New York crane chief sells waterfront Fort Lauderdale teardown for $13M

8K sf mansion last sold for $12.2M in 2020

2300 Aqua Vista Blvd in Fort Lauderdale with Thomas Auringer, CEO of U.S. Crane and Rigging (Twitter,
2300 Aqua Vista Blvd in Fort Lauderdale with Thomas Auringer, CEO of U.S. Crane and Rigging (Twitter,

The CEO of a New York City-based construction company sold a waterfront teardown in Fort Lauderdale to the top brass of a Canadian automotive group for $13 million.

Property records show Thomas Auringer sold the property at 2300 Aqua Vista Boulevard in Las Olas Isles to Khishfi (Kathy) Rafih, Mahmoud Talal (Hamoody) Rafih and Zeyad Rafhi, as trustees of The Cedars Real Property Trust.

Auringer is CEO of U.S. Crane and Rigging, which offers crane, trucking and warehouse services, according to its website and his LinkedIn page. Earlier this week, his company finished erecting a tower crane in Sawyer’s Walk in Miami, a planned 1.4 million square-foot mixed-use development.

Zeyad Rafhi and Hamoody Rafih are vice presidents of Ontario, Canada-based Rafih Auto Group which has several dealerships in Canada and Cleveland, Ohio. The buyers used a Windsor, Ontario address of one of their dealerships as the registered address for the purchase of the property.

Built in 1981, the 8,132-square-foot mansion has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and one-half bathroom, records show. The 1.12-acre property has 550 feet of water frontage. The buyer plans to tear down the house and replace it with a three-story $45 million mansion, according to a source.

Che Nelson and Jim Morlock with Fidelity Real Estate represented the seller and buyers. A spokesperson for Fidelity Real Estate declined to name the buyers.

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The property was originally listed last April for $20 million, according to Redfin. After several price changes, it was last asking $16 million.

Auringer bought the mansion in 2020 for $12.2 million. Later that year, he contracted with Star Construction and Design to build a 215 foot seawall, records show. The home is near the former estate of rapper Rick Ross, which sold in 2016 for $6 million.

Fort Lauderdale, like the rest of South Florida, has experienced a surge in luxury home prices.

Last month, a tech titan who sold his real estate analytics company for nearly $1 billion bought a waterfront Fort Lauderdale lot for $13.5 million, and the widow of a Chicago developer sold her waterfront home to a commercial investor for $8.5 million.

In 2020, Michael and Adrea Kallberg, owners of Fort Lauderdale-based disaster response firm Kallberg Industries, sold their mansion in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Isles for $6.2 million. A year earlier, James Barnett auctioned a waterfront mansion in Fort Lauderdale to Mark and Eileen Fischer of Off Lease Only for $17.4 million.