UPDATED June 14, 12:30 p.m. Filling Station Lofts, the 10-story, 81-unit apartment building in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District, is converting to condos, The Real Deal has learned. The move comes amid a slowdown in condo sales in South Florida. But developer Ron Gottesmann, principal of NR Investments, said the switch is being spurred by demand from existing tenants and local buyers who are drawn to the area.
“I really believe the end-user is the market,” Gottesmann told TRD. “You don’t need to look outside the country for buyers.”
Filling Station Lofts, at 1657 North Miami Avenue, has 81 apartments, all with 20-foot tall ceilings. Rents have ranged from $2,400 to $5,700, or an average of $2.80 per square foot, he said. The building, built in 2014, is now 75 percent occupied.
As condos, sales will launch at $400,000 to $1.2 million, Gottesmann said. The average price will be $565 per square foot. Fortune International Realty is handling sales and marketing.
Existing tenants will have the option to stay until their leases expire, or even renew their leases, he said. So far, 12 tenants have verbally agreed to purchase units. Another six domestic buyers have also expressed interest in units, he said.
And unlike the vast majority of condo projects in Miami, buyers will have to put down 20 percent deposits — 10 percent at contract signing and 10 percent 45 days later — rather than the usual 50 percent, Gottesmann said.
Financing options are also available. The project already has received approval from Fannie Mae. Buyers will have access to financing with 5 percent down — for the smallest units with Fannie Mae approval — or 20 percent to 30 percent down for larger units. “The leading bank for end-users is City National Bank, and they came in with a very aggressive program for the buyers,” he said.
“The market today is selling with 50 percent deposits that the end-user cannot afford,” Gottesmann added. “Because of the uniqueness and quality of people we have in the building, we want to help them buy the units, and the only way is to get the banks to approve.”
Units in the building have 34 different layouts. Amenities include a renovated pool deck, barbeque area, gym membership.
Three new restaurants are also opening in ground level space in addition to Vice City Bean, which is already open. Taula, a Mediterranean restaurant, has signed a lease for 2,400 square feet and will begin building out its space. Two other restaurant tenants are currently in contract negotiations, Gottesmann said.