Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights scores $224M loan for Whole Foods-anchored Edgewater project

Developer broke ground on planned 39-story mixed-use project

Rendering of Nema Miami with Russell Galbut and Bruce Menin (Crescent Heights)
Rendering of Nema Miami with Russell Galbut and Bruce Menin (Crescent Heights)

Construction is underway at Crescent Heights’ Whole Foods-anchored luxury apartment tower in Edgewater, after the developer secured a major construction loan.

Miami-based Crescent Heights, led by Sonny Kahn, Russell Galbut and Bruce Menin, closed on a $224 million loan from Blackstone, according to a spokesperson for the developer. The mixed-use development, called Nema Miami, is planned for 2900 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.

It marks the first Nema-branded tower in Miami. Crescent Heights has Nema towers in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as planned projects in Los Angeles and Seattle, according to its website.

In Miami, the 39-story building will have 588 units. Arquitectonica and Rockwell Group are designing the project. Crescent Heights broke ground and is expected to deliver the tower in 2024, the spokesperson said. The properties are in an Opportunity Zone, a federal program that gives tax incentives to developers and investors who invest in distressed areas throughout the country.

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Whole Foods signed a lease in March 2020, records show. The Amazon-owned supermarket chain committed to a 20-year lease with six five-year extension options. It typically takes spaces of about 40,000 square feet.

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The Nema tower is part of a larger development for Crescent Heights, which also owns the block immediately north of 2900 Biscayne Boulevard, including the office building at 3050 Biscayne Boulevard. The firm has its headquarters at 2200 Biscayne Boulevard.

Galbut’s firm has long planned to redevelop its assemblage where Nema will rise, and planned to start construction prior to the pandemic. Crescent Heights controls the land between Northeast 29th to 32nd streets and between Northeast Second Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. In all, affiliates of the developer have paid about $44 million for the majority of the land on those blocks.

In late 2020, Crescent Heights secured approval from the city’s Urban Development Review Board for the 912,000-square-foot building with about 50,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage with about 750 parking spaces.

Development is booming in Edgewater, a bayfront neighborhood north of downtown Miami where condo and apartment developers have flocked in recent years. The Nema tower is planned at a time when Miami’s multifamily market has been on fire, with countless institutional sales and record high rents that have pushed locals out of the market.

Galbut, through his family office and Crescent Heights, has other projects in Miami and Miami Beach. In February, Crescent Heights secured approval from the School Board of Miami-Dade County to purchase a lot north of downtown Miami, capping a yearslong effort to acquire the site that will be part of a major mixed-use development designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, who designed the developer’s Nema tower in Chicago.

In Miami Beach, Galbut is partnering with David Martin’s Terra on Five Park, a planned luxury condo and apartment tower at the southern entrance to Miami Beach that includes a park.