Melo’s second downtown Miami apartment project scores $75M construction loan

Long focused on Miami’s Edgewater and Arts & Entertainment District, developer now building downtown

Melo’s second downtown Miami apartment project scores $75M construction loan
Rendering of Melo’s Downtown 1st tower with Carlos, Martin and Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo (Melo)

Melo Group’s second apartment project in downtown Miami got a boost in the form of a $75 million construction loan.

The 57-story tower, dubbed Downtown 1st, will have 560 market-rate units steps from the Third Street and Miami Avenue Metromover stations. The tower also will have 3,000 square feet of retail space and 10,000 square feet of offices.

Records show Truist Bank was the lender. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank was formed from the merger of BB&T and SunTrust in 2019.

Melo Group started building Downtown 1st this year on 0.6 acres at 22, 30 and 34 Southwest First Street as well as at 35, 25 and 19 Southwest Second Street. The property, which used to be parking lots, is west of North Miami Avenue and between Southwest First and Second streets.

Melo bought the site in 2018 for nearly $13 million. 

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Melo Group is a family owned and led development firm, based in Miami. Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo and his sons, Carlos and Martin Melo, moved from Argentina after seeing the city’s potential during a 2001 visit. Since then, it has completed roughly 6,000 condominium and apartment units in and near Miami, with another 2,500 underway, according to a news release.

In recent years, Melo built several rental towers in the city’s Arts & Entertainment District, formerly known as the Omni, including Miami Plaza, Melody Tower, Square Station and Art Plaza. In Miami’s Edgewater, it also built Aria on the Bay condominium and now is constructing Aria Reserve condo.

More recently, Melo turned its attention to downtown, finishing a pair of 52-story towers, called Downtown 5th, in August, according to a news release announcing the completion. Melo plans roughly 2,500 units in the central business district, including a Downtown 6th tower with up to 800 units.

Multifamily construction financing has been flowing, in light of the robust South Florida market fueled by renter demand. In Allapattah, another Miami neighborhood seeing a boost in multifamily construction, developer Lissette Calderon is building her second rental project, after scoring a $78.2 million construction loan in October.