Developer of Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach sued over construction delays

Since March, three civil lawsuits have been filed in Miami-Dade County against a partnership between Lionheart Capital and Elliott Management Corp.

May.May 16, 2018 03:38 PM

Ophir Sternberg in front of rendering of Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach

Three condo buyers are suing the developer of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach over the project’s construction delays, seeking to get their deposits refunded.

Since March, three separate civil lawsuits have been filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court against 4701 North Meridian LLC, which is a partnership between Ophir Sternberg’s Lionheart Capital and Elliott Management Corp.

The three lawsuits — one brought by a Dallas-based couple, one from a Miami-Dade resident and another from a Mexico-based entity — all claim to have entered into purchase agreements and put down deposits for condo units between 2014 and 2015. Their units ranged in price from $3 million to $4.8 million.

The plaintiffs allege that the developer stated in its contracts that the project would be substantially completed by June 30, 2017, which meant that the unit would be “physically habitable and usable for the purpose” for which it was purchased, according to one complaint.

But the project is still under construction and the prospective owners allege that the developer has not begun construction of their units. As a result, the plaintiffs allege that the developer has breached its sales agreement. They are seeking a return of their deposits and to have their attorney fees covered.

One of the suits, filed by Joel and Leslie Wishnick of Dallas, also seeks class action status on behalf of all buyers who signed contracts before June 30, 2017.

A spokesperson for the developer declined comment, citing pending litigation.

The lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Hasteny Trading, the Mexican real estate company; and the Wishnicks also declined to comment. Attorneys representing Eric Gordon, the Miami-Dade resident, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences is under construction on 7 acres on Surprise Lake in a residential area of Mid-Beach on the site of the former Miami Heart Institute. The luxury development will have 111 residences and 15 stand-alone villas with prices ranging from $2 million to $40 million.

Lionheart chose Piero Lissoni, an acclaimed Italian architect known for minimalist design, to design the project. Sales for the project began in 2014. Last year, Douglas Elliman reported that 70 percent of the units were pre-sold.

Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach will feature gardens, pools and 36 private boat slips. Shared amenities will include an art studio, a rooftop pool deck with private cabanas and a restaurant, a waterfront bar and social room, pet grooming facilities, indoor and outdoor yoga studios, a meditation garden and car wash facilities.

Lionheart Capital paid Mount Sinai Medical Center $20 million for the property in February 2012.

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