The historic Buena Vista Post Office building in Miami’s Design District just sold for $8.125 million, marking a near-record price per square foot in the redeveloping neighborhood, The Real Deal has learned.
The 2,287-square foot building at 4000 Northeast Second Avenue, which was the former site of the Billionaire clothing store, sold for $3,553 per square foot to a New York-based investment group that represents foreign investors, Chariff Realty Group President Lyle Chariff told TRD. The buyers are part of the same group that purchased Power Studios in the Design District from Chariff and his partners in June 2015. The latest sale closed on Monday afternoon and has not yet cleared records.
Chariff and Steve Budin, CEO of Sportsinfo.com, were the sellers. Chariff said he had a 10 percent stake. They purchased the building for $479,000 in July 2003, meaning it sold for nearly 16 times its purchase price in just under 14 years.
Built in 1921 by Buena Vista’s original developer David P. Davis as a post office, the neoclassical building sits on a 3,375-square-foot lot. It recently underwent an extensive interior buildout costing more than $1 million, Chariff said.
Over the years, the historically designated building has seen several tenants come and go. The site was originally an insurance agency and then a furniture store before restaurateur Amir Ben-Zion put in Domo Japones, and later Sra. Martinez with chef Michelle Bernstein, and then South Street under chef Amaris Jones. For the last three years Billionaire had leased the property.
Billionaire was recently purchased by the retailer Philipp Plein, which triggered a change in ownership clause on the lease, Chariff said. Negotiations with the new company were not successful, so the store moved out about three months ago, and Budin and Chariff decided to sell the building.
Chariff said he called Dacra President and CEO Craig Robins to see if he would be interested in buying it or knew someone. He did. “Three phone calls later we made an agreement and within 30 days the deal closed,” Chariff said. “The group knew the building and they trusted Craig…. It’s a very important corner and it kind of sets the tone for what is going on.”
Chariff said the new owners, who he declined to name, do not have immediate plans to lease the space, whose exterior cannot be altered because of its historic designation.
The sale marks the latest deal for Budin and Chariff, who have partnered on several properties in the past. In lieu of commissions, Chariff said he has taken a participation percentage in all the buildings, and also handled leasing management.
The Design District is in the midst of a transformation into a luxury shopping, dining and cultural destination, spearheaded by Robins. It will ultimately include more than 120 stores and at least 15 restaurants, as well as hotels, museums and other cultural offerings.
Major investors have swooped in to buy properties in recent years. In March of last year, Norfolk, Virginia-based Harbor Group International bought a retail building at 111 Northeast 40th Street for $21.5 million or $2,445 per square foot.
Brooklyn-based Redsky Capital and London-based JZ Capital Partners have added to their portfolio in the area, paying $128.3 million for eight sites encompassing nearly two blocks, in February 2016. In all, the joint venture partners have invested more than $233 million in the district.
And in November, David Edelstein and his partner paid $10 million for 140 Northeast 40th Street, or $3,704 per square foot for the building, which currently stands as the record sale price in the district.