Rishi Kapoor’s firm leases storefront from Coral Gables mayor

Location Ventures is paying rent for space in a retail building partially owned by Vince Lago

From left: Vince Lago and Rishi Kapoor along with 1424 Ponce de Leon Boulevard (Getty, LoopNet, Location Ventures)

From left: Vince Lago and Rishi Kapoor along with 1424 Ponce de Leon Boulevard (Getty, LoopNet, Location Ventures)

Francis Suarez is not the only mayor getting paid by developer Rishi Kapoor.

Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago is a partial owner of a retail building at 1424 Ponce de Leon Boulevard where Kapoor’s Location Ventures leases space for thousands of dollars per month, the Miami Herald reported.

The storefront is across the street from Location Ventures’ proposed luxury high-rise condominium at 1505 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, prompting Lago to abstain from voting on matters involving Kapoor’s project. 

Lago told the newspaper that he owns 40 percent of the company that purchased the retail building last year for $1.9 million. Location Ventures is paying roughly $12,410 monthly for a space that has been empty since the company signed the lease agreement last year, Lago said. Location Ventures planned to use the space as a sales gallery for the condo project. 

The Coral Gables mayor said he’s abstained from voting on matters pertaining to Kapoor’s project four times since June of last year. Rosa Commercial Real Estate, the brokerage where Lago’s real estate license is registered, also brokered Kapoor’s $35.5 million purchase of the Ponce de Leon property, the Miami Herald reported. Location Ventures is proposing a $100 million tower with 80 condo units and more than 10,000 square feet of retail space on the site. 

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Kapoor’s business relationship with Lago is the latest imbroglio involving the developer and a local mayor. Location Venture’s Urbin division allegedly paid Miami Mayor Francis Suarez at least $170,000 the past two years for private consulting work. Kapoor allegedly told investors of his planned Coconut Grove Urbin co-living project that he had enlisted Suarez’s assistance in cutting through red tape and obtaining permits.

Suarez’s side gig with Urbin came to light in a Miami-Dade lawsuit filed against Location Ventures by the firm’s former CFO Greg Brooks. In his complaint, Brooks alleged that Urbin was paying Suarez $10,000 a month for unexplained services and with no written agreement. In an affirmative defense, Urbin confirmed it had hired Suarez, but asserted a contract did exist between the firm and the mayor. 

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office recently opened an inquiry into the arrangement between Suarez and Kapoor’s firm. 

— Francisco Alvarado