From TRD New York: A partnership led by New York developer Steve Witkoff is in contract to buy the Weston Town Center, The Real Deal has learned. Witkoff is paying about $90 million for the property, sources familiar with the deal said, and hopes to transform the sleepy retail complex into a mixed-use retail destination with a potential hotel component.
The deal would mark the first purchase in Broward County for the Witkoff, led by Chairman and CEO Witkoff.
The seller is Belmont Investment Corp., led by Barry Belmont, which paid $34.3 million for the complex at 1675 Market Street in Weston in 2003, records show. Belmont and his general counsel, Peter Mardinly, based in Media, Pennsylvania, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The contract was signed Thursday, sources said, and the deal is expected to close in the next few months. It’s unclear if Witkoff and his partners have already secured financing for the acquisition. Representatives for the Witkoff Group declined to comment.
The deal gives Witkoff, the developer behind the Edition Hotel in New York and Los Angeles, control of more than 17 acres of land in Weston, an affluent suburban, planned community in Broward that placed 8th on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list in 2016. The town is home to Florida Community Bank, Cleveland Clinic Florida and Ultimate Software.
Insiders said that the completed redevelopment could be worth about $500 million, and potentially include a PUBLIC hotel, the boutique hotel concept founded by hotelier Ian Schrager. Witkoff and Schrager are already bringing a 367-key PUBLIC to New York’s Chrystie Street this summer.
Existing tenants at Weston Town Center include such shops and eateries as Weston Jewelers, Via Moda, Marcella’s Boutique, DelVecchio’s Pizzeria and Graziano’s, according to the center’s website.
The retail complex has struggled and is ripe for a revamp, with a new mix of retail and restaurants, experts say. “You have a captive audience and large office base that would really benefit from some improved food and beverage options and bringing in additional uses,” said Jeff Evans of Miami Beach-based Comras Company.
Sources said the buyers would look to re-entitle the property to allow for the hotel and other potential components.
“It’s great that it will be in new hands and it really has the opportunity to be re-merchandised to cater to the amazing demographics in the area,” said Michael Comras, president of Comras Company, which, along with its partners, is in the midst of turning CocoWalk in Coconut Grove and the Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami into mixed-use centers. “These single-purpose retail destinations have proven to not be as sustainable as mixed-use,” he said.
In South Florida, the Witkoff Group owns the Washington Park Hotel at 1030 Washington Avenue in South Beach, which it redeveloped with Highgate, which manages the 182-room hotel.
In October, Witkoff and partners Panther Capital Management and Highgatesold the New World Tower at 100 Biscayne Boulevard to East End Capital for $84 million.