Owner of former Best Buy store in Pinecrest files for bankruptcy

Maria Investments, facing foreclosure of its 40K sf retail building, generated more than $1M in revenue before big box retailer moved out

Owner Of Ex-Best Buy Store In Pinecrest Files For Bankruptcy
Best Buy store at 11905 South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest (Google Maps)

The owner of a former Best Buy store in Pinecrest is seeking bankruptcy protection after losing more than $1 million in rental revenue when the big box retailer moved out last year.

On June 20, Maria Investments, led by Azhar Said in Miami, filed a Chapter 11 petition in Miami’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court to avoid losing the 40,242-square-foot retail building at 11905 South Dixie Highway. 

In 1999, Maria Investments paid $2.8 million for the building that was completed in 1998, records show. 

Maria Investments’ largest creditor is an affiliate of Abinger Capital, a New York-based real estate investment management firm that holds an $11.5 million note on the property, the petition shows. In January, the Abinger affiliate filed a foreclosure lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court alleging that Maria Investments failed to repay the loan when it matured in October of last year.

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The same month, Best Buy vacated the big box store as part of the national retailer’s closing of 17 stores across the country, according to published reports. 

Maria Investments’ bankruptcy filing stays the foreclosure action. The company listed $12.2 million in liabilities, including the Abinger mortgage and a $122,000 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Maria Investments has $12.2 million in assets, and the retail building’s estimated value is $9.5 million, the bankruptcy petition shows. Last year, Maria Investments generated $1.5 million in rental revenue. 

In April, Maria Investments filed a separate lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against Best Buy for breach of contract. The suit alleges Best Buy failed to maintain the building and equipment in good condition, failed to remove personal property installed by the tenant, made interior and structural changes to the building without consent of the landlord, and failed to repair any damage to the building. The case was moved to Miami federal court in May, court records show. 

In a response to the lawsuit, Best Buy denied the allegations, asserting that the renovations the company made to the building were allowed under the lease agreement. A copy of the lease shows Best Buy signed a 15-year term in 2008, and the lease was set to expire shortly before vacating the space. 

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