AJ Capital Partners invests in Opportunity Zone portfolio in Miami’s Little River

It marks the 7th OZ investment for AJ Capital Partners

Miami /
Nov.November 29, 2021 12:31 PM
Eric Hassberger and Matthew Vander Werff with an aerial of the property

Eric Hassberger and Matthew Vander Werff with an aerial of the property

Little River developer and landlord MVW Partners secured a majority investment from a real estate firm that focuses on Opportunity Zone projects.

Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, based in Nashville, Tennessee, acquired the majority ownership of the 24-acre portfolio MVW has assembled in Miami’s Little River, according to Matthew Vander Werff, co-founder of MVW, and Eric Hassberger, president of AJ Capital. They declined to disclose additional information about the investment.

The neighborhood, north of the Miami Design District and the MiMo Historic District, has attracted significant investment in recent years. The former ArtCenter/South Florida, now called Oolite Arts, is building its $30 million headquarters in Little River.

MVW’s portfolio includes more than 320,000 square feet of commercial space in Little River, leased to tenants such as Sunny’s Someday Steakhouse, Center for Subtropical Affairs, the software company YellowPepper and others. The properties are in a designated Opportunity Zone, a federal program that provides tax incentives to developers and investors that invest in such areas.

AJ Capital is investing more than $1.1 billion in seven Opportunity Zone projects in Nashville, Miami, Portland and New Orleans, according to its website. The company, led by founder and CEO Ben Weprin, was a former co-owner of the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach. It has more than $3.6 billion in real estate investments across 45 markets.

In addition to Little River warehouses that MVW has converted into office and retail, the company secured approval this year for an apartment building with about 270 units, Vander Werff said.

Ray, a New York-based real estate venture led by founder Dasha Zhukova, will partner with MVW and AJ Capital to build and design the Ray-branded apartment building. MVW rezoned the development site, home to warehouses and other commercial buildings, to allow for up to 10 stories in height, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

AJ Capital Partners and MVW will also continue to redevelop existing properties in the portfolio, according to a release. The companies will also develop about 100,000 square feet of retail, office and parking in Little River, the principals said.

“We have a pretty long track record of doing historic renovations where appropriate,” said Hassberger of AJ Capital. “We were very early investors in the Fulton Market in Chicago. We saw similar dynamics in Little River.”





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