Airbnb sues the city of Miami, Related Group shuts down its Auberge project, and more...

South Florida briefs

May.May 01, 2017 11:00 AM

1440 Biscayne Boulevard

Airbnb is catching heat in South Florida

Airbnb teamed up with five Miami homeowners to sue the city for allegedly enforcing bans on short-term rentals and targeting the company’s hosts.

In the lawsuit, the short-term rental site claims that Miami government officials, under pressure from the hotel industry, ignored a 2011 state law that prohibits cities and counties from banning or unduly regulating vacation rentals.

The litigation comes on the heels of a new county law — which commissioners approved on April 4 — that requires Airbnb users in Miami-Dade County to pay three taxes totaling 6 percent on all rentals in the area. However, the company will not be required to provide the names and addresses of hosts and guests. Miami Beach is exempt from the rule, and Airbnb has to negotiate a separate deal with the city.

According to a memo written by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, tourism taxes collected by Airbnb could generate up to $6 million in the first year of the agreement. Gimenez also said the county would soon begin working on legislation to regulate homes and apartments rented through Airbnb and similar applications.

Frank McCourt

Real estate investor Frank McCourt sweeps up Palm Beach home for $77M

A trust tied to billionaire real estate investor Frank McCourt paid $77 million for an oceanfront estate in Palm Beach, near neighbors like hedge funder Ken Griffin and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.

Property records show White Sea Holdings LLC — an entity owned by Venezuelan banker and polo player Victor Vargas — sold the 18,452-square-foot mansion at 60 Blossom Way to The 60 Blossom Way Trust, in the care of McCourt L.P. Vargas bought the property from billionaire George Lindemann in 2008 for $68.5 million, public records indicate.

The Polynesian-style home was profiled in Architectural Digest’s January 2008 issue and features interiors by Peter Marino Architect. It was built on a 3.6-acre lot in 2008, and has eight bedrooms, pools, a separate dining pavilion and hardwood and marble finishes.

Related Group nixes Auberge Miami, ups buyer incentives on Paraiso

The Related Group — which has more than a dozen buildings underway this cycle in South Florida — has shut down its Auberge Residences & Spa Miami project and is offering a slew of incentives at its Paraiso development.

The developer closed the Auberge sales center, at 1440 Biscayne Boulevard, in December, and sales agents reached by phone early last month said the project had been canceled. Related launched the project in February 2016, just as sales were slowing in Miami’s preconstruction condo market. Prices ranged from $350,000 to $3.9 million. By mid-2016, 15 percent of the units had been sold, according to a report from International Sales Group. Deposits were returned at the end of the year, sources said.

And in the latest barrage to sell preconstruction units, Related is trying to incentivize buyers at its four-building Paraiso development in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The company is offering free maintenance for a year and accepting 30 percent deposits, rather than the usual 50 percent.

With units priced from the low $600,000s to $2 million and maintenance averaging 70 cents per square foot, the incentive amounts to at least several thousand dollars a year.

The first tower is sold out, and the remaining three are nearly sold as well, according to Related.

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