Developer Yair Levy is moving forward with plans to renovate a building in the heart of downtown Miami’s jewelry district, as development begins to ramp up in the area.
Levy, who acquired the Metro Mall Miami building about two years ago, broke ground on a $35 million renovation of the circa-1926 building. It’s expected to be completed by the spring of next year, according to a release.
Levy’s Time Century Holdings LLC paid $14.5 million for the 225,000-square-foot building at 1 Northeast First Street in July 2018.
A former Manhattan developer, Levy was permanently banned in 2011 by the New York state Attorney General’s office from selling condos and co-ops in the state. He rose to real estate prominence through several high-profile residential condo conversions in New York before the last recession.
The four-block jewelry district is home to more than 500 jewelry stores and generates more than $1 billion in sales annually. Across the street from Metro Mall is the historic Seybold Building, a centerpiece of the jewelry district.
The Metro Mall’s renovation is designed by architect Kobi Karp. The building has already been gutted, and Levy plans to “bring the building back to its glory days,” he said in a statement. The developer has also signed leases with unnamed jewelry stores “who realized they and their customers deserve better,” he added. The retail space is now 40 percent preleased.
The building’s new floor plans will include space for jewelry wholesalers, stores, craftsmen and repair services, according to the release. Four stories will be set aside for retail and wholesale space, and the four additional floors will be office space. The building will also have a three-story atrium, glass storefronts and valet parking.
Moishe Mana is the largest landlord in the Flagler Street area of downtown. The downtown Miami investor has amassed at least $375 million worth of properties downtown totaling over 1.3 million square feet of buildings, over the past few years. Mana is now seeking to raise $400 million to $500 million in capital for his companies, from family offices and high-net-worth individuals, to finance his developments.