The Real Deal Miami

Residents of North Miami’s Jockey Club file suit against Apeiron developers to stop project

Suit also targets residents who support the project

March 10, 2016 11:06AM
By Sean Stewart-Muniz

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A rendering of the two-tower Apeiron at the Jockey Club project in North Miami

A rendering of the two-tower Apeiron at the Jockey Club project in North Miami

UPDATED March 10 2:23 p.m.: Residents of the Jockey Club condo complex in North Miami have filed suit against the developers of Apeiron, hoping to block the project from moving forward.

The Jockey Club is an aging condo complex at 11111 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami. Its first building opened in 1971 and its third and final building was finished in 1982.

Last year, a development team under the name Apeiron Miami filed plans for an ultra-modern condo and hotel project that would be built on the Jockey Club’s 13 acres of common grounds. The team, headed by Horst Schulze, Michael Bedner and Muayad Abbas, purchased the land for $3.25 million in 2014 and even secured a $21 million loan to fund planning costs in December.

Now, residents of Building I and II, totaling 259 owners, have filed suit against Apeiron Miami to stop the project from ever breaking ground. The suit has also named the association of Building III — with its 152 unit owners — as co-defendants. Building III has agreed to support the developer in exchange for $10 million, according to the suit.

There is a multitude of reasons why the residents are against Apeiron being built, their attorney Glen Waldman of Heller Waldman told The Real Deal.

Bringing an additional 240 units to the complex could jam up traffic — residents have to enter through a gate — and the introduction of new construction in an older complex could bring their property values down, he said.

“There really aren’t any appreciable benefits for the existing tenants,” Waldman told TRD.

However, a spokesperson for Apeiron contends that the project wouldn’t just be delivering condos and hotel rooms: the developer’s proposal included building a five-acre indoor/outdoor health and wellness complex, outdoor pools, new clay tennis courts, plus reconstructing the existing marina with 38 deep-water yacht slips.

The developers said they would also rebuild the entryway to allow for more traffic flow, as well as build a secondary entrance at Northeast 111 Street.

“A small group of residents with uncertain motives is seeking to derail our development based on an old agreement which is no longer enforceable,” Muayad Abbas, founding partner of Apeiron at the Jockey Club, said in a statement. “We will continue to move forward with the plan for Apeiron, which will enhance the entire Jockey Club grounds for all surrounding residents.”

The suit is grounded in a pair of agreements that were made between the Jockey Club’s original developer and the condo associations of the first two buildings.

The first, made in 1977, was between the association of Building II and Jockey Club, Inc. According to the suit, the association agreed to stand aside while the developer built a third tower. In exchange, the residents requested that no further residential construction be made in the complex.

The second, made in 1995, was between the developer and the associations of all three buildings. It essentially gave the buildings easement rights over the complex’s common areas, including its pools and tennis courts, for 99 years.

The suit alleges Apeiron, as successor to the Jockey Club’s original developer, would break both of those agreements if it build its project.

“They’re basically ignoring settlement agreements,” attorney Waldman said. “The goal at this juncture is very straight forward: stop the development of Apeiron.”

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