Monthly Archives: October 2017

Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA’s executive director resigns

Clarence Woods and Overtown

UPDATED Oct. 31, 6:35 p.m.: The executive director of a city of Miami agency tasked with encouraging redevelopment in one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods handed in his resignation, The Real Deal has learned.

Clarence Woods’ resignation as executive director of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency is effective Dec. 1st, according to Cornelius Shiver, assistant director of the Overtown CRA. The Miami City Commission, which acts as the Overtown CRA’s board of directors, unanimously named Shiver as Woods’ replacement.

Shiver said Woods resigned so he could retire as a “full-time employee” and spend more time on his private real estate ventures. “He’s doing a lot of development outside of the CRA boundaries and he’s going to devote more time to that,” Shiver said.

Woods did not return requests for comment from TRD.

Woods served since April 2012 as the executive director of the Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA, an agency that utilizes property taxes collected within its district to promote affordable housing and economic development. Since 2005, the agency has invested $78.6 million toward affordable housing, according to a CRA report. The CRA also offers incentives to development projects, including $17.5 million in tax rebates for a Tri-Rail stop at All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral project near downtown Miami and $75 million in tax rebates for a proposed $750 million Marriott Marquis hotel complex in Park West.

The CRA has also issued grants for the renovation of historic buildings within Overtown, including an $850,000 grant for the renovation of the Josephine and Dunn hotels that was the subject of a July 31 Miami Herald article, “Deal and dollars under scrutiny as Overtown hotel projects runs years behind.” The article found that the Odua Group, headed by former city of Miami official Ola Aluko, commenced the renovation job three years ago, but the property “remains vacant and far from completion.”

“At this point, we have no reason to believe there was anything done that was improper. But we are doing an audit and [we’re] reviewing [the project],” Woods told the Herald.

Source:: The Real Deal

Broker running for Miami Beach commission loses campaign staff amid sexual harassment allegations

Miami Beach City Commission candidate Rafael Velasquez (Credit: Facebook, Rafael Velasquez)

A Miami Beach commission candidate, who is the broker of a boutique brokerage firm, just lost his campaign staff amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Rafael Velasquez, president and broker of Sunset Realty Group, was accused of sexual harassment by two women this week, commissioner and congressional candidate Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and publicist Frances Alban, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein firestorm.

His campaign chairman and field director resigned on Monday, the Miami Herald reported.

On Monday, Rosen Gonzalez told Politico that Velasquez exposed himself while they were alone in the car together. “He had started to say that he thought that I was his soulmate, and I said, ‘Please, can we stay focused on the campaign?’” Rosen Gonzalez told Local 10 News. “By the time we got into the car, he had become abusive. He exposed himself. He was trying to, like, force my hand on him, and it was too much.”

Velasquez called Rosen Gonzalez’s allegations “an insane attack,” and said he “would never, ever, in a million years behave in the way the commissioner describes it.” He apologized on Tuesday “to anyone who was offended in any way by any of my communications.” He’s running in the Nov. 7 commission race. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis

Source:: The Real Deal

California firm buys Tamarac rental community

Bob Castro and Hidden Harbour Apartments in Tamarac (Credit: Bankers Healthcare Group)

A 371-unit apartment complex in Tamarac just sold for $56 million, property records show.

The community, called Hidden Harbour Apartments, at 8800 Northwest 78th Court and 8900 Northwest 77th Court, traded for about $145,550 a unit.

BH/IGF Hidden Harbour Apartments, an entity of Santa Barbara, California-based Harbour Realty Partners, sold the complex to 10 companies led by Bankers Healthcare Group president and co-founder Robert T. Castro and Sophie C. Castro.

Records show the buyers financed the deal with a $35.1 million loan from Berkeley Point Capital.

BH/IGF Hidden Harbour Apartments, led by Patrick Beach, purchased the rental community in 2004 for $31.5 million, records show.

Hidden Harbour sits on a 21.2-acre site, records show. The community, built in 1988, offers one- and two-bedroom floorplans. Amenities include a clubhouse, pool, tennis court and lakeside views.

Robert T. Castro’s Bankers Healthcare Group is a financial services company that serves medical professionals. The company provides loans to doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals throughout the nation, according to its website.

Last year, a 222-unit apartment complex in Tamarac sold for $22 million to a New York private equity investor. In June, a Class C apartment complex in Tamarac sold for $12.35 million.

Source:: The Real Deal

A look at South Florida’s spookiest properties

From the archives: On this Halloween Eve, The Real Deal South Florida explored Miami’s oldest and most haunted properties: the Biltmore Hotel, Deering Estate, Casa Casuarina, the City of Miami Cemetery and the Miami River Inn. Among the paranormal activity? The sounds of doors opening and shutting, noise from nonexistent parties and the ghosts of wars past.

Here’s a look at TRD‘s top picks:

Biltmore Hotel (Credit: Jorge Royan)

Biltmore Hotel | Coral Gables | Built in 1926

The founder of Coral Gables developed the Biltmore Hotel in 1926. It’s considered one of Miami’s haunted properties, serving as a hospital during World War II, as a VA Hospital and the University of Miami’s medical school until 1968.

Rumor has it the spirit of gangster Thomas Walsh haunts the hotel: Walsh was shot and killed by another gangster in 1929 at a party on the 13th floor.

Alleged paranormal occurrences at the Biltmore include being tapped on the shoulder by men in army uniforms, noise from parties that aren’t happening, and the ghost of a man in a white tuxedo appearing in the elevators – elevators that have been said to stop on the 13th floor for no reason.

Deering Estate

Deering Estate

Deering Estate | Palmetto Bay | Built in 1900

Industrialist Charles Deering lived at the 44-acre property from 1922 until he died there in 1927. It’s home to a prehistoric burial mound with anywhere from 12 to 18 burials of Native Americans, one of a handful in the county, as well as archeological remains – dating back 10,000 years. The state of Florida and Miami-Dade County purchased the estate in 1985, when Deering’s last heir died. No one has lived there since. [Miami Herald]

Casa Casuarina

Casa Casuarina

Casa Casuarina | Miami Beach | 1930

After a morning walk in the summer of 1997, Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered on the front steps of the Versace Mansion, now known as Casa Casuarina.

“He was murdered right there as he was trying to walk in – he was fiddling with his key, trying to open the gate,” historian Paul George told the Miami New Times last year.

Creepy or not, it sold for $41.5 million at an auction in 2o13. [Miami New Times]

City of Miami Cemetery (Credit Phillip Pessar)

City of Miami Cemetery (Credit: Phillip Pessar)

City of Miami Cemetery | Miami | 1887

About 1,000 open plots remain at the city’s oldest cemetery, which is home to some of Miami’s founding members: Julia Tuttle, William Burdine (of Burdines, later Macy’s) and Dr. James Jackson. Veterans of the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I and II can also be found there, according to the city of Miami’s website.

The criteria to be buried there is “strict,” the website reads. “One must be able to produce proof of ownership for a plot and must be either the deed holder or able to prove familial relationship to the owner.” Friends of the family are not allowed.

Miami River Inn

Miami River Inn

Miami River Inn | Miami | 1906

MiMo developer Avra Jain picked up the historic hotel earlier this year , which has been called a great place for “ghost hunters or sound sleepers” in a TripAdvisor review.

“At 11 p.m. every night, patrons on the first floor allegedly hear the front door open and close loudly, hear someone wipe their shoes on the welcome mat, running, and a shaking door knob,” according to the Huffington Post. “Others also say they hear what appears to be a ghostly tantrum of someone throwing items around the halls, but nothing is found outside.” [Huffington Post]

Source:: The Real Deal

Colombians still crazy for South Florida homes: report

Miami skyline (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers from Colombia led foreign interest in Miami homes in August, according to a new report from the Miami Association of Realtors. The Latin American country has shown the most interest in South Florida homes for six consecutive months.

Colombians represented 10.5 percent of all international searches on in August. After Colombia came Venezuela with 5.4 percent and Canada with 4.9 percent. Brazil rose from sixth place in July to fourth in August with 4.1 percent of all international searches.

Last year, Colombian and Brazilian homebuyers made the third-most international purchases in South Florida with a 10 percent share, according to the report.

Check out the top 10 list of countries looking for Miami homes in July:

  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • Argentina
  • France
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Mexico
  • Katherine Kallergis

    Source:: The Real Deal

    WATCH: Ryan Serhant on aspirational pricing and why Australia does real estate better

    From TRD New York: Blame the $88 million sale of Sanford Weill’s penthouse at 15 Central Park West as the listing that led to astronomical pricing, according to Nest Seekers International broker Ryan Serhant.

    “I think there was a 24-month ripple effect after Kyle Blackmon sold the penthouse at 15 CPW where everyone said, ‘It’s New York City, anything is possible,’” said the “Million Dollar Listing New York” star during a recent interview with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani.

    That included the seller of an $118.5 million apartment at the Ritz Carlton at Battery Park City — a listing Serhant eventually lost when it was re-listed as a two-unit combination for $75 million.

    “I listed it, I did everything we could to sell it — we did drone videos, we did everything possible — and we couldn’t sell it,” Serhant said. “We’re not going to sell every listing, but we’ll sell everything we possibly can.”

    To see Serhant talk more about being brutally honest with sellers, why selling Australian real estate is “the greatest thing in the world” and more, watch the video above. See the full interview here.

    Produced by Jhila Farzaneh and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani.

    Source:: The Real Deal

    Here’s the lineup at Aventura Mall’s new food hall

    Rendering of Aventura Mall’s new food hall

    A slew of new restaurants will open at Aventura Mall’s new food hall later this year, including Shake Shack and Luke’s Lobster.

    The food hall will be part of the mall’s three-story, 315,000-square-foot expansion wing that’s set to open in November.

    Joining Shake Shack and Luke’s Lobster are Figs by Todd English, GoGo Fresh, My Ceviche, Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen, Poke 305, Hank & Harry’s Delicatessen, Silderz, Häagen Dazs and the BOL, according to a press release.

    In 2016, the mall’s owners, Turnberry Associates and Simon Property Group, closed on $213.5 million in financing for the expansion, which will be anchored by Topshop Topman and Zara.

    Designed by architect Carlos Zapata, the new wing will feature an 84-foot by 50-foot glass wall, with a 350-foot skylight with views of the rooftop terrace. It will also have a nearly 93-foot tall sculpture by Belgian artist Carsten Höller that Aventura Mall visitors will be able to slide down. The outdoor piazza will feature such art as Gorillas in the Mist by The Haas Brothers, designed for the mall at 19501 Biscayne Boulevard.

    Turnberry owns 66 percent of the mall and Simon owns the rest. – Katherine Kallergis

    Source:: The Real Deal

    John Guitar leaves Florida East Coast Industries for Blanca CRE

    John Guitar (Credit: Blanca CRE)

    John Guitar left Florida East Coast Industries to join Blanca Commercial Real Estate as managing director and vice chair.

    Guitar will lead the statewide expansion of the Brickell-based commercial brokerage, which is led by CEO Tere Blanca, according to a news release. At FECI, he was most recently senior vice president of business development.

    Guitar oversaw FECI subsidiary All Aboard Florida’s transit-oriented projects in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, working with Blanca to market and lease the 2 MiamiCentral and 3 MiamiCentral office towers.

    He was also previously vice president at FECI’s Flagler Development, where he worked for more than 15 years.

    In June, Vince Signorello, FECI’s president and CEO, resigned to launch his own real estate investment and development firm. Signorello led development of the Brightline project, a $3 billion express-train service. Brightline is now scheduled to start service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach later this year.

    Guitar could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Source:: The Real Deal

    Aetna Realty buys former Barneys building in Miami Beach

    832 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach (Credit: Scout)

    Companies tied to New York-based Aetna Realty just purchased the former site of a Barneys New York Co-Op in Miami Beach for $5.75 million, property records show.

    The 9,377-square-foot retail space at 832 Collins Avenue sold for about $610 per square foot. Aetna’s U.S. Realty Financial Corp. now owns 49.09 percent, U.S. Realty & Investment Co. owns 48.52 percent, and Olympic Gardens HB owns 4.39 percent of the property.

    Jademire Properties, led by Bill Murray, was the seller. Records show Murray paid $2.5 million for the property in 1999. The two-story building, built in 1923, was renovated in 2000. The retail building could also be developed or converted to short-term rentals or office space.

    The property hit the market with Marcus & Millichap’s Scott Sandelin in 2015 for $12.75 million, which means it just sold for less than half the original asking price. Marcus & Millichap’s Alejandro D’Alba and Jonathan De La Rosa also worked on the deal.

    Sandelin said he secured a buyer who was willing to pay above the asking price in 2015, but the deal fell through. “The market just deteriorated after that in terms of availability of tenants,” he added.

    South Florida isn’t immune to the changing retail landscape across the country. In Miami-Dade, vacancy rates increased year-over-year in the third quarter, up to 3.6 percent from 2.9 percent last year.

    In 2013, Aetna bought the 1.7-acre Macy’s flagship department store in downtown Miami. Four years later, the real estate investment firm is looking to fill several floors of the building with new retailers, according to Bisnow.

    Source:: The Real Deal

    Moving stinks. And increasingly, American homeowners are choosing to stay put

    From TRD New York: Homeowners across the country aren’t moving as frequently as they have in previous years, which is making it even harder for renters to enter the market.

    Owners are staying in their homes at a median rate of 10 years, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from the National Association of Realtors. It’s tied for the highest level since NAR began tracking the rate in 1985.

    The reason that people aren’t moving is that there is little inventory available and prices are still rising to record levels. As a result, owners are renovating their homes and sticking around, which is making it even more difficult for renters who are trying to break in.

    Right now, there’s approximately four months worth of supply of homes across all price brackets, the newspaper reported. Six months worth of supply is what economists consider to be normal.

    In the third quarter of 2017, listing volume in Manhattan fell 3.1 percent from the quarter before, according to the quarterly report from Douglas Elliman. As a result, the median price of a co-op jumped 8.3 percent to hit $850,000 and the condo price jumped 6.3 percent to hit $1.7 million. [WSJ] — Miriam Hall

    Source:: The Real Deal