Monthly Archives: June 2018

Mansion’s $48.8M price is the highest ever for a home in Collier County

2500 Gordon Drive in Naples (Credit:

A beachfront mansion in Naples sold for $48.8 million, the highest price ever paid for a Collier County residence – but a bargain, compared with the asking price.

The buyer of the 9,394-square-foot Port Royal mansion paid a price that was 25 percent off the $60.9 million asking price.

A confidentiality agreement prevents disclosure of the identities of both the buyer and the seller, according to Vicki Tracy, chief operating officer of brokerage firm Gulf Coast International Properties.

An agent of the brokerage firm, Michael A. McCumber, had the listing for the five-bedroom, six-bathroom house at 2500 Gordon Drive in Naples.

Public records show that the buyer is Kevin G. Coleman, a trustee acting on behalf of the 2500 Gordon Land Trust. Coleman is a shareholder and founding member of law firm Coleman Yovanovich and Koester.

In 2015, a previous owner sold the mansion to a limited liability company, Gordon 2500 LLC, for $45.6 million.

In 2007, Arthur Allen, who founded software firm ASG Technologies, bought the residence for $40 million. Allen’s wife was one of the stars of a reality television show called “Paradise Coast Wives,” which featured the home as the backdrop of several episodes. [Naples Daily News] – Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

FEMA cuts off almost 1,800 Puerto Ricans from housing assistance

Damage in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria (Source: FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) moved Friday to end housing assistance for nearly 1,800 Puerto Ricans who survived Hurricane Maria last year.

CNN reported that the people had lived rent-free in hotels in Puerto Rico as well as in the continental United States. Though the program was originally designed to only last two weeks, it has been extended several times.

“After 10 months of providing emergency shelter through Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), FEMA is ending the program on June 30 for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria survivors,” the agency said in a statement. “Intended to provide emergency shelter, TSA is a temporary solution that bridges survivors into more permanent options.”

New York City officials estimate that between 600 and 700 Puerto Ricans will end up in city shelters.

“The Trump administration abandoned the people of Puerto Rico,” Jaclyn Rothenberg, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told CNN.

FEMA spent more than $432 million housing tens of thousands of hurricane survivors, according to the agency. [CNN] — Will Parker

Source:: The Real Deal

Publix acquires the last 3 Safeway supermarkets in Florida

Starbucks café inside Safeway store at 950 Northeast 50 Street in Oakland Park (Credit:

Publix Super Markets acquired the three remaining Safeway grocery stores in Florida, including one in Oakland Park.

The Lakeland-based grocery store operator will close the Safeway stores in September and reopen them as Publix stores by the end of the year, adding to the growing number of company-owned Publix stores.

The Safeway store at 950 Northeast 50 Street in Oakland Park is across the street from a Publix store in the Northridge Shopping Center.

But Publix plans to operate both stores and has no plans to close either one, company spokeswoman Nicole Krauss told the Sun-Sentinel.

Publix also acquired Safeway stores at 503 East Altamonte Drive in Altamonte Springs and at 10500 Ulmerton Road in Largo.

After merging with Safeway in 2016, Albertsons converted the stores in Altamonte Springs, Largo and Oakland Park to Safeway locations.

Albertsons spent $10 million to renovate each of the three Safeway stores and added in-store Starbucks cafés at each location. [Sun-Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Home builder DR Horton pays $6M for 20 vacant acres near Florida City

DR Horton bought 20 vacant acres just east of the Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace in Florida City.

Home builder DR Horton Inc. bought 20 acres of vacant land near Florida City for $6 million.

The seller, Newport Development Partners, had acquired the land in 2015 for $1.3 million.

The 20-acre property is at the southeast corner of Southwest 336 Street and Southwest 172 Avenue, just east of the Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace in Florida City, near the last exit on the southern leg of Florida’s Turnpike.

Newport Development Partners, managed by Luis Armona and Alex Meruelo, owns nearby land with 208 home sites for a development called Cedar at Keys Gate.

Ralph Roca, who runs the South Florida operations of DR Horton, was unavailable for comment.

According to its website, DR Horton has 10 residential communities in Miami-Dade County, including nine in South Dade, which has the county’s largest supply of vacant land for home building. [South Florida Business Journal] – Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Recurring algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee may again send green slime to both coasts

A boater moves through an algae bloom in the Caloosahatchee River near LaBelle on Wednesday. (Credit: Pedro Portal/ Miami Herald)

A huge algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee could send blankets of green slime to both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida this summer.

A wave of algae moved this week down the Caloosahatchee River toward the state’s southwest coast.

The green slime also appeared on the eastern banks of the lake and pushed against a gate that leads to the St. Lucie River.

In 2016, an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee clogged the St. Lucie River for months with blankets of algae as thick as eight inches. In past years, green waves of algae released from the lake have killed fish, oysters and sea grass and have hurt tourism destinations on the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers

On Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would stop releasing water from the lake into the estuaries of the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie for nine days. But the releases probably will resume as summer rain raises the lake’s water level.

The Army Corps of Engineers maintains a dike around Lake Okeechobee and tries to keep the lake’s water levels higher during dry season and lower during rainy season.

Since Hurricane Irma last September, scientists have been concerned that the storm stirred up the lake’s bottom, where nutrients have been settling for decades.

While most of the nutrients come from water running off farms and ranches, the lake also is polluted by storm water from cities and leaking septic tanks.

Record-breaking rainfall in May has forced the Army Corps of Engineers to release some of the lake’s nutrient-filled water to the coasts to protect aquatic life and relieve pressure on the dike, which is undergoing $1.6 billion of repair work. [Miami Herald] – Mike Seemuth

Source:: The Real Deal

Miami Beach’s short-term rental fines challenged on constitutional grounds

Miami Beach (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A Miami Beach property owner is accusing the city of engaging in discriminatory practices when it comes to cracking down on short-term rentals.

Natalie Nichols filed a civil rights lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Wednesday, alleging the city’s practice of levying five-figure fines on some residents who list their properties on Airbnb and other home-sharing websites violates the Florida Constitution.

Nichols wants a permanent injunction that would prevent the city from fining property owners like her who want to offer short-term rentals. “I feel strongly that this is a violation of my constitutional rights,” she said. “There is a silent majority in Miami Beach that want short-term rentals. But people are afraid to come forward.”

Nichols’ complaint hinges on an exception the city carved out for a section of North Beach. Specifically, properties fronting Harding Avenue from 73rd to 87th streets, including buildings east of Harding and an alley on the west side of the avenue, the lawsuit states.

In October 2016 — ten months after the city raised short-term rental fines from $1,000 a day to $20,000 for the first offense — Miami Beach made it legal for owners of historic buildings along Harding to offer short-term rentals. Preservationists and developers supported the measure, believing it would motivate property owners to renovate and maintain old buildings.

The exception created an elite tier of short-term rental landlords and an unfair playing field in Miami Beach’s home-sharing industry, Nichols’ lawsuit alleges. “Owners enjoy a significant advantage over those property owners who are not allowed to conduct short-term rentals,” the lawsuit states. “Not only is property more valuable where short-term rentals are permitted, but North Beach owners also enjoy much less competition under the current scheme, and can accordingly charge higher prices.”

Nichols also claims the city’s fines are “excessive punishment” under the Florida Constitution. The city’s short-term rental ban has been in effect since 2010. In March 2016, the commission passed a new ordinance that slaps some short-term rental violators with a $20,000 fine for the first offense, $40,000 for the second, $60,000 for the third and $80,000 for the fourth. After the fourth violation, each subsequent offense is a whopping $100,000.

“Miami Beach is legally authorized to create an alternative code enforcement system (which it has done so), and thus, is not obligated to comport to those monetary limitations set forth in the Florida statute,” said city spokesperson Melissa Berthier. She declined further comment because the city has not been served the lawsuit.

Prior to the new ordinance, Nichols had been fined $3,000 for renting out her properties for six months or less. In 2004, she bought a single-family home at 1531 Stillwater Drive where she has lived in, as well as rented out on a short-term and long-term basis, Nichols’ lawsuit states. Two years later, she purchased a four-unit single-story building completed in 1949 that was intended and permitted for short-term rental use, according to the complaint. Up until 2010, she could legally offer both properties, which border Biscayne Bay, to short-term renters.

Nichols said she previously made about $14,000 a month renting the Stillwater Drive house on a short-term basis. She is currently residing in the home, but she has it listed for rent at $7,500 a month for a period of six months or longer. “My mortgage, taxes and insurance costs me $9,500 a month,” Nichols said. “I am still going to lose money to the tune of $2,000 a month.”

She said she stopped offering the house and the four-plex to short-term renters and took both properties off Airbnb since the city raised its fines two years ago. “A bunch of other owners are still doing short-term rentals under the table,” Nichols said. “People are not looking to break the law. They really need that money. It is a matter of surviving or selling and leaving.”

City documents show Miami Beach has issued $12.1 million in fines, but has only collected $174,000.

Nichols is being represented pro-bono by the Goldwater Institute, a national nonprofit civil rights organization that focuses on protecting the rights of property owners who want to engage in home-sharing. Ross Milroy, a Miami Beach real estate broker, connected Nichols with Goldwater.

Milroy said he has been studying the city’s short-term rental crackdown the last two years and had been trying to identify a property owner who was willing to take on the Miami Beach bureaucracy.

“Natalie fit the mold perfectly and had a story to tell,” Milroy said. “I found out that more than 80 percent of the city’s tax base comes from non-homesteaders. These are real estate investors who own residential properties. This is who the ordinance is really hurting.”

Source:: The Real Deal

Foreign dollars continue to pour into US commercial market: report

Clockwise from the left: Chinese yuan, British pounds, Mexican pesos, and USA (top) (Credit: via Flickr, Pixabay, and PxHere)

Foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate remained strong last year, despite a major pullback from Chinese companies that have been hampered by capital controls its government has imposed.

Despite those restrictions, Chinese investors made up the biggest share of foreign buyers in the U.S. at 20 percent, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

While the share of Chinese investors in U.S. commercial real estate was actually slightly higher than in 2016, the total dollar amount plummeted nearly 30 percent, to $120 billion in 2017. The rise in China’s share of the total could indicate that investments from other countries had dipped.

Florida — at 23 percent — was the top state where foreigners purchased and sold commercial property last year. Texas came in second with 16 percent and California was third with 13 percent.

Overall, outside investment in the U.S. was still accounted for a significant amount of activity, according to NAR’s survey, which found 1 in 5 active commercial agents closed a sale with an international client last year. And more than a third reported increases in international clients over the last five years.

Investors from Mexico made up 11 percent of all CRE buyers, followed by Canada at 8 percent, and the United Kingdom at 6 percent. Combined, Europe, Asia and the Americas accounted for 82 percent of foreign buyers.

NAR said most member brokers specializing in commercial properties are active in secondary and tertiary markets, and suggested the survey data means international investors are interested in those markets.

About 70 percent of sales were closed with cash and about one quarter were closed with mortgages from U.S. sources. Nearly two-third of buyers lived primarily abroad.

Of the international sellers, 57 percent were clients temporarily living in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas.

While NAR’s numbers reflect strong interest from foreign buyers in the U.S. market, they are slightly lower than figures from 2016.

The 18 percent of agents who reported a foreign CRE sale last year was down from 20 percent. And the 59 percent of realtors who said they completed a commercial sale was down from 69 percent in 2016.

Source:: The Real Deal

MV Group sells Design District building for $10M

4136 North Miami Avenue

UPDATED, 5:10 p.m., June 29: Developer Manny Varas just sold a newly-built property in the Design District for $10.1 million, a considerable markdown from its listed price.

Perpetual Love Acquisitions LLC, a Delaware company, closed on the Mediterranean-style, three-story building at 4136 North Miami Avenue, said Dwntwn Realty Advisors’ Tony Arellano and David Spitz, who represented the seller.

The 16,900-square-foot building, which was completed in 2017, was on the market for $14 million, meaning it sold for 28 percent less than asking. Rena Kliot of Pulse International Realty represented the all-cash buyer.

Kliot, who declined to identify the buyer, said they plan to open a private language immersion school out of New York to focus on teaching languages such as Mandarin and Spanish. It will be the first school in South Florida for the unnamed foundation, Kliot said.

Varas previously said he bought the 9,400-square-foot development site with investors in 1999 for $500,000.

The $6 million construction project was partially financed with a $3.5 million construction loan.

Retail tenants in the Design District include Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Bulgari and Prada. Developer Craig Robins of Dacra has led the neighborhood’s transformation into a luxury shopping district.

Source:: The Real Deal

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics sells Doral HQ for $43M

Christian Lee and Chris Riley, Vice Chairmen of CBRE Capital MarketsHellmann and Worldwide Logistics sells Doral HQ

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics just sold its North American headquarters in Doral to Industrial Logistics Properties Trust for $43.1 million.

The industrial real estate investment trust paid about $180 per square foot for the 240,700-square-foot property at 10450 NW 41st Street.

Hellmann Worldwide, which is one of the largest full-service logistics companies in the world, said it sold the building to “maintain the flexibility to react quickly to changing market conditions,” according to a press release. The German company still plans to lease the property for a minimum of 10 years.

CBRE’s Christian Lee, Chris Riley, José Lobón, Devin White and Ned Burns represented Hellmann in the deal. The buyer, Logistics Properties Trust, is a subsidiary of Newton, Massachusetts-based The RMR Group, which is an alternative asset management firm.

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has owned and occupied the property since 1996. After the building was constructed, Hellmann established its North American headquarters in Miami, and expanded its on-site footprint in 2001 by an additional 96,000 square feet.

The facility has 24-foot clear span heights, 65,700 square feet of freezer and cooler space and 65,900 square feet of two-story office space.

Hellmann also owns a 180,000-square-foot facility in Weston. The company said it plans to be in the market for more warehouse space in the next 12 to 18 months to further expand its operations in the U.S. and Canada, according to a press release.

Overall, Miami-Dade County’s 3.9 percent vacancy rate is one of the lowest among major US markets, according to CBRE. — Keith Larsen

Source:: The Real Deal

National Cheat Sheet: Zillow plans to file for a $650M public offering … & more

Clockwise from top left: Kushner Companies ends collaboration with Trump Organization (credit: Getty Images, Extell, and Kushner), Zillow plans to file for public offering (credit: Pixabay), record number of women elected to REIT boards (credit: Pixabay), and RXR Realty fund aims to raise $50 million (pictured: RXR CEO Scott Rechler credit: Getty Images).

Listings giant Zillow plans to file for a $650M public offering
Real estate listings company Zillow plans to file for a public offering, according to Wednesday’s regulatory filing. Zillow hopes to raise a total of $650 million — half in stock and half in convertible bonds. The proceeds could rise to $750 million if underwriters exercise an option to purchase additional shares. The funds would be used for general expenses, as well as “acquisitions of, or investments in, other businesses, products or technologies,” according to a statement released by the company. [TRD]

Decision requiring online markets to collect sales tax may not affect traditional retailers
Last week’s Supreme Court decision requiring online retailers to collect state sales tax may not help brick-and-mortar retail stores as much as retail trade groups believe it will. Some smaller shops could actually find themselves having to shell out money for expensive software. “Some of the bigger retailers already have a presence in the state and already pay online tax,” a Miami-based commercial real estate lawyer told The Real Deal. In addition, the new tax won’t eliminate the convenience that comes with online shopping. [TRD]

RXR Realty fund aims to raise $50 million for real estate tech startups
A new RXR Realty fund aims to raise $50 million for real estate tech startups by the end of 2018. More and more real estate companies have started to put money into tech startups: RXR’s fund comes not long after in-home assistant and property management company Hello Alfred raised $40 million in its own funding round. “We’ve seen how technology has become more and more ubiquitous in our business and want both the opportunity to invest and to be at the forefront of leveraging these technologies that can help us run out business more effectively,” RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler told Bloomberg. [TRD]

Kushner Companies ends collaboration with Trump Organization amid ethics concerns
Two Kushner Companies-owned hotels in New Jersey have ended their management agreements with the Trump Organization, the New York Times first reported. The Trump Organization was going to manage a hotel that the Kushners are constructing at the Jersey Shore, as well as a hotel in Livingston, New Jersey, but the two sides backed off the agreement amid concerns from ethics watchdogs. [TRD]

Good news for tenants as apartment rental prices across the nation slow down
After climbing for years, apartment rental prices across the country are finally slowing down, according to new data culled by RealPage Inc. In the second quarter of this year, multifamily rents saw the smallest increase they’ve seen year-over-year since 2010. Prices may be waning due to an increased supply across markets, as well as concessions and financial incentives offered by landlords, experts told the Wall Street Journal. Chicago, Portland, Austin and Seattle in particular haven’t seen much growth at all when it comes to average annual rents. [TRD]

Record number of women elected to REIT boards, but diversity is still wanting
A record number of women have been elected to the boards of U.S. real estate investment trusts this year, the Wall Street Journal first reported. In 2017, 41 percent of new REIT board directors were women. This year so far, 49 of 94 directors, or 52 percent, were. But those recent appointments haven’t changed the fact that only 17.5 percent of all REIT board directors are women, nor the fact that 32 of 192 REITS don’t include any women on their boards. The industry “is not the most enlightened group when it comes to diversity around the table,” Ferguson Partners chief executive Bill Ferguson told the paper. [TRD]


New York heavyweight Paul Massey is launching a new brokerage and Bob Knakal is no longer at Cushman
In 2014, Paul Massey and then-business partner Bob Knakal sold Massey Knakal Realty Services to Cushman & Wakefield. Three-and-a-half years later, Cushman & Wakefield has terminated Knakal, and Massey — who left his Cushman & Wakefield job in April — plans to start his own brokerage, which is expected to launch this weekend. Massey’s new brokerage, B6 Real Estate Advisors, will be modeled on the pair’s old firm. Knakal, meanwhile, hasn’t said what he plans to do now that he’s no longer with Cushman. [TRD]

David Beckham and partner moving forward with plans for Miami soccer complex
David Beckham and partner Jorge Mas will soon be unveiling their plans for a major mixed-use soccer complex in Miami. Mas is slated to present the proposal at a Miami City Commission meeting in July, the Miami Herald reported. One rumored location for the stadium is a city-owned golf course near the Miami International Airport. If Beckham and Mas are eyeing the site and want to get approval this year, they’ll need to secure votes from Miami residents in November. [TRD]

The LA home where Linda Ronstadt, SaZu Pitts once lived hits the market for $16.25M
A Brentwood mansion that was once home to pop singer and author Linda Ronstadt — and, before that, the late silent film star ZaSu Pitts — has listed for $16.25 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom home was designed by architect-to-the-stars Paul Williams and includes a secret staircase, a swimming pool and a gym. Ronstadt sold the home in 2005 — after buying it for $3.5 million in the 1980s — and its most recent owners snapped it up in 2006. [TRD]

Chicago mayor proposes creation of housing department to carry out new initiatives
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to create a Chicago Department of Housing to carry out a new five-year housing plan and oversee the city’s affordable housing initiatives. Tuesday’s proposal comes a week after Emanuel created an investment fund to combat gentrification in areas of Chicago where housing is needed. “Each affordable housing project requires a unique stack of incentives, including land, financing, credits and affordability requirements to get across the finish line,” a press release from Emanuel’s office said “The housing department will be a partner to the development and advocacy community to bring new solutions to the city’s new challenges.” [TRD]

Report finds that Houston offers apartment renters too many amenities
Apartments in Houston may be offering renters too many amenities — or the wrong ones, a new report has found. Some renters end up paying for amenities like a pool — or the ability to have a cat or dog in the apartment — that they weren’t interested in in the first place, according to a report released by online rental marketplace Apartment List. In-unit laundry is the only amenity that still has a higher demand than supply in Houston, according to the report. [Bisnow]

Source:: The Real Deal