Downtown Miami too hot for a Heat guard?

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

NBA superstar Dwyane Wade appears to be the latest victim of the rebounding South Florida condo market.

A month before the Miami Heat starts training in pursuit of three straight NBA titles, the all-star guard has apparently vacated his rented penthouse 4904 in the twin-tower Vizcayne condo, which is conveniently located down the street from the team’s home court at the American Airlines Arena. The departure of Wade clears the way for his landlord to sell off the triplex unit during a strengthening real estate market and just in time for the busy winter buying season.

I have been told that Wade lived in Vizcayne rent-free, lending his star power in exchange for an occasional crash pad.

Whatever the set-up, his former landlord — an entity controlled by New York hedge fund Rockwood Capital — is asking more than $2.6 million for the three-bedroom unit that it claims is nearly 3,300 square feet, or $806 per square feet.

Miami-Dade County lists the size of the unit at less than 3,005 square feet, and appraises it at less than half the sticker price — $1.1 million.

If Rockwood Capital is able to achieve such a premium for Wade’s formal rental, the transaction would rank as one of the most expensive deals ever in the 849-unit residential complex that was completed in 2008 as the South Florida condo market was collapsing.

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Rockwood Capital did not build the Vizcayne –- originally named Everglades on the Bay –- instead acquiring 663 units out of U.S. bankruptcy court in a $142 million bulk deal in November 2010, according to Miami-Dade County records.

In the three years since the Vizcayne acquisition, Rockwood Capital has been working vigorously to try to sell off the units Rockwood Capital’s effort to sell its remaining five dozen units –- with a startling high eight-percent commission — offloading more than 600 units at an average price of $381 per square foot, according to government records up to Sept. 15.

In the first full year of sales in 2011, Rockwood Capital sold about 19 units per month at an average price of less than $315 per square foot. The following year, another 19 units per month were sold at an average price of $378 per square foot. In the first eight months of 2013, Rockwood Capital has sold slightly less than 18 units per month at an average price of $470 per square foot, according to government records.

Year to date, buyers have acquired about 25 units on the resale market at an average price of about $425 per square foot, according to the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

It remains unclear, however, whether investors will pay a premium for unsold developer units –- even if a sports star such as Wade once lived there — from the last South Florida real estate boom-and bust cycle when 40 new condo projects are in the pipeline.

Peter Zalewski is a special columnist for The Real Deal who founded the real estate consultancy and publishing company Condo Vultures LLC in March 2006. His analytics firm Condo Ratings Agency operates in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.