. 1, hometown favorite Milam’s Markets is opening a location on the west side of the highway.

The new Milam’s Market grocery will cover the ground floor — similar in size to a typical Target store — at the 36-story apartment building Cascade at Link at Douglas, which is under construction next to the Douglas Road Metrorail Station just west of Coconut Grove. The project includes a second, 22-story tower. Cascade will open in 2022.

The Coconut Grove-Coral Gables-South Miami area has an abundance of grocers, including Fresh Market, Publix, Whole Foods and several Milam’s Markets. Most are located east of U.S. 1. The new Milam’s — the family-owned group’s sixth store — will offer a new option west of the busy thoroughfare for apartment dwellers who depend on public transit.

Rendering of The Link at Douglas, being developed by 13th Floor Investments and the Adler Group. (CREDIT: ADLER GROUP/13TH FLOOR INVESTMENTS)

“Our new store will provide a shopping experience similar to our other stores. Not only will we be able to better serve those living on the West side of US-1 — trust us, we know how hard it can be to cross that intersection sometimes — but we will also be joining the ‘Urban Evolution’ and Metrorail redevelopment with our store having immediate access to the Douglas Metrorail Station,” said Kristie Milam, Milam’s Markets CMO and director of real estate, in a statement.

Miami-based Milam’s first opened in 1984. The upscale grocer now has locations in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest Plaza, Miami Springs and Sunny Isles Beach.

Link at Douglas’ first tower is expected to open in the second quarter of this year. The seven-acre project — developed by 13th Floor Investments, Adler Group and Barings — includes rental apartments, retail space and offices. It is adjacent to The Underline, a 10-mile-long linear park running underneath the Metrorail from South Miami to downtown Miami.


Source: Miami Herald


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