John Buck JV buys downtown Miami dev site for $40M

For its first South Florida project, Chicago-based developer is partnering with Florida Value Partners, BH Group and Pebb Enterprises

The John Buck Company's John Buck, Florida Value Partners’ Gus Alfonso, BH Group’s Isaac Toledano and Pebb Enterprises’ Ian Weiner with rendering of the Miami Station project
The John Buck Company's John Buck, Florida Value Partners’ Gus Alfonso, BH Group’s Isaac Toledano and Pebb Enterprises’ Ian Weiner with rendering of the Miami Station project (The John Buck Company, LinkedIn, Yizhak Toledano, Pebb Enterprises, Getty)

UPDATED, Feb. 7, 10:45 a.m.

Chicago developer The John Buck Company is leading a joint venture that acquired a downtown Miami development site for $39.5 million, with plans for a mixed-use project, The Real Deal has learned.

The deal marks John Buck’s official entry into the South Florida market, where a slew of out-of-state developers including New York-based firms like Naftali Group and Kushner Companies have acquired development sites for new multifamily and mixed-use projects in recent years.

John Buck’s other partners are Aventura-based BH Group, Miami-based Florida Value Partners, and Boca Raton-based Pebb Enterprises. Conway, Arkansas-based Centennial Bank financed the acquisition with a $19.8 million mortgage.

In an email, Isaac Toledano, principal of BH Group, confirmed that the partnership acquired the 1-acre site on Monday. Pebb CEO Ian Weiner, and John Buck managing director Ryan Lovell both declined comment.

Jaret Turkell and Omar Morales of Berkadia marketed the property on behalf of the sellers, an entity managed by Aventura-based real estate investor Rainer Viete and Meyers Group, a real estate development firm also based in Aventura, according to a press release.

In 2016, Viete and Meyers Group paid $4.3 million for the two vacant parcels at 525 and 533 Northwest Second Avenue, which are adjacent to the Brightline MiamiCentral Station, records show.

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The development site is approved for a 36-story project with 301 residential units, 244,000 square feet of office space and about 7,000 square feet of retail. The buyers can seek a bonus height for another 24 stories subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, the release states.

A representative for the John Buck joint venture said the partnership has not decided whether the project will entail condominiums or apartments.

Other developers planning projects near MiamiCentral Station include New York’s Damaghi family, which bought a 2.7-acre development site at 200 Northwest First Avenue for $50.8 million in November. The two property assemblage is approved for a two-tower project with 2,007 residential units, almost 50,000 square feet of retail and 2,136 parking spaces.

Miami-based Aria Development Group is leading a joint venture that is developing 501 Residences, a luxury condominium at 501 Northeast First Avenue. Also in November, Aria scored a $80.9 million construction loan for the 40-story tower with 448 units.

The John Buck Company has developed more than $7 billion in real estate projects across the U.S., including landmark buildings and skyscrapers in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Last month, Buck’s firm paid $53 million for a parking lot in Chicago that the developer intends to convert into a two-tower office project.

Honolulu-based Trinity Investments and Credit Suisse Asset Management paid $850 million for Hollywood’s Diplomat Beach Resort last week, and tapped BH Group and Miami-based Related Group to co-develop two parcels adjacent to the luxury hotel.