Jesta wins approval for apartment, hotel project on Shuckers site

Famous bayfront bar and grill restaurant will remain, likely anchor North Bay Village development

Jesta Group’s CEO Elliott Aintabi with a rendering of the project (Kobi Karp, Getty)
Jesta Group’s CEO Elliott Aintabi with a rendering of the project (Kobi Karp, Getty)

Jesta Group scored approval for its multifamily and hotel project on the site of popular Shuckers Waterfront Grill in North Bay Village.

The green light marks progress for plans that have been in the works for more than two years, as well as a continuation of North Bay Village’s redevelopment that aims to morph the municipality into a mecca of high-rises.

Jesta will build a 30-story tower with 273 hotel keys and 345 apartments, including 18 workforce units, on 2.3 acres that front Biscayne Bay. The Kobi Karp-designed development will include 7,500 square feet of meeting space, 677 parking spaces and three restaurants, according to a news release. North Bay Village commissioners approved the project last week.

A rendering of the planned tower at 1819-1855 79th Street in North Bay Village (Kobi Karp)

A rendering of the planned tower at 1819-1855 79th Street in North Bay Village (Kobi Karp)

The project at 1819-1855 79th Street will replace the existing Best Western hotel. Shuckers, which for three decades has been a sports-watching gathering spot known for its grilled wings and seafood, will get a prime spot at the development.

Jesta has been looking for a temporary space where Shuckers can stay open during construction, hopefully in North Bay Village or nearby, said attorney Alexander Tachmes, who represents Jesta.

“We have some time before a temporary location would be needed, as the process of doing construction drawings and getting a building permit (and demolition permit) is time-consuming,” he said in an emailed statement.

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Jesta, which paid $15 million for the property in 2016, originally had planned a more hospitality-focused project. In 2020, Jesta filed a proposal for a 15-story building and a 21-story building with 546 hotel keys combined.

Late last year, the firm tweaked its proposal to a single tower with multifamily units and fewer hotel rooms than originally planned.

Jesta, based in Montreal, was founded in 1992 and made its first real estate purchase the following year in Texas, according to its website. Since then, it has expanded in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Elliott Aintabi is Jesta CEO.

In South Florida, the firm owns The Clevelander South Beach, which includes a hotel, as well as the Essex House Hotel and The Stiles Hotel, both also in South Beach.

North Bay Village, a three-island municipality between Miami and Miami Beach, is poised to look much different in the coming years. After officials approved a zoning code overhaul in 2020 that allowed bigger projects, developers have zeroed in on the village.

Shoma Group, led by married couple Masoud and Stephanie Shojaee, launched sales in September of the 327 condominiums planned for a 21-story tower at 1850 79th Street Causeway.

The billionaire Ansin family, which owns Sunbeam Television, plans a mixed-use project across several buildings both north and south of the 79th Street Causeway, which bisects North Bay Village. In October, village commissioners granted the Ansins’ real estate firm, Sunbeam Properties, the right to increase building heights. Sunbeam can build up to 650 feet on the north side of the causeway, where the heights were previously capped at 340 feet, and up to 450 feet on the south side, where heights were previously capped at 240 feet.

Sunbeam Television’s WSVN-Channel 7 is on part of the site and will likely have a studio in the new project.