Developer scores $70M construction loan for apartment project near North Miami

The eight-story, 402-unit building is planned for 11150 Biscayne Boulevard

From left: Ivan Kaufman and Maurice Kaufman with a rendering of Esplanade (Credit: AMAC Holdings and Alt Architect)
From left: Ivan Kaufman and Maurice Kaufman with a rendering of Esplanade (Credit: AMAC Holdings and Alt Architect)

AMAC scored $69.7 million in construction financing for the long-planned Esplanade apartments near North Miami, following years of litigation with a joint venture partner.

New York-based AMAC’s Biscayne Boulevard Property Owner LLC is developing the eight-story, 402-unit multifamily building at 11150 Biscayne Boulevard.

Ocean Bank provided the financing. Holland & Knight’s Elena Otero represented the lender. Ocean Bank’s Federico Tunnermann and Rafael Gonzalez-Jacobo handled the loan.

Esplanade will be the developer’s first project in South Florida. Units are expected to range in size from 682 square feet to 1,425 square feet, Otero said. The project will also include a workforce housing component.

Anillo. Toledo. Lopez, LLC Architecture & Planning designed the apartment building.

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AMAC and its partners paid $16.16 million for the vacant, 5.8-acre site in 2015. At the time, companies tied to Hamden, Connecticut-based Belfonti Companies; and Uniondale, New York-based Arbor Realty Trust; as well as AMAC Holdings, a separate entity of Arbor, were the buyers.

But the development failed to get off the ground as the partnership became embroiled in litigation with a dispute over control of the project and fighting over Belfonti’s role.

Belfonti sued AMAC Holdings in 2017, alleging it was improperly cut out of the deal to build the project. At the same time, Belfonti was defending against a lawsuit filed by AMAC the previous year. According to court records, AMAC owned 94 percent interest and Belfonti had a 6 percent stake when the deal closed.

In its lawsuit, Belfonti accused Kaufman and the AMAC affiliates of reneging on a signed agreement that 1st Sun and AH Biscayne would “equally share” management decisions over the project once the Belfonti affiliate acquired another 19 percent by July 2016. Belfonti alleged AMAC refused to sell it more shares to reach the 25 percent threshold.

The separate lawsuit filed by AMAC accused 1st Sun of breach of contract, breach of good faith and breach of fiduciary duty because the Belfonti affiliate had allegedly refused to sign an operating agreement giving AH Biscayne sole authority over management of the project.

Court documents show the litigation was settled in August.