Mila Group, partners plan hotel and restaurants on Miami River site

Partnership bought the development site for $10M

Gregory Galy of Mila restaurant with the Riverfront property. (Google Maps, LinkedIn via Galy)
Gregory Galy of Mila restaurant with the Riverfront property. (Google Maps, LinkedIn via Galy)

A boutique hotel, beach club and two restaurants are planned for a Miami River site, four years after plans for a Sushi Samba eatery fell through.

Miami Beach restaurateur Gregory Galy’s Mila Group, in partnership with developer Pacific Star Capital and a Spanish investor, bought the property at 40 Southwest North River Drive from an affiliate of the Melo Group for $9.5 million, records show.

Galy is founder of Mila MediterrAsian Restaurant, Rooftop Lounge & Mixology Bar, off Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road at 1636 Meridian Avenue.

Pacific Star Capital, which has offices in Santa Monica, California; Miami Beach; and Singapore, has a 6.2-million-square-foot portfolio worth more than $1.6 billion, according to its website.

Joel Rodriguez of Global Investments Realty represented the seller, and Aaron Butler of Avenue Real Estate Partners represented the buyer in the Miami deal. Butler also will partner on the project, according to an emailed statement from the partnership.

The planned, 30,000-square-foot Casa Neos Miami will be “a modern agora” with a “laid-back spirit,” the partners said in the email. Aside from the hotel, there will be an open-air Mediterranean restaurant and a second, private membership restaurant and lounge on the rooftop. The beach club is planned to have a pool and wooden deck.

The 0.3-acre property currently houses an unfinished building.

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Miami-based developer Melo Group, led by Carlos Melo, Martin Melo and Jose Luis Melo, completed the Flagler on the River apartment complex across the street from the site the firm just sold.

The original restaurant plan for the development site fell through. A Melo Group affiliate sued in 2017 to evict Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle parent company Orange Brands Management, which had a 15-year lease for the site. The suit alleged Orange Brands’ affiliate failed to make rent payments. Orange Brands denied the allegations and counter-sued, claiming in part that Melo failed to finish the building.

The restaurants never opened.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez that same year granted Melo’s motion to take back possession of the site.

The Miami River has undergone redevelopment in recent years, with developers completing a portion of the public riverwalk. Miami River Commission Chair Horacio Stuart Aguirre, in an emailed statement, called the sale of the restaurant site good news, as the project and the riverwalk portion on the site will be completed.

One of the biggest projects to open recently along the river is the mixed-use River Landing Shops & Residences with office, retail and multifamily.

Also, The Chetrit Group in March scored a $15 million construction loan for its long-planned mega-project on the Miami River that will include a hotel, residences, retail and office.