Whitman scores $550M loan for Bal Harbour Shops

Financing includes replacement of $150M loan from SunTrust

Bal Harbour Shops, Matthew Whitman Lazenby, Erica English, Howard Friedberg and Michael Katz
Bal Harbour Shops, Matthew Whitman Lazenby, Erica English, Howard Friedberg and Michael Katz

UPDATED, July 8, 2:35 p.m.: Whitman Family Development closed on a $550 million loan for Bal Harbour Shops, as the high-end shopping center undergoes a major expansion.

MetLife Investment Management is the lender, according to a release from Katz Barron. The financing replaces a $150 million loan that SunTrust Bank provided in February 2018, plus new debt to fund construction of the multi-phased expansion that’s expected to take several years to complete, said Erica English of Katz Barron.

English, Michael Katz, Howard Friedberg and Erin Auble represented Whitman in the financing deal for the shopping center at 9700 Collins Avenue in Bal Harbour. HFF’s Manny de Zárraga, Chris Drew, Jim Dockerty and Matthew McCormack brokered the loan.

Whitman Family Development secured approval about two years ago for a $400 million expansion and renovation of Bal Harbour Shops that will add more than 340,000 square feet to the 511,000-square-foot property. The expansion plans include the first Barneys New York flagship store in the Southeastern United States and new luxury boutiques and restaurants. Bernard Zyscovich of Zyscovich Architects is the lead designer on the project.

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The approval followed years of contentious politics, lawsuits and last-minute opposition from anchor tenant Saks Fifth Avenue. Bal Harbour Shops’ founder Stanley Whitman opened the luxury shops in 1965. He died less than a week after the expansion project was approved in 2016.

The family company acquired land to pursue the expansion, including spending $30 million to buy the former Church by the Sea property the same year the village approved the project.

Other high-end South Florida shopping areas are also expanding, including the Miami Design District and Aventura Mall.

To secure the $550 million loan, Whitman transferred ownership of the shops to Bal Harbour Shops LLC from Bal Harbour Shops LLLP. The new company is fully owned by the Whitman family, English said. Because the previous limited liability limited partnership owned other assets, the change in Bal Harbour Shops’ ownership affected “virtually every aspect of finance and operations, all of which had to be re-invented in alignment with the loan requirements and implemented within the closing timeline,” according to the release from Katz Barron.

Whitman is also a retail co-developer with Swire Properties and Simon Property Group on the retail component at Brickell City Centre.

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