Clara plans 152-unit apartment project on Austin Burke store site in Wynwood

James Curnin’s firm under $8M contract for 0.4-acre property

Clara Homes Plans Apartments on Austin Burke Site in Wynwood

A photo illustration of Clara Homes’ James Cumin along with photos of the current site at 2601 Northwest Sixth Avenue in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood (Getty, Clara Homes, Google Maps)

Clara Homes wants to develop a 152-unit apartment building on the site of the Austin Burke menswear store in Wynwood. 

The Miami-based firm is under contract to purchase the 0.4-acre property at 2601 Northwest Sixth Avenue in Miami for $7.7 million, according to a Clara news release. In the sale-leaseback deal, the Austin Burke store could stay open for a year and a half after the deal closes. 

Records show the Austin Burke store’s owners, including Kenneth Sager, Barry Burke, Cindy Burke and Lindsay Burke Casey, had paid $340,000 for the site in 1988. Burke, who died in 1987, also previously had stores in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 

Jordan Karp of Jordan Karp LLC is representing Clara Homes in the purchase. Jeremy Larkin of NAI Miami is representing the seller.

Led by James Curnin, Clara Homes’ preliminary plan is to take advantage of the Live Local Act, a state law approved this year allowing developers to build bigger projects in exchange for including some affordable or workforce housing. Designed by Kobi Karp, the roughly 200-foot tall building would include a rooftop padel court and ground-floor retail, according to the release. Clara Homes will partly bankroll the site purchase with seller financing. 

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Roughly 40 percent of the units will be at below-market rents, according to a Clara representative. 

The purchase, which breaks down to $19.3 million per acre, is expected to close by year-end. 

Since late last year, Miami development site prices have nosedived, partly due to higher costs of  financing. In the second quarter, the average price hit $32 million per acre in the city, down from $40 million per acre during the same time last year, according to Colliers data

The Wynwood project marks Clara Homes’ expansion into multifamily development. Founded in 2014 by Curnin, the firm has a reputation as a spec home developer. Last year, it scored approval for an apartment complex with 150 units, combined, on non-contiguous lots in Bay Harbor Islands. The project, called Clara Bay Harbor, will consist of six-story buildings, one planned for 10200 and 10290 East Bay Harbor Drive, another at 10281 West Bay Harbor Drive and a third at 1147-1163 100th Street. 

Developers continue to target Wynwood with project proposals. In Wynwood Norte, a district on the north portion of the neighborhood, Property Markets Group and Lndmrk Development plan a condo project at 112-138 Northwest 30th Street and 119-137 Northwest 29th Street. Plans haven’t been made public, though the site allows for an up to 12-story mixed-use building. 

In July, Fisher Brothers Management scored a $117.5 million construction loan for the eight-story, 312-unit Wynhouse apartment project with 27,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The site is the former Miami Rescue Mission headquarters at 2201, 2229 and 2159 Northwest First Court and 2200 and 2250 Northwest First Avenue.