Developers plan multifamily mixed-use project in Opa-locka

Harry Joseph and Ari Hertz scored approval for six-story, 45-unit building with retail

HBJ Development's Harry Joseph and a rendering of the 45-unit project in Opa-locka (Getty, HBJ Development & Management)
HBJ Development's Harry Joseph and a rendering of the 45-unit project in Opa-locka (Getty, HBJ Development & Management)

A pair of development firms are partnering on a 45-unit mixed-use apartment project in Opa-locka, The Real Deal has learned. 

HBJ Development, led by Harry Joseph, and Q Realty Development, led by Ari Hertz, plan a six-story building that will include 1,700 square feet of retail on the northwest corner of Ali Baba Avenue and Sesame Street, Joseph told The Real Deal

The Opa-locka City Commission approved Sesame Street Project last month. 

The development will consist of market-rate apartments, although the partners are exploring the option to turn some of the units into workforce and affordable housing, Joseph said. 

Construction is expected to start early next year, and completion is slated for late 2025, according to Joseph. 

Sesame Street Project marks the first ground-up development by Miami-based HBJ Development. Founded in 2021 by Joseph, HBJ offers construction management, renovation, surveying, entitlement and rezoning services. Its previous projects include securing rezoning and approvals for the conversion of a commercial building in Fort Myers into multifamily, Joseph said. 

Before starting HBJ, Joseph was a land development coordinator for Creighton Construction & Development in Fort Myers, according to his LinkedIn. The firm has a niche in developing 7-Eleven buildings. 

Hertz, through an affiliate, owns the 0.7-acre vacant Opa-locka development site. It bought it for $270,000 in 2021, according to records. 

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Hertz, whose real name is Aron Herczl, has been ramping up his Florida real estate development plans in recent years, records show. The recent South Florida transplant from Brooklyn also headquartered his Q Realty in Miami, Joseph said. 

In 2021, Hertz sought a rezoning of a 2-acre site at 1250 and 1260 Northeast 115th Street and 1251 Northeast 113th Terrace, in the Biscayne Shores neighborhood of unincorporated Miami-Dade, from “duplex district” to “mixed-use corridor district,” according to filings with Miami-Dade. Hertz owns the property through an affiliate. 

Near Miami Shores, Hertz sought in 2019 to rezone over an acre he owns on the southwest corner of Northeast 14th Avenue and Northeast 114th Terrace from “RU-2 duplex” to “mixed-use corridor district,” which would allow for more than 50 units per acre on the site, according to a submittal to Miami-Dade. Hertz also owns this property. 

This year, Hertz has focused on Orlando. He plans Westmoreland Square on 1.3 acres on the southwest corner of West Colonial and North Westmoreland drives, according to GrowthSpotter. In March, Hertz scrapped plans to include a hotel in the mixed-use six-story building, in favor of apartments. Plans call for Westmoreland to include 115 apartments. 

HBJ and Q Realty join Redwood Dev Co in betting on Opa-locka’s multifamily market. 

Redwood completed The Mirage at Sailboat Cove townhouse rental project in 2021 at 14301 Northwest 17 Path. The developer built 112 units and bought 26 of the 59 townhouses previously built by other developers. 

Redwood is developing the 98-unit Mosaic Apartments at 13800 Northwest 22nd Avenue. 

Both Mirage and Mosaic accept rent vouchers, although they are not officially designated as workforce and affordable housing. 

Last month, Redwood paid $30 million for 75 townhouses at 2601 Northwest 119th Street near Opa-locka, with plans to convert them into workforce rentals. The seller, Lennar, is almost finished building the townhouses. 

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