Gil Dezer is assembling a big chunk of land in Sunny Isles Beach

Developer said there's strong demand for units in $500,000 to $1 million range

Jul.July 15, 2016 03:45 PM

With his Porsche Design Tower condominium nearing completion, Gil Dezer has already set his sights on another prime piece of land in Sunny Isles Beach.

The developer has a piece of bayfront land owned by Publix under contract, and after closing he hopes to combine it with a neighboring 3-acre site he already owns, The Real Deal has learned.

Publix owns three parcels at 18330 Collins Avenue, where it currently operates a 42,000-square-foot grocery store that was built in the 1980s. The store itself is practically waterfront, separated from the Intracoastal Waterway only by its rear loading dock.

Two years ago, the supermarket chain filed plans to build a new three-story location with a parking garage much closer to Collins Avenue, plus a sleek 21-story condo tower designed by architect Kobi Karp on the waterfront land it was vacating.

But after strong public backlash from Sunny Isles residents — including a public critique from an attorney representing Dezer, according to a report from the Miami Herald — Publix withdrew the condo portion of its plans.

Publix still plans on razing its current store and building a new three-story building with 53,000 square feet of space closer to Collins Avenue, and has now signed a unity of title for the parcels it needed to move forward with the project, county records show. The unity covers two of the parcels.

That leaves one to-be-vacant bayfront parcel up for grabs — and Dezer has already called dibs.

Dezer told TRD that he placed the land under contract last year. The contract is contingent on Publix moving its store, and the grocery chain still has two more years to make that happen, he said.

Dezer Development already owns the land immediately to the north, which measures roughly three acres, and adding the Publix land gives him roughly five acres of waterfront land with about 500 feet of frontage on the bay. The deal also comes with 13 acres of submerged land, he said, which could be developed into a marina for whatever project is built on his combined parcels.

Since the deal hasn’t closed, Dezer said it’s too early to talk about plans for the property. He did say that there’s strong demand for product on the western side of Sunny Isles Beach in the $500,000 to $1 million range, as opposed to the multimillion-dollar condos currently trading on the ocean side.

And while his firm might not even get to it this cycle, Dezer said, that’s just part of doing business.

“It’s part of our business plan. We don’t mind holding it for future inventory,” Dezer told TRD. “We plan on building here for many many years.”

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