Leonard Abess seeks rezoning for 85-home development in Redland

Former owner of City National Bank of Florida seeks to change land use from agricultural to single-family estate

Leonard Abess with the northeast corner of Krome Avenue and Southwest 286th Street (Google Maps, Getty)
Leonard Abess with the northeast corner of Krome Avenue and Southwest 286th Street (Google Maps, Getty)

Leonard Abess is joining the housing development frenzy gripping south Miami-Dade County.

Abess, a real estate investor who formerly owned City National Bank of Florida, is asking the county to rezone 27.3 acres of agricultural land he owns on the northeast corner of Krome Avenue and Southwest 286th Street to allow for 85 single-family homes, according to a filing to the county. The application was first filed in mid-September and amended in late October.

The homes would sit on lots ranging from just over a quarter-acre to just under half an acre, filings show.

An entity tied to Abess paid $940,200 for the land in Redland in 2010, according to property records.

The agricultural expanse is part of Abess’ vast landholdings in southwest Miami-Dade.

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But Abess’ rezoning filing is a deviation from his usual practice of keeping his properties as farmland or vacant. Abess also has advocated for the environment.

Last year, Abess withdrew a rezoning request for land he owns in southeast Miami-Dade outside the Urban Development Boundary that would have allowed a portion of an industrial project to be built on the property. The land was supposed to be included in developers Stephen Blumenthal and Jose Hevia’s controversial South Dade Logistics & Technology District.

Abess sold his City National Bank of Florida shares in 2009 for more than $900 million to Spanish bank Caja Madrid. Since then, he has amassed land in south Miami-Dade, with his holdings pegged at over 1,000 acres as of 2013.

He paid $6 million for 68 acres of land along Southwest 147th Street in 2019.

Southwest Miami-Dade has become an epicenter of housing and multifamily development, largely because of its expansive supply of buildable land at cheaper prices than in Miami’s urban core.

In November, The Richman Group scored a $44.5 million construction loan for its property at 27022 South Federal Highway in Naranja. The land is approved for a 266-unit complex with eight-story and four-story buildings.