Miami Beach shuts down construction at Rishi Kapoor’s co-living project

Embattled developer began work without securing building permit

Location Venture's Rishi Kapoor and the rendering of Urbin Miami Beach project with the properties at 1234 and 1260 Washington Avenue
Location Venture's Rishi Kapoor and the rendering of Urbin Miami Beach project with the properties at 1234 and 1260 Washington Avenue (Location Ventures, Google Maps)

UPDATED, June 28, 4:10 p.m.

Embattled developer Rishi Kapoor’s troubles keep piling up. 

Miami Beach building officials issued a stop work order at Kapoor’s Urbin Miami Beach co-living project at 1234 and 1260 Washington Avenue due to a lack of permits, according to the Miami Herald. The city also hit an affiliate of Location Ventures, the Coral Gables-based development firm led by Kapoor, with a violation for unpermitted work. 

Kapoor is currently under scrutiny by county, state and federal ethics and law enforcement agencies for his business dealings with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Investigators are probing a Location Ventures subsidiary’s monthly $10,000 payments to Suarez for a previously undisclosed private consulting job. 

The arrangement allegedly netted the mayor, who is running in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, at least $170,000 since 2021. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also examining whether Location Ventures and its affiliates misrepresented profits to investors, among other possible federal violations. 

In Miami Beach, Kapoor is proposing a six-story co-living building on 12th Street and Washington Avenue. In May, the Miami Beach City Commission approved a measure that, among other things, extended the deadline for Location Ventures to obtain permits for Urbin Miami Beach until next year. 

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A Location Venture’s affiliate demolished the one-story building at 1260 Washington Avenue after obtaining the city’s permission, the Miami Herald reported. But the developer began building the new project’s foundation and columns without a permit. 

In a statement to The Real Deal, Location Ventures Chief Development Officer Vivian Bonet said that the Urbin Miami Beach site has not had any construction activity since March, while the firm was finalizing zoning and other issues with the city, which have now been completed. Location Ventures is now awaiting approval of a master permit to proceed with development. “This is, yet another attempt to discredit parties with trifling matters,” she said.

Location Ventures is also under contract to buy two other Washington Avenue properties for a possible second development with co-living and micro-units. 

Kapoor is a generous political contributor to Miami Beach political groups and elected officials. In March, Location Ventures gave $50,000 to A Better Future for Miami Beach, an electioneering communications organization that is supporting former city commissioner Michael Góngora’s run for mayor in the November election. A city ban on political contributions from developers to candidates and their direct political action committees does not apply to groups like A Better Future. 

In 2021, three entities managed by Kapoor contributed a combined $3,000 to the re-election campaign of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, who is termed out. At the time, city officials told The Real Deal that Miami Beach erroneously placed Kapoor on the banned donors list, but determined that his company and its affiliates did not have any pending matters that required city approval. 

In a previous interview, Kapoor said his name showing up on the banned list “was really upsetting,” that he took “pride in following the law,” and that TRD’s reporting about his political contributions “made it seem that our integrity and our process is inappropriate.”

— Francisco Alvarado