Ex-MLB player Mo Vaughn partners with Hyperion on 147-unit multifamily project in Little Haiti

15 apartments will be workforce housing for tenants earning no more than 100% of AMI

Mo Vaughn, Hyperion Group Plan Little Haiti Rental Project

From left: Hyperion Group’s Rob Vecsler, Mo Vaughn and an aerial view of the properties at Aerial or street view of the properties at 43 Northeast 53rd Street, 40 and 50 Northeast 54th Street in Miami (Getty, Hyperion Group, Google Maps)

Ex-Major League Baseball player Mo Vaughn wants to develop a multifamily building in Little Haiti, marking at least his second proposed Miami project in the past year. 

Vaughn, who founded affordable housing real estate firm Omni America, along with Hyperion Group and additional partners plan a 147-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail. The project would span nearly an acre at 43 Northeast 53rd Street, as well as 40 and 50 Northeast 54th Street, according to Miami records and Hyperion CEO Rob Vecsler. The other partners are Omni America co-founder Eugene Schneur and managing director Robert Bennett. 

Vecsler told The Real Deal via email that Omni America itself won’t be affiliated with the project.   

The developers still need city approval, and Miami administrators have expressed concerns with a recent application, records show. Commissioners are expected to vote at their Thursday meeting on the developers’ request to waive an 18-month waiting period required under the city code before a new zoning petition is filed. In November, the city approved a site rezoning to T5-O, and the developers want to change this to a T6-8-O zoning, according to records. 

In a December staff analysis letter, Miami administrators wrote that the current zoning is in line with “ the practical considerations of urban planning in this area.” The requested rezoning raises “concerns about potential encroachment into the surrounding neighborhood,” Miami staff members wrote. 

The project would target residents and employees in Little Haiti, including staff members at the Miami Jewish Health medical center that’s directly south of the site, according to the developers’ filing to the city. 

At the building, 10 percent of the units, or about 15 units, would be workforce housing for tenants earning up to 100 percent of the area median income, according to the filing. This means that a household cannot earn more than Miami-Dade County’s median income, which now is $74,700 annually and is expected to change once AMIs are updated this spring. 

The number of stories for the project, and the square footage of the ground-floor retail haven’t been determined, Vecsler said. 

The T6-8-O zoning allows up to eight levels, according to the Miami 21 zoning code. 

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Construction is expected to start within a year of obtaining zoning approval, according to Vecsler.  

Records show that an entity tied to Hyperion, Vaughn, Schneur and Bennett bought the development site in 2021 for $3.2 million. 

Hyperion, with offices in New York and Miami, has developed over 1 million square feet, with 1,000 residential units in South Florida, according to the firm’s website. In Boynton Beach, Hyperion and Winter Properties plan the eight-story Ocean One building with 371 apartments and 25,588 square feet of retail and restaurant space at 114-222 North Federal Highway. Construction is expected to start this year.

Hyperion, Winter and Starwood Capital Group are developing a 22-story building with 457 apartments at 201 Clearwater Drive in downtown West Palm Beach. Completion is expected this year.

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Vaughn, through his Omni America, plans the 10-story Omni 21 building with 97 apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at 100 Northeast 21st Street in Miami. The site is on the border of Edgewater and Wynwood. The Miami Urban Development Review Board approved Omni 21 last year. 

Vaughn, a former Boston Red Sox and New York Mets first baseman, co-founded Omni with Schneur in 2004. 

Little Haiti is a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. Several developers plan new towers that would replace the low-rise apartment buildings and single-family homes. The biggest approved project in the area is the 18-acre Magic City Innovation District, which would bring a mix of uses between Northeast 60th Street to 64th Street, between Northeast Second Avenue to the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.  

Also, a firm tied to Justin Podolsky proposes to redevelop the Design Place apartment complex at 5045 Northeast Second Avenue with a 5.9 million-square-foot mixed-use project.