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Contentious Privé condo project begins closings

Developers are projecting a $500M sellout for the 160-unit project
By Katherine Kallergis | January 08, 2018 08:45AM

Prive at Island Estates and BH3’s Charlie Phelan, Greg Freedman and Daniel Lebensohn and Gary Cohen

UPDATED, 11:25 a.m., Jan. 10: The controversial Privé at Island Estates is nearly completed, despite pending litigation from opposing neighbors – who, in one case, rammed his high-end car into freshly poured concrete.

Developers BH3 and Gary Cohen are recording closings at the luxury Aventura condo complex, property records show. And they expect the two-tower, 160-unit project to sell out for about $500 million, BH3’s Daniel Lebensohn said.

The development is nearly 80 percent sold to a mix of buyers from Florida, New York and Latin America. The developers received a temporary certificate of approval for the first building and are expecting to receive a TCO for the second tower soon, Lebensohn said.

Privé, which sits on an 8-acre island at 5000 Island Estates Drive, includes 70,000 square feet of amenities with a large art collection, two 10,000-square-foot fitness centers, pools, Jacuzzis, a private marina, cafe, and guest suites and hobby rooms for purchase.

Prices for remaining units range from about $2.5 million to more than $12 million. Units start at 2,585 square feet, with penthouses covering 9,500 square feet. Sieger Suarez designed the project and Interiors by Steven G handled the interior design.

The developers financed construction with two loans: $102 million from Maxim Capital and Prophet Capital Asset Management and another $25 million from Maxim.

Lebensohn called the completion a “tremendous milestone. We think it speaks volumes about what we’re capable of.”

Some nearby residents of Williams Island have opposed the project for years. Homeowner associations first sued the developers in 2013 in an attempt to stop construction on the basis that Cohen agreed in the late 1990s to only build single-family homes on the project site, which sits on an isle north of Williams Island.

Two years later, homeowners tried to block workers from installing sidewalks on three remaining properties by “sitting in the mud, parking cars and laying on top of them,” Lebensohn said at the time. Neighbors David and Dara Clarke were even arrested after David drove over the newly poured sidewalk with his Porsche. The State Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute, according to their attorney.

In 2016, the developers sued 11 Williams Island homeowners, alleging they violated a 34-year-old settlement agreement prohibiting them from objecting to any new projects on the island.

More recently, in October, a judge deemed that a sidewalk built through the homeowners’ properties was illegal.

Court records show a lawsuit filed in 2017 by the homeowners association against the city of Aventura and Privé’s developers is still open.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that neighbors retaliated against the development by ramming their high-end cars over freshly poured concrete. Only David Clarke drove over the concrete in his Porsche.