The Real Deal New York

Zara founder buys entire Miami Beach block for $370M

Billionaire Amancio Ortega acquires retail properties in second biggest Miami-Dade deal ever

September 04, 2015 12:00PM
By Ina Cordle

1035 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach (inset: Amancio Ortega)

1035 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach (inset: Amancio Ortega)

From the South Florida website: In one of the largest real estate deals in Miami-Dade history, an entire block of Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road has traded hands for $370 million. And the buyer is the world’s fourth richest person, a Spanish fashion billionaire whose empire includes Zara, The Real Deal has learned.

A partnership led by local commercial real estate investors and developers Michael Comras and Jonathan Fryd sold the properties that run from 1001 Lincoln Road through 1035 Lincoln Road, now home to newly built stores for Gap, Intermix, Athleta, Apple and the future location for Nike – which will be built at the former site of Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma. The properties total about 48,000 square feet of land and 75,000 square feet of buildings.

Michael-Comras

Michael Comras

“It’s definitely a blockbuster sale,” Comras told TRD. “It’s the biggest thing I have ever been involved in. It’s the culmination of so many years of planning and working together with Jonathan and we put together an amazing asset, a perfectly curated asset.”

The investors assembled the properties in 1999, paying a total of about $12 million. They then started to lease space to national retailers, helping to spearhead the transformation of the pedestrian promenade, where rents have now skyrocketed to about $300 per square foot.

The sale, which was recorded Wednesday and hit property records late Thursday, is to Playa Retail Investments, with an address at 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Suite 201, according to property records. The firm’s managers include Jose Arnau Sierra, Jaime Carro Merchan, and Roberto Cibeira Moreiras, public records show.

Yet a search of the address links to various entities titled Ponte Gadea, owned by Amancio Ortega, a Spaniard who heads a fashion empire whose most well-known brand is Zara.

armanio ortega

Amancio Ortega

Forbes currently ranks the 79-year-old self-made billionaire as the world’s fourth richest person, pegging his wealth at $70.2 billion.

In 2012, Forbes wrote that he “seems to be using more of his free time to invest in real estate. He has pulled money from Spanish investment funds and poured it into buildings through his Ponte Gadea real estate investment firm,” whose holdings include the Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid.

Comras could not confirm the buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

At $370 million, the deal tops the largest sale previously on Lincoln Road, a six-property portfolio that traded last year for $342 million. The only commercial site to fetch a higher price was the $375 million sale of a 50 percent stake in Fontainebleau Miami Beach seven years ago.

“It’s a project that we started 16 years ago, and Jonathan and I felt that we had really created one of the most incredible retail blocks on a High Street around the world, with a selection of retailers second to none, and once we had the proper leases and created the value, it made sense to sell the asset,” Comras told TRD.

Lincoln Road is an amazing street, and Miami Beach is an amazing city, and it’s a world class destination,” he added. “It’s just an incredible asset and I’m happy to be part of it.”

In January, the Ortega-founded Inditex, the parent company that owns Zara, plunked down $280 million for a Soho retail condo, breaking the neighborhood’s retail record with a price tag of more $20,000 per square foot. The international clothier owns more than $800 million in Manhattan retail properties.

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