The Real Deal Miami

SoLē Mia Miami, to be built on former landfill, will have a “Crystal Lagoon”

Project will feature a movie theater, 37 acres of parks, upscale shopping, dining and more

October 12, 2015 05:30PM
By Ina Cordle

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Rendering of planned “Crystal Lagoon” at SoLē Mia Miami

SoLē Mia Miami, the $4 billion planned mixed-use project in North Miami that marks a joint venture between Turnberry Associates and LeFrak, will have South Florida’s first patented “Crystal Lagoon,” The Real Deal has learned.

The 10-acre Crystal Lagoon at SoLē Mia represents the first in Miami for Miami-based Crystal Lagoons, a company that touts itself as able to “transform any destination into an idyllic beach paradise.” Turnberry Associates and LeFrak also have an option to develop a second Crystal Lagoon in the future at the same site — a former landfill — the lagoon company said.

SoLē Mia Miami, between Northeast 139th Street and Northeast 151st Streets, is a 183-acre master-planned community located on one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels in South Florida east of Biscayne Boulevard. The massive project, zoned for 4,400 residential units, is also expected to feature a dine-in movie theater, high-end bowling and entertainment venue, 37 acres of community parks and recreation, upscale shopping and dining, commercial office space, as well as other amenities.

Biscayne Landing languished for many years after an attempt to develop it fell apart early last decade. Developer Michael Swerdlow sold his stake in the mixed-use project to Boca Developers in 2005. The company was not able to get the project started before the real estate and financial markets collapsed. Swerdlow helped revive the development in 2012, forming a partnership with LeFrak to build the master-planned project over a 16-year span. LeFrak brought in Turnberry Associates earlier this year.

Crystal Lagoons’ technology uses disinfection pulses that allow using up to 100 times less chemicals than swimming pools, and also uses an ultrasonic filtration system that allows using up to 50 times less energy than for conventional filtration systems. Uri Man, CEO of Crystal Lagoons US Corp. said the technology allows for the construction and maintenance of unlimited-size lagoons. The beachfront and blue water create a venue for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and windsurfing, he said.

“We’re revitalizing real estate development. Now, you can create your own location,” Man told TRD. “Our lagoons are really transforming the lifestyle of these communities with access to the beach.”

The lagoons at SoLē Mia will be anywhere from six to 12 feet deep, he said.

“Our lagoons provide real estate developments with substantial quantifiable benefits such as increases in pricing, sales velocity, higher rents and in many cases the lagoons are being used to transform otherwise non-viable development sites into viable development sites,” Man said.

The first Crystal Lagoon was built 17 years ago in Chile at San Alfonso del Mar. Patented in 160 countries, Crystal Lagoons currently has a portfolio of more than 300 projects in 60 countries worldwide including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia.

The SoLē Mia Miami project follows the lagoon company’s recently announced U.S. projects including partnerships with real estate developers such as Tavistock Development Group in Orlando, Metro Development Group in Tampa, and more projects planned for Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The company said it has 35 projects in negotiation in the United States, valued at $20 billion.

Katherine Kallergis contributed reporting.