PMG buying shuttered Johnson and Wales North Miami campus, planning redevelopment

Developer is flipping 8 acres to Doral College, and plans to redevelop remaining 17 acres

The Johnson and Wales campus and PMG principals Kevin Maloney and Ryan Shear (PMG)
The Johnson and Wales campus and PMG principals Kevin Maloney and Ryan Shear (PMG)

Property Markets Group is making a big play in North Miami. The New York-based luxury condo and apartment developer is buying the shuttered, 25-acre Johnson and Wales campus, with plans for partial redevelopment, according to city documents and a commercial broker working on the deal.

PMG’s plan involves flipping or leasing three properties on the site to Doral College, which last month won city approval for a conditional use permit to open a North Miami location.

PMG is “in the process of subdividing the site for future uses,” according to a May 25 memo from North Miami planning director Tanya Wilson.

David Wigoda of CBRE, which listed and marketed the campus, said the deal is still pending and will likely close in the next 30 to 45 days. He confirmed that Johnson and Wales is under contract to sell the entire 25-acre site to PMG, but declined to disclose the sale price. “They didn’t get into details if they are selling part of it or leasing it to Doral College,” Wigoda said.

Spokespersons for PMG and Johnson and Wales declined comment. Doral College executives and attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

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In an April 16 letter to North Miami planning and zoning officials, Doral College’s lawyer Pedro Gassant wrote that the college is the “property contract purchaser” of three properties totaling 8 acres at 13015 Emerald Drive, 1701 Northeast 127th Street and 12900 Northeast 17th Avenue. Those sites contain the main education buildings previously used by Johnson and Wales and a surface parking lot.

PMG would redevelop the remaining 17 acres between Northeast 126th and 127th streets just west of Biscayne Boulevard. According to city records, Bilzin Sumberg land use attorneys Carly Grimm and Carter McDowell registered to lobby for PMG on Feb. 9 to do “land use and zoning diligence” related to the acquisition of the Johnson and Wales campus.

“On PMG’s end, they will have to go for zoning changes because a lot of uses are not allowed,” CBRE’s Wigoda said. “My assumption is that it will be mixed uses; potentially multifamily, hotel and office, particularly medical office.”

While showing the campus to potential buyers, some expressed interest in doing medical office buildings or hotels. “Some saw the potential for medical office because there’s a lot of density in that area, but not a lot of medical,” Wigoda said. “A hotel was something else that was kicked around because of its proximity to Biscayne Boulevard and areas like Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Shores and North Miami Beach.”

Johnson and Wales hired CBRE in August to sell the campus after the university’s board of trustees voted to close the North Miami location. “We had more than 20 offers,” Wigoda said. “And 15 who were really interested.”

PMG, one of the most prolific developers in South Florida, is currently developing the 65-story condo-hotel E11even in downtown Miami and the 1,049-foot Waldorf Astoria Miami tower, also in downtown Miami.