Boulevard 57 cancels condo sales amid market slowdown

Renderings of Boulevard 57
Renderings of Boulevard 57

In another sign of the market slowdown, Boulevard 57, the planned mixed-use project on Biscayne Boulevard, has called off condo sales, The Real Deal has learned. And sources say the entire site is being marketed for $26 million.

Hector Torres, chief operating officer of Unitas Development Group, told TRD he is revising the project’s plans to build only a retail portion instead of the proposed eight-story condo tower on the boulevard at Northeast 57th Street and Northeast 58th in Miami.

“We have suspended the sales program, but we are looking to restart it and build the commercial portion as soon as possible,” he told TRD. “We”re going full speed ahead on the retail area until we understand where the condo market is going.”

The project is the latest to reverse course in South Florida in response to slumping sales. Reports show the market has cooled in recent months amid the strengthening of the U.S. dollar and international economic turmoil.

ONE Sotheby’s International Realty has been handling sales and marketing for Boulevard 57’s condos. A party, “Summer Night on the Boulevard,” was held just last month at the project’s sales center, where about 200 agents and clients viewed newly released floor plans. Calls to a ONE Sotheby’s executive were not returned.

The retail portion of the project, formerly planned at 40,000 square feet, may be expanded to 50,000 square feet, Torres said. Chariff Realty Group is handling leasing of the retail space. Lyle Chariff, president of Chariff Realty said he has had “interest from Trader Joe’s and Publix-type tenants.”

Yet, sources say the entire 2-acre site where Boulevard 57 was planned is being marketed for sale for $26 million. Neither Torres nor Chariff would confirm that.

Anything is for sale for the right price,” Torres said.

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Boulevard 57 was planned as a 107-unit project developed by Unitas, which is backed by Venezuelan oil magnate Gerardo Pantin Shortt.

The project launched condo sales last fall, at prices ranging from $550,000 to $3.8 million or an average of $550 per square foot to $600 per square foot. Designed by Sieger Suarez Architects, the building was geared to have “modern, contemporary architecture with touches MiMo historical architecture,” Torres said in May 2015. Amenities were to include a pool, cabanas, barbecue area, gym, playground and pet area on the third floor deck, as well as penthouses with rooftop decks.

Formerly named “Fifty Seven,” the project was planned for the site of the formerly proposed Kubik, which was to have as many as 300 units. The Unitas Group bought the property for $15 million in July 2014.

Torres said plans are to begin construction of the retail space by the second quarter of next year. The project so far has entitlements, but not approvals, he said.

“We are reserving the rights for the condos until the market tells us what were doing,” Torres said.

As the market has slowed, other condo projects also have suspended sales, including Krystal Tower in downtown Miami, Gulfstream Park Tower in Hallandale Beach, and Oceanbleau in Hollywood. A Douglas Elliman report for the first quarter showed a decline of 17.5 percent for sales of condos and single-family homes in Miami compared to the same period of the last year.

“These are normal things that happen during normal cycles of real estate,” Torres told TRD. “We’re fortunate we have a large portion of retail we can bifurcate. We are in a good position compared to other developments that are all residential that need to cancel based on the fact that sales are pretty much flat for now.”