Omni CRA buys Diana Lowenstein Gallery in Wynwood, aiming to redevelop as a mixed-use project

CRA will put the nearly half-acre property out to bid this fall

Jul.July 19, 2018 09:45 AM

Diana Lowenstein Gallery and Anthony Balzebre

The Omni Community Redevelopment Agency just bought the Diana Lowenstein Gallery property in Wynwood for $6 million, with plans to put it out for bid for affordable or workforce housing and retail space, The Real Deal has learned.

DLFA Inc., an entity led by the Lowenstein family and Bruce Lazar of Lionstone Development, sold the nearly half-acre site at 2035, 2037 and 2043 North Miami Avenue for about $300 per foot.

Michael Sullivan of Koniver Stern Group represented the seller. Records show the Lowenstein family assembled the properties for $1.2 million in 2005.

The art gallery has since moved to 98 Northwest 29th Street. Lowenstein and Lazar were unavailable for comment.

Anthony Balzebre, assistant director of the Omni CRA, said the agency has been looking for the past year-and-a-half for a property along the North Miami Avenue corridor that would be developed into a new building with ground-floor retail and affordable or workforce housing. Earlier this year, the CRA negotiated the deal for $6 million, the same price as the appraised value.

The plan is to put it out for bid in a request for proposals to developers for the highest and best use this fall, he said.

“This could be one of the truly affordable workforce housing [developments] in Wynwood,” Balzebre said. “It’s exciting in our end to make a little dent where we can.”

It’s not the first property the Omni CRA has purchased in recent years. Last year, it paid $4.5 million for the historic Citizens Bank Building at 1367 North Miami Ave and is rehabbing it before it issues an RFP by the end of the year to lease or sell the site, Balzebre said.

The Omni CRA also purchased the land that is now the site of the Miami Entertainment Complex (MEC), an 88,000-square-foot television production studio at 50 Northwest 14th Street. The CRA bought the property from the Miami-Dade School Board for $3.1 million in 2011.

Wynwood, known for its artsy vibe, is booming with new retail stores, restaurants and multifamily developments. Among the planned mixed-use projects are the Bradley, a 175-unit apartment building with about 32,000 square feet of retail space and an underground parking garage at 51 Northwest 26th Street, under construction by the Related Group and Block Capital Group. Also, East End Capital and Related are developing Wynwood 25, with 289 apartments, about 31,000 square feet of retail space and 340 parking spaces at 339 Northwest 24th Street.

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