Neighborhood dive: Coral Gables looks to grow southward beyond Merrick Park and the University of Miami

Clockwise from top left: renderings of Gables Station, Link at Douglas, Merrick Manor, Paseo de la Riviera

An 11.4 square mile area of Coral Gables that includes the Shops at Merrick Park, the University of Miami and the city’s upscale Riviera neighborhood is poised for a new wave of development that will completely alter the southern landscape of the City Beautiful.

The neighborhood has long been defined by extravagant single-family homes, one-story shopping plazas, mid-rise office buildings and industrial warehouses. But in recent years, the city’s planning and zoning department and the city commission have relaxed zoning requirements that will allow builders to add a slew of condo towers, hotels, office buildings and retail centers to the neighborhood.

Astor Companies President Henry Torres is among the developers expecting to cash in. His company recently broke ground on Merrick Manor, a 10-story Mediterranean-style building at 301 Altara Avenue. The 227-unit tower is the first major condo development in Coral Gables since the last cycle.

Torres said the neighborhood around Merrick Park is a perfect draw for University of Miami professors and employees, parents who want their children attending the college to live in a nice and safe apartment and empty nesters looking to downsize from their palatial homes in Coral Gables. “There is a need for what we are offering,” he said. “That is what prompted me to build in this part of Coral Gables.”

Signs of Change

Despite vehement opposition from wealthy homeowners in the Riviera section of Coral Gables, the city earlier this year hired architecture and design firm Perkins + Will to develop a master plan for the South Dixie Highway corridor that falls within the city’s boundaries. The master plan will provide developers planning major projects along U.S.1 to incorporate an environment that is welcoming to motorists, transit-users, pedestrians and cyclists.


In addition to the Douglas Road and University of Miami Metrorail stations, residents can also catch a ride on one of two free trolleys operated by the city of Coral Gables. Various Miami-Dade County bus routes also service the area. The neighborhood’s main access roads are Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Bird Road and South Dixie Highway.

Commercial broker’s take

“The whole retail and dining experience in Merrick Park is wonderfully successful, leading to a new wave of residential development in that area of Coral Gables,” Allen Morris, founder, chairman and CEO of the Allen Morris Companies.  


Population: 14,995

Median age: 23

Median income: $111,838

Priciest residential sale

A two-story, 5,029-square-foot contemporary estate with five bedrooms and five bathrooms at 1415 Robbia Avenue sold for $2.3 million in June.

Most expensive on the market

$2.7 million for a two-story, 5,129-square-foot mansion with six bedrooms and six bathrooms at 1200 Blue Road with its backyard facing Riviera Golf Course.

Least expensive on the market

$470,000 for a 970-square-foot condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms at the Villages of Merrick Park, 4100 Salzedo Street.

Price trends

Median sales price per square foot:

$355 or 19 percent higher than the rest of Miami-Dade County

Average rent over the last year:

1.5 percent decrease to $1,905 a month for a one-bedroom apartment

New Development

South Dixie Highway has become the focus of several major mixed-use projects that will add close to 2,000 residential units and more than 250,000 square feet of commercial space over the next two to three years in South Coral Gables.

NP International plans to convert the former Holiday Inn site at 1350 South Dixie Highway into Paseo de la Riviera, a $172 million development consisting of a 10-story hotel with 252 rooms, an eight-story residential tower with 224 apartments, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 838 parking spaces. Located across the street from Metrorail and the proposed Underline linear park, Paseo de la Riviera will also have a pedestrian bridge crossing South Dixie Highway and a half-acre green space incorporating public art installations, restaurants, and retail. It will also connect the project’s buildings with nearby Jaycee Park.

Just a few blocks north, near the Shops of Merrick Park, NP has plans for another massive project on a 4.3 acre site called Gables Station. The developer is proposing three towers with a maximum height of 155 feet with about 168 hotel units, 554 luxury condominium residences and 87,900 square feet of retail space.

On a 7-acre site adjacent to the Douglas Road Metrorail Station, a partnership between the Adler Group and 13th Floor Investments won a 30-year lease from Miami-Dade County to develop Link at Douglas, with 970 residences, a 150-key hotel, 70,000 square feet of retail space and a public plaza. The deal includes setting aside 12.5 percent of the units for workforce housing, $14 million in improvements to the Metrorail station and $600,000 contribution to the Underline.

Across the street from the Shops of Merrick Park, BF Group is planning a 10-story mixed-use office building at 4311 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The developers paid $ 7 million for the site and plan to spend another $40 million building the tower, which will have 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 50,000 square feet of office space.

Meanwhile, Roger Development Group recently broke ground on Laguna House, a condominium tower at the Shops of Merrick Park. The 10-story boutique project at 4220 Laguna Street features only 12 condo units that range from 3,000 square feet to 6,250 square feet.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Miami Beach doctor sells waterfront North Bay Road home for $14M

2108 North Bay Road

A Miami Beach doctor just sold his waterfront home on North Bay Road for $14 million, nearly 2.5 times what he paid 12 years ago.

Property records show Dr. Ameet Vohra and his wife Denise sold the 4,548-square-foot home at 2108 North Bay Road in an off-market deal to 2108 North Bay LLC, a Delaware company with a Boston address. No financing was recorded.

A similar entity with a matching address owns the contemporary mansion next door at 2068 North Bay Road, which Sergio Rok sold in 2014 for $20.5 million.

Ameet Vohra is the founder and CEO of Miramar-based Vohra Wound Physicians Management, one of the country’s largest physicians group focused on wound care, according to a press release.

The Vohras paid $5.7 million for the two-story, six-bedroom home in 2005. It was built in 1990 and sits on a 20,000-square-foot lot.

It just sold for $700 per square foot for the land.

It’s not uncommon for owners of luxury real estate to purchase neighboring properties. Earlier this month, a wealthy Miami Beach couple paid $11.3 million for the property next door to theirs at 4350 North Bay Road.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Related, partners sell CityPlace Doral apartments for $135M

Manor at CityPlace Doral, Jorge Perez and Masoud Shojaee

The Related Group, Shoma Group and PGIM Real Estate Investors just sold a piece of CityPlace Doral.

Property records show the developers sold the Manor at CityPlace, at 3450 Northwest 85th Court, to TA Realty affiliate FHF I Manor Doral for $135 million. The deal breaks down to nearly $343,000 per apartment.

Related and its partners completed the luxury apartment complex in 2014 and secured $74 million of long-term debt for the property in May 2016. It was fully leased at the time. The six-story building sits on 5.8 acres just southwest of the shops at CityPlace.

Rents at the Manor range from just over $1,600 for a studio apartment to nearly $3,000 for a three-bedroom. The development was also offering two months of free rent, according to its website. Amenities include a pool with cabanas and day beds, putting greens, a 24-hour gym, sports lounge, dog park and waterfalls.

The buyer, TA Realty, has typically owned office and industrial properties in South Florida. Earlier this year, the Boston-based asset manager sold a Waterford at Blue Lagoon office building for $11 million and an $855 million national portfolio of office and industrial real estate.

Related has been busy on the multifamily side. The company recently secured three construction loans for rental projects in Tampa, Royal Palm Beach and Orlando.

The Miami-based developer and its partners held a grand opening for CityPlace earlier this year. Overall, the $800 million mixed-use project spans 55 acres and includes 40 retail, restaurant and entertainment tenants anchored by the 550-seat CinéBistro, more than 1,000 residential units, including 150 single-family homes developed by Shoma, 700 rental apartments and 320 condos. PGIM is an equity partner on portions of the development.

It was designed by Arquitectonica’s Bernardo Fort-Brescia.

CityPlace joins Codina Partners’ Downtown Doral and other mixed-use, large-scale communities new to the suburban, sprawling city.

Related could not immediately be reached for comment.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Confirmed: Steve Witkoff among those to join TRD’s U.S. real estate event in Shanghai

The Real Deal is excited to announce the addition of the Witkoff Group’s Steve Witkoff to our roster of panelists at our U.S. Real Estate Showcase & Forum in Shanghai this November.

Witkoff joins Ryan Serhant (Nest Seekers International), Jed Garfield (Leslie J. Garfield), Rob Verrone (Iron Hound Management), Bruce Mosler (Cushman & Wakefield), Nick Mastroianni (U.S. Immigration Fund), Hu Gang (Greenland Usa), Charles Bendit (Taconic Investment Partners), Bentley Zhao (New Empire Real Estate), Kobi Karp (Kobi Karp Architecture), Wendy Cai-Lee (Oenus Capital), Chris Wein (Great Gulf), Ryan Shear (Property Markets Group), JD Parker (Marcus & Millichap), Nikki Field (Sotheby’s International Realty) and Shahab Karmely (Kar Properies), among others.

Top row, from left: Nick Mastroianni, Charles Bendit, Shahab Karmely, Bruce Mosler and Nikki Field; bottom row, from left: Kobi Karp, Wendy Cai-lee, Chris Wein, JD Parker and Bentley Zhao

Every year more than 3,000 Chinese institutional and direct investors in U.S. real estate join TRD for three days of networking, break-out sessions and panels. It’s the biggest event of its kind and draws U.S. real estate players and their counterparts in China See some of the coverage of our event last November here.

Ryan Serhant, Jed Garfield and Robert Verrone

The showcase takes place at the five-star Jing-An Shangri La in Shanghai. We’ll kick off with a networking cocktail party on Thursday, Nov. 2, then Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 will feature four panels each, as well as workshops and presentation from our sponsors.

Ryan Shear and Hu Gang

Click here for more information about participating in the event or email contact

For sponsorship information, please contact Confirmed sponsors for 2017 include the U.S. Immigration Fund, Allure Development, Great Gulf, Property Markets Group, Six Sigma, Platinum Management, DMG Investments, Marcus & Millichap and Blue Road.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Crescent Heights sells Miami Beach retail corner for $5.4M

Aerial view of the building, listing brokers Alex D’Alba and Scott Sandelin, and developer Russell Galbut

Crescent Heights just sold a corner retail building in Miami Beach.

Records show an affiliate of developer Russell Galbut’s company sold the property at 1550 Alton Road for $5.4 million to Espartano LLC, a Delaware company. The 5,000-square-foot building is leased to Sherwin-Williams Paints and York Lock & Key. The tenants’ leases, triple-net and double-net, expire with options in 2024 and without options in 2019, according to marketing materials.

The building, built in 1938, hit the market in May for $5.5 million with Marcus & Millichap’s Alex D’Alba and Scott Sandelin. Crescent Heights affiliate ARRP Miami II LLC paid $4.5 million for the property in 2014, which means it just sold it for $900,000 more in three years.

Marketing materials show the building will net about $203,000 in income this year.

D’Alba declined to identify the buyer. Galbut could not immediately be reached for comment.

The buyer, Espartano, is managed by accounting firm Paucar, Sistachs & Company, which also controls ownership of the building at 1454 Alton Road.

Espartano paid $1,080 per square foot for the Sherwin-Williams building and $720 per square foot for the 7,500-square-foot site. The land could be redeveloped with up to 9,999 square feet without activating parking requirements, and with parking requirements, up to a five-story, 30,000-square-foot building.

Miami-based Crescent Heights is busy on Alton Road. Construction is underway at the developer’s the Wave mixed-use project at 600 and 700 Alton Road, which will have 323 apartments, 63,000 square feet of commercial space and a clinic for Baptist Health South Florida.

Galbut also wants to build a 25-story tower with 100 luxury condos at 500 Alton Road, instead of the five-story building with 163 apartments for which he already secured approvals.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

David Snider pushed out as Compass CFO

Craig Anderson and David Snider

From TRD New York: David Snider, Compass’ chief financial officer and one of the main architects of the brokerage’s venture-capital raising machine, is leaving the firm, The Real Deal has learned.

In his place, the venture-backed startup has tapped Craig Anderson, a former COO and CFO of the cycling chain Flywheel, who will assume the post Sept. 5. Anderson will report to CEO Robert Reffkin and will facilitate the startup’s “hypergrowth,” Compass said in a statement.

Snider, an alumnus of Bain Capital, was among the firm’s earliest hires, coming on board as head of finance and operations. He later became the company’s COO and CFO, roles he held until this year when Compass hired Maëlle Gavet, a top executive from Priceline, to be COO.

With Gavet on board, Snider moved into a pure CFO role. During his tenure, Compass raised over $225 million from investors, most recently at a $1 billion valuation. Snider was one of the key people involved in raising the rounds, according to sources familiar with the company.

Compass confirmed the CFO transition early Wednesday. “Robert and the board made the decision that we need an experienced CFO who is a fit with our culture,” said Julie Binder, Compass’ head of communications.

Anderson, who helped expand Flywheel to 40 locations, previously served as president and COO of Opt-Intelligence, an online advertising exchange. He also worked at the Blackstone Group in its restructuring and reorganization group.

In addition to Anderson, Compass has made several C-suite hires this year, including Gavet and Madan Nagaldinne who will be the company’s chief people officer. Binder joined the startup in January.

In a statement Snider said he was grateful to have worked with the company’s founding team for four and a half years. “Compass continues to achieve unprecedented growth and its future is bright,” he said. Snider plans to return to Bain, where he will be an executive in residence working on the venture capital team in New York.

Sources said that several weeks ago, Reffkin approached Snider to inform him that Compass had started looking for his replacement. “We were all shocked,” said a source at the Compass, who added that Snider was “highly regarded” at the firm and among investors. The source cited tension between Snider and other executives — specifically Gavet — in recent months. “It was noticeable,” the source said. “She has very strong ideas of what needs to be done.”

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Pennsylvania developer pays $12M for Oakland Park landmark building

3101 North Federal Highway

An Oakland Park landmark just sold for $11.6 million, property records show.

BrickBox Oakland Park LLC, led by Dan Deitchman, bought the cylindrical 74,442-square-foot building at 3101 North Federal Highway, which once housed the Chateau Madrid nightclub and restaurant. Chateau Madrid featured artists like Louis Armstrong.

Deitchman owns BrickBox Development, a Pennsylvania-based real estate firm that renovates historic and distressed properties. Records show BrickBox assumed the seller’s nearly $7 million mortgage from Bank Leumi.

The seller is Round Corner LLC, which is led by investor Amos Chess. The company paid $10.4 million for the KenAnn building in 2013. Earlier this year, Deitchman and Chess filed plans to redevelop two former strip clubs in Oakland Park after the city won a 30-year legal fight to close the clubs.

The mixed-use office building’s design was reportedly inspired by the futuristic cartoon, The Jetsons. It was built in 1968 by developer Kenneth G. Burnstein and sits on about 2.5 acres, including surface parking.

The building, which is now anchored by Citibank, has been home to other restaurants and clubs like The Rooftop and Hot Chocolate.

Deitchman bought the property at a time when the office market in South Florida is stabilizing. Office vacancy rates are falling and asking rents inching up, according to Colliers International South Florida’s second quarter reports.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Buy your tickets to The Real Deal’s first-ever California showcase and forum

Clockwise, from top left: Steve Silk, Carl Muhlstein, Ben Becal, Sally Forster Jones, Mauricio Umansky, Beatrice Hsu, Michael Nourmand, Kofi Nartey, Jade Mills and Chris Rising

We’re less than two weeks away from The Real Deal’s first-ever California Real Estate Showcase and Forum! Time is running out, so secure your tickets today:

Click to purchase tickets

Mauricio Umansky (The Agency), Michael Nourmand (Nourmand & Associates), Kofi Nartey (Compass), Jade Mills (Coldwell Banker), Ben Bacal (Rodeo Realty) and Sally Forster Jones (John Aaroe Group) are on tap for the event residential panel. The brokers will share insight on L.A.’s hot residential market, from single-family to spec homes to DTLA condos.

The event, which will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sept. 14 at the Bank of America Plaza in L.A., will also explore what’s in store for the city’s commercial scene. Panelists on TRD’s commerical panel include Chris Rising (Rising Realty), Carl Muhlstein (JLL), Steve Silk (Eastdil) and Beatrice Hsu (Brookfield).

You can get a day pass to the event, which includes both panels, lunch and coffee breaks, or purchase a ticket for one panel and lunch only. Click here to buy tickets, and find out more information.

For sponsorship opportunities and more information, contact or call 310-270-8124.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Apartment rents expected to keep rising despite new deliveries

View of Brickell Key (Credit: Gabriel Kaplan)

Nearly 16,000 apartments are slated to come online in South Florida this year, but rents are still expected to keep rising, according to a new report.

Apartment rents rose annually in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in June, according to Marcus & Millichap’s multifamily report. In Miami-Dade, rents were up 8.8 percent in the second quarter, year-over-year, to nearly $1,450 a month. In Palm Beach County, rents increased 3.5 percent to just over $1,500. And in Broward’s major cities, rents budged by only 0.6 percent to $1,474.

Vacancy rates, which have been rising in all three metros, are expected to keep increasing as new projects get delivered. The report looked at growing employment rates, rising home prices and the affordability gap between rents and mortgage payments. Earlier this year, Berkadia predicted rents would begin to level off in South Florida, citing an increase in rent concessions and rent drops in some major markets.

In all three counties, the Marcus & Millichap report found that renting was cheaper than the average monthly mortgage payment.


In Miami-Dade, 5,235 new units have been completed so far this year, a 2.5 percent increase from the previous year. Class A rents jumped nearly 13 percent up to $2,012 a month, which is likely due to the number of new rentals being delivered. Nearly 12,000 units are in the pipeline.

Coral Gables and South Miami reported the biggest shifts with rents up 12.2 percent year-over-year to $1,769 a month and a 6.8 percent vacancy rate.

The county’s vacancy rate was up to 3.8 percent in the second quarter.


Rents barely changed in Broward, where more than 4,000 new apartments were completed over the past year. Nineteen projects with 5,600 units are in the works, with some delivery dates stretching into 2019, according to the report.

A year earlier, rental rates increased nearly 7 percent, according to the report. Some submarkets, like Fort Lauderdale and Coconut Creek, reported drops in rents during the second quarter of this year. Rents fell 3.6 percent to $1,556 in Fort Lauderdale and 0.6 percent to $1,470 in Margate, Coconut Creek and North Lauderdale.

In Broward, the vacancy rate was up to 5 percent in the second quarter.

Palm Beach 

Rents rose in Palm Beach County, albeit at a slower pace than the 6.4 percent increase from the year before. North Palm Beach reported the biggest gains in rents, up 6.5 percent to $1,547 a month. West Palm Beach was close behind with a 6.2 percent annual rent bump, up to nearly $1,300.

Nearly 3,000 new apartments have been completed so far this year, and 1,661 of those were in the second quarter. Seventeen developments totaling 4,300 units will be delivered over the next 18 months, including the 398-unit Altis Boca Raton, the largest in Palm Beach County.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida

Sunrise homebuilder pays $21M for Homestead land

Homestead Inset: Craig Perry

More home development in Homestead is in the pipeline.

An affiliate of Sunrise-based Centerline Capital Advisors, led by Craig Perry, just paid $21.3 million for an assemblage of lots for single-family homes in Homestead, property records show. Centerline also secured a $7 million loan from Weston-based Florida Community Bank and a nearly $4.4 million loan from NVR Inc., and arm of the Virginia-based homebuilder Ryan Homes.

SW 112 Investments, led by Barry M. Brant, sold land on the west side of Florida’s Turnpike and south of Silver Palm Drive. The deed transfer of ownership includes 480 parcels, which breaks down to about $44,375 per lot.

Perry founded Centerline Homes in 1993 and sold it 20 years later to national homebuilder Standard Pacific, according to its website. He founded Centerline Capital Advisors in 2013.

Homebuilders have been flocking to Homestead, where land is still available. Last month, Miami-based Lennar Corp. purchased more than 77 acres of land for $10.75 million. 360 Builders is also developing Tropical Villas, a community of 64 single-family homes at 201 Northeast 18th Avenue. Asking prices there range from $328,900 to $388,900.

Earlier this summer, Homestead developer Manuel Diaz proposed pushing the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary by 113.5 acres.

Source: The Real Deal South Florida