Abbhi Capital, Peter Gardner pay $19M for Coconut Grove apartments dev site

Plan is for five-story project with ground-floor retail in an Opportunity Zone

The development site with Peter Gardner and Abbhi Capital's Sankesh Abbhi (Google Maps, Longpoint, Abbhi Capital)
The development site with Peter Gardner and Abbhi Capital's Sankesh Abbhi (Google Maps, Longpoint, Abbhi Capital)

Abbhi Capital is betting on multifamily in an Opportunity Zone in Miami’s Coconut Grove, paying $18.8 million for a development site that spans a full city block.

Abbhi and investor Peter Gardner, through an affiliate, bought 2.4 acres in an Opportunity Zone on the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Plaza Street. The seller is GV Bimini, managed by Gardner and in the care of Sabal Hill, according to a deed and state corporate records.

The lots are at 3559, 3551, 3547, 3521, 3523, 3509 Thomas Avenue; 3428 and 3410 Hibiscus Street; and 3574, 3522, 3520, 3530 and 3560 Grand Avenue.

The buyers plan a five-story apartment project with 100 to 150 units and ground-floor retail, according to a source familiar with the deal. They are financing the project through a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund, in which the developers have invested their own capital gains, the sources said.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the Opportunity Zone legislation allowing for investors to defer federal taxes on their capital gains from the sale of any venture by putting the funds in real estate or business projects in areas the government deems in need of an economic boost.

The Coconut Grove site buyers, who have not yet submitted an application to the city, envision a few Opportunity Zone projects in the neighborhood, including one with offices, the source told The Real Deal. If the project on the recently purchased land is approved, construction is expected to be completed in two to three years.

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Coral Gables-based Abbhi invests in real estate, as well as in health care, technology and hospitality across the U.S. and India, according to its website. Abbhi’s founder is Sankesh Abbhi, who also founded drug safety and regulatory affairs solutions firm Synowledge.

Abbhi Capital also has invested in the 27-acre mixed-use Miami Worldcenter project in downtown Miami, where it purchased two sites in recent years.

Last year, Abbhi bought a 1-acre development site east of Northeast First Avenue, and between Northeast 10th and 11th streets, for $20 million from the project’s master developer, Miami Worldcenter Associates. The previous year, Abbhi paid $24 million for the 1.15-acre development parcel at 1016 Northeast Second Avenue.

Gardner is a partner at Boston-based Longpoint Realty Partners, which is a real estate owner-operator focused on retail and industrial. But he is partnering on the Coconut Grove venture with Abbhi independent of Longpoint.

This is the latest Miami Opportunity Zone investment in recent months. In Miami’s Edgewater, Chicago-based Trilogy Real Estate Group paid $30.6 million in March for 1.6 acres of land at 2201 Northeast Second Avenue, where existing regulations allow for an up to 36-story tower with a maximum of 247 units.

This is Trilogy’s third Edgewater Opportunity Zone investment. In December, the company also bought the properties at 169 Northeast 27th Street, 2728 Northeast Second Avenue, 166 Northeast 28th Street, 2634 Northeast Second Avenue, and at 192 and 186 Northeast 27th Street, in two deals for a combined $22.3 million.