The Real Deal Miami

Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach developer hit by another lawsuit over construction delays

The luxury condo development in Miami Beach is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson
By Keith Larsen | August 28, 2018 05:30PM

Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach, David Haber, Ophir Sternberg

The development group behind the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach is facing another lawsuit from a prospective buyer over the luxury condo development’s construction delays.

A couple from Beijing recently filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court against 4701 North Meridian LLC, a partnership between Lionheart Capital and Elliott Management Corp., alleging breach of contract. The couple is seeking to get their $2.6 million deposit back on a $6.5 million condo.

The recent lawsuit marks the fifth prospective buyer at the luxury condo development in Miami Beach that is alleging breach of contract over the building’s delays and is seeking a refund of their deposit.

A spokesperson for Lionheart Capital declined to comment on the suit, citing the pending litigation. The spokesperson said the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year and about 70 percent of the units have presold. Elliott Management also declined to comment through a spokesperson.

The contractor, Plaza Construction, which is not named in the lawsuit, declined comment as well.

Built on the former site of the Miami Heart Institute, the building will have 111 residences and 15 stand-alone villas with prices ranging from $2 million to $40 million. Sales started in 2014, but the project has been plagued by construction issues that the development group has declined to publicly comment on.

The latest complaint alleges that the buyers, Jason and Linda Liao, who are part-time residents of Beijing and Miami-Dade County, signed a purchase agreement on Jan. 7, 2016 for unit 603. The Liaos allege the development was supposed to be “substantially completed” by June 30, 2017 and the developer was required to schedule a closing of the purchase of the unit no later than June 30, 2018.

The complaint further alleges the defendant never claimed any “force majeure” events that would entitle the developer to delay construction of the unit for more than 400 days.

“My clients want their money back. They, like many others, want their money out of this project,” said David Haber of the Miami law firm Haber Slade, who is representing the Liaos.

Haber is also representing Marsha Soffer, a daughter of billionaire Turnberry Associates developer Donald Soffer, who filed suit in May against the development group. Soffer is also alleging breach of contract and is seeking a refund of her $2.52 million deposit.

Three other lawsuits filed against the development group — 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 are seeking refunds. Their units ranged in price from $3 million to $4.8 million. The lawsuits are still ongoing.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences is under construction on 7 acres on Surprise Lake in a residential area of Mid-Beach. Lionheart Capital paid Mount Sinai Medical Center $20 million for the property in February 2012. Lionheart secured a $105 million construction loan from Bank of the Ozarks in the summer of 2015, including assuming $10 million in existing construction financing.

The building 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.