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South Florida News

  • Blackstone getting ready to close on record $20B real estate fund

    Blackstone’s Kathleen McCarthy and Kenneth Kaplan

    The Blackstone Group is getting ready to close its largest private-equity real estate fund yet: a $20 billion investment vehicle with three times as much purchasing power.

    Real estate funds typically use $2 of debt for every dollar of equity, meaning that the new fund has about $60 billion figure in buying power, the Wall Street Journal reported. That’s more than all the commercial real estate that traded in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco through most of 2018.

    In order to put that money to work, Blackstone will most likely have to ink some large deals.

    “If you have to deploy billions of dollars over a three-year investment period, it’s very inefficient to do it in $10 million chunks,” Michael Stark, co-head of the global advisory firm and placement agent Park Hill Real Estate Group, told the Journal.

    Blackstone’s latest fund is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019. And the eye-popping sum that the company has culled together from U.S. and overseas pension funds, foreign governments and high net-worth individuals is more than double the size of what Blackstone’s competitors have ever raised.

    Blackstone’s high-risk opportunistic real estate funds have delivered annual average net returns of 16 percent, but the firm may have trouble repeating such successes.

    There’s increasing concern that property prices may fall after a decade-long bull market, especially if interest rates rise. And previous Blackstone bets, such as its 2015 purchase of office buildings and other properties in Brazil, has yet to pan out as the country’s property market hasn’t bounced back.

    Blackstone, like other big private equity players, often gives breaks on things like management fees to investors who pledge large sums to its vehicles. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann

  • First tower at $4B Miami Worldcenter project completed

    Rendering of Caoba at 698 Northeast First Avenue in Miami

    The first building at Miami Worldcenter, a 27-acre, mixed-use project in downtown Miami is now completed.

    CIM Group and Falcone Group completed Caoba, a 444-unit rental tower, at 698 Northeast First Avenue, according to a press release. Rents start at $1,774 for a 349-square-foot studio apartment, which would be considered a micro unit in Miami, information on Caoba’s website shows.

    Caoba is about a block away from MiamiCentral, which also has an apartment component to it.

    Next to be delivered is Paramount Miami Worldcenter, a 60-story condo tower with more than 500 residential units, which is 85 percent sold with about $400 million in sales. 

    Art Falcone and Nitin Motwani are leading the development of the mixed-use project with a number of partners, like CIM Group, Paramount developer Dan Kodsi, citizenM and others.

    CitizenM, a Netherlands-based hotel chain, recently paid $10.75 million for the site of their 12-story hotel at Worldcenter.

    Miami Worldcenter will also have 450,000 square feet of high street retail, a 1,100-space parking garage, a 1,700-room convention center hotel from MDM Development Group and an office tower being built by Hines.

    The project provided one of the sites submitted as part of South Florida’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. Amazon ultimately decided against Miami, choosing to split the mega project between Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia. – Katherine Kallergis

  • South Florida Airbnb hosts made $315M in 2018

    (Credit: iStock)

    UPDATED Jan. 15, 5:45 p.m.: South Florida Airbnb hosts made $315 million in 2018 and took in a total of 1.47 million guests, according to Airbnb.

    The short-term rental company announced on Tuesday that there are now more than 45,000 Floridian hosts who share their homes through Airbnb, each earning an average of $6,500 annually in supplemental income.

    Miami-Dade County hosts on Airbnb made $204 million with 954,000 guests; Broward County made $80.3 million with 406,000 guests; and Palm Beach County made $30.6 million with 126,000 guests, according to Airbnb. 

    Overall, the tri-county area of South Florida made up 38 percent of the $810 million in income that Florida hosts made in 2018.

    The company’s announcement comes shortly after it filed suit against Miami Beach over the city’s ordinance regulating short-term rental properties. The ordinance requires Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms to post listings for Miami Beach properties only if the listings include proof that the properties are registered with the city.

    Airbnb said it is seeing a rise in demand at the same time hotels are seeing an increase in occupancy and growth.

    The company has said it plans an initial public offering by late 2020. It has previously been valued at $31 billion. — Keith Larsen

  • Co-working operator Spaces to lease half of One CocoWalk

    Rendering of One CocoWalk (Credit: iStock)

    Spaces is heading to Coconut Grove.

    Regus’ co-working operator signed a lease for nearly 43,000 square feet at One CocoWalk, a five-story, 85,762-square-foot office building under construction at CocoWalk.

    Spaces will anchor the office building, taking about 2,000 square feet on the ground floor and the remaining 41,000 square feet on the second and third floors, according to a release. The building will be delivered in the first quarter of next year.

    Spaces signed a 12-year lease, according to a spokesperson.

    Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and the Comras Company are redeveloping the mall at 3015 Grand Avenue to include a total of 100,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space. The partnership paid about $87.5 million for the property in May 2015. CocoWalk opened in 1990.

    Randy Carballo and Gavin Macphail of JLL represented Spaces in the lease and Tere Blanca, Danet Linares and Juan Ruiz of Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented One CocoWalk.

    Asking rents range from the high-$50s per square foot to the low $60s per square foot, according to Blanca.

    The building will have private parking for office tenants and access to a gym at CocoWalk.

    Büro, a South Florida-based shared office space company led by founder and CEO Michael Feinstein, opened in a 10,000-square-foot space across the street from CocoWalk at 2980 MacFarlane Road in 2016.

    The flexible office space market is growing in South Florida, but experts have warned that the region doesn’t attract the blue-chip clients that are increasingly bolstering co-working firms across the country. Since 2015, WeWork has taken up more than a quarter million square feet of office space in Miami-Dade, close to five times the square footage Büro occupies at its five locations, which range from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet, according to a recent analysis by The Real Deal.

  • Vision Fund to lead $700M funding round for construction startup Katerra

    Michael Marks and Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images, Katerra, and iStock)

    Masayoshi Son’s $100 billion Vision Fund is preparing another major investment in real estate tech, with plans to lead a $700 million round of financing for Katerra, the construction startup founded by former Flextronics International CEO Michael Marks.

    This financing round would value the four-year-old company at more than $4 billion, according to The Information. The SoftBank fund invested $865 million in Katerra last January, after which the company was valued at $3 billion.

    Katerra and SoftBank declined to comment, and the identities of the other investors in this financing round are unknown.

    California-based Katerra, founded in 2015, has faced some growing pains since its last cash injection. In August, The Information reported that the company’s flagship factory in Arizona had to be shut down soon after it opened because it lacked proper building permits.

    At the time, one former Katerra manager said that “every day is a fire drill.”

    The company’s revenue was reportedly in the high hundreds of millions of dollars in 2018, and sources expect that number to exceed $2 billion this year.

    SoftBank’s last investment in Katerra was one of the largest real estate tech deals of 2018, coming just behind two other SoftBank deals – $3 billion and $1 billion fundraising rounds for the company formerly known as WeWork.

    Katerra has also found itself entangled in some of the Vision Fund’s political troubles lately. In October, just weeks after the Saudi government was implicated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Marks travelled to Riyadh to sign an agreement to build several factories in Saudi Arabia. Other U.S. tech executives, such Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, had declined to attend the same event.

    Through the Vision Fund, Son had planned to invest $16 billion to take a majority stake in WeWork (now called The We Company), but his backers from government funds in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia balked. [The Information] — Kevin Sun


  • Clarion Partners pays $33M for Tropical Shipping’s Medley facility

    Clarion partners CEO David Gilbert (Credit: Clarion Partners)

    Clarion Partners just paid $32.6 million for Tropical Shipping’s Medley facility as South Florida’s industrial prices continue to rise.

    Tropical Shipping sold the nearly 21-acre site at 9505 Northwest 108th Avenue for about $180 per square foot. Clarion Partners’ Lit Industrial Limited Partnership bought the 182,000-square-foot warehouse, which was built in 2000.

    Property records show Tropical Shipping paid $3.58 million for the property in 1999. Tropical Shipping, based in Riviera Beach, Florida, is a Caribbean cargo and freight shipper with more than 1,000 employees.

    South Florida’s industrial market is one of the area’s best performing assets classes due to land scarcity and growing demand for e-commerce. Institutional investors have been the main buyers of industrial properties, acquiring nearly $340 million of industrial assets in South Florida as of October 2018, representing 23 percent of total buyers, according to Colliers International South Florida.

    Clarion Partners is a New York-based real estate firm that manages more than $47 billion worth of assets, according to its website. In 2015, the company partnered to purchase the Palm Beach Outlets shopping center for $278 million. A year later, Clarion paid $109 million for the ground leases of a major mixed-use building on Lincoln Road.

  • The week in luxury: A map of Miami-Dade’s priciest condo sales

    Condo sales volume dropped again in the second week of the new year.

    The county recorded 77 closings for a total of $23.5 million, down in terms of sales volume from the previous week’s 69 closings for $34 million. Condos last week sold for an average price of about $306,000 or about $289 per square foot.

    The most expensive sale was at Jade Beach in Sunny Isles Beach. Unit 3004 traded hands for $1.5 million, or more than $760 per foot, after 154 days on the market. Rita Japhet represented the seller, and Sergio Waissmann brought the buyer.

    The second priciest deal was the $1.4 million sale of Ocean Three unit 2905, also in Sunny Isles. It sold after 199 days on market for just under $500 per foot. Lana Bell was the listing agent, and MariaAmancia Vial-Ducaud brought the buyer.

    Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 sales from Jan. 6 to Jan. 12. Click on the map for more information:

    Most expensive
    Jade Beach #3004 | 154 days on market | $1.5M | $764 psf | Listing agent: Rita Japhet | Buyer’s agent: Sergio Waissmann

    Least expensive
    Mutiny Park Condo #1811 | 93 days on market | $470K | $365 psf | Listing agent: Carlos Sotolongo | Buyer’s agent: Carlos Sotolongo

    Most days on market
    SLS Brickell #3306 | 393 days on market | $600K | $520 psf | Listing agent: Fernando Alpern | Buyer’s agent: Fernando Alpern

    Fewest days on market
    Courts Brickell Key #1001 | 13 days on market | $560K | $438 psf | Listing agent: Jacquelyn Cue | Buyer’s agent: Juan Ramirez

  • South Florida real estate broker shot and killed by son-in-law

    Linda Marx (Credit: Facebook)

    A popular South Florida Realtor was shot and killed in northeast Miami-Dade on Monday, in a murder-suicide.

    Linda Marx, broker and owner of Linda Marx Realty, was killed by her son-in-law Steve Kasimow in front of his home on Northeast 211th Street near North Miami Beach. Kasimow then committed suicide in Hollywood, local police told NBC Miami.

    Kasimow was reportedly upset about his divorce and got into an argument with Marx, who was 70.

    Marx got her real estate license in Florida in 1980, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Her North Miami Beach-based brokerage has 21 agents.

    Over the course of her career, Marx closed deals totaling more than $100 million, according to her company’s website.

    Kasimow was also a licensed real estate broker in Florida, state records show. He owned Buy and Sell Now Realty Inc., a brokerage based in Hollywood.

  • Ryan Homes founder sells Palm Beach lot

    Dwight Schar

    The Schar family, which founded one of the largest homebuilders in the country just sold a lot in Palm Beach, property records show.

    Dwight Schar founded NVR Inc., the parent company of Ryan Homes, NV Homes, NVHomes, Rymarc Homes, Fox Ridge Homes and Heartland Homes, and is part owner of the Washington Redskins. The Schar Family Trust sold the roughly 10,500-square-foot plot at 125 Gulfstream Road to the Bishop Family Trust, which is based in Connecticut, for $6.7 million.

    The property is just a few houses down from the ocean and South Ocean Boulevard. It last sold in 2015 for $5.6 million. The Schar family also owns the home next door at 133 Gulfstream Road.

    Brokers expect there will be a surge of wealthy buyers moving to Palm Beach from the Northeast to take advantage of Florida’s tax laws.

    In 2016, law firm owners George and Beverly Rawlings bought a property nearby at 102 Gulfstream Road for $13.9 million.

  • PG&E to file for bankruptcy amid $30B in potential fire-related liabilities

    PG&E’s incoming CEO John Simon and a Paradise, California home burned in the Camp Fire (Credit: iStock)

    PG&E Corp. said it is preparing to file for bankruptcy in the next two weeks, as it faces potential liabilities of up to $30 billion related to a string of wildfires over the last few years.

    On Sunday, CEO Geisha Williams stepped down as CEO of the company, which wholly owns the Pacific Gas and Electric utilities company. General Counsel John Simon will act as CEO until a replacement can be found, according to Bloomberg.

    In lawsuits, survivors have blamed PG&E for igniting some of the deadly wildfires that have scourged California in recent years, including the Camp Fire in November that killed 86 people and destroyed 21,000 homes across six counties in Northern California.

    State Attorney General Xavier Becerra also has the company in his sights. He promised in December to charge PG&E if an investigation revealed that “reckless” behavior contributed to the Camp Fire.

    Around two-thirds of the company’s market value has been wiped out since the company said following the fire that there were equipment failures near its origin point.

    PG&E said it “does not expect” bankruptcy to impact service to customers, or pay and benefits to employees. The company has spent millions of dollars lobbying the state to let it pass on the cost of damages to its customers. The utility has $1.5 billion in cash and equivalents on hand, according to Bloomberg, far less than its potential liabilities.

    A group of more than 170 residents have also filed suit against Southern California Edison, claiming the utility company was partially responsible for causing the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed more than 1,600 structures in L.A. and Ventura counties in November. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch