Raphael Ammar proposes 18-story mixed-use project in Ojus

Developer’s past projects include assembling and flipping land, building and operating private schools

Raphael Ammar Proposes 18-Story Mixed-Use Project in Ojus
2600 Northeast 203rd Street (Google Maaps, Getty)

Preschool developer and operator Raphael Ammar wants to build an 18-story mixed-use project with apartments in Ojus, amid a flurry of project proposals targeting the area near Brightline’s stop. 

Called The Gateway, the building would consist of 210 apartments starting on the seventh level, 99,600 square feet of offices on levels two to six and 17,600 square feet of retail on the ground floor at 2600 and 2630 Northeast 203rd Street, according to an application an Ammar affiliate submitted to Miami-Dade County this week. Apartments will range from one-bedroom to three-bedroom units, with some offering a den. 

Ammar is partnering with his sons, Surfside luxury home developers Joseph and Gabriel Ammar, on the project and also is seeking additional joint venture partners, he told The Real Deal

The Gateway application marks a tweak of the original plan from 2020. At the time, Ammar wanted to build a 12-story building with 168 apartments, offices, retail and convention space. He scrapped the convention area in favor of adding more units and is betting on getting approval for the additional six stories through a Miami-Dade program that allows taller buildings in exchange for workforce housing, he said. At The Gateway, 21 of the units would be designated for households earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income. 

Ammar’s affiliate Star Holdings Management owns the 1.3-acre development site. It paid $4.2 million for the pair of lots in two deals in 2003 and 2016, according to records. 

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The Gateway is Ammar’s first major development after years of working behind the scenes, assembling land, entitling it for construction and flipping it to builders. Ammar also developed and still operates Nana’s Preschools, he said. The private school has campuses in Hialeah and Hallandale Beach, with another under construction in Hollywood. 

The Gateway isn’t his only planned development. In Hallandale Beach, the Ammar family is partnering with Miami-based Sagewood Corporation on a proposal for 80 apartments, a 21,000-square-foot Nana’s Preschool and 8,000 square feet of medical offices at 100-120 Southeast Fourth Avenue, Ammar said. The joint venture is readying its application, but has not yet filed it to the city. 

In past land assemblage deals, he partnered with Aharon Vaknin on putting together a 1.7-acre development site and flipping it for $13 million in 2016 to Inmobiliaria Brom, which developed the Optima office complex that straddles Aventura and Hallandale Beach. 

Ojus, which is in unincorporated Miami-Dade near Aventura, has caught developers’ eyes in recent years. Brightline, which connects South Florida’s downtowns, opened a stop at 19796 West Dixie Highway in the neighborhood late last year, in part playing into the area’s growth. 

Near the stop, Stellar Communities and Adam America Real Estate plan the 15-story, 245-apartment Aventra Station I building at 18801 West Dixie Highway, and the 12-story, 223-unit Aventura Station II at 2524-2560 Northeast 193rd Street and at 2525-2561 Northeast 192nd Street.

Last year, Yakov Cohen and Shimon Bouskila filed plans for a 15-story building with 261 units and some retail at 2655-2660 Northeast 189th Street.