Helm Equities launches retail, office leasing effort for Design District mega-development

Helm Equities Design District
Helm Equities Design District

A New York investor who spent $12.5 million on a former church site in Miami’s Design District in 2014 is debuting its plans for an office and retail project on the property.

While the site at 4201 Northeast Second Avenue can support a development of up to 325,000 square feet, the first phase of the project will comprise 75,000 square feet of retail and more than 100,000 square feet of office space.

Helm Equities, a subsidiary of JEMB Realty run by Ayal Horovits and partner David Escava, is partnering with the Gindi family (of Century 21 fame and fortune) on the deal, Horovits told The Real Deal Monday at ICSC’s ReCon event in Las Vegas. The developers may ultimately add a hotel or residential concept to the project, too.

A team led by NGKF’s Tom Citron has been tapped to lease the space. Construction has not yet commenced.

“The retail market in Miami is absolutely fantastic,” Citron’s colleague, Mitch Friedel, told TRD. “In general, the shopping center business is on decline but streetfront retail has been on fire. What Helm is doing is a tremendous opportunity.”

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Asking rents for the retail space are approximately $175 per square foot on the ground floor and $90 per square foot for the upper level space, the NGKF team said. Office rents are still under discussion.

Helm certainly isn’t the only New York developer eying Miami’s Design District for investment. Last summer, David Edelstein’s New York-based TriStar Capital added three properties, at 114 Northeast 40th Street, 130 Northeast 40th Street and 135 Northeast 39th Street to its portfolio for a record $65 million. And New York-based Thor Equities recently nabbed the site of a United States Post Office in the area for $43 million, or $1,402 per square foot.

Dacra, which has led the transformation of the Design District, signed off on the expansion of the area’s special area plan to include Helm Equities’ development site last year. By the end of next year, the neighborhood is expected to have more than 120 luxury-brand stores, a boutique hotel, 15 to 20 restaurants, luxury residential condos and lofts, galleries, furniture showrooms, as well as large-scale public art, design and graphic art installations.

Horovits said his property will have an edge over the others.

“Because we’re doing ground up, tenants can have input on design elements,” he said.