Avenir scores $80M in bond financing to build infrastructure

As a Community Development District, 4,752-acre master-planned project can finance construction of roads, sewers and utilities

Landstar’s Virginia Cepero, David Serviansky and Rosa Eckstein Schecter
Landstar’s Virginia Cepero, David Serviansky and Rosa Eckstein Schecter (Landstar Development Group, Getty)

Avenir in Palm Beach Gardens raised $79.7 million in bond financing to build the master-planned community’s infrastructure.

The Avenir Community Development District, or CDD, sold bonds to nine high-yield municipal bond mutual funds, said Jon Kessler with FMSbonds, the North Miami Beach-based investment banking firm that handled the deal. The funds are managed by large institutional investors whose names he can’t disclose, Kessler said.

The money raised will be used to construct roads, sewers, sidewalks and other below ground and above ground public works for the 4,752-acre development. The Avenir CDD is a special taxing district headed by a five-member board who are also partners with Coral Gables-based Landstar Development Group, the master developer.

The firm’s principals are Bernard Eckstein, David Serviansky, Eduardo Stern, Roberto Horwitz, Rodolfo Stern, Rosa Eckstein Schecter, and Virginia Cepero.

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In 2016, the city of Palm Beach Gardens approved Landstar’s massive project, which entails 3,000 single-family houses, 250 apartments, 400,000 square feet of commercial space, a 300-key hotel and more than 2 million square feet of office space.

A year later, the Avenir CDD was formed, acting as a quasi-governmental entity that can seek bond financing and collect special assessments added to individual property owners’ annual tax bills. Commercial businesses and home buyers moving into Avenir will have to pay roughly $1,800 annually, which in turn pays back the bond holders.

These special taxing districts allow developers like Avenir to fund public infrastructure projects without having to rely on municipal and county governments. Other South Florida CDDs include Midtown Miami and Miami Worldcenter, which raised bonds in 2007 and 2017, respectively. Last year, FMS Bonds raised roughly $1 billion on behalf of Florida developments, and $600 million for projects across the U.S., Kessler said.

Landstar has sold chunks of the Avenir acreage to other developers, including PulteGroup, Toll Brothers, and Centaur. In December, Sunrise-based GL Homes paid $35.3 million for 337 home lots in Avenir. And in October, Atlanta-based PulteGroup’s subsidiary DiVosta scooped up 80 home lots for $8 million.

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