The Real Deal Miami

Entire block of Lincoln Road sells for $370M to Spanish billionaire

In second biggest sale ever in Miami-Dade, partnership led by Michael Comras and Jonathan Fryd unload properties they bought for $12M in 1999
1035 Lincoln Road

1035 Lincoln Road

In one of the largest real estate deals in Miami-Dade history, an entire block of Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road has traded hands for $370 million. And the buyer is the world’s fourth richest person, a Spanish fashion billionaire whose empire includes Zara, The Real Deal has learned.

A partnership led by local commercial real estate investors and developers Michael Comras and Jonathan Fryd sold the properties that run from 1001 Lincoln Road through 1035 Lincoln Road, now home to newly built stores for Gap, Intermix, Athleta, Apple and the future location for Nike – which will be built at the former site of Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma. The properties total about 48,000 square feet of land and 75,000 square feet of buildings.


Michael Comras

“It’s definitely a blockbuster sale,” Comras told TRD. “It’s the biggest thing I have ever been involved in. It’s the culmination of so many years of planning and working together with Jonathan and we put together an amazing asset, a perfectly curated asset.”

The investors assembled the properties in 1999, paying a total of about $12 million. They then started to lease space to national retailers, helping to spearhead the transformation of the pedestrian promenade, where rents have now skyrocketed to about $300 per square foot.

The sale, which was recorded Wednesday and hit property records late Thursday, is to Playa Retail Investments, with an address at 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Suite 201, according to property records. The firm’s managers include Jose Arnau Sierra, Jaime Carro Merchan, and Roberto Cibeira Moreiras, public records show.

Yet a search of the address links to various entities titled Ponte Gadea, owned by Amancio Ortega, a Spaniard who heads a fashion empire whose most well-known brand is Zara.

armanio ortega

Amancio Ortega

Forbes currently ranks the 79-year-old self-made billionaire as the world’s fourth richest person, pegging his wealth at $70.2 billion.

In 2012, Forbes wrote that he “seems to be using more of his free time to invest in real estate. He has pulled money from Spanish investment funds and poured it into buildings through his Ponte Gadea real estate investment firm,” whose holdings include the Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid.

Comras could not confirm the buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

At $370 million, the deal tops the largest sale previously on Lincoln Road, a six-property portfolio that traded last year for $342 million. The only commercial site to fetch a higher price was the $375 million sale of a 50 percent stake in Fontainebleau Miami Beach seven years ago.

“It’s a project that we started 16 years ago, and Jonathan and I felt that we had really created one of the most incredible retail blocks on a High Street around the world, with a selection of retailers second to none, and once we had the proper leases and created the value, it made sense to sell the asset,” Comras told TRD.

Lincoln Road is an amazing street, and Miami Beach is an amazing city, and it’s a world class destination,” he added. “It’s just an incredible asset and I’m happy to be part of it.”

  • Mitch Novick

    This certainly is an impressive sale. Congratulations to Michael Comras and Jonathan Fryd.

    My concern is that Lincoln Road has changed forever and not necessarily for better. I rarely go there anymore as it has become boring. I haven’t seen so many vacancies throughout South Beach since the late 1980’s.

    Consider the problems which plague nearby Washington Avenue.

    The only way to clean up Washington Avenue is to address the negative impact the nearby MXE (Mixed Use Entertainment) zoning has on the entire neighborhood. Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue from 5th to 16th Street have become a cesspool and Washington Avenue gets the spill over.

    How many smoke shops, 7/elevens, and tattoo parlors does any neighborhood need?

    Non-enforcement of vehicular noise and the unrestricted noise from open air establishments on Ocean Drive is what fuels the Riff-Raff which plague the area. News stories of gunfire erupting on Ocean Drive, countless Sexual assaults, Robberies up 35%, and tourist beatings is a good reason for national tenants and international tourists to flee Miami Beach. People are scared for their safety. They are finding more sophisticated places to spend their $$$.

    I would hope that during this election cycle, candidates with the gumption to not pander to special interests stand up and make this an issue.

    Perhaps more residents, those who vote, and those who govern will also begin to understand that the nonsense which occurs in this neighborhood, affects all of Miami Beach.

  • Randall Hilliard

    Kudos to Michael and Jonathan and their vision to have assembled this property. In 1999, some people said they overpaid. So much for that postulate.

  • Anon

    Hats off to the sellers. Some serious vision and work went into making this happen.

  • Upset people

    And millions of kids doesn’t have a breakfast around the world !!!! That’s not fair