Property Markets Group closed on its purchase of Johnson and Wales’ North Miami campus.
CBRE’s David Wigoda, which marketed and sold the 25-acre site, said PMG paid just under $60 million for the campus. “It was in the high 50s,” Wigoda said. Spokespersons for PMG said the developer declined comment.
The New York-based company had been working on buying the shuttered culinary school and its adjoining properties for months. On Feb. 9, Bilzin Sumberg attorneys Carly Grimm and Carter McDowell registered to lobby on PMG’s behalf as part of the developer’s “land use and zoning diligence” related to the acquisition of the Johnson & Wales campus. The college held its last classes in May, following its board of trustees vote last year to shut down its North Miami and Denver sites.
PMG is in the process of flipping or leasing 8 acres of the Johnson & Wales campus to Doral College, which recently won approval from North Miami to open a new campus at 13015 Emerald Drive, 1701 Northeast 127th Street and 12900 Northeast 17th Avenue. The three properties previously housed education buildings used by Johnson & Wales and a surface parking lot.
PMG’s plans for the rest of the site are unclear.
The deal involved closings on multiple properties, Wigoda said.
“On this one we didn’t have an asking price, but we had been given guidance, and it was above guidance due to a lot of competition,” Wigoda said. “We had over 15 bids on the entire campus. We had a ton of interest and potential buyers because of its size. What pushed it was the submarket [of North Miami] and it’s close proximity to Interstate 95, Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles Beach and Miami. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind of opportunity.”
In addition to Wigoda, CBRE’s Sean Kelly worked on the deal. “We were able to run a structured process that came and went fairly efficiently because of the demand,” Wigoda added.
By buying the Johnson & Wales campus, PMG joins a new wave of redevelopment in North Miami.
At a July 13 meeting, the North Miami City Council approved three new mixed-use projects, including a four-building complex on 5 acres of formerly industrial land owned by Miami Beach developer Robert Finvarb. The project will entail apartment buildings ranging from eight stories to 20 stories with 832 units, nearly 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space, and a six-story garage at 2050 Northeast 151st Street. Other prominent developers making moves in North Miami are Sergio Rok and Jimmy Tate.
Tony Arellano, managing partner of DWNTWN Realty Partners, said North Miami is “the new belle of the ball” when it comes to redevelopment plays. “People have realized North Miami is a forgotten submarket,” Arellano said. “Other submarkets have developed faster but [in North Miami] you are at the crossroads of Aventura, Bal Harbour and Miami. It’s one of my favorite submarkets right now.”
Arellano’s firm is listing a redevelopment site at North Miami’s Greenwich Studio that is approved for a 200-foot building with 417 units. He called PMG’s purchase of the Johnson and Wales properties a “monumental acquisition.”
“The  acres is about the same as the developed acreage of Midtown Miami,” Arellano said. “At the end of the day, [PMG] could build a small city. They will have to program it with every product type: office, retail, multifamily and maybe a condo or two.”