The Real Deal Miami

Archbishop Curley Notre-Dame sells for $60M, Avenues to open private school

Family heir to The Gap bought 15-acre site in Little Haiti
By Keith Larsen | November 28, 2018 06:00PM

From left: Bill Fischer and Benno C. Schmidt. (Credit: Google Maps)

An heir to The Gap family fortune just bought the former Archbishop Curley Notre-Dame High School site in Little Haiti for $60 million, with plans to bring an exclusive private school to Miami, sources said.

A Delaware company, VE FL I Operating LLC, bought the 15.5-acre former Catholic high school at 4949 Northeast 2nd Avenue for $3.8 million per acre, according to property records. The LLC’s address is tied to a trust with the same San Francisco address as the family investment firm of Robert Fisher, the chairman of The Gap, property records show.

Sources told The Real Deal that the buyer plans to bring Avenues: The World School to the site. New York-based Avenues is an exclusive private school where tuition costs are over $54,000 per year, according to its website. It has been mentioned by The New York Times and other outlets as one of the top private schools in the world.

Avison Young’s David Duckworth, John K. Crotty, and Michael T. Fay brokered the sale.

The purchase ends speculation as to who would buy the property after Edmonton-based Triple Five Group pulled out of the deal in recent months.

The Archdiocese of Miami closed the Archbishop Curley Notre-Dame High School in 2016. Late that year, it reportedly received a $65 million unsolicited offer for the property.

In September 2017, it hired Avison Young’s David Duckworth, John K. Crotty and Michael T. Fay and Bezold Realty to market the site, unpriced. Bids were due two months later in November 2017.

Triple Five Group, which is planning to build a $4 billion American Dream mall in Miami, was originally reported to be under under contract to buy the property in May.

Triple Five planned to apply for Special Area Plan zoning for the Archbishop Curley campus, where it would build apartments, condominiums and retail space, Robert Gorlow, a Miami Lakes-based consultant for Triple Five had said. Gorlow confirmed to TRD in October that the company withdrew its offer, but declined to comment further, citing a confidentiality agreement.

In 2012, Avenues opened its first school in the U.S. in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. In January, the school opened its second campus in São Paulo, Brazil. The school was founded by Benno Schmidt, the former president of Yale University and dean of Columbia Law School; Chris Whittle, the former owner of Esquire magazine; and Alan Greenberg, the former publisher of Esquire who owned a media company acquired by WebMD in 1999.

The New York school’s renovations were largely funded by raising $75 million from two private-equity firms.

A spokesperson for Avenues did not return multiple requests for comment by phone and email.

The property in Little Haiti is north of the Miami Design District and west of the Upper East Side neighborhood. It’s near two major project sites, the Eastridge Special Area Plan at 5045 Northeast Second Avenue and the planned $200 million redevelopment and expansion of the Jewish Health Systems campus.

Little Haiti is also home to the planned 17.7-acre Magic City Innovation District.