Babba Joshua Yesharim plans residential project along Miami River

Yesharim paid $6M for dev site

Project Renderings (Babba Joshua Yesharim)
Project Renderings (Babba Joshua Yesharim)

A residential project with up to 36 units is in the works for the north side of the Miami River.

Babba Joshua Yesharim, a longtime investor in real estate along the river, envisions either condominiums or a membership-based club with short-term rentals for a site he just purchased, according to the broker who handled the deal. The project would include a 260-foot long marina with wet slips for residents.

Yesharim bought the more than 1-acre development assemblage at 678 – 720 Northwest North River Drive for $5.6 million. Tomas Sulichin of RelatedISG Realty brokered the deal, according to a release.

This would be the first Miami River redevelopment by Yesharim, who also owns the Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge property along North River Drive. The exact concept is yet to be decided and approvals still must be obtained.

Condos would be the more straightforward option, but the more likely choice is the membership club for short-term stays, similar to Miky Grendene’s Casa Tua in Miami Beach, Sulichin said.

“We are talking with fairly large, recognizable local brands to do a private club,” he said, declining to disclose them. “We think there is an appetite for that product, and it is something unlike what this area has ever seen.”

As the site is in the Spring Garden Historic District, the project would not include commercial uses and is limited to four stories, although waivers could be granted.

The city anointed Spring Garden as historic in 1997. It lies between the river and Northwest 11th Street and the Seybold Canal to 12th Avenue. The district is the only intact single-family neighborhood remaining along the Miami River, according to the designation report.

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Although its first structure is believed to be a coontie mill built by William English, the area over the years accumulated an eclectic collection of architectural styles. Houses are in the early Frame and Masonry Vernacular, Mission, Bungalow and Moderne styles.

Yesharim’s project would need approvals from the city’s historic preservation board, the Miami River Commission and the Miami City Commission, according to Sulichin. The city already granted approvals for roughly 10 units.

Obtaining approvals could push the start of construction to late 2022, Sulichin said.

Yesharim also owns several marinas and commercial buildings along the Miami River, altogether allowing more than 2 million square feet of redevelopment potential, according to the release.

His proposal comes as the Miami River District is experiencing robust redevelopment, with investors betting in part on its central location. The area is near such employment hubs as the Health District, home to Jackson Memorial Hospital and affiliated medical centers; and the Civic Center, home to the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the pre-trial detention center.

Perhaps the biggest project to rise in the Miami River District recently is River Landing Shops & Residences, with multifamily, offices and retail.

Also, Miami Beach restaurateur Gregory Galy’s Mila Group, in partnership with developer Pacific Star Capital and a Spanish investor, are planning a boutique hotel, beach club and two restaurants on a Miami River site they bought for $9.5 million in May.