John Ruiz, Cigarette Racing buy Opa-locka warehouses, amid industrial sales uptick

Buyers paid $16M for pair of facilities the boat firm leased

LifeWallet CEO John Ruiz Buys Cigarette Racing’s Warehouses

A photo illustration of John Ruiz along with the warehouses at 4355 Northwest 128th Street (bottom) and 13041 Northwest 43rd Avenue (top) in Opa-locka (Getty, LinkedIn, LoopNet, Google Maps)

John Ruiz and his boat manufacturing firm, Cigarette Racing, scooped up a pair of Opa-locka warehouses, amid a continued uptick of South Florida industrial investment sales. 

They purchased the adjacent buildings at 4355 Northwest 128th Street and 13041 Northwest 43rd Avenue for $16 million from an entity led by Skip Braver, according to records. Braver sold the Cigarette Racing powerboat business to Ruiz and Ophir Sternberg’s Lionheart Capital in 2021. Cigarette Racing had been leasing the two Opa-locka buildings.

Ruiz’s purchasing affiliate and other entities tied to him and his son, Alexander Ruiz, boosted an existing $16.7 million loan to $32.7 million. The collateral for the debt consists of the pair of Opa-locka facilities, as well as two adjacent industrial-zoned vacant lots and a pair of Coral Gables homes. 

The two-story building at 4355 Northwest 128th Street in Opa-locka spans 102,300 square feet and was completed in 1971 on 4.3 acres, according to real estate database PropertyShark. The one-story facility at 3041 Northwest 43rd Avenue spans 26,400 square feet and was completed in 1987 on 1.3 acres, property records show. 

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Ruiz is a South Florida entrepreneur, University of Miami athletics booster and attorney who founded and leads health insurance claims company LifeWallet. In January, the Miami Herald reported that Ruiz and LifeWallet are under federal civil and criminal investigations, including over making financial misrepresentations to investors. 

Lionheart, based in Miami, is a real estate investor and developer, as well as an investor in public and private companies.

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South Florida’s industrial market has experienced a flow of deals, despite elevated interest rates, skyrocketing insurance and other economic headwinds. This month, Corebridge paid $25.5 million for the warehouse at 15801 Northwest 49th Avenue in Miami Gardens that’s leased to Moishe Mana’s documents storage firm GRM Information Management. Also, LBA Logistics bought the Interstate Park Logistics Center warehouse at 3774 Interstate Park Road North in Riviera Beach for $55 million

The purchases came on the heels of Tishman Speyer paying $100.2 million for the fully leased 256,000-square-foot Rock Lake Business Center warehouse complex on 35 acres at 3150-3250 Northwest 33rd Street in Pompano Beach, also this month. The deal marked New York-based Tishman Speyer’s first industrial investment in Florida. 

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