Former baseball first baseman Mo “The Hit Dog” Vaughn plans to build market-rate apartments in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, marking a shift for his company that has so far focused on affordable housing.
Vaughn’s Omni New York, through an affiliate, paid $7.2 million for the development site at 116 Northeast 24th Street, according to records. Seller Carrera Family Investments is led by Jose and Zaraida Carrera, state corporate records show.
Jesse Spencer and Juan Sotolongo of J+ Group at Compass represented the buyer. Maria Gueits of Avanti Way represented the seller.
The current zoning for the 0.7-acre site allows for up to eight stories and 100 units.
Spencer said the project will be mid-rise, but the number of units to be built is yet to be determined.
Based in New York, Omni buys and rehabilitates affordable housing and has completed its own affordable projects throughout the U.S., according to its website. Since it was founded in 2004, Omni has owned and managed 17,000 affordable units across 11 states. It lists properties in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
Omni describes itself as a community builder, touting on its website partnerships with nonprofits and grassroots organizations to provide after school programs, skills training and adult education.
But not all Omni property renters have had good things to say about the company. Residents of Garden Spires in Newark have alleged water leaks, mold and mice infestations, NJ.com reported in October. A spokesperson for Omni, which had completed a $58 million renovation at the two-tower complex, responded that an unexpected plumbing issue required the replacement of the entire plumbing line and water cutoffs during business hours in unit kitchens.
Although Garden Spires had passed inspections, code officers reportedly found in September roaches, mice, bathroom leaks, overloaded dumpsters, defective stoves, water leaks in some units and issues with entry doors for the two buildings, NJ.com reported.
Vaughn – who played for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Anaheim Angels – started Omni with Eugene Schneur, an attorney, according to the company’s website.
The new site in Edgewater – a trendy neighborhood redeveloped in recent years with high-rise condominiums that replaced low-level apartments and single-family houses – offers an opportunity for Omni to enter the market-rate rental market at an advantageous time and place.
“The supply is just being absorbed at a rapid rate, and the price per square foot for rentals in Midtown and Edgewater are continually rising, with no signs of slowing down,” Spencer said.
South Florida’s rental market is booming because of unprecedented demand from locals and newcomers to the region. This has allowed landlords to increase rental rates, with some submarkets posting 24 percent hikes in a matter of months and others more moderate 10 percent increases, brokers say.
Another New York real estate firm investing in Edgewater multifamily development is Kushner Companies, led by Charles Kushner, Nicole Kushner Meyer and Laurent Morali. It plans a massive multifamily development, with the first phase a roughly 400-unit tower.