Thor Equities completes priciest Design District buy

Lyle Chariff
Lyle Chariff

Thor Equities just made its biggest investment in Miami’s Design District to date, The Real Deal has learned.

The New York investor paid $45.4 million for Sam Herzberg’s portfolio in the district. Thor’s acquisition of the five properties closed on Friday. Miami-Dade County has not recorded the all-cash transaction.

Thor adds more than 32,000 square feet to its growing assemblage in the district. The company has spent more than $76 million in four recent acquisitions, including last month’s $15.8 million purchase of the Baltus building. That building is contiguous to the properties Thor acquired from Herzberg.

Scott Sherman, a Thor executive, declined comment when reached on Monday. The company already added the 2-54 Northeast 40th Street properties to its website, however. In its description of the portfolio, Thor says it plans to redevelop the existing buildings into “the most enviable luxury mixed-use property in the Design District.”

Herzberg, who owns the Sterling Building on Lincoln Road, generated a substantial return on the $19.3 million investment he made in the properties. Companies managed by Herzberg acquired the parcels in several transactions two years ago. Wells Fargo Bank provided Herzberg’s companies with a $13.3 million loan for the purchases.

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“A lot of this has to do with my personal situation,” Herzberg told TRD on Monday. “I felt like it was a development piece. I’m not a developer. I buy existing properties and try to manage them better.”

The transaction represents “a good opportunity for both parties,” Herzberg said. “This is the type of property, urban high-end retail, that Thor likes to buy.”

Chariff Realty Group’s Lyle Chariff and Mauricio Zapata arranged the transaction.

“Thor remains very committed to the Miami Design District and has been very supportive of Craig Robins’ neighborhood improvement plan,” Chariff told TRD. “We began this transaction several months ago and I’m happy to see that we had a smooth successful closing. I see property prices within the district continuing to drastically rise, just based on current purchase contracts that we have knowledge of.”

Robins-led Dacra and private equity partner L Real Estate Advisors are in the midst of a $1 billion mixed-use project that is luring luxury retail tenants to the district, which is experiencing a flurry of property sales activity on blocks surrounding the massive development.