Design District project clears litigation, scores construction financing

Rendering of Design 41 (Inset: Asi Cymbal, project's former partner)
Rendering of Design 41 (Inset: Asi Cymbal, project's former partner)

After a messy feud between developers Asi Cymbal and Benjamin Norton almost led to Design 41’s collapse, the project in Miami’s Design District appears to be moving forward.

County records show Design District Development Partners, headed by Norton, just secured a fresh $24.3 million loan for the company’s construction site at 112 Northeast 41st Street.

Along with the new loan, court records show two pieces of litigation threatening to upend the project from Cymbal were dismissed.

The allegations were harsh: Cymbal claimed Norton failed to come up with financing for the project despite touting himself as an expert in sourcing EB-5 investors, and that the development entity — under Norton’s management — stiffed Cymbal’s contracting firm A&C Builders on several months of payment, prompting a foreclosure attempt on a construction lien.

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To top it off, Cymbal alleged that Norton tried to cut him out of the deal by removing Cymbal as a managing member of the development entity, according to one of the lawsuits. Despite temporarily stalling construction work on the project in 2014, Norton continued development without Cymbal.

But that legal fireball appears to be in the past, as the suits were settled confidentially.

The new financing comes from an affiliate of Canyon Partners, a real estate lender based in Los Angeles that has some $20 billion in assets under its management.

Chariff Realty Group is handling leasing for the building’s offices and showrooms, while Craig Robins’ Miami Design District Associates is responsible for the retail. Designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten, the seven-story Design 41 is slated to open with 8,082 square feet of ground floor retail, 10,000 square feet of showroom space, roughly 20,000 square feet of offices and a rooftop restaurant/lounge.