The Real Deal Miami

Month in Review

Commercial and residential real estate news briefs from the most active South Florida markets
February 08, 2008 08:41PM

New $300M fund to focus on distressed properties

Sky Development Inc. in Miami plans to establish a $300 million fund called Sky Real Estate Fund I to buy distressed properties around the U.S.

The fund, started by Sky Development founding CEO Yizhak Toledano, will target office buildings, shopping malls and centers, condo conversions, hotels and apartment rentals.

The company will look for properties hit hard by the housing market downturn, in areas such as Arizona, California, Florida and Georgia, that can garner a 20 percent to 30 percent return on investment.

Sky Development plans to build a portfolio in excess of $1 billion in commercial and residential properties with an exit strategy of one to four years.

Crescent Hotels opens luxury resort

Crescent Hotels & Resorts, which has $600 million available this year for property acquisitions, has already started its shopping spree for 2008 with the purchase of two Florida sites.

Deals include the 130-room Baymont Inn & Suites International Drive/Orlando near Walt Disney World and the 105-suite Il Lugano in Fort Lauderdale.

The Il Lugano, which opened Jan. 2, features oversized suites, large balconies with panoramic views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean, and a luxury yacht that can be reserved for private events.

Crescent is an owner, manager and third-party operator of hotels and resorts in the U.S. Its portfolio of owned and operated hotels consists of approximately 40 properties that account for more than 7,000 guestrooms across 19 states.

Crescent’s strategy is to focus on upscale and luxury properties across the country. Last year, the Fairfax, Va.-based company spent $400 million on 19 properties. It will finance upcoming purchases by raising equity through a new fund.

AMB’s $24M land deal spurs development

San Francisco-based AMB Property Corp. paid locally based Shoma Development LLC $24 million for a 67-acre parcel of industrially zoned land in the Interstate 75 North corridor.

AMB plans to develop approximately one million square feet of space on the property for a project called “AMB I-75 Business Center.” The company plans to break ground in mid-2009.

The land, bordered by Interstate-75, 170th Street and 97th Avenue, is one of the last remaining major parcels of undeveloped property in Miami’s I-75 North Corridor. Miami-Dade County recently rezoned the property for industrial development.

Shoma Development acquired the land in 2001 for residential use, but county officials convinced the company to rezone the land for industrial use because of its close proximity to rock mining operations.

AMB has a portfolio that consists of seven million square feet of industrial space in Miami-Dade County. Company officials anticipate the project will attract bulk distribution users, according to local brokers.

Shopping center trades hands for $74M

A joint venture between Ramco-Gershenson & ING Clarion Partners has snapped up the 273,000-square-foot Mission Bay Plaza shopping center in Boca Raton for $74 million.

Constructed 19 years ago on a 25-acre parcel in an affluent area, Mission Bay Plaza is currently 97 percent occupied. The three-mile trade area around the center has a population of 88,620 with an average household income of $86,293.

The center includes a 64,000-square-foot Albertson’s supermarket, a 42,000-square-foot Toys ‘R’ Us store, a 32,000-square-foot L.A. Fitness facility and a 22,000-square-foot OfficeMax store.

Ramco-Gershenson purchased the asset from Investcorp in 2004 for $62 million. That same year, the company also formed its partnership with ING Clarion with plans to invest $450 million in retail acquisitions.

Ramco-Gershenson has a portfolio of 89 properties totaling 19.8 million square feet of retail space in the Midwest and South. ING Clarion manages $50 billion in assets in the private and public equity and public debt sectors of the real estate market.

City wants pedestrian-friendly downtown

Boca Raton has revamped its downtown master plan to make sidewalks and buildings more pedestrian-friendly.

A consultant told the city it should include more landscaping near the curb to create a buffer between pedestrians and traffic.

City officials have given a former cartoon museum, under construction at the south end of Mizner Park, the go-ahead to make the suggested improvements on the state-owned sidewalk along Federal Highway.

The mixed-use project includes a bookstore, restaurant and theater, which would be the first building to incorporate plans to accommodate more walking downtown.

Village Square changes hands for $10.3M

Tequesta Investors LP will spend more than $1 million this year to overhaul the Village Square retail center in northern Palm Beach County, across from Jupiter Island.

The partnership paid $10.3 million for the 71,000-square-foot retail center at 281 N. U.S. 1 in Tequesta. The center is more than 60 percent occupied with tenants including Blockbuster Video, Village Bootery, and West Palm Beachbased AI/Merin Hunter Codman.

The renovation will likely include a new roof, façade, landscaping, signage and upgraded parking lot. Plans are still under development, according to Bruce Corn, managing director at NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, which arranged the sale and will oversee the makeover.

Nonprofit affordable-housing firm files for bankruptcy

A nonprofit affordable housing developer in Miami-Dade County filed for bankruptcy in January.

According to its website, Greater Miami Neighborhoods has developed or participated in the construction of more than 5,000 housing and rental units worth more than $300 million since it started in 1985.

The bankruptcy petition listed the developer’s assets of less than $10 million and liabilities of up to $50 million.

The company owes Florida Housing Finance Corp. $7.5 million, Housing Partnership Ventures of Boston $2.6 million and Prudential Insurance Co. of America $1.7 million, according to the petition.

MetLife inks five office leases

MetLife has signed five lease deals at two of its properties, Miramar Centre and Huntington Centre, for a total of 68,087 square feet.

Miramar Centre is a three-building office park located at Interstate 75 and Miramar Parkway, centrally located in proximity to Miami-Dade and Broward counties as well as the Miami and Fort Lauderdale International Airports.

Cheyond and Mattel ink deals

Latin America HQ leased space at Miramar III, a four-story Class A office building with 94,691 square feet. Cheyond took 15,748 square feet while Mattel leased 9,896 square feet.

Principal Life Insurance Co. leased 13,159 square feet at Miramar Centre I, a four-story building with 94,000 square feet.

General Motors signed a lease renewal to occupy 24,195 square feet at Huntington Centre and Practice Partners signed a 5,089-square-foot lease expansion to bring its total square footage to 13,397 square feet.

Huntington Centre has two four-story Class A buildings comprised of 91,000 square feet each.

Average asking rents for office space in Broward County are around $21.48 per square foot, according to CB Richard Ellis.

Local investors pour $26M into office plaza

Saglo Investors inked a $25.8 million deal with Quebec, Canada-based Dalfen America to acquire InterAmerican Plaza in downtown Miami.

The 14-story Class B building was 98 percent leased at sale time with 37 tenants, according to CB Richard Ellis.

The 163,129-square-foot office building, located at 701 S.W. 27th Avenue, consists of nine floors of office above a 222,000-square-foot, four-story parking garage with 680 spaces.

The price of the building, constructed on 1.85 acres in 1974, was well below the replacement cost, estimated at $55 million—or $340 per square foot—according to CB Richard Ellis.

Dalfen acquired the building in 2001, then put $6.1 million into renovating the roof, lobby and common areas.

Residential village breaks ground

Construction has started on a $60 million project that will include 200 units of affordable housing and a 27,000-square-foot YMCA at 2370 NW 17th Avenue in Miami.

Allapattah Village is a joint venture between Carlisle Development Group in Coconut Grove, Biscayne Housing Group, and the YMCA of Greater Miami. The two-phase project will be finished by summer 2009.

The Miami-Dade County general fund paid for the YMCA; Florida Housing Corp. and Miami-Dade County provided funding for the residential portion.

The first phase includes a 12-story tower with 110 apartments in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, which families can rent for between $666 and $924.

Plans for the second phase include a nine-story tower with 90 one-bedroom units reserved for seniors. The rents will range from $366 to $666.

The YMCA will have 17,000 square feet of recreational space and another 10,000 square feet for a day care facility.

Wellington High Auditorium breaks ground

The Weitz Co. has started construction on a new auditorium at Wellington High School in Palm Beach County.

The new auditorium, designed by MPA Architects, consists of a three-story building with 31,000 square feet of space and 806 seats.

The auditorium features a stage with “full fly-loft” to accommodate off-Broadway plays, sound and lighting systems, a pit area for stage rigging, catwalk, spot platforms, green rooms, dressing areas and a technical workshop space.

Wellington High School is part of the School District of Palm Beach County.

Miller Construction building four furniture stores

Miller Construction Co. of Fort Lauderdale has inked a $29.5 million deal to build four new stores for City Furniture and Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Fort Myers and Naples, according to company officials.

Miller Construction Co. has started infrastructure work for the 31-acre Alico Lakes Village mixed-use center in Fort Myers. An 80,000-square-foot City Furniture will anchor the center along with a 34,000-square-foot Ashley Furniture HomeStore.

In Naples, Miller has started construction on an L-shaped complex that calls for a connected 56,500-square- foot City Furniture store and a 31,500-square-foot Ashley store.

Retail center debuts

CORE Construction Florida has completed the construction of its upscale commercial and retail center called Bonita Commons at Spring Creek in Bonita Springs.

The retail center is located on a 19.5-acre site on U.S. 41 and includes 61,200 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Amherst, N.Y.-based Benchmark Group developed the property, which cost an estimated $9.3 million.

CORE Construction was recently awarded an $11.4 million contract to build Madison Cay, a residential development that consists of 10 two-story apartment buildings with 132 units in Fort Pierce.

Sikon Construction breaks ground on retail

Sikon Construction recently broke ground on the 185,000-square-foot SuperTarget at U.S. 441 and Wiles Road in Coral Springs. The store, designed by RSP Architects in Minneapolis, is expected to open by July.

The Deerfield Beach-based company also recently completed a new 135,000-square-foot Target and a 30,000-square-foot Ross, as well as 10,500 square feet of additional retail space in Coral Springs.

The company also broke ground recently on its 53,434-square-foot Coral Landings III retail center located at the southeast corner of Sample Road and N.W. 62nd Avenue in Margate.

The center is anchored by a 31,000-square-foot Best Buy, a 25,000-square-foot HomeGoods, a 21,800-square-foot A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts and a 10,200-square-foot Ulta; a combined 15,700 square feet of retail space is available.

Project is slated for completion this spring, according to Sikon officials.

Investor buys shopping center for $3.9 million

Fort Lauderdale-based Canus Management Ltd. paid John Henry I LLC $3.9 million for a new, fully leased shopping center in east Orlando, according to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

The South Florida investor acquired the 10,764-squarefoot center on University Boulevard east of Rouse Road on Jan. 8. The strip mall center currently includes five tenants and a standalone Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on a single parcel, according to Marcus & Millichap officials in Orlando.

Criminal justice school breaks ground

The Miami Police Department and Miami-Dade School District broke ground on a $35.4 million criminal justice school Jan. 17.

The four-story, 112,300-square-foot facility, which is adjacent to the police headquarters at 400 N.W. Second Avenue, will house a law enforcement high school and a police college for 500 teenagers and college students who are interested in pursuing criminal justice careers.

The facility will be known as Senior High School for Law Studies, Homeland Security and Forensic Sciences.

The campus is part of a program devised by district superintendent Rudy Crew to create schools that specialize in particular career fields.

More condos in the pipeline

JFP Group began redevelopment of a four-acre oceanfront resort in Delray Beach that will convert 32 patio apartments into high-end condominium units.

The $90 million Seahorse condominium project will replace the apartment units built in 1952 with 42 upscale condos priced to $3 million. The units will be located in three-story buildings and have amenities like large courtyard decks.

Catalfumo Construction and Development Inc. recently demolished the property to make way for the new complex. The Seahorse condos is one of three projects Cincinnati-based JFP is working on that could add as much as $150 million to the firm’s development pipeline.

Shopping center commands $31.3M

Westwood Financial Corp., a retail owner and operator with two properties in South Florida, snapped up a 320,000-square-foot shopping center in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Pablo Creek Plaza East shopping center fetched $31.3 million for New York-based Kimco Developers Inc. on Dec. 19. Kimco Developers Inc. is a subsidiary of the REIT Kimco Realty Corp., which specializes in neighborhood shopping centers around the U.S.

The 47-acre development anchored by Target, OfficeMax and Michael’s is Westwood’s first acquisition in Northeast Florida. The Los Angeles-based real estate firm currently owns properties in Delray Beach and Tampa.

Gulf Coast Town Center starts third phase

Developers broke ground on the third phase of Gulf Coast Town Center, a 79,000-square-foot retail center in Fort Myers.

Gulf Coast Town Center is a joint venture by Cleveland-based Richard E. Jacobs Group and CBL Associates, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Lee County project will include a 70,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods and 9,000 square feet of specialty retail space. Construction on two junior anchors as well as additional shops and restaurants will begin later this year.

When completed, Gulf Coast Town Center will consist of more than 1.7 million square feet of retail and restaurants, including 15 anchors and approximately 120 specialty shops. The center is expected to generate more than 2,000 jobs and $400 million in annual retail sales.

New venture will develop homesites

D. E. Shaw and Metro Development Group have formed a $250 million voint venture with plans to buy and develop land throughout Florida and the southeastern states.

D.E. Shaw is a global investment and technology management firm and Tampa-based Metro is a community development firm.

The joint venture will acquire land to develop homesites and residential communities for builders of entry-level homes. In order to expedite land development, instead of purchasing un-entitled land, the joint venture will pursue zoned properties ready for entitlement.

The joint venture closed two deals in 2007 when it acquired 8,300 homesites in seven Florida counties on Nov. 30 and an additional 1,000 homesites in Hillsborough County on Dec. 28.

Metro will target areas from Jacksonville to Ft. Myers and anticipates that it will complete all of its acquisitions within 18 months.

Medical office nears completion

Contractor Taylor-Pansing Inc. is nearly finished constructing a 14,000-square-foot medical office building on the west side of Del Prado Boulevard, north of Hancock Bridge Parkway in Cape Coral. Located at 126 Del Prado Boulevard South, the building is owned by a group of four doctors with existing practices in the region.

Keith Taylor, a project manager at Taylor-Pansing, said the building has enough space for a separate CAT scan center and another spot for other medical use.