UPDATED Nov. 30, 12:20 p.m.: A buyer at Muse Residences in Sunny Isles Beach is suing to recover more than $7 million in deposits after alleging the development group misrepresented the size of their condos in marketing materials.
Stephen Hess, who lives in Pinellas County, and an affiliated Florida company called Clearwater Beach Co. filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against PMG-S2 Sunny Isles LLC. The plaintiffs put down deposits in 2014 and 2015 to buy three condos in the planned luxury condo tower at 17100 Collins Avenue, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs allege that sales materials advertised that the “A/C Area” of the units would be 3,635 square feet. The buyer believed the “A/C Area” would be the actual living space of the condos. In reality, the suit alleges the units were about 400 square foot smaller because the “A/C Area” included exterior areas and includes structural columns, corridors, balconies and other common areas not part of the units.
The buyer was unaware of what “A/C Area” meant because the lawsuit alleges it was only disclosed in a tiny “unreadable” disclaimer at the bottom of the floor plans. The plaintiffs allege this violates Florida law regarding conspicuous type, which requires at least 10-point bold type.
It is “only with nose to the page squinting, or the aid of a magnifying glass,” that one can understand what the disclaimer says, according to the lawsuit. Had the plaintiffs known that the units were smaller than what was represented in the sales materials, the plaintiffs would not have bought the condos, the suit said.
Josh Rubens, a partner at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, who represents the development group, disputed the claims.
“The plaintiffs’ claims are baseless and will be vigorously defended,” he said via email. “It was only months after plaintiffs failed to close on the units and the developer terminated their contracts that plaintiffs began alleging far-fetched claims reminiscent of the last cycle.”
He added, “This lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate attempt to recover the plaintiffs’ deposits.”
Property Markets Group and S2 Development completed the 68-unit, 49-story tower at 17100 Collins Avenue earlier this year. The building was designed by Carlos Ott and Sieger Suarez. Dr. Deepak Chopra, a New Age and alternative medicine advocate, designed the finishes for some of the units at the tower.
Sunny Isles Beach has the highest inventory of high-priced luxury condos in Miami-Dade County, according to a recent report. The beach town just north of Miami Beach is saddled with 17 years of inventory of condos priced at $5 million and up, the report from EWM Realty International said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misrepresented the number of buyers. It is one buyer with an affiliated company.