Court ruling allows Jason Halpern to develop Miami Beach resi project

Investor Dhruv Piplani filed the suit in 2017, alleging breach of contract, fiduciary duty

Jason Halpern a rendering of his Indian Creek project (JMH Development)
Jason Halpern a rendering of his Indian Creek project (JMH Development)

UPDATED, April 13, 10:15 a.m.: A New York judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by an investor in two of developer Jason Halpern’s Miami Beach properties, allowing his JMH Development to move forward with plans for a condo project on one of the sites.

Investor Dhruv Piplani’s PSB Indian Creek and affiliated entities filed the suit against Halpern, his JMH Indian Creek Development LLC and other companies in 2017. Piplani, who sued over alleged breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, sought at least $10 million in damages from the New York developer. PSB’s other partners included Aviv Siso and Louis Buckworth.

The ruling, issued last week, also calls for Piplani’s entity to pay for JMH’s legal fees, according to Herrick, the law firm that represented Halpern and his company. Piplani’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the original complaint, Piplani’s entity alleged that Halpern cut it out of a “sweetheart” sale of the development site at 2901 and 2911 Indian Creek Drive for close to $7.8 million in 2017. The buyer was 29 ICD, a company led by Gerard Longo, a long-time business colleague of Halpern. Halpern, who is a managing member of 29 ICD, now plans to develop the property.

Indian Creek Drive runs parallel to Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, and the site is near the Miami Beach EDITION hotel and condo building, as well as near the Faena District.

Piplani’s entity also alleged that Halpern “failed to fulfill his managerial and financial obligations” with the Three Hundred Collins project, a 19-unit condo at 300 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach that was completed in 2018. The Piplani-led entity alleged that Halpern violated their operating agreement by demanding more capital while “refusing to pay mandated distributions and fees” to Piplani.

In a separate lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Halpern’s company was ordered in 2018 to turn over its remaining interest in Three Hundred Collins to Piplani’s PSB Collins. In 2020, the condo association sued the developer, alleging buyers were duped into purchasing units that were not as luxurious as advertised in marketing materials.

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Andrea Masley, a judge for the Supreme Court 1st Judicial District in New York, ruled in favor of Halpern last week. In her order, Masley wrote that JMH did not breach the operating agreement it had with Piplani’s entity. Halpern’s entity was able to sell the Indian Creek property without Piplani’s entity because Piplani’s entity breached its contract first by failing to make a mandatory contribution by a due date of March 14, 2016. Piplani’s PSB also failed to fund the July 15, 2016 capital call for $4.1 million.

“JMH concedes that it did not obtain PSB’s consent to sell the property to 29 ICD in January 2017 because consent was not required,” the judge wrote. The sale occurred 10 months after PSB lost its governance rights and three months after its stake was fully diluted, the judge’s ruling states.

“We had unwavering confidence in this project and that the PSB allegations were false,” Halpern said in a statement provided to The Real Deal.

Halpern declined to comment further on his plans, but last year, 29 ICD, the Halpern-controlled entity that now owns the Indian Creek development site, received approval for a six-story, 15-unit residential building with a rooftop deck and mechanical parking system that would be built next to two connecting townhomes.

An earlier version of this story stated the incorrect number of units planned for the Indian Creek Drive development site.