Thor Equities, Remy Jacobson list Miami Design District retail buildings previously tied up in litigation

After resolving foreclosure lawsuits, owners want to move on from the formerly distressed properties

From left: Joe Sitt, chairman, Thor Equities, and Remy Jacobson, principal, J Cube Development (Thor Equities, Getty Images, LoopNet/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
From left: Joe Sitt, chairman, Thor Equities, and Remy Jacobson, principal, J Cube Development (Thor Equities, Getty Images, LoopNet/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

A New York-based real estate firm and a cryptocurrency entrepreneur want to unload retail buildings in Miami’s Design District.

In separate listings obtained by The Real Deal, New York-based Thor Equities is seeking at least $32 million for its Stefano Ricci-occupied store at 120 Northeast 39th Street. And Remy Jacobson placed a vacant historic building at 4141 North Miami Avenue on the market with an asking price of $12 million.

Jacobson and his brother, Marc-Jean, own RealIT, a crowdfunding platform that allows cryptocurrency investors to invest in real estate assets across the U.S., according to the company’s website. Jacobson also heads Aventura-based J Cube Development.

The formerly distressed properties are hitting the market at a time when land prices and rents in the Miami Design District are hitting record highs, as the luxury fashion and dining neighborhood rebounds from the pandemic.

120 Northeast 39th Street

(Source: LoopNet)

An offering memorandum by listing brokerage DWNTWN Realty Advisors shows Stefano Ricci has nine years left on its lease for the 4,700-square-foot single-tenant flagship space. The Italian luxury clothing retailer is paying $1.4 million in annual rent from September through August 2022, with increases of 3 percent every year, the memo states. The property, which is adjacent to Louis Vutton and Ermengildo Zegna in the heart of the district, is encumbered by a $16 million loan.

Devlin Marinoff with DWNTWN Realty Advisors did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Thor Equities spokesperson declined comment.

In January, Wellington Trust sued affiliates of Thor Equities, Chairman Joe Sitt and Stefano Ricci in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to foreclose on the loan, which at the time was $17 million. Last year, Thor Equities sued Stefano Ricci over $133,000 in alleged unpaid rent.

On Sept. 17, Miami-Dade Judge Charles Johnson approved a loan modification agreement that included a stipulation for Thor Equities to resume monthly payments the same month and pay $1.5 million in “default amounts,” according to court records. The landlord and Stefano Ricci are also in settlement negotiations, court filings show. The tenant also paid $1.9 million into the court registry that was disbursed to Thor Equities in October. A source told TRD that Stefano Ricci is current on its lease.

Thor Equities purchased the property in April 2014 for $9.5 million, records show.

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4141 North Miami Avenue

(Source: LoopNet)

Four years after obtaining approvals from Miami’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board to renovate a mid-century modern office building with glass panels, a rooftop terrace and other improvements, Jacobson told TRD that he doesn’t spend enough time in Florida to move forward with the redevelopment project.

The property has 15,901 square feet of rentable space, is shovel ready, qualifies for historic tax credits and is located in an Opportunity Zone, according to the listing by Porosoff Group, of Compass Commercial. Opportunity Zones are federally designated areas that offer tax breaks on capital gains to investors who fund projects in those areas. Jacobson’s entity, Design 4141, paid $10.5 million for the site in 2016, records show.

Jacobson, who tapped Shulman & Associates to design the redevelopment project, had planned to offer about 6,100 square feet of retail space on the first floor for a restaurant, art gallery or store. The second and third floors would have had 4,400 square feet of office space each. And the 4,000-square-foot rooftop terrace would have been an event space.

“It is a gorgeous property in a beautiful location,” Jacobson said. “I bought it before Opportunity Zones were approved, so I couldn’t take advantage of it. But others can, so that adds value to [the property].”

He also said that the buyer who completes the project will get $1.3 million in historic tax credits.

In May of last year, Conway, Arkansas-based Centennial Bank sued Jacobson and his brother, alleging they were in default on $8.4 million in loan payments. The complaint accused the Jacobsons of failing to meet the bank’s request to provide more equity to pay for construction costs.

Two months later, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit after the Jacobsons filed a motion that argued the action was not supposed to be filed because Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had instituted a moratorium on foreclosures.

Arthur Porosoff with Porosoff Group said the building would be an attractive flagship store for a luxury retailer, noting the property is near the site Restoration Hardware is leasing from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance and Comras Company.

“I suspect we will get a ton of activity and we will get a bidding war,” Porosoff said. “We priced it right.”