Thomas Conway’s Qualcon eyes mixed-income apartment project in Little River Opportunity Zone

Rezoning application would allow redevelopment of former AT&T telecom building

Developer Thomas Conway and the Little River location (Google Maps, Qualcon)
Developer Thomas Conway and the Little River location (Google Maps, Qualcon)

A mixed-income apartment project with commercial space could be on tap within an Opportunity Zone in Miami’s Little River neighborhood.

Developer Thomas Conway, through one of his Qualcon affiliates, is seeking zoning and land-use changes for the site of a former AT&T telecommunications facility that is steps from The Citadel food hall.

The Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board is expected to consider Qualcon Little River Active Zone Business’ application on Wednesday. The vote would be a recommendation to the commission, which has the final say.

(Google Maps)

(Google Maps)

The rezoning and land-use changes are for 1.4 acres of the 2.2-acre site at 8038 Northeast Second Avenue and 165 Northeast 80th Terrace. It would pave the way for up to 150 units per acre, more than the currently allowed 65 per acre, according to city records.

The move comes nearly two years after Conway’s Qualcon Real Estate Fund bought the site as part of a $25 million purchase of eight commercial buildings and over 1 million square feet of land across South Florida from defunct BellSouth Telecommunications.

Qualcon Real Estate Fund counts Kevin Levine, Andrew Stone, Petra Capital Management and New York-based Tall Pines Capital, led by Emanuel Stern and Bradley Settleman, as investors.

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Qualcon Little River Active Zone Business, which owns the Little River site, filed a record with the city in May that also lists Stone, Levine and Stern as its investors, as well as a slew of others, each owning less than a 4 percent stake.

The mixed-income apartment project initiative marks the neighborhood’s budding growth as the next hot real estate frontier in Miami. It also speaks to the area’s low- to mid-income residential base.

About 37 percent of area residents were below the poverty line last year, according to the city’s planning department’s analysis of the project. The department recommended approval.

Little River, just north of quickly redeveloping Little Haiti, has seen several of its older buildings retrofitted into retail and dining space, with Conway playing a role in the area’s emergence.

In 2015, he and his partners completed the refurbishment of a former Bellsouth headquarters building into MADE at The Citadel co-working space. The property is at 8325 Northeast Second Avenue, across the street from the food hall.

Conway also was an investor in The Citadel, but no longer is involved.

In other big Little River investments, Miami-based MVW Partners just secured Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners as a majority investor in a 24-acre portfolio, which includes restaurant and office buildings. The properties also are in an Opportunity Zone, the federal program that incentivizes investment in economically struggling areas.