Amid rising demand, investors acquire apartment portfolio in Little Havana

The plan is to upgrade the 8 buildings and flip them this year

Abiel Ballesteros with 676 Southwest Second Street, and 529 Southwest Seventh Court (Credit: Google Maps)
Abiel Ballesteros with 676 Southwest Second Street, and 529 Southwest Seventh Court (Credit: Google Maps)

A group of investors has acquired a 103-unit apartment portfolio in Miami’s Little Havana, with plans to upgrade the properties and flip them amid heightened demand in the neighborhood.

The venture paid $10.45 million for the properties. Abiel Ballesteros, the owner of United Dream Real Estate, along with investment partners Rene Sanchez, Sam Jazayri, Luis Becker and Gerardo Murzi, bought the eight buildings from Argentinean investor Ezequiel Steinman.

Steinman had purchased the properties between 2009 and 2013 and had renovated most of them, said Ballesteros, who also represented the buyers in the deal. Jose Melgar of Douglas Elliman represented the seller.

The deal works out to $101, 456 per unit. Ballesteros said the units are 97 percent occupied with a mix of 75 percent one-bedroom apartments, 15 percent two-bedrooms and 10 percent studios. The average rent is $800 a month.

The investors’ plan is to paint the apartments, renovate the kitchens and bathrooms as needed, and raise the rents. Then they will try to resell the buildings this year, either individually or as a portfolio, he said.

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The buildings are 676 Southwest Second Street, with 18 units, built in 1933; 529 Southwest Seventh Court, with eight units, built in 1922; 967 Southwest Fifth Street, with 19 units, built in 1925; 977 Southwest Fifth Street with four units, built in 1924; 1142 Southwest Fourth Street with 20 units, built in 1935; 1012 Southwest Fourth Street with 11 units built in 1925; 1036 Southwest Fifth Street with 15 units built in 1925; and 1648 Southwest Seventh Street with eight units built in 1924.

The group is banking on increasing investor interest in Little Havana, amid a surge of redevelopment.

Earlier this month, Key International sold Havana Palms II, a 79-unit multifamily complex at 931 Southwest Third Street in Little Havana for $10.1 million

to an undisclosed foreign buyer.

And in November, New York-based Gateway Realty paid $5.6 million for a five-building rental portfolio with 57 apartments in Little Havana.

Meanwhile, developer Ricky Trinidad’s Metronomic is planning several developments in Little Havana, including a series of two-story residential projects called La Elaina, and a five-story office building called SieteOcho at 640 Southwest Eighth Avenue. Metronomic is also planning to build TriniSuites Dos y Medio, a five-story, 20-unit rental building next to Miami Dade College’s InterAmerican Campus.