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South Florida News

  • Cushman posts operating income of $11M in the third quarter

    225 West Wacker Drive in Chicago and Brett White (Credit: iStock and Hines)

    Cushman & Wakefield reported revenues of $2.07 billion during the third quarter, an increase of 21 percent over the same time last year.

    Expenses during the quarter rose 17 percent on the year to $2.06 billion, for operating income on the quarter of $11 million.

    “We’re making good progress in our financial, operational and strategic growth objectives,” CEO Brett White said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call Tuesday evening.

    It was Cushman’s second earnings call since the company went public with its $765 million initial public offering in August.

    Cushman was saddled with a significant amount of debt following the IPO, and during the third quarter the company refinanced its debt facilities. Cushman issued $2.7 billion of first-lien debt that carries a seven-year maturity.

    The company paid off its second lien, and completed a new revolving credit facility of $810 million with a five-year maturity.

    Fee revenue in the Americas grew 20 percent in the quarter, driven by a 34 percent increase in leasing growth and 25 percent in capital markets, the company said. White also said he expects strong office leasing numbers to continue into 2019.

    Cushman’s stock price late Wednesday afternoon was at $18.65 per share, up from its IPO price of $17 per share.

  • Treasury dramatically sharpens LLC disclosure rules

    (Credit: iStock)

    The Treasury Department drastically increased the number of all-cash deals that are subject to its anti-money laundering rules on Thursday.

    Starting Nov. 17, title insurance firms will be required to disclose the identity of LLC buyers who spend $300,000 or more on the real estate purchase.

    Previously, the rule applied to cash deals above $3 million in Manhattan and $1.5 million in New York City’s other boroughs. The threshold was $2 million in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego; $1 million in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida; and $500,000 in San Antonio, Texas.

    The government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) disclosed the revised rules Thursday. Like previous Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), the onus is on title insurance companies to comply with the order. Purchases using virtual currency are now also covered by the GTO.

    The ruling applies to 12 major metro areas including New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, San Antonio, San Diego and Seattle.

    FinCEN initially launched the LLC disclosure rule in March 2016 in an attempt to stop the flow of dirty money into real estate, but critics have long said the rules have gaping loopholes.

    In May, FinCEN re-upped the rules but instructed title companies not disclose details of the new rules.

  • Memorial Healthcare buys Pembroke Pines Petco to expand hospital

    Aurelio Fernandez, Petco

    Memorial Healthcare Systems just bought a Petco store in Pembroke Pines for $6.5 million, just a few months after acquiring the Toys “R” Us next door.

    Memorial Healthcare Systems, one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country, purchased the 15,775-square-foot building at 12251 Pines Boulevard for $412 per square foot, property records show.

    C. Kennon Hetlage, executive vice president of west operations at Memorial Healthcare System said the Petco and Toy’s “R” Us buildings will be used as part of the expansion of Memorial Hospital West.

    Hetlage said plans for the development of the site are currently underway and will include the relocation and expansion of the Memorial Cancer Institute. Construction is anticipated to begin in mid-to-late 2019, according to Hetlage.

    The site includes a parking lot, and the combined property totals 94,857 square feet. The building was originally built in 1990 and renovated in 2004.

    Alexandra Escudero of Fortune International Realty represented the seller in the deal.

    Petco, a privately-held pet retailer with about 1,500 locations, purchased the building for $5.8 million in 2015, records show.

    In August, Memorial Health Systems bought the 15,755-square-foot Toys “R” Us store. The Pembroke Pines store was one of about 800 Toys “R” Us stores across the country that closed after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Landlords are now struggling to find new tenants for those properties.

  • WATCH: Top SoFla landlords agree the retail apocalypse is “greatly over-exaggerated”

    Three of South Florida’s top retail landlords agree that their sector’s so-called apocalypse is “greatly over-exaggerated.”

    The conclusion came out in a recent panel discussion at The Real Deal‘s annual Miami Real Estate Showcase & Forum led by associate web editor Katherine Kallergis. The panelists included Craig Robins of DACRA, Jackie Soffer of Turnberry and Jonathon Yormak of East End Capital. Read more coverage from the event here and check out the video above for the full conversation.

  • Cities with most immigrant homeowners have higher home values: report

    Foreign-born homeowners tend to own homes in metropolitan areas with higher home values, according to a new report.

    Homeownership rates among immigrants is highest in Miami and San Jose, California, where a quarter of foreign-born residents own their homes, according to the report by LendingTree.com, first reported by the New York Times.

    The report examined ownership rates among foreign-born and native-born residents in the 50 most populated metropolitan areas of the country.

    Home values were above the national average of $220,200 in eight of the 10 cities with the highest rates of ownership among immigrants. San Jose has one of the highest, if not the highest, average home values in the country at $957,700.

    About 14 percent of immigrants in New York own their homes, according to the study, which also found that cities with many immigrant homeowners tend to have lower percentages of native-born homeowners than cities with very few foreign-born owners.

    The 10 cities with the lowest homeownership rates among immigrants also tended to be further from the coasts. Pittsburgh had the lowest rate — just 2 percent of foreign-born residents own their homes there, according to the report.

    Cities with the lowest homeownership rates among immigrants also had high ownership rates among U.S.-born residents. Rates for U.S. citizens in the 10 cities with the lowest foreign-born homeownership rates were between 57 percent and 68 percent.

    None of those metro areas had home values above the national average. The highest average home value was in Columbus, Ohio, where the typical home is worth $182,300.

    Overall, homeownership has declined in the U.S. since the recession because of higher lending standards, more expensive homes, and low supply. The homeownership rate as of April was 64.4 percent, down from a peak of 69.4 percent in April 2004. [New York Times] – Dennis Lynch

  • SBA Communications founder first buyer at Highland Beach townhomes

    Rendering of 3621 South Ocean

    A new luxury townhome project in Highland Beach just recorded its first two sales, including one to the founder and chairman of SBA Communications, Steven E. Bernstein.

    The north building of the six-unit townhome project at 3621 South Ocean Boulevard was recently completed by a joint partnership between Sean Posner’s Grafton Street Capital, Capital Development Group International and Halstatt Real Estate Partners. The south building consists of three units and is expected to be completed as early as next week.

    Property records show Bernstein paid $6.9 million for townhome U-1 at the development. Bernstein’s SBA Communications, based in Boca Raton, owns and operates wireless infrastructure in North America and Latin America.

    Townhome U-2 sold for $6.6 million to Joel Zychick, who acted as a trustee of the Stuart Siegel irrevocable trust.

    Bill Hennessy of the Posner Group said the partners bought the land in 2015 for about $11 million. The property spans a little more than an acre and features 201 feet of ocean frontage. The development team broke ground on the project in 2016.

    “Highland Beach zoning for multifamily is very rare and probably not available right now,” Hennessy said. “We thought there was an opportunity at that price point, because new single-family homes in the area are selling between $15 million to $20 million.”

    The five-bedroom, six-bathroom, four-story townhomes each feature a pool, rooftop deck, high ceilings and two-car garages. Chris Leavitt and Ashley McIntosh of The Leavitt McIntosh Team at Douglas Elliman are handling sales for 3621 South Ocean. Prices begin at about $6 million.

    Leavitt said he’s recently seen strong interest from buyers based in New York, and is planning a fourth showing for some of the remaining units.

    Grafton was co-founded by Posner, the grandson of the late real estate mogul and former corporate raider Victor Posner, and his business partner Jed Resnick in 2014. Past projects in South Florida include at least three spec homes in Miami Beach, built in partnership with Todd Michael Glaser, one of which traded for about $30 million and another for $19.5 million.

  • Miami Beach finally OKs voter-mandated upzoning for North Beach

    Rendering of North Beach development (Credit: Dover, Kohl & Partners)

    Miami Beach greenlit the voter-mandated upzoning of North Beach on Wednesday more than a year after residents endorsed a zoning increase for a ten-block area of the neighborhood.

    Property owners are now able to build twice as much as they were previously allowed to in the Town Center area, which mainly consists of retail plazas, vacant lots and apartment buildings between Indian Creek Drive, Dickens Avenue, 72nd Street, Collins Avenue, and 69th Street. By a vote of 6 to 1, the commission approved the referendum to a thunderous applause of an audience filled with North Beach residents and real estate brokers.

    North Beach boosters hope the zoning increase will jumpstart economic development in what some describe as a blighted area.

    Developer Robert Finvarb said the new zoning change will enable him to build two 220-foot-tall buildings at 71st Street and Abbot Avenue that will be geared toward recent college graduates.

    “At the end of the day, it’s about bringing millennials to the city because that is going to create the vibrancy that’s going to support the retail, the office, everything else,” said Finvarb, who intends to build the projects in partnership with fellow real estate developer Mattis Cohen.

    “You need to create a product that will attract kids who are graduating from college, starting their first jobs, and looking to find a place to raise a family.”

    Finvarb said the details are still being worked out, but he intends to build a project that will include retail, restaurants and 700 market-rate affordable residential units ranging between 400 and 800 square feet. Finvarb added that he intended to present plans to the city within the next four or five months.

    Under the city’s Save Miami Beach charter amendment, any increase in floor area ratio (used by the city to calculate future density for properties) must be approved by Miami Beach voters.

    In November 2017, for the first time ever, Miami Beach voters approved an FAR increase for the Town Center to 3.5. Previously, the FAR ranged between 1.25 and 2.5. Several months of discussions on the design guidelines for the future Town Center area followed.

    Following pleas from North Beach residents and business owners for more incentives for developers wishing to build in the Town Center area, the commission agreed to amend the code to allow structures up to 220 feet in height on large lots north of 71st Street, following design review board approval. Developers were also given 21 months from the date of approval to obtain building permits in order to avoid a public benefit charge of $3 per square foot to build above 125 feet.

    The proceeds would be used to help preserve historic structures in North Beach, improve area parks, enhance public transportation and other “quality of life” initiatives.

    Jerry Libbin, president of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, thought the public benefit fee was unfair. “Why are you treating North Beach differently?” he asked. “A developer on Washington Avenue [in South Beach] was allowed an increase in height with no fee.”
    Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman said the fee was a way to encourage developers to build faster. “We want to encourage [development] sooner rather than later,” she said.

    The zoning also allowed developers to build small hotel rooms and apartment units in order to encourage market-rate affordable units. But Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, a critic of the zoning increase for Town Center, ridiculed the idea of allowing micro-hotel units as small as 175 square feet, 375-square-foot “co-living spaces,” and 400-square-foot workforce housing units.

    “Who is going to want to stay in a 175-square-foot hotel room?” Rosen Gonzalez asked. When Rosen Gonzalez, the lone dissenter for the zoning change, predicted that such small units would likely lower property values in North Beach, the audience in the commission chambers booed.

    “As for the micro living,” said Renee Grossman, a Compass real estate agent, referring to the micro units permitted in Town Center, “that exists in Brickell and it’s what millennials do.”

  • MLB All-Star buys Pinecrest mansion

    Eugenio Suarez and 6220 Southwest 108th Street

    Major League Baseball All-Star Eugenio Suárez just picked up a home in Pinecrest.

    Suárez, an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds, paid $4.55 million for the 8,287-square-foot house at 6220 Southwest 108th Street, according to Brown Harris Stevens Miami. Property records show Sierra Development #2 LLC, led by Filiberto Sierra, sold the newly built mansion.

    Josie Wang of Brown Harris Stevens Miami represented the seller, who paid $1.15 million for the 39,639-square-foot lot in 2015.

    The Pinecrest estate features six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a kitchen with double islands, a media room, guest suite and an outdoor kitchen.

    Suárez, a 27-year-old, Venezuelan-born baseball player, played for the Detroit Tigers in 2014 before joining the Cincinnati Reds the following season. In March, he signed a seven-year, $66 million contract with the Reds and was named to the MLB’s All-Star Game this year.

    A number of professional athletes call Pinecrest their home. Wang is also listing the estate of retired MLB star Placido Polanco nearby at 6430 Southwest 122nd Street for nearly $4.4 million.

    In July, James Johnson of the Miami Heat paid $5.2 million for the house at 8955 Southwest 63rd Court.

  • Russell Galbut may finally get his South Beach tower

    A rendering of 500 Alton Road and Russell Galbut

    After years of trying to score approval for a taller project at the entrance to Miami Beach, developer Russell Galbut got his first approval for a tower up to 519 feet in height.

    Following hours of testimony from nearby residents and deliberation by elected officials on Wednesday, the Miami Beach City Commission unanimously voted in favor of the project, which will include a public park, on first reading. Galbut called the vote “magical” and “a huge opportunity for our community.”

    The commission will vote again on second reading on three ordinances related to the 600 Alton Road project, as well as a development agreement between the city and Galbut, on Dec. 12.

    Nevertheless, the commission is moving forward with a significant zoning change for three parcels controlled by Galbut’s Crescent Heights at the 500, 600 and 700 blocks of Alton Road.

    Galbut currently has the right to build a 281-unit residential building on top of the 120-foot tall skeletal remains of South Shore Hospital, plus a new 75-foot tall, 163-unit multifamily building on the 500 block, and a 60-foot tall, 66-unit building on the 700 block.

    Under the proposed zoning, Galbut would be able to build a 550,000-square-foot tower designed by Arquitectonica on the 500 block plus 15,000 square feet of retail on the 600 block. The 519-foot height for 600 Alton was also taller than the 485-foot height cap recommended by the city’s land use committee.

    To secure the upzoning, Galbut will have to pay for a new $18.5 million, 3-acre park that would be accessible to the public. The park, which is also designed by Arquitectonica, would include an elevated looped walking path, playgrounds, shade trees, and water retention berms designs to make the public space resilient to sea level rise. The park would have to be completed within four years of the city’s final approval of the project.

    Galbut also committed to paying $762,862 toward a bay walk behind the Mirador and Mondrian, two waterfront condominiums near 11th Street and West Avenue that were developed by Crescent Heights.

    Galbut withdrew his earlier request to allow short-term rentals, although the developer still sought the right to establish nine “amenity” units, for guests of future 600 Alton Road residents. However, several area residents rejected any form of hotel use, fearing that it would increase traffic and erode the predominate condo character of western South Beach.

    Galbut said the project will likely be built as a luxury rental product, at least until the condo market heats up again. “We have in the past built as rentals but condominium quality, and kept them as rentals until the market turned around,” he said.

    Galbut has been seeking a massive height increase at the former South Shore Hospital site for years. In 2016, he offered to give the city 20,000 square feet of land for a transit hub in exchange for increasing the height limit at 500 Alton Road from seven floors to 25 stories.

    At Wednesday’s commission meeting, not everyone was happy with the proposal. Some felt that the zoning change circumvented the city’s Save Miami Beach charter amendment requiring a voter referendum prior to the city granting any increase in future density rights.

    During the session’s public hearing, South Beach preservationist and writer Clotilde Luce predicted that 600 Alton Road would “fail.”

    “It will fail because this is a really terrible piece of real estate,” she said, adding that the non-waterfront site is by a busy highway and within sight of a “Ross Dress For Less” sign. “Everything we [the city] is doing is artificially boosting the value of a terrible piece of real estate.”

  • Honey, millennials shrunk the office space: panel

    From left: Panelist Frank Guerra, Moderator Peggy Fucci, Panelists Ricardo Caporal, and Brian Koles (Credit: iStock)

    In a Coral Gables office building owned by Altis Cardinal, anchor tenant American Airlines recently slashed its space by nearly half without shedding any employees, according to the real estate development firm’s founder Frank Guerra.

    “American went from 27,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet with the exact same headcount,” Guerra told attendees at a Crew-Miami luncheon on Wednesday. “There’s a lot more telecommuting taking place.”

    The drastic reduction was a result of creating flexible working conditions for millennial employees, Guerra explained. The office and apartment building developer joined Mattoni Group founder and President Ricardo Caporal and Property Markets Group brand and experience director Brian Koles for a panel discussion on how millennials are influencing changes in how commercial spaces are designed, residential projects are marketed and amenity packages are configured in South Florida. OneWorld Properties broker Peggy Fucci moderated the discussion.

    Instead of a single cubicle for an employee that comes in five days a week, corporate tenants now want work stations that can be shared by two or more staffers who come into the office on alternating schedules, Guerra said. On the multifamily side of real estate, millennials want more business amenities than leisure ones, he added.

    “We are seeing more office services on the ground floor where it may have been a racquetball court in the past,” Guerra said. “They even want conference rooms because they want to hold meetings where they live.”

    Koles touted the emergence of co-living as another millennial-driven real estate trend that PMG believes will produce profitable results. Earlier this year, PMG announced it was launching X Social Communities, a division that matches roommates in fully furnished apartments in buildings owned by PMG. Over the summer, the company opened X Miami at 230 Northeast 4th Street in downtown Miami.

    “Co-living with roommates is not something we invented or is a new trend,” Koles said. “I feel very comfortable telling our investors, ‘it’s a good bet.'”

    Millennials also want functionality when it comes to equipping buildings with smart technology, Koles said. For instance, he said, X Miami and other PMG properties have package lockers where deliveries can be dropped off. A resident will get an alert in real time that the package has arrived, along with a code to open the locker. “We only use technology to enable convenience,” he said. “It’s not about making something flash.”

    Caporal said Mattoni Group now builds more bike stations, places food warmers in communal areas for UberEats deliveries and provides pet amenities. “It needs to be convenient and practical,” Caporal said. “Five years ago, we didn’t have these things.”

    Developers are also more in tune with what tenants are posting on social media websites to hold property managers accountable for problems, Guerra said. “Part of any marketing engagement we do requires monitoring social media and reporting any issues,” he said. “If someone complains, we take note and hold our people accountable.”

    The goal, Guerra said, is to minimize any potential damage from online complaints. “It’s an effective way to address concerns,” he said. “One posting and the whole world knows.”