Little River Center, former BofA building in Little Haiti sells to California buyer

Presidente Supermarkets owner sold 3.19-acre property

Apr.April 02, 2015 10:30 AM

A California company purchased the old 178,810-square-foot Bank of America building in Little Haiti for $6.2 million, The Real Deal has learned.

Tony Ulloa of Keyes Commercial was the exclusive broker for the transaction, which closed on March 31st. The buyer: API OS Holdings LLC based in Roseville, California. The seller: Pedro Rodriguez, president of the Presidente Supermarkets chain, and his wife Ana.

Ulloa told TRD that the buyer has no definite plans for the 3.19-acre property at 7924 Northeast Second Avenue.

Rodriguez, who bought the property for $3 million three years ago, planned to transform the old bank building into a 110-unit affordable housing project and develop a new Presidente Supermarket store on the property’s old parking lot, the Biscayne Times reported in 2012. Those plans are still being pursued, Ulloa said, but at another site somewhere in Miami.

Prior to selling the land, however, construction crews hired by Rodriguez labored to rip off the building’s graffiti marked skin, leaving behind a looming seven-story skeleton. “I called it the carcass,” Ulloa quipped. “But it’s a strong carcass.”

Developed in 1973 and officially known as The Little River Center, the building was originally owned by Barnett Bank, which operated a branch on the bottom floor. By 1998, Bank of America owned the building and operated the bank branch. In the years before it shut down, the Department of Children and Families and South Florida Workforce operated in the upper floors, the Biscayne Times reported in 2010.

The Little River Center was already rundown when Hurricane Wilma slammed into it in 2005. Although the building was declared unsafe, a subsidiary controlled by Teresa Cardenas purchased it for $5.8 million in 2006. When Cardenas couldn’t pay her $4.95 million mortgage, a subsidiary of Sabadell Bank foreclosed on the property in August 2010.

The building marks the latest commercial sale in Little Haiti, where redevelopment is heating up. A new co-working space, MADE at the Citadel, just opened at 8325 Northeast Second Avenue, in a 26,000 square-foot building that was Bellsouth’s former headquarters. The property was purchased and refurbished by Thomas Conway of Conway Commercial Real Estate and his partners Daniel Buraglia and Nick Hamann of Urban Atlantic Group. Investing a total of $5 million in Little Haiti properties, the partners have also bought a 65,000-square-foot building across the street from MADE, which will be a retail and fashion market and offices, Conway told TRD.

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