The Real Deal Miami

Developer completes Design District’s tallest building, in talks with tenants

ICA mural covers south facade fronting I-195

Aerial view of the Mason Building with the ICA mural. Inset: Alex Karakhanian

Developer Alex Karakhanian has completed the gut renovation and redevelopment of the Mason Building, which currently marks the tallest building in the Miami Design District at seven stories.

The project scored its certificate of occupancy and has installed a 90 by 50-foot mural on the side fronting I-195, Karakhanian told The Real Deal. He’s looking for one tenant to occupy the nearly 22,000-square-foot office building at 3704 Northeast Second Avenue, and said he’s in talks with “several very interested parties.”

Building under construction

Karakhanian declined to provide the asking rent, but said that it’s in line with the market and that it’s a blended rate. “Design District rents have been anywhere from $150 to $400 [per square foot] in the last months for ground level,” he said.

The first floor and mezzanine total 6,032 square feet, the third floor and fourth floors are 3,688 square feet each, and floors five through seven are 2,433 square feet. The fifth story also has a 1,250-square-foot terrace.

Records show 3704 NE 2nd Ave LLC, an entity controlled by Karakhanian and his wife Rena, paid $3.5 million for the property in 2012. Karakhanian said it was originally a three-story building.

Shulman + Associates designed the project and By His Grace Construction was the general contractor. “It was a dilapidated shell when I acquired it in 2012,” Karakhanian said, calling the project a “very complicated buildout.”

The south facade now features the mural by Thomas Bayrle called “Lufthansa.” The Karakhanians donated the space to the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, which is completing its new museum a few blocks away. ICA will likely change the mural a couple of times a year at its discretion. The museum is slated to open Dec. 1 of next year.

“ICA is sort of deep in the Design District, and not everybody is aware of where it is,” Karakhanian said. He hopes the mural space brings visitors into the arts and luxury-retail focused neighborhood.