The Real Deal Miami

Mezerhane seeks approvals for 38-story Brickell office tower redevelopment

Project calls for more than 300,000 square feet of office space
By Sean Stewart-Muniz | December 02, 2016 04:30PM

Renderings of 888 Brickell

Renderings of 888 Brickell

A company affiliated with Venezuela’s Mezerhane family has filed for city approvals to build a 38-story office tower on Brickell Avenue. If built, the tower would be one of the first projects almost entirely composed of offices to open in Brickell during this cycle.

The application, filed with Miami’s Urban Development Review Board, calls for a total redevelopment of the mid-rise office building at 888 Brickell Avenue, which is seven stories and houses only 53,189 square feet.

In its place, a modern 472-foot tower designed by Arquitectonica would be erected, promising to bring roughly 305,000 square feet of offices to the financial district. The building would also house 264 parking spaces, as well as 3,510 square feet of retail and restaurant space if approved.

The Mezerhane family, acting through a company called Alphatur N.V., has owned 888 Brickell Avenue since 1984 when it paid $6.3 million for the building, county records show. The property measures just over half an acre.

According to published reports, the Mezerhane family is known for its contentious relationship with its home country of Venezuala, where Nelson Mezerhane built a fortune from real estate dealings and other business ventures like founding Banco Federal during the 20th century.

Mezerhane sought asylum in the U.S. during Hugo Chavez’s reign over the country, and later filed a $1 billion lawsuit in Florida court against the Venezuelan government claiming it seized his property for dissenting against the regime, according to reports. Alphatur N.V., the owner of 888 Brickell, is controlled by Mashud Mezerhane.

The application for 888 Brickell is set to go before Miami’s Urban Development Review Board on Thursday. Mezerhane’s development plans come at a time when new office space is in high demand.

Large, mixed-use projects like Brickell City Centre and MiamiCentral have both experienced success pre-leasing their significant office components, and market watchers like Avison Young’s Donna Abood have said the urban core is starved from a lack of office supply.