Entrepreneurs take control of Brickell property, plan mixed-use project

Developers say it's not a good time in the cycle for new projects

Nov.November 22, 2016 03:00 PM
The motel at 106 Southwest Eighth Street

The motel at 106 Southwest Eighth Street

Two dot-com entrepreneurs just bought out a Brickell hotel’s long-term lease for $5.5 million, reportedly bringing their total holdings to more than an acre in the burgeoning neighborhood.

With an entire side of a block to work with along Southwest First Avenue, Jose Rasco and Juan Calle are now exploring an adaptive reuse project that would modernize their existing buildings.

Rasco and Calle, who co-founded the company behind Colombia’s .CO internet domain extension, are the landowners of the lot at 106 Southwest Eighth Street, which houses the pay-by-hour Karyna Motel. The two just bought out the remaining 37 years on the motel’s lease, giving them full control of the land, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

That deal brings the group’s total holdings to 45,000 square feet of land on the block. They previously bought the small King Condominium at 101 Southwest Ninth Street, as well as the office building at 120 Southwest Eighth Street. County records show entities controlled by Rasco and Calle have spent more than $17 million on the block in the last four years.

Rasco told the Business Journal that he plans to redevelop his group’s holdings later on, but has no immediate plans to demolish the buildings because the timing is wrong to launch a new project, especially condos.

Eventually, he told the publication, he would probably build rental apartments with a ground-floor retail component. He’s planning to renovate the Karyna Motel in the short term, and has already modernized the next-door office building where Rasco’s co-working business occupies 15,000 square feet.

According to published reports, Rasco and Calle’s .CO Internet company was bought out by tech firm Neustar for $109 million in 2014. [South Florida Business Journal]Sean Stewart-Muniz

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