Monthly Archives: January 2016

Whole Foods wins wetlands rezoning in Sarasota

Whole Foods plans to anchor a retail center on rezoned wetlands.

Grocery chain Whole Foods convinced Sarasota County to rezone 4.5 acres of forested wetland preserve to allow for development of a retail center anchored by a Whole Foods supermarket.

Sarasota County commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of Whole Foods’ rezoning proposal. The commissioners also approved a change in the county’s long-term growth plan to accommodate the opening of a Whole Foods store near the intersection of Honore Avenue and University Parkway in Sarasota.

Staff from Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Services Department had resisted the rezoning, calling the wetlands habitat “rare and unique and important.” But Sarasota County’s Planning Commission last month unanimously recommended the rezoning.

Continued preservation of the 4.5 acres of wetland would block development of a retail center there with a Whole Foods store, a WaWa convenience store and a gas station.

Jeff Garrison of Atlanta-based SJ Collins Enterprises, which works with Whole Foods on development projects, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “This was the only location that was viable for Whole Foods” after a search ruled out nearly a dozen other sites.

A purchase of 41 acres of wetland preserve in the Manatee River Basis will mitigate the rezoning of the 4.5-acre preserve where Whole Foods plans to open a store. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Mixed-use marinas are a growing global trend

From the New York website: Pricey waterfront real estate is nothing new, but a rise in boat ownership is now driving developers to create mixed-use marinas.

In China, the number of mixed-use marina projects planned has increased significantly, as have home prices. Coastal areas in Malaysia, the Middle East and Spain are also seeing the same trend, according to the New York Times.

“Sailing is becoming more popular, and boat owners need places that offer facilities for maintenance,” James Price, an agent on the international development team of the London-based property firm Knight Frank, told the Times. “But they also want somewhere with increased lifestyle experiences, like an accessible location, good infrastructure, residential options and quality on-site leisure services, restaurants and retail.”

Not only has boat ownership risen sharply over the last decade, but orders for yachts longer than 250 feet have increased by 25 percent over the previous year. There was also a record number of orders for boats in excess of 328 feet.

“There is a shortage of, and high demand for, space in which marina and residential are combined,” Eamonn Feeney, managing director of marina planning specialist, MDL Consultancy, said. [NYT] – Christopher Cameron

Source:: The Real Deal

Miami-based firm accumulating Chicago apartments

Russell Galbut

Miami-based Crescent Heights, led by real estate investor Russell Galbut, agreed to buy a 55-story apartment building in downtown Chicago, which would add to the company’s portfolio of rental properties there.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Crescent Heights has a deal to buy the 600-unit North Harbor Tower in downtown Chicago from the Florida State Board of Administration.

The publication also reported that the Miami-based company will own more than 2,200 apartments in downtown Chicago following the North Harbor Tower closing.

The 600-unit apartment building, located north of Maggie Daley Park, is expected to command more than $200 million. The parties have not disclosed the negotiated price.

Among other acquisitions in recent years, Crescent Heights paid $126 million last June for a 298-unit apartment building in the South Loop area of Chicago.

Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights also owns 344-unit Park Michigan in the South Loop area and Walton on the Park, a building in the Gold Coast area with 160 apartments. [Crain’s Chicago Business] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Sugar producer finds sweet spot in rental projects

Game room at Atlantico at Tuscany in Delray

Florida Crystals Corp., one of three sugar producers in Palm Beach County, found a sweet spot in real estate when it diversified into apartment development.

The company’s subsidiary FCI Residential Corp. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to open a 322-unit apartment building in southwest Miami-Dade County called Atlantico at Kendall.

More ribbon-cutting ceremonies are planned: FCI currently is developing 10 rental apartment properties in South Florida. FCI expects to build almost 2,800 apartments at a cost of more than $500 million by early 2017.

In addition to Atlantico at Kendall, completed apartment developments in the FCI portfolio include The Park at Kendall, Atlantico at Tuscany in Delray Beach and Toscana in Margate.

Juan Porro, vice president, real estate, at FCI, told the Palm Beach Post the completed apartments are 95 percent leased.

Porro also the Post that Florida Crystals formed the real estate subsidiary in 2012, and it began making land purchases based on its own market research.

The owners of West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals are brothers Alfonso Fanjul and José Pepe Fanjul. [Palm Beach Post] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

First on-campus Publix coming to USF in Tampa

The on-campus store will span 29,000 square feet.

Publix Super Markets Inc. won approval to build its first on-campus store at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The Florida Board of Governors last week approved development of the 29,000-square-foot store on USF land at the intersection of Fletcher Avenue and North Palm Drive in Tampa.

Publix plans to sign a 21-year ground lease, with options for six five-year extensions, with the University of South Florida. Construction on the grocery store is expected to be finished by late 2017.

Judy Genshaft, USF system president, said in press release that when the university decided to replace a 1960s-vintage on-campus housing complex with a village-like development, the top request among students was for an on-campus grocery store.

The Publix grocery store will become an integral part of a $133 million development at USF called Student Housing Village. Its construction is expected to begin later this year.

USF is in a public-private partnership for the development of the Student Housing Village project with Capstone Development Partners LLC and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital. [Tampa Bay Business Journal] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Frankie Muniz’s western-style mansion hits the market

Frankie Muniz and his Scottsdale, Ariz., home; also his 1995 Volkswagen Jetta

From the New York website: Actor Frankie Muniz has listed his western-style home in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $2.95 million.

“Malcolm in the Middle” and “Sharknado 3” star’s stone and stucco home features five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a home theater, waterfalls and a pool, according to the New York Post.

1995 Volkswagen Jetta

1995 Volkswagen Jetta

But his house isn’t the only thing Muniz is selling off. He recently put his 1995 Volkswagen Jetta from the original “The Fast and the Furious” movie up for auction at the classic car auction house Barrett-Jackson.

The car is signed by the late Paul Walker and comes with a custom stereo with a built-in PlayStation 2. Muniz bought the car in 2002 for $100,000.





[NYP] – Christopher Cameron

Source:: The Real Deal

Pines mall may get smaller Sears, new movie theater

Pembroke Lakes Mall

The owner of the Pembroke Lakes Mall plans to tear down part of the Sears department store there to clear space for a new movie theater.

General Growth Properties proposed that the city of Pembroke Pines allow an amendment to the development agreement for the mall at 12055 Pines Boulevard.

The amendment would eliminate 40,000 square feet of the Sears store, which spans 144,195 square feet, and replace it with a 40,000-square-foot, 100-seat movie theater.

The Pembroke Pines Planning and Zoning Board is scheduled to consider the proposal January 28, but the board may act at a later date, pending studies of the planned project’s impact on traffic.

Sears owns its store and General Growth owns the mall. Holland & Knight attorney Janna Lhota represents General Growth, a public held company traded under ticker symbol GGP.

Sears and its subsidiary Kmart this month announced plans to close 27 stores with poor sales.

The theater at Pembroke Lakes Mall would face competition from Cinemark Paradise 24 at the intersection of Interstate 75 and Sheridan Street and the Regal Cinemas Westfork on Pines Boulevard west of Interstate 75. [South Florida Business Journal]— Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Brokerage says luxury home prices flattened in 2015

Redfin: Luxury home prices may have peaked.

U.S. luxury home prices may have peaked as economic problems abroad limit the number of foreign buyers.

Redfin Corp., a brokerage and real estate data provider, reported that prices for the top 5 percent of home sales were flat in 2015 while prices for all other home sales rose by 4.9 percent.

Economic problems in such countries as Brazil, China and Russia are weakening the top end of the residential real estate market.

Dan Conn, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate, told Bloomberg News: “There’s volatility in China and Russia and there’s the oil issue in the Middle East. I have no doubt there’s an impact overall on the market. You’re not going to see material price increases in most markets.”

The strength of the U.S. dollar against South American currencies has hurt condo sales in Miami, according to Peter Zawleski, owner of, a website that tracks development in South Florida.

Anthony M. Graziano, senior managing director at Integra Realty Resources, told Bloomberg News that pre-construction sales of Miami condos slumped last year. Integra data for the Miami condo market shows that buyers signed 25 percent fewer pre-construction purchase contracts.

In the Los Angeles area, a six-bedroom mansion is listed for sale for a reduced price of $3.68 million, but no offers have emerged. Real estate agent Kanney Zahn, who represents the Chinese couple who own the mansion, told Bloomberg they want to sell to raise cash following a recent downturn in the Chinese stock market.

In Houston, sharply lower oil prices are hitting the luxury home market hard. The Houston Association of Realtors reported that sales of homes priced above $500,000 fell 17percent in December from the year-earlier level.

In San Francisco, the luxury home market is still strong, but the inventory of homes listed for sale above $500,000 surged to a record level in October, Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst at Paragon Research.

Carlisle told Bloomberg that “more sellers are jumping in and more buyers are holding off because they’re worried about where the volatility is going.” [Bloomberg News] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Coral Gables OKs streetscape work up to $21.6M

Rendering of Miracle Mile project

The Coral Gables city commission voted to allow the city manager and city attorney to negotiate a contract price up to $21.6 million for construction of a streetscape project on Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue.

Major construction work on the project is expected to start in summer.

The project will widen sidewalks along Miracle Mile, a four-block stretch of Coral Way in downtown Coral Gables between LeJeune Road and Douglas Road. New trees will be planted and new streetlights installed.

A conversion from angled parking to parallel parking on Miracle Mile will make room for wider sidewalks. Contractors also will upgrade the drainage system on Miracle Mile and replace beige-colored concrete with shell-colored concrete.

Also planned is the removal of curbs on Giralda Avenue, which intersects Miracle Mile. The streetscape project would turn curbless Giralda into a path primarily for pedestrians.

Commissioner Patricia Keon told the Miami Herald she is concerned about the plans for Giralda Avenue: “I have really grave concerns over what we’re doing to development there.” [The Miami Herald] — Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Franklin Street obtains $20M loan on Tampa rentals

Game room at the Campus Palms Apartments in Tampa

Franklin Street Capital Advisors obtained a $20 million loan secured by the Campus Palms Apartments in Tampa on behalf of an unidentified Miami-based landlord.

Ben Miller and Casey Siggins of Franklin Street obtained the 10-year non-recourse loan with a 4.85 percent fixed rate of interest. Campus Palms is a student housing complex near the University of South Florida.

Siggins said in a press release that “rates for strong borrowers have started to increase, even for well stabilized assets, due to improved market conditions and the Fed increasing interest rates.”

Franklin Street secured the loan on behalf of a Miami-based investor in multifamily residential properties who focuses on the Tampa market.

Franklin Street said in a press released that the non-recourse loan provided the borrower with a “significant amount of cash-out equity,” which will be used to repay debt on other properties in the borrower’s portfolio and to bid for more rental properties in Tampa.

Siggins said in a press release that “rates for strong borrowers have started to increase, even for well stabilized assets, due to improved market conditions and the Fed increasing interest rates.”

Franklin Street secured the loan on behalf of a Miami-based investor in multifamily residential properties who focuses on the Tampa market.

Franklin Street said in a press released that the non-recourse loan provided the borrower with a “significant amount of cash-out equity,” which will be used to repay debt on other properties in the borrower’s portfolio and to bid for more rental properties in Tampa.

Source:: The Real Deal