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South Florida News

  • Art complex in Wynwood wants to build housing for its artists, lottery winner plans downtown Fort Lauderdale investment: Daily digest

    Every day, The Real Deal rounds up South Florida’s biggest real estate news, from breaking news and scoops to announcements and deals. We update this page throughout the day. Please send any tips or deals to tips@therealdeal.com

    This page was last updated at 9 a.m.


    The Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood wants to build affordable housing for its artists. The nonprofit is seeking zoning and land-use changes that would allow it to build up to 250 units, and it also hopes to renovate its building, a former industrial bakery from the 1920s, according to the Miami Herald. Bakehouse’s director, Cathy Leff, said that it will enlist a developer or investors to take on the project. [Miami Herald]


    A lottery winner plans to invest $19 million into transforming Sistrunk Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Miguel Pilgram, who won a $52 million lottery nearly a decade ago, has a three-phase performing-arts plan for Sistrunk, a historically black section that’s west of the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks, according to the Sun Sentinel. Pilgram is now planning to renovate the building at 1448 Sistrunk Boulevard, once home to the Night Owl lounge. [Sun Sentinel]


    The Federal Reserve is expected to slash its benchmark interest rate again this week — a move that likely will give financial markets a boost. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday up 37 points for the day and closer to its all-time high in July. Easing tension between the U.S. and China over trade and the prospect of another rate cut also gave the S&P 500 a slight bump. Real estate stock performance, on the other hand, was more of a mixed bag. [TRD]


    Compiled by Katherine Kallergis

  • With Fed rate cut on the mind, markets enter the week riding high
    The stock market was up overall last week, and so were some real estate stocks. (Credit: iStock)

    The stock market was up overall last week, and so were some real estate stocks. (Credit: iStock)

    The Federal Reserve is slated to slash its benchmark interest rate again this week — a move that likely will give financial markets a boost.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday up 37 points for the day and closer to its all-time high in July. Easing tension between the U.S. and China over trade and the prospect of another rate cut also gave the S&P 500 a slight bump; it was up 0.6 percent last week.

    As for real estate stocks, last week’s performance was more of a mixed bag.

    An analysis of 28 real estate stocks monitored by The Real Deal found that they outperformed the S&P 500 last week, rising over 3 percent. But on Friday alone, 19 of those companies saw their share prices plunge. (The stocks are a mix of brokerage firms, real estate investment trusts and other real estate services firms.)

    Data giant CoStar Group’s stock fell the most last week among the stocks TRD tracks, dropping about 7.7 percent to close Friday at $570.11. The company saw its second-quarter revenue grow 16 percent year over year in the second quarter, thanks to a growth of bookings on Apartment.com. But CEO Andrew Florence also said on the quarterly earnings call that commercial listings platform LoopNet.com has not seen the same monetization.

    The top performer was real estate services firm Newmark Knight Frank, which last week expanded its capital markets investment sales division in New York City with the hiring of three new executives. The firm’s stock rose about 14.4 percent last week, closing at $10.11.

    Meanwhile, the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund, an index heavily weighted in the real estate sector, fell about 3 percent. And industry group Nareit’s All-REIT Index saw returns fall 0.81 percent for the week as of Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the Fed is expected to cut the federal fund target rates by 25 basis points. After making steady increases since 2015, the Fed in July also cut rates by the same amount, setting the range to 2.00 to 2.25 percent.

  • Corcoran says “criminal” hackers leaked agent splits
    Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman and president of sales Bill Cunningham 

    Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman and president of sales Bill Cunningham

    The Corcoran Group said it was hacked Friday after a stunning email containing agent splits, marketing budgets and gross commission income was sent to the entire company.

    Sources said the email came from Bill Cunningham, Corcoran’s president of sales. It landed in inboxes in mid-afternoon before being quickly retracted — but not before news of the breach ricocheted through the industry.

    “It’s the most privileged information at a real estate company” aside from client information, said an industry source. “Yikes,” said another.

    Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman reassured agents in an email late Friday that the alleged hack appeared to be isolated to a single email account, and that no customer data was involved. The firm plans to investigate the incident as criminal activity.

    “This afternoon, we determined a Corcoran employee’s email account was compromised and three emails containing inaccurate and misleading Corcoran information were distributed within Corcoran, in a deliberate attempt to distract employees and agents, disrupt business and cause damage to Corcoran,” the firm said in a statement to The Real Deal.

    Although sources within the firm initially said the documents were doctored, at least one agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity told TRD their numbers were “100 percent correct.”

    Some Corcoran agents speculated foul play at the hands of a rival. “I will never EVER work for a company that engages in corporate cyberwarfare,” one agent posted on Instagram, along with the hashtag “#dontbotherrecruitingme.” The agent later removed the post.

    In an ultra-competitive market, splits have become ammunition for firms battling over top producers. Agents are known to shop around offers to negotiate better deals — especially as Compass has upped the ante by offering fat checks and bonuses to agents in New York and other markets. According to industry sources, it’s standard for top producing agents to split their commission 70-30 with their brokerages— that is the split that the Eklund-Gomes Team has with Douglas Elliman, for example.

    Agents in markets outside New York can command higher splits; in Los Angeles, north of 80 percent is not uncommon.

    But rising commission costs have put pressure on brokerages. Over the past year, New York City’s top residential firms have tightened their clawback policies, which allows them recoup marketing dollars or salaries if an agent leaves the firm. (In April, Corcoran demanded a half-dozen Brooklyn agents to pay back between $20,000 and $100,000 in commission and marketing expenses.)

    Meanwhile, Corcoran’s parent company, Realogy, has been embroiled in a nasty legal battle with Compass, which it accused of “predatory” poaching and illegal business practices in a July lawsuit. Most recently, Compass accused Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider of attempting to sell the company or form a joint venture — a claim Realogy vehemently denied.

  • Homebuilder Toll Brothers adds to portfolio aimed at active adult communities in Palm Beach Gardens
    Toll Brothers CEO Douglas C. Yearley, Jr. an a rendering of Avenir Community

    Toll Brothers CEO Douglas C. Yearley, Jr. an a rendering of Avenir Community

    Toll Brothers is continuing to bet big on western Palm Beach County, adding another development to its portfolio at a massive housing community aimed at older adults.

    The Pennsylvania-based homebuilder paid $31 million for a property it intends to develop into 469 single-family houses in an active adult community in Palm Beach Gardens. Toll Brothers bought the property from the development group Avenir Development, led by Landstar Development Group.

    The age-restricted community, The Regency at Avenir, will be the third such community that Toll Brothers is looking to build in the 4,783-acre master planned community west of Bee Line Highway. Avenir was approved for about 3,000 single-family homes, 400,000 square feet of commercial space and 1.94 million square feet of office space for the whole complex. The development will take 30 years to complete and will include a golf course as well as a crystal lagoon.

    Homes in the Regency at Avenir will range from 1,800 to 2,800 square feet, and will have 10 different floor plans, according to a press release. Construction on the community’s sales center and model homes will begin this winter, with sales to start in the spring, according to Fred Pfister of Toll Brothers. He said homes will start in the $400,000 range.

    Amenities in the complex will include a yoga studio, pool, a fitness and wellness center, outdoor amphitheater, ballroom, pickleball and tennis courts.

    In June, Toll Brothers paid $21.7 million for 217 lots to build two new communities communities in the development, Windgate at Avenir and Watermark at Avenir.

    Windgate at Avenir will have 119 homes ranging in size from 2,285 square feet to 2,930 square feet. Less than a mile from Windgate, Watermark at Avenir will have 98 homes ranging in size from 3,188 square feet to 3,831 square feet.

    More homebuilders are seeking to develop new home communities in western Palm Beach County. Buyers are looking for more affordable homes and housing communities outside of major cities.

    Other large-scale mixed-use communities include Westlake, Arden and Iota Carol.

  • Carl Icahn is moving his firm from NY to Miami, Michael Shvo’s hotel plan could cost him $500M: Daily digest

    Every day, The Real Deal rounds up South Florida’s biggest real estate news, from breaking news and scoops to announcements and deals. We update this page throughout the day. Please send any tips or deals to tips@therealdeal.com

    This page was last updated at 5:00 p.m.

    Carl Icahn

    Carl Icahn

    Carl Icahn’s decision to relocate his firm from N.Y. to Miami could be SALT-related. The billionaire investor and noted corporate raider is planning to move his investment firm from New York City to Miami, and the SALT tax deduction could be the reason. [TRD]


    Michael Shvo’s South Beach hotel plan could cost him $500 million. Between buying the Raleigh Hotel, pending deals to purchase two neighboring boutique hotels and proposing a new residential tower, Michael Shvo and his partners are already looking at a $250 million investment — and that amount could double. [TRD]

    From left: Francis Suarez, Jorge Mas, and David Beckham, with a rendering of the Miami soccer stadium

    From left: Francis Suarez, Jorge Mas, and David Beckham, with a rendering of the Miami soccer stadium

    Miami officials want a contract for thee David Beckham-led group’s stadium deal by October. The Miami City Commission is seeking to vote on contract by the development group for the $1 billion stadium complex on either Oct. 24 or Oct. 31. [TRD]


    A parcel bordering the $4 billion Miami Worldcenter megaproject just hit the market. The 24,000-square-foot development site known as World Center Link is at 33-55 Northeast 6th Street. Colliers International South Florida’s Mika Mattingly, Jack Lowell and Cecilia Estevez are the listing agents. [TRD]


    Rating agencies have had doubts about WeWork for years. In an analysis of two dozen CMBS ratings reports for properties across the country, TRD found that those rating agencies have increasingly viewed WeWork, and co-working tenants in general, as a negative in their risk assessments. Meanwhile, landlords largely continued to focus on the company’s positives in public statements. [TRD]


    One in four condos in New York City are sitting vacant, according to a new report. The study found that of the 16,200 units completed in New York City since 2013, around 4,100 are still on the market. It’s pushed developers to lower prices and offer concessions. And practices from previous real estate cycles are resurfacing, like the bulk sale of unsold units to investors, converting condos into rentals and more. [NYT]


    CBRE group subsidiary Hana has opened three co-working locations in London. The locations will host 500 CBRE employees. Hana will partner with Nuveen Real Estate at one flexible working location, LGIM Real Assets at another and Oxford Properties at their third location. [Press release]

    Bill Cunningham and Julian Johnston with the Miami Beach skyline (Credit: iStock)

    Bill Cunningham and Julian Johnston with the Miami Beach skyline (Credit: iStock)

    Top Miami Beach broker joins Corcoran Group. The Corcoran Group is officially in the Miami market, and it’s hiring a top Miami Beach broker, Julian Johnston. Johnston, who had been in talks with the brokerage for months, was previously working for himself as broker and owner of Calibre International Realty. [TRD]


    Terranova scores first approval for 7-story hotel on Miracle Mile. The Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Department gave initial approval for Terranova Corp.’s plans to build a 120-room hotel on Coral Gables’s Miracle Mile, according to the Miami Herald. [Miami Herald]


    We Company plans to list shares on Nasdaq. WeWork’s parent company is planning to list its shares on Nasdaq, while also announcing changes to its governance structure that would restrict We Co-founder and Chief Executive Adam Neumann’s voting power. [WSJ]


    Compiled by Keith Larsen

  • Urbanica scores construction loan from Miami Beach’s biggest developer
    Russell Galbut and the Fifth Hotel

    Russell Galbut and the Fifth Hotel

    Ubranica Management just scored a loan for a hotel project, but they didn’t go to a bank for the financing. Instead, they got the cash from Miami Beach’s largest developer.

    Urbanica scored a $9 million construction loan from a company tied to Russell Galbut that will be used to finish constructing its third hotel in Miami Beach.

    Despite being the company’s third hotel in Miami Beach, the new hotel will be named “the Fifth Hotel.” It will have 52 rooms, a restaurant, 45 parking spaces, and a rooftop pool, according to Charlie Porchetto, a principal at Urbanica. It will sit at 803 Fifth Street.

    Porchetto said he could not disclose the name of the restaurant, but that it will be a partnership with a New York Italian restaurant.

    Urbanica Management bought the property in 2017 for $5.97 million from Ronny Finvarb. The lot totals 9,000 square feet.

    Urbanica recently bought a vacant waterfront lot at 6747 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach from China City Construction for $40 million where the company is planning to build a 20-story, 200-key hotel.

    Urbanica also owns the Meridian Hotel in Miami Beach and The Euclid Hotel at 426 Euclid Ave in Miami Beach, which Porchetto said he expects to open in the next month.

    Russell Galbut is one of the largest developers in Miami Beach. His company Crescent Heights is planning to build a 44-story, 519-foot-tall luxury residential building dubbed Park on Fifth at 500 Alton Road, the site of the former South Shore Hospital.

    In June, Galbut’s firm said it had built over 150 projects nationwide valued at about $12 billion.

  • The Real Deal adds Grant Cardone to power-packed list of speakers for upcoming Miami Showcase and Forum
    Grant Cardone Miami

    The Real Deal is thrilled to announce that Grant Cardone, founder & CEO of Cardone Enterprises, will be speaking at The Real Deal’s 6th annual Real Estate Showcase and Forum on Oct. 17, at Mana Wynwood. Cardone, who operates $1.2 billion property portfolio, has spoken throughout the world on real estate, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance and sales. He is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books.

    This year’s powerhouse lineup of speakers will discuss residential and hotel development, diversity in real estate, and so much more! Confirmed panelist include Michael Shvo, Chairman & CEO of SHVO; Melissa Rose, Managing Director of Ackman-Ziff; Don Peebles, Founder, Chairman & CEO Peebles Corporation; Peggy Olin, CEO of OneWorld Properties; Laurent Morali, President of Kushner Companies; Lissette Calderon, CEO & President of Neology Life Development Group; Ron Shuffield, President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty, Jerome Hollow, Executive Vice President of Florida East Coast Realty; Phil Gutman, President of Brown Harris Stevens; John Gomes, Co-Founder of The Eklund|Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman and Oren Alexander, Co-Founder of The Alexander Team at Douglas Elliman. Check our event site daily for the latest updates on our agenda and speakers.

    Sponsorship opportunities are going fast and already include Douglas Elliman, Kay Properties & Investments, Citi Bank, REGUS, Banesco, Trump Group, Samsung Builder Home Appliances, Tera Group, Klaus Multiparking, Get GlobalPro, Grove Resort & Spa, Earthcam, Green Lush Artificial Walls, Elite Home Stages and many more. Get your spot while they last! Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are booking here.

    (Click to expand)

  • Former Roadhouse Grill CEO serves up W South Beach condo for $7M
    Ayman Sabi and W South Beach (Credit: Linkedin, Marriott)

    Ayman Sabi and W South Beach (Credit: Linkedin, Marriott)

    The former CEO of Pompano Beach-based Roadhouse Grill sold his condo at the trendy W South Beach for $7.2 million, about 22 percent over what he paid for it.

    Faisal LLC, which is tied to Ayman Sabi of Pompano Beach, sold the 2,642-square-foot unit at the condo-hotel at 2201 Collins Avenue, records show. The deal for unit 1628 penciled out to $2,725 per square foot.

    The buyer was listed as Sletna 1628, which is tied to a Cayman Islands company.

    Sabi bought the three-bedroom, three-and-a half bath condo for $5.9 million in 2011, records show.

    In September, a W South Beach condo owned by the late star architect Zaha Hadid sold for $5.75 million. Hadid lived in the unit while she was designing One Thousand Museum — her first and final residential project in the western hemisphere.

    The 20-story W South Beach was developed by Related Group, Starwood and TriStar Capital. It was designed by Nichols Brosch Sandoval and Costas Kondylis, and completed in 2008.

    Sabi’s Roadhouse Grill was a casual dining restaurant founded in 1992, whose motto was “eat, drink and be yourself.” The company struggled financially as it expanded and was reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002.

  • Miami commission wants contract for Beckham stadium deal by October
    From left: Francis Suarez, Jorge Mas, and David Beckham, with a rendering of the Miami soccer stadium

    From left: Francis Suarez, Jorge Mas, and David Beckham, with a rendering of the Miami soccer stadium

    In spite of pleas from the mayor for more time, on Thursday the Miami City Commission approved a resolution to vote on a contract in late October that will enable a development team to construct a gigantic $1 billion stadium complex on top of a city-owned golf course.

    The commission wants to vote on the contract by either Oct. 24 or Oct. 31.

    Miami Freedom Park LLC, led by MasTec chairman Jorge Mas and fronted by soccer superstar David Beckham, wants to build a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium complex on top of Melreese County Club, a city-owned golf course near Miami International Airport and Grapeland Water Park.

    In a statement, Miami Freedom Park said it “continues to work quickly and diligently on finalizing a lease” with the city.

    If the contract isn’t ready to be voted on at the Oct. 24 meeting, the commission will then schedule a special meeting on Oct. 31 to vote on the matter. If a contract isn’t supported by four commissioners, as required by a city referendum, the city may reject the soccer deal entirely or issue a request for proposals from other developers wishing to build upon the 131-acre course.

    Commissioner Manolo Reyes, a critic of the deal, insisted that a contract was supposed to have been voted on at Thursday’s meeting, according to a resolution he and his colleagues passed months earlier.

    “Everybody knows you’re totally partial to this,” Reyes told Mayor Francis Suarez, later adding, “I think it’s disingenuous. It’s a simple land deal.”

    But Suarez countered that the pending negotiations with Miami Freedom Park LLC is anything but simple. “It’s the definition of complicated,” the mayor said. “This real estate deal is politically complicated… it is complicated on every level.”

    In July 2018, the commission voted 3-2 – with commissioners Willy Gort and Reyes dissenting – to ask Miami voters if the city could negotiate a no-bid deal with Miami Freedom Park LLC.

    The development would be home to the Beckham group’s MLS soccer team, Inter Miami CF, as well as 750 hotel rooms, 400,000 square feet of offices, 600,000 square feet of retail, and 3,750 parking spaces. Besides Mas and Beckham, Miami Freedom Park’s major partners include SoftBank executives Masayoshi Son and Marcelo Claure as well as producer Simon Fuller. In November, the referendum passed with just over 60 percent of the vote.

    As part of the deal, Miami Freedom Park must pay for consultants hired by the commission to study a fair market value rent, analyze environmental remediation, and study the traffic impact. They’re also to pay for a team of attorneys studying the deal on behalf of the municipality that includes former Miami city commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

    Suarez said the consulting team had just been assembled that day and warned it will take months to draft a deal for commission approval. And Sarnoff told the commissioners that even though the attorneys are moving “at light speed” by commercial practice standards, the contract proposal made by Miami Freedom Park back in July still needs plenty of work, including determining what rent the city will charge.

    But Gort insisted that he be able to vote on a final contract before he leaves office. Melreese is located within Gort’s district.

    Reyes and Commissioner Joe Carollo said Miami Freedom Park may even want the negotiations to drag on until after the upcoming elections on Nov. 5. That way, Miami Freedom Park may have an additional commissioner in place that’s more friendly to the development of a soccer stadium being built on the city’s own golf course, they said.

    Gort can’t run for re-election due to term limits and there are seven candidates running for his District 1 seat.

    Suarez said he’d love to get the deal finished “as soon as possible,” but he’s doubtful that it’s possible. “It’s not reasonable that a billion-dollar deal with three consultants and independent [attorneys] … that it all be wrapped up in 30 days,” the mayor said, adding that a rushed deal was “not in the best interest of the city” and “I’m not even sure if it’s constitutional.”

    But Reyes believed the mayor is manipulating city actions to ensure a deal that will enable a private developer to build on a public park. Reyes was particularly miffed about the city’s sudden closure of the entire golf course in August over elevated arsenic being detected at four isolated spots. Reyes insinuated that the closure over purported environmental concerns was being used by the administration to help sell the idea of handing it over to a developer, since Miami Freedom Park pledged to pay for Melreese’s environmental remediation as well.

    “My fear is we’re dealing with very sleazy, very sneaky type of policies,” Reyes said.

  • Mark your calendars: These are South Florida’s top real estate events next week

    Host: CREW Miami
    Date: September 17
    Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    CREW Miami is holding a lunch program on Opportunity Zone investment at the Four Seasons Brickell in Miami, 1435 Brickell Avenue from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Attend to hear a panel discussion on how certain Opportunity Zone transactions showcase the complexities of this investment type.

    Host: Crittenden
    Date: September 18 to 20
    Time: 8 a.m. to noon

    Crittenden is holding its Real Estate Finance Conference at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive, from Sept. 18 to 20. Come to this event to network and discuss how to adapt to several changes in the real estate landscape. Speakers include Zach Shipps of JLL and Stephen Counts of CBRE Capital Markets.

    To search for future industry events or browse past ones, click here. And to submit more industry events, please reach out to events@therealdeal.com.