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Florida Bill Turns To Developers To Tackle Affordable Housing

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) introduced on Thursday an $800 million affordable-housing bill designed to tackle soaring rents by providing incentives to the private sector, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The sweeping, 93-page bill — called the Live Local Act of 2023 — would ease local regulatory laws by requiring municipalities and counties to approve multifamily and mixed-housing units in commercial areas, provided 40 percent of the housing is set aside for families whose incomes are up to 120 percent of the area’s median income, the outlet reported.

The bill also provides multiple tax incentives to developers who designate units as affordable. For example, owners of properties with at least 70 units that were built or remodeled within the previous five years would receive a tax incentive if they set aside apartments for low- to mid-income residents, according to the outlet.

Another provision allows counties and municipalities to offer a local tax exemption to developments with at least 50 apartments with 20 percent of the units dedicated to affordable housing, the Commercial Observer reported.

The bill would also prohibit local governments from instituting rent control, according to multiple outlets.

Florida rents have increased over 20 percent from 2020 to 2021, and rose even more through most of last year, according to the Sentinel.

Many residents who are employed in the hospitality industry — on which Florida relies heavily — were priced out of their local markets due to the significant rent increases, the Commercial Observer reported.

“We have great respect for the dignity of work. We know that a lower commute means a higher quality of life,” bill sponsor Sen. Alexis Calatayud, a Republican representing southern Miami, said, according to the outlet.

While Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis provided tentative support for the bill, some Florida Democrats and housing advocates decried the proposal as a giveaway to developers and landlords.

“Senate Republicans’ solution to the housing crisis is a state mandate banning local rent stabilization measures and too many developer handouts to count,” Ida Eskamani, a Central Florida affordable housing advocate, posted on Twitter, the Sentinel reported. “I’m not seeing any pro-consumer policies like tenant protections and stopping private equity monopolies.”


Source:  The Real Deal

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Mixed-Use Project Proposed To Replace Parking Lot In South Beach

The owner of the Washington Park Hotel in South Beach is proposing a 7-story mixed-use project on an adjacent municipal surface parking lot.

WPH Properties, LLC submitted the proposal for a 99-year lease of the city property.

The proposal include:

  • 135 structured parking spaces in three levels, including a single subterranean level
    utilizing mechanical lifts (triple the number of spaces in the existing lot)
  • ground level commercial space
  • three levels and thirty-three units of workforce housing units or office space (with the choice made by the city)
  • a top-level office/hotel use level
  • rooftop amenity area for hotel and building tenant use

In a letter, the developer wrote:

Our client has already invested over $52 million in the purchase and extensive renovations to
the Washington Park Hotel complex. We estimate the costs associated with the construction
of the new building at approximately $25 million.

This new project is not viewed by the Proposer as a profitable real estate development project
and the rate of return is not the primary motivation. Rather, because of the location of the
parking lot, the aim is to maximize and optimize the use of the combined properties as a single

Beilinson Gomez is the architect.

The city’s Finance and Economic Resiliency Committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal at a January 27 meeting.


Source: The Next Miami


9-Story Apartment Tower Proposed Near Aventura

BH Group has a property in the Ojus neighborhood west of Aventura under contract with a pending plan to redevelop it with apartments.

The Aventura-based developer filed a pre-application with county officials for the 1.21-acre site at 18440 N.E. 24th Court, 18451 N.E. 24th Ave., and 2327 N.E. 184th Terrace, which is just north of Greynolds Park. It has the four parcels under contract.

The property currently has eight small apartments and a vacant lot. It would be redeveloped to make way for the project.

BH Group wants to build a nine-story building totaling 232,055 square feet with 132 apartments and 162 parking spaces. There would be 19,254 square feet of amenities, including a rooftop pool deck. The developer would utilize a workforce housing density bonus in exchange for making 10% of those apartments workforce housing.

The apartments would range from 656 to 1,229 square feet. There would be 24 studio apartments, 54 one-bedroom units, 30 one-bedroom units with dens, and 24 two-bedroom units.

In order to build this project, BH Group wants the county to rezone the site from Ojus Urban Area District-Edge to Ojus Urban Area District-Center. The developer’s traffic study estimates the project would generate 583 daily vehicle trips.

Source:  SFBJ

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RFR, Tricap File Dueling Lawsuits For Control Of W South Beach

New York developers Aby Rosen and David Edelstein are in a high-noon standoff over a proposed buyout deal for the W South Beach — with a maturing loan raising the stakes.

Entities controlled by Edelstein, principal of Tricap (formerly Tristar Capital), and Rosen, co-founder and principal of RFR Realty, recently filed dueling lawsuits against each other in Miami-Dade Circuit Court and New York Supreme Court.

The W South Beach co-owners are in a hostile stalemate over Tricap’s $200 million proposal to buy RFR’s interest in the luxury hotel at 2201 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

A Tricap spokesperson said Edelstein’s firm sought legal action in Miami-Dade to “enforce a contractually agreed-to process for buying or selling the hotel to each other,” and that RFR followed up with its own complaint in New York, “apparently seeking to avoid litigating the matter in Florida.”

Last week, Tricap’s entity sued RFR’s entity in Miami-Dade, seeking a court order to enforce an agreement the partners allegedly reached in October. The suit also seeks to require RFR to either agree to extend a $157.4 million Citibank mortgage due on Jan. 25, or come up with its share of the funds to pay it off.

RFR has “repeatedly refused” to cooperate with Tricap on the loan issue as a tactic to obtain a more favorable buyout at “an inflated price,” the Miami-Dade lawsuit states. If Tricap refused, RFR threatened to “burn the house down,” the complaint also states.

On Monday, RFR’s entity sued Tricap’s entity in New York, accusing its partner of using the buyout negotiations as a stall tactic to extend the loan’s maturity date, which was originally set to expire in August of last year.

RFR claims it was “ostensibly negotiating in good faith,” while Tricap was “merely stringing [RFR] along in an effort to extract additional concessions,” the New York lawsuit states. Tricap walked away from Tricap’s $200 million offer last month, RFR also alleges.

In 2009, the New York firms co-developed the 395-room W hotel.


Source:  The Real Deal

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Wynwood Plaza Project Scores $215M Construction Loan

In yet another sign that lenders are still confident in the South Florida market, a mixed-use office development in Wynwood secured a $215 million construction loan.

Little Rock, Arkansas-based Bank OZK provided the loan to L&L Holding Company, Oak Row Equities, San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties and Marcelo Claure’s Miami-based Claure Group for the Wynwood Plaza, a 1-million-square-foot office, apartment and retail project planned for 95 Northwest 29th Street in Miami.

The assemblage is anchored by the former Rubell Family Collection properties. Rubell moved its museum to a new space in Allapattah.

Newmark’s Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub represented New York-based L&L and Oak Row in finding additional partners, according to a press release. Berkadia’s Scott Wadler and Michael Basinski arranged the construction loan. Bank OZK and other lenders have been providing large loans in South Florida, despite the challenging interest rate environment and the trend of banks pulling back overall.

Construction of the Wynwood Plaza will begin “immediately,” according to the release. The development could be completed in 2025. It includes a 12-story, 266,000-square-foot office building, a 509-unit luxury rental building, 32,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor retail space, and a 26,000-square-foot public plaza. Gensler is the architect and James Corner Field Operations is designing the outdoor spaces.


Source:  The Real Deal

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Hotel Development At Miami Beach Convention Center To Move Forward

Construction of a centerpiece hotel for the Miami Beach Convention Center will move forward this year, co-developers Terra and Turnberry announced.

Miami-based Terra and Aventura-based Turnberry said they hired Dallas-based Balfour Beatty as general contractor of the project and site work has already begun. They expect to start vertical construction of the Grand Hyatt Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel later this year and complete the project in 2025.

The 17-story hotel will have 800 rooms, making it the fifth-largest hotel in South Florida and the second-largest hotel in Miami Beach, according to the Business Journal‘s Book of Lists.

The hotel will include four floors of meeting and ballroom space, a resort-style pool deck, a signature restaurant, retail space, a lobby lounge and bar, and a sky bridge with access to the convention center.

It will be developed at the corner of 17th Street and Convention Center Drive.

The project will be privately funded.


Source:  SFBJ

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AIRC Buys Miami Beach Apartment Complex For $250M

An affiliate of Apartment Income REIT Corp. acquired the Southgate Towers apartment complex in Miami Beach for a combined $250.47 million.

The Denver-based multifamily company announced in November that it had the property under contract for $298 million. However, the two deeds recently filed in Miami-Dade County indicate the price was $250.47 million.

Southgate Towers LLLP and Gumenick Family Investments No. 2 Ltd., both affiliates of Gumenick Properties in Richmond, Virginia, sold the 495-unit apartment complex at 910 West Ave. and the 219,270-square-foot parking garage at 959 West Ave. to Southgate Towers LLC, an affiliate of AIRC. The buyer assumed a $101.2 million mortgage with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

Totaling 554,694 square feet, Southgate Towers was built on the 4-acre site along Biscayne Bay in 1958. Gumenick Properties completed a $40 million renovation of the property in 2016 that included the new parking garage.


Source: SFBJ

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Developer Obtains $277M Construction Loan For Hotel And Condo In Miami Beach

Oko Group and Access Industries obtained a $277.2 million construction loan for the Aman Hotel & Residences along the ocean in Miami Beach.

Bank OZK assumed the $34.8 million mortgage from 2020 and boosted it to $277.2 million. The borrower on the 1.7-acre site at 3425 Collins Ave. was 3425 Collins LLC and various affiliates linked to Oko Group, led by billionaire Vladislav Doronin, and Access Industries, led by Len Blavatnik.

Located in the Faena District, the site previously had the historic 16-story Versailles Hotel. It will be renovated and rebranded as the Aman Hotel for this project, plus the developer will build a 16-story condo tower.

The hotel tower will feature 56 rooms and 22 condos, while the stand-alone condo will have 41 units. It was designed by Miami-based Revuelta Architecture and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.


Source:  SFBJ

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Fabel Rooftop Restaurant Opens At Robert Rivani’s Wynwood Jungle

Fabel Miami, a new open-air rooftop restaurant and lounge by owner Matthew Rosenberg and his award-winning architecture firm, M-Rad, is now open at Wynwood Jungle, the experiential dining and retail destination transformed by Black Lion’s Robert Rivani. The immersive restaurant, named to provide guests a place to create their own enchanted fairytale, is set to redefine the hospitality industry.

“Fabel is the pinnacle and final piece of our vision to transform Wynwood Jungle into the hottest immersive destination in the area,” said Robert Rivani, president of Black Lion. “The vibe is magical and we are proud to have brought in world-class brands and experiences to the area.”

The 254-seat venue is set across 10,000 square feet of a secured open-air, covered rooftop. From custom handmade furniture, lighting, and plateware, to a custom fragrance made to remind us of our childhood, Fabel is a designer’s dream through and through. The details extend to the custom uniforms designed in partnership with Caravana – the Tulum-based fashion house found at Scorpios in Mykonos, St. Tropez, Ibiza, Tulum, and Bodrum. Covered patio seating and three levels of terrace seating surround the central DJ booth with private cabanas framing the venue. The restaurant will also include a 22-seat travertine stone U-bar and stepped seating around the DJ booth. Fabel will blend high-energy dining with the sophistication of high-touch service to create the ideal evening destination.

“We are thrilled to be launching Fabel in Miami and in the heart of one of the most progressive neighborhoods in the country,” said Matthew Rosenberg, owner of Fabel Miami and Principal of M-Rad. “Fabel is a destination where we encourage our guests to experience world-class service and cuisine, while simultaneously exploring all five senses across every touchpoint of the restaurant.”

The Mediterranean-rooted menu takes cues from the team’s travels around the globe while Executive Chef Ian Fleischmann presents the dishes in a provocative and engaging way. Guests will indulge in signature dips of Fabel Hummus, Muhammara, and Aroa’s Labneh with Aleppo Chili Crisp. Shared plates like the 45-Day Dry Aged Porterhouse with Adjika and Iranian Oregano, Whole Roasted Heritage Chicken with Taouk Spice, and Salt Crusted Dorade with Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass seduce guests to interact both with the dishes and each other. While the night is sure to keep going after dessert, it’s a must to conclude the dining portion of the evening, The Guanaja Chocolate Custard brings together saffron, olive oil, and vanilla crème fraiche in a way that keeps you digging for more while the Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie melts in your mouth – make sure you pair it with Fabel’s own Ras el Hanout Ice cream! The anticipated restaurant will also include a top-tier beverage and wine program curated by Master Sommelier, Christopher Miller, boasting some of the rarest and most premium wines and unique twists on the most classic spirits.
Black Lion’s Robert Rivani acquired Wynwood Jungle in 2021 and has invested millions of dollars to breathe new life into the property with improvements including artificial florals, a brand new roofdeck and imaginative artwork on the façade, to transform the once struggling center into one of the most iconic and unique immersive retail and dining experiences in South Florida, with tenants including The Salty Donut, Osme, OhRaw, 3 Social, Edite Mode, and a soon to be announced 7,000-square-foot Restaurant and Bar.

Fabel Miami will open for dinner service Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 6 p.m. and going until the last dance ends. Fabel is located on the second floor of Wynwood Jungle at 50 NW 24 St.


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New Apartment Demand ‘All But Evaporated’

Demand for new apartment leases has “all but evaporated” as consumer confidence remains low and inflation continues to rise, according to the latest data from RealPage.

In other words, say farewell to the days of record-high household formations.

“We’ve never before seen a period like this – weak demand for all types of housing despite robust job growth and sizable wage gains,” RealPage Chief Economist Jay Parsons said. “It wasn’t just apartment demand that shot up in 2021 and plunged in 2022. The same pattern played out to varying degrees in other rentals and in for-sale homes.” 

Parsons and his colleagues also note that “while some pundits have suggested demand is slowing due to affordability challenges, there’s not yet any evidence that’s true within the professionally managed, market-rate apartment market,” adding that turnover, while normalizing, is still low and nearly 96% of renters were paying on time as of November 2022.

In addition, “there’s no indication renters are doubling up to any significant degree,” RealPage analysts say. “That may occur later, but as the publicly traded apartment REITs all reported in their last earnings call, it’s not a major factor yet.” What’s more, “there’s no “’flight to affordability’ –meaning that renters aren’t moving down from more expensive units or markets into more affordable units or markets,” according to RealPage. “The drop in demand came across all price points and in essentially all markets.”

According to Parsons, the cause is consumer confidence.

“Low consumer confidence means many American households feel nervous and uncertain, and that has a freezing effect on household formation and housing demand,” Parsons said. “Human nature is that when we feel uncertain, we’re much more likely to stay put – and that’s what happened in 2022.”

Rents for new apartments fell in December for the fourth consecutive month, declining by 0.4%. Rent have dropped by a cumulative 1.6% since September, according to RealPage. The deepest rent cuts were in tech-heavy markets like Austin, San Jose and Raleigh/Durham, as well as cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Sacramento, which all benefited from strong pandemic-era in-migration trends.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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