Damac to buy Surfside collapse site for $120M — no other bidders for property

Damac recently raised its cash deposit to $50M on the nearly 2-acre oceanfront site

UPDATED, May 20, 6:55 p.m.: Damac Properties is poised to buy and redevelop the Surfside collapse site where 98 people died last summer, after no other developers met the deadline to bid on the property.

The Dubai-based developer was the stalking horse bidder, setting the minimum price last year for the property at 8777 Collins Avenue at $120 million. Earlier this month, in a move that showed its commitment to buy the almost 2-acre site, Damac increased its deposit to $50 million.

The lack of competing bids, which were due by 5 p.m. on Friday, essentially cancels the auction scheduled for Tuesday. Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver for the Champlain Towers South condo association, filed an emergency motion shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday confirming no one else made offers for the site.

Michael Fay, part of the Avison Young team that listed the former Champlain Towers South property, said that he and his team spoke with “hundreds of potential bidders” after an extensive marketing process, and that they “look forward to completing” the deal with Damac.

Damac’s broker, Jeff Cohen with Brown Harris Stevens, said the firm has been “extremely focused” on becoming the successful bidder for the site. Damac increased its deposit from $16 million and shortened its due diligence period, seeing no reason to wait, Cohen said. That moved the auction date up, although it will no longer occur.

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Damac plans to build a high-end residential project on the site and called Miami “a natural fit, given its reputation for being a popular, luxurious destination,” in a statement emailed to The Real Deal in October. It will likely be a for-sale condo project.

The company, founded by Emirati business billionaire Hussain Sajwani in 2002, has developed mostly in Dubai but also in Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and London.

Damac’s marquee Dubai projects include Aykon City, which the developer describes as a city-within-a-city with four residential towers and an entertainment and retail plaza; Damac Towers by Paramount Hotels & Resorts, which has 1,200 residential units and a hotel; and the the 63-story Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences Dubai.

Sajwani, whose moniker is “Donald Trump of Dubai,” has had business ties with the Trump Organization, including developing the first Trump-branded golf course in the Middle East at the Damac Hills project.

Damac did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The pending sale of the Surfside property marks another milestone in the legal case surrounding the June 24 tragedy. Earlier this month, attorneys announced a $997 million settlement ​​that followed weeks of mediation between attorneys for the plaintiffs and the dozens of parties sued for allegedly contributing to the collapse.