The Real Deal Miami

Trump Group plans new Acqualina condo tower in Sunny Isles

Palazzo would be 15th project announced in city since latest boom began

September 09, 2014 02:05PM
By Peter Zalewski

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Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort (inset: Peter Zalewski)

Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort (inset: Peter Zalewski)

An Aventura affiliate of the Trump Group, led by brothers Eddie and Jules, is attempting for the third time in the last decade to develop a luxury condo tower on an oceanfront site on Collins Avenue that will bear the brand name Acqualina.

The Trump Group – reportedly operating under the corporate name GSF Acquisition LLC – filed an application to develop the 51-story, 190-unit Palazzo Di Acqualina condo tower on the 5.6-acre site of the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort condo-hotel that was terminated this summer, according to a filing with the City of Sunny Isles Beach.

A zoning hearing on the Trump Group’s application to develop the high-rise tower at 17901 Collins Avenue is scheduled for 6.30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Sunny Isles Beach Commission Chambers.

Palazzo Di Acqualina is the 15th new condo tower to be announced for Sunny Isles Beach during this current South Florida cycle that began in 2011, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

(For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)

As of Monday, nearly 2,115 units are proposed, planned, under construction or recently completed in the Sunny Isles Beach market during this latest South Florida condo construction boom.

Overall, one new condo tower has been completed and eight more towers are under construction in Sunny Isles Beach. An additional two towers are planned with clearance to build and four towers are seeking approval to build in this barrier island market.

The Sunny Isles Beach market now has the fourth largest number of new units announced of any markets east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Only the markets of Greater Downtown Miami, Hollywood-Hallandale Beach and West Palm Beach have more units proposed during this cycle.

The Trump brothers – who developed most of the Williams Island neighborhood just west of the Intracoastal Waterway in the City of Aventura – hope the newly announced Palazzo Di Acqualina project will continue their condo development momentum in Sunny Isles Beach.
Trump Group first developed the 50-story, 247-unit Acqualina Ocean Residences & Resort condo tower at 17885 Collins Avenue in 2006.

The project sold out for more than $290 million, according to government records.
The Acqualina condo tower is located immediately south of the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort site on which the proposed Palazzo Di Acqualina would be built.

A second Trump Group condo project – the 46-story, 79-unit Mansions at Acqualina condo tower – is currently under construction at 17749 Collins Avenue, just two lots south of the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort.

A five-bedroom penthouse with nearly 8,750 square feet in the new Mansions At Acqualina condo tower is now on the market with an asking price of $23.5 million, or nearly $2,700 per square foot, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

To acquire the land for the proposed Palazzo Di Acqualina tower, the president at the time of the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort Condominium Association signed paperwork terminating this 32-year-old timeshare condo project as of June 16, according to Miami-Dade County records.

The termination cleared the way for the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort condo complex, comprised of a pair of mid-rise buildings with 152 residential units, five commercial units and a parking lot on the west side of Collins Avenue, to be sold.

Under the “Plan Of Termination” filed with Miami-Dade County, a Delaware-based entity called GSF Acquisition LLC and its affiliates – that collectively own at least 80 percent of the voting interests in the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort – “executed” the legal process to formally disband the association.

As part of the termination process, GSF Acquisition entered into an “agreement of sale and purchase” with the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort Association to acquire the complex for an unannounced price “immediately after the termination of the condominium,” according to government records.

GSF Acquisition is reportedly an entity managed by attorney Brian T. Degnan of the Trump Group, which first purchased 134 units in the former Golden Strand Ocean Villa Resort for $28.3 million in January, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

The unanswered question going forward is whether buyers will have an appetite to purchase more new condos in a market where thousands of units are already proposed some three years after this current South Florida real estate boom first began.

Peter Zalewski is real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.

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