Archives for the ‘LAND NEWS’ Category

Massive 28-Story Apartment Complex Proposed In Little Haiti

Land developers are all but salivating to sink their teeth into the rich, fatty, unblemished flesh that is Little Haiti real estate.

The Wynwood gentrification fight is over — the only people who can afford land there now are the sort who maintain Cayman Islands bank accounts, and scores of tall luxury apartments are headed to that neighborhood. So the development battle has edged ever northward, into the historically black and historically poor Little Haiti. And now one of the largest development proposals in the neighborhood’s history has been pitched to the City of Miami in a move that is certain to upset anti-gentrification activists.

SPV Realty, a New York real-estate firm that has been sued twice for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to black people in Miami, has proposed building luxury condo towers as tall as 28 stories in the heart of the neighborhood, at the corner of NE 50th Street and NE Second Avenue. SPV is asking the city to approve a change to the area’s zoning code to allow those towers to shoot skyward. The city’s Urban Design Review Committee discussed the proposal at its Dec. 21st meeting. If that committee approves the plan, the city’s Planning Board will then have to approve the project.

Photo via Kobi Karp Architecture

News of the application comes mere weeks after developer Tony Cho and investor Bob Zangrillo pitched their full plans for Magic City Studios, a 45,000-square-foot “innovation district” ten blocks north, at NE 60th Street and NE Second Avenue. But SPV‘s proposal dwarfs even Cho‘s plans.

Kobi Karp, the project’s architect and designer, tells New Times that his team spent a year talking to nearby residents, who requested many of the upgrades included in the plan. He stresses this is “not a luxury project.”

“People in the community, and city staff, asked us to improve the circulation of traffic, improve public space, provide a civic space that the community and neighborhood could use, such as an open air market where neighbors can go buy fruits, vegetables and/or flowers in a public space and plaza,” Karp says. “We have provided acres and acres in the overall master plan and the new central plaza area.”

Eastside Ridge Street View rendering

SPV owns Design Place Miami, a gated rental community on NE Second Avenue, near Churchill’s Pub and Chef Creole. The apartments have some of the worst Yelp reviews in Miami’s real-estate market because of alleged bug infestations and unresponsive management. Instead of fixing the complex’s issues, SPV is proposing razing the property and building a sprawling luxury complex called Eastside Ridge.

According to a development plan the company sent the city, the massive new complex would include 2,798 apartments, 418 hotel rooms, 283,798 square feet of retail space, 97,103 square feet of office space, and more than 4,600 parking spaces. The courtyard would be open to the public and include a large central green space:

Eastside Ridge would also boast large areas for “civic space” and local gatherings, as well as space for small hotels. SPV would build infrastructure to possibly link up to the Florida East Coast Railway line that borders the neighborhood to the east.

Design Place‘s buildings cut off multiple roads — such as NE Third and Fourth Avenues and many of the nearby east-west roads — from main thoroughfares in the neighborhood. The new complex would link many of the roads that have been blocked for decades. But it’s undeniable that the project represents a massive departure for the neighborhood. For example, the regulating plan that the city’s Urban Review Committee will discuss today mentions that Eastside Ridge will include space for a “green market,” and the complex will mandate that the market sell only classic crunchy-hippie items such as homemade soaps. Per the complex’s Urban Review application: Only handmade crafts, live plants and flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey and pollen products, cheeses, jams and jellies, baked goods, prepared foods and drinks derived from fresh fruits and vegetables, soaps, and candles may be sold on any outdoor green market within this district.

Eastside Ridge Interior rendering

Likewise, Karp mentions the new spaces could include shops such as “yoga studios, spin classes, or dog-grooming facilities,” all hallmarks of upper-crust, Brooklyn-style gentrification. The project’s glittering façade also looks next to nothing like buildings on the surrounding streets, which mostly include mom-and-pop supermarkets, laundromats, and lower-income apartments. But Karp, however, says the project is designed to be “affordable, cost-efficient housing at market price” for people “who currently work and live in the community,” such as “policemen, firemen, teachers, or even the architects in his office.”

“Over in Sunset Harbour, you can go to Panther Coffee, a yoga box, a spin class,” Karp says. “We’re looking to provide the same services for the local community, whether it’s Haitian, Latin American… people who’ve always lived there, anyone. There are always some folks who will be concerned, but we had outreach for more than a year.”

There have long been concerns, however, that SPV‘s rental policies have been hostile toward people of color, particularly black people. In 2012, the HOPE Fair Housing Center sued SPV, alleging Design Place denied black applications and instead boosted white ones. HOPE sent six people — three white and three black — to SPV in a sting. HOPE says the white people were shown apartments, but the black applicants were told there were no vacancies. (SPV maintained the allegations were false.)

In January 2013, a federal judge ordered SPV to place copies of the Fair Housing Act inside Design Place and stop using advertisements with only white people in them. HOPE and SPV also reached a settlement wherein the company agreed to donate to charity and advertise the apartments in African-American publications. But SPV allegedly didn’t learn its lesson. HOPE says the realty company never upheld its end of the bargain. Plus, HOPE conducted a second sting, in December 2015, and sued the company again after black people were allegedly denied apartments a second time.

 Click here to download copies of the documents SPV Realty sent to the city.


Source: Miami New Times

Why Are The World’s Top Real Estate Investors Risking Billions On Miami’s Riverfront Renaissance?

Inevitably it seems that rivers are one of two things to a city: either a vital, vibrant artery stitching it historically together (think the Seine through Paris, the Sumida through Tokyo, or the Chicago River through the downtown Windy City), or an industrial, black water pipeline which, decade after decade, sacrifices a thriving, walkable waterfront for a persistent no man’s land of warehouses, ports, power plants, and sewage treatment facilities (think the Delaware River in Philadelphia).

Shahab Karmely, the Founder and Principal of New York-based KAR Properties

For years, the Miami River flowing through downtown Miami (yes, Miami does have a river, not just beaches) has been a classic example of the latter—a “working river” rather than a modern “waterfront”. Few people know this better, and the potential it represents from a real estate development standpoint, than Shahab Karmely, the Founder and Principal of New York-based KAR Properties, a global real estate investment and development firm that is betting its future in part on the Miami riverfront’s current renaissance.

While far from Trumpian in its high-flying public profile, KAR is no small player in international real estate development. Over the past two decades, KAR and its affiliates have acquired and monetized over 3 million square feet of office, luxury mixed-use, and industrial space in the U.S., Southeast Asia, and Europe, and KAR now oversees a core development portfolio and pipeline in excess of 5 million square feet. So Karmely knows what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to the international clientele that is the driving force behind the South Florida real estate market. In Miami specifically, KAR has invested over $150 million in the city’s established neighborhoods as well as buying up vacant land for years in emerging neighborhoods where the only value has been “potential”.

To hear Karmely tell the story of what the Miami River once was, and what he ultimately envisions it to be within the next few years, is to understand both how risky and hard urban riverfront redevelopment can be, but more importantly, how powerful an impact it can have on the future vibrancy and economic development of a city in the long-term.

In an article on the Miami River’s real estate development renaissance back in June 2015, the Miami Herald referenced the “patches of seediness” that historically had the big, international real estate companies looking to Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, and every last square inch of Biscayne Bay waterfront for their next high-rise development project. The Herald was being polite.

“Back in the 1980s”, recalls Karmely, “The Miami River was like something out of a Miami Vice episode. It was the cowboy cocaine days. Drug runners would cruise up and down the Miami River in speedboats with no fear of the law. There were shoot-outs. Tourists wouldn’t even think of coming here. But that’s why I knew there was an opportunity. All of this was happening in the middle of one of the most cosmopolitan cities in America, and minutes from South Beach.”

Karmely has always been enamored of the power of rivers to revitalize cities and suture them back together again. He’s traveled extensively across Europe and Southeast Asia where in cities like Prague, Vienna, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Ho Chi Min City (Vietnam), rivers form a vital link between neighborhoods, create large swathes of pedestrian green space, and are an important tourist destination.

In Miami’s case, this is even more potently true because the Miami riverfront has long been—at least until recently—the last remaining stretch of undeveloped waterfront property in a city where waterfront property is real estate gold. The Miami River was where Henry Flagler developed Miami’s first hotel, the Royal Palm, in 1896, and where Miami’s first courthouse and post office were constructed when the city was first being developed.

Notwithstanding the Miami River’s “last waterfront frontier” status, creating an environment that would attract redevelopment dollars was not an easy task. The dredging and cleanup of the Miami River took five years to complete in 2008 and cost $89 million. Given the effort, logistics, and costs required it was an undertaking that necessitated widespread political collaboration and public and private sector support.

“In 1998 the State of Florida created the Miami River Commission which has worked tirelessly in partnership with the public and private sectors to significantly improve the mixed-use Miami River District,” explains Horacio Stuart Aguirre, pro-bono Chairman of the Miami River Commission. “The U.S. Congress, State of Florida, South Florida Water Management District, Florida Inland Navigation District, Miami-Dade County, City of Miami, Miami River Commission and the private sector all partnered to improve the unharnessed mixed-use potential of the Miami River. These improvements have attracted major private sector developments, and today the Miami River is an example of a complete Renaissance.”

Based on the raw redevelopment statistics alone, Karmely played his cards right. Currently, the revitalization investment into the Miami River since 2000 has resulted in a total of 55 new buildings either already constructed or in the pipeline, amounting to over 15,960 new residential units and more than 750 five-star hotel rooms. Discount liquor outlets and boarded up storefronts have been replaced by some of Miami’s newest and hottest culinary destinations like Zuma, Cipriani, The Capital Grille, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, and the Miami River Yacht Club to name just a few. Dozens of others are planned. On the retail side, Saks Fifth Avenue just opened up a new department store on the river at the newly completed Brickell City Center. Over six miles of the 10-mile, $21 million Miami River Greenway have been constructed, which weave together ten different parks and green spaces.

In addition to KAR Properties, the other forces that have bet big on the Miami River’s Renaissance are serious players with serious money, including some of the world’s largest real estate development companies like The Related Group, Swire Properties out of Hong Kong, and the Chetrit Group, one of who’s projects is estimated to cost over a billion dollars on its own.

One River Point rendering

Karmely’s new flagship project on the Miami River, called One River Point, now in pre-sale phase, is architecturally and economically symbolic of the future that KAR, The Related Group, Swire, the Chetrit Group, and other international real estate developers envision for Miami’s riverfront in the coming years. Instead of cigarette boats packed with cocaine, Karmely envisions luxury motor yachts docked next to up-and-coming Michelin-starred restaurants. Where there were once vacant blocks ringed by chain-link fence and barbed wire, he sees mixed-use retail corridors, waterfront and pedestrian parks, and protected historical sites. Where there was once not a tourist in sight, he anticipates a new generation of Miami travelers flocking to the riverfront first, and Miami Beach afterwards.

One River Point, represented exclusively by Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage, is one more, very large step in making Karmely’s vision a reality. A transformative, 350-unit high-rise development designed by internationally-acclaimed architect, Rafael Viñoly, One River Point sits on a plum six-acre piece of property right on the river directly across from the recently completed Brickell City Centre, which Karmely cobbled together from three vacant lots back in 2006 for a total of $75 million.

“Acquiring these parcels right next to each other allowed us to realize our vision of creating the only gated luxury enclave in urban Miami right on the river,” says Karmely.

Rising 780 feet from the river, One River Point will consist of two transparent glass towers connected at the summit by a three-story floating glass sky bridge that will boast a 35,000 square foot private Sky Club curated by world-renowned hotelier and global tastemaker, Adrian Zecha. A cascading 85-foot waterfall that courses down a floating four-story podium graces the portico entrance, retaining Miami’s intimate, historical connection with the sound and motion of water.

One River Point’s other exclusive world-class resort hotel amenities include private elevator landings, 10’ to 12’ feet ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, glass enclosed outdoor terraces with sweeping vistas of the Miami River, Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. The towers will also include individually tailored penthouses up to 12,000 square feet that feature private pools. An on-site central vault, rotating art exhibits by an internal curator, as well as art storage space, will allow avid art collectors and Art Basel addicts to indulge themselves as close as they can come to having their own private museum. Residents and guests will also have access to 25 deluxe suites in the Sky Club that come with 5-star hotel service for out-of-town family, business colleagues, and other guests.

Of One River Point, Jay Parker, CEO Douglas Elliman Florida, says “The significant development along the Miami river reflects the extraordinary demand for lifestyle in the downtown Miami core, and will benefit the culture and lifestyle of living in downtown Miami again. Karmely and KAR Properties helped Douglas Elliman and our Florida leadership to understand the viability of the “redevelopment” opportunity associated with the river, and while there are several projects being developed along the river, One River Point uniquely distinguishes itself by offering a level of quality, sophistication, security and accessibility in a way that few other if any other riverfront properties will be able to compete with.”

Prices for One River Point’s one, two, and three-bedroom units range from $850,000 to $12 million, higher for the penthouses. International buyers and real estate investors looking for a piece of Miami’s future shouldn’t delay. One River Point is selling out fast.


Source: Forbes

Entrepreneurs Take Control Of Brickell Property, Plan Mixed-Use Project

Two dot-com entrepreneurs just bought out a Brickell hotel’s long-term lease for $5.5 million, reportedly bringing their total holdings to more than an acre in the burgeoning neighborhood.

With an entire side of a block to work with along Southwest First Avenue, Jose Rasco and Juan Calle are now exploring an adaptive reuse project that would modernize their existing buildings.

Karyna Motel at 106 Southwest Eighth Street

Karyna Motel at 106 Southwest Eighth St.

Rasco and Calle, who co-founded the company behind Colombia’s .CO internet domain extension, are the landowners of the lot at 106 Southwest Eighth Street, which houses the pay-by-hour Karyna Motel. The two just bought out the remaining 37 years on the motel’s lease, giving them full control of the land, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

Office building at120 Southwest Eighth Street

Office building at 120 Southwest Eighth St.

That deal brings the group’s total holdings to 45,000 square feet of land on the block. They previously bought the small King Condominium at 101 Southwest Ninth Street, as well as the office building at 120 Southwest Eighth Street. County records show entities controlled by Rasco and Calle have spent more than $17 million on the block in the last four years.

Rasco told the Business Journal that he plans to redevelop his group’s holdings later on, but has no immediate plans to demolish the buildings because the timing is wrong to launch a new project, especially condos.

Eventually, he told the publication, he would probably build rental apartments with a ground-floor retail component. He’s planning to renovate the Karyna Motel in the short term, and has already modernized the next-door office building where Rasco’s co-working business occupies 15,000 square feet.

According to published reports, Rasco and Calle’s .CO Internet company was bought out by tech firm Neustar for $109 million in 2014.


Source: The Real Deal