Developer and New York investor Yair Levy made his first real estate purchase in South Florida, and he doesn’t plan to stop at one.
Levy’s Time Century Holdings paid $14.5 million for the Metro Mall building, a development site in the heart of downtown Miami’s jewelry district, at 1 Northeast First Street.
Levy plans to renovate the 225,000-square-foot building, according to a press release. The building sits on a 33,750-square-foot corner lot that’s zoned for 810,000 square feet, 774 units and at least 80 stories of development.
Colliers International South Florida’s Mika Mattingly, Gerard Yetming and Linn Ahsberg represented the seller, Metro Mall Limited, which was led by Stanley Goldberg, Judith Jaffe and Joyce Goldberg. Wedad Saad-Anderson of New Capital Realty represented the buyer.
Levy acquired the building’s master lease and 84.2 percent of the land, Mattingly said. It’s now vacant.
“There were a lot of hoops to jump through before [Levy] could even buy it,” she said. “At one point they didn’t think the building could be renovated.”
Mattingly said the property, built in 1926, saw interest from two jewelry groups from New York. Levy plans to renovate it back “to its glory days,” transforming it into a luxury jewelry center.
Levy rose to real estate prominence through several high-profile residential condo conversions in Manhattan, but his real estate empire unraveled during the recession. In 2011, he was permanently banned by the New York state Attorney General’s office from selling condos and co-ops in the state, and has largely stayed under the radar since then.
In recent years, prices for commercial properties in Flagler Street area of downtown Miami have soared, with developer and investor Moishe Mana spending more than $200 million on properties in that area alone.