Leonard Abess buys 86 acres of farmland in western Miami-Dade County

The former owner of City National Bank has established a massive portfolio of land near the western edge of the county

Leonard Abess and his new farmland (Credit: Miami University and Google Maps)
Leonard Abess and his new farmland (Credit: Miami University and Google Maps)

Leonard Abess, the former owner of City National Bank of Florida, bought 68 acres in western Miami-Dade County, adding to his massive portfolio of farmland.

A company tied to Abess bought the vacant land at Southwest 147th Street for $6 million, records show. Abess purchased the property from a company tied to Xavier Rosales Jr.

The property was last purchased in 1990 for $2.1 million, records show.

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According to a South Florida Business Journal report from 2013, Abess has purchased over 1,100 acres of land in western Miami-Dade County. He has also owned other real estate in South Florida. In 2015, a partnership between Abess and Chariff Realty Group partners Lyle Chariff and Mauricio Zapata sold a property in the Design District at 3711 Northeast Second for $14 million.

Abess sold his shares in City National Bank of Florida for more than $900 million to the Spanish bank Caja Madrid in 2009. After selling the bank, Abess gave his current and former employees a gift of $60 million. Abess’ generosity was heralded by the press and even President Obama.

The bank is now owned by Banco de Crédito e Inversiones and is Florida’s third largest bank by assets.

Developers are increasingly eyeing the western part of Miami-Dade County as land becomes more scarce. Last year, Century Homebuilders paid $6.7 million for 11 acres of land, with plans to build 59 single-family homes in west Kendall at the southwest corner of Southwest 136th Street and 157th Avenue.