1.8 Acre Miami River Site Sells For $27.5 Million

A major New York developer has acquired a Miami River property for more than $27.5 million and plans to build a high-end condominium tower.
Miami River Project LLC, managed by New York-based KAR Properties LLC, purchased the 1.8-acre parcel Tuesday at 24 SW Fourth St., according to Miami-Dade County records. The land once was the proposed site of the second phase of the Wind by Neo condominium project before the housing crash. A condo project called Cima also was planned for the property but also fell through.
The county recorded the $352 per square foot sale Wednesday. No financing was recorded.
KAR is a “large, innovative player” that plans to develop the property with a “large equity partner,” according to broker Larry Stockton, senior vice president at Colliers International. He arranged the sale for the seller, Miami Rio SN LLC of Great Neck, New York. He declined to disclose KAR’s partner.
The true purchase price exceeded $27.5 million, but Stockton declined to disclose the exact value.
KAR plans to work within the previously approved major use special permit for the development, he said. But the company and its partner likely would build fewer than the permitted 500 units.
“They closed early and want to get started immediately,” he said. “This is going to be a unique building with very high-end finishes and large units. It’s going to separate itself from the typical Miami project.”
Miami Rio also transferred development rights to the KAR company as part of the transaction.
The seller previously owned the property as First Quality Properties VIII LLC, according to county records. It took title to the land in an April 2011 foreclosure auction after purchasing a foreclosure judgment from Wells Fargo Bank.
Wells Fargo had been awarded a $28.1 million judgment against Neo Epoch 1 Ltd. of Coral Gables. Neo Epoch in 2008 completed the nearly 500-unit Wind by Neo tower at 350 S. Miami Ave.
KAR’s property and Wind are located in the Riverfront complex, which also includes the Ivy and Mint condo towers.
KAR’s project would be at least the 14th condo tower planned for a seven-block stretch of South Miami Avenue, according to Peter Zalewski, founder of Miami-based Condo Vultures LLC.
“If you assume a minimum of 300 units per tower, that’s close to 5,000 units” proposed in the area, Zalewski said.
“That’s one area with the potential to get frothy very quickly,” he said. “That being said, I think [KAR’s property] is well-situated on the north side of the river. With traffic becoming what it is, the beauty of that site is that it is right across the bridge from Brickell CityCentre but not dealing with the same congestion.”
Swire Properties Inc. is building the first phase of the $1.05 billion CityCentre on several blocks west of Brickell Avenue and north of Southwest Eight Street. That phase, a high-end 500,000-square-foot retail center, is scheduled for a 2015 completion.
Swire’s project has resulted in a flurry of Brickell-area land acquisitions and aggressive price appreciation.
With so many condo units in the pipeline, developers who were burned during the last real estate cycle are racing to get their projects started ahead of the pack, Zalewski said.
“The key right now is to be the fastest to get in the market, get deposits and close,” he said. “When the market goes sideways, the developers who came first and got their chips off the table will thrive.”
Source:  DBR

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