Investors snag site north of Design District as area expands

The two properties north of Miami's Design District
The two properties north of Miami's Design District

As another sign of Miami’s Design District expanding north, a pair of investors have picked up two side-by-side parcels near Northwest 45th street, The Real Deal has learned.

Arthur Bartholomew and Thomas Neary, who have backgrounds in rental property ownership, saw an opportunity to purchase a mom-and-pop grocery store a few blocks north of the Design District.

Their plan, Bartholomew told TRD, is to bank on the area’s rising property values and rental rates.

The parcels are at 185 Northwest 45th Street and 4501 Northwest Second Avenue. The main property, on the corner of the two streets, is a 6,555-square-foot building occupied by Food Check.

The neighboring lot is 5,000 square feet of vacant space, used by the store owners to park a couple of shipping containers. Bartholomew and Neary purchased the parcels for $800,000 in cash from the previous owner of Food Check, who had sold the store to other operators but kept the property.

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The two will keep Food Check as a tenant — as long as it keeps performing — until its lease ends in 2020, Bartholomew told TRD. If the tenant falls out of the lease, he said that he and Neary have a few other options: They could transform the property into a showroom, or a loft-style work environment, or split the building into smaller spaces to bring in more tenants.

Their marketing message is simple: Design District locale without Design District prices.

For now, Bartholomew said he and Neary will refinance their new properties and explore their options.

The Design District spans roughly 10 square blocks, and when completed, will have 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use space. Its most prominent developer, Craig Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, is transforming the area into a stylized shopping destination with luxury brand stores, hotels, restaurants and condos.

Robins told TRD earlier this month that Dacra has enough property to add another 1.5 million square feet to the project, but when that will happen is still up in the air.

New York-based Thor Equities is also growing its holdings in the area, with a $16 million purchase last month that adds to its more than $100 million in Design District properties. The firm is working on a redevelopment plan, but hasn’t shared any details yet.