Developers of Little Havana mixed-use project score $27M construction loan

Riverwest Miami has pre-leased 80 percent of retail space to Ross and Aldi

Todd Michael Glaser with renderings of the project (Aztec Group)
Todd Michael Glaser with renderings of the project (Aztec Group)

A planned Little Havana mixed-use development anchored by Ross Dress for Less and Aldi scored a $26.5 million construction loan from Parkview Financial, a mortgage real estate investment trust based in Los Angeles.

The development team, made up of New York-based Posner Group and Miami Beach builders Todd Michael Glaser and i3 Development, led by Alan I. Amdur, proposed the project, Riverwest Miami, at 805 West Flagler Street. The first phase will consist of 55,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a two-level parking garage. The second phase will entail a high-rise apartment tower with 278 units and some retail, according to a release.

The $26.5 million loan will be used to acquire parcels needed to complete the assemblage and fund pre-development costs and construction for the first phase, which is scheduled to start later this year, said Charles Penan, executive vice president of Aztec Group, the Miami-based commercial real estate investment and merchant banking firm that arranged the financing for Riverwest Miami.

The project’s site in Little Havana, a Miami neighborhood that is seeing a development boom with several new mid-rise and high-rise rental communities, made it attractive to lenders, Penan said. He noted that developments with pre-leased, credit-worthy retail tenants are also a plus.

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“The main catalyst for this property was that it is 80 percent pre-leased with Ross and Aldi,” Penan said. “That was a huge win and made it very desirable for lenders. Financing for retail is hard to come by, but having Ross and Aldi, two of the best pre-leased tenants today, also made it very desirable.”

In 2018, the Miami City Commission approved rezoning nine properties between Flagler Street and Northwest First Street from Northwest Eighth to Northwest Ninth Avenue that will allow i3 Development, Posner Group and Glaser to build Riverwest Miami, which is designed by architect Kobi Karp. The change increased the density from 65 units to 150 units an acre for the 2.84-acre development site. Another nine lots on West Flagler Street and Eighth Avenue that are part of the proposed development site did not require rezoning.

Nearby, Austrian-based Premium Development recently paid Presidente Supermarkets $15 million for a 2.3-acre property at 700 West Flagler Street. The site’s zoning allows for 386 apartments, but it can go up to 771 if any proposed project qualifies for density bonuses by providing affordable housing.

Premium is also building a 194-unit apartment building called First-Little Havana at 736-760 Southwest First Street. The project includes roughly 160,000 square feet of residential space, with 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 231 garage parking spaces.