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  • Why a giant new slide is so important to Aventura Mall — and what it’s like to ride it

    That giant 93-foot glass-and-steel slide that’s been tantalizing shoppers at Aventura Mall for months is finally ready to ride.

    The “Aventura Slide Tower,” which was designed by German sculptor Carsten Höller and the Miami firm Permuy Architecture, opened to the public Dec. 15 — the crowning touch in the first phase of Aventura Mall’s ambitious, $214 million expansion. Additions include a luxurious food hall, a covered parking garage, art installations and several new, world-famous tenants.

    Expanding a mall in an era when the retail industry is struggling seems counter-intuitive — if not downright wacky. But Aventura’s new 315,000-square-foot wing follows the success of other brick-and-mortar shopping centers that are seeking to provide entertainment beyond shopping. The idea is to make the word “mall” synonymous with a social outing — much as it was when malls themselves were a novelty.

    “The bulk of the repositioning of malls is happening to [secondary] malls, where they’re taking dead anchors and turning them into multifamily [apartment rentals] and gyms and medical centers,” said Steven Henenfeld, senior vice-president and director of retail leasing for the Miami real estate firm CREC.
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  • Ronny Finvarb pays $19M for Citibank building in South Beach, plans hotel

    Developer Ronny Finvarb paid $19.2 million for a Citibank branch building in South Beach where he plans to build a 150-room hotel, sources told The Real Deal.

    The Finvarb Group bought the property at 1685 Washington Avenue, which is across the street from the New World Center and the Fillmore Miami Beach. It hit the market in January with CBRE’s Paul Weimer and Christian Charre.

    Citibank sold the 7,384-square-foot building, which sits on a 30,000-square-foot corner lot. The bank will remain open throughout construction and remain a tenant of the future development, according to sources. The site is zoned CD-3 for high-density commercial development, which means up to 82,000 square feet can be developed on the property.

    Records show Citibank bought the property in 1995 for $2.03 million. It’s within walking distance of the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is in the midst of a renovation and expansion. Voters rejected a ballot measure last year that would have allowed for a convention center hotel.
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  • Turnberry Associates scores $259M construction loan for Turnberry Ocean Club

    Turnberry Associates just scored a $259 million construction loan for Turnberry Ocean Club Residences, the luxury condo tower rising in Sunny Isles Beach, The Real Deal has learned.

    At least seven months in the making, the loan from Bank of the Ozarks closed on Friday, a spokesperson for Turnberry told TRD. The financing, which has not yet cleared records, ranks among the largest in South Florida so far this year.

    Turnberry Ocean Club at 18501 Collins Avenue, developed by the Soffers’ Turnberry Associates, broke ground in November. Site work is progressing, and the project is expected to go vertical by the end of this year and should be completed by the end of 2019, the company said. In November, Turnberry co-chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer said that the firm was in talks with lenders and that the number of new development projects, coupled with the challenges of building a condo tower in Sunny Isles had affected construction timing.
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  • Miami inches closer to multimillion-dollar riverfront development deal

    The city of Miami inched one step closer Thursday to a multimillion-dollar quid pro quo that would land it a new administrative building and parking garage, while facilitating the construction of a $465 million mixed-use project on the site of its current headquarters on the north bank of the Miami River.

    The city of Miami inched one step closer Thursday to a multimillion-dollar quid pro quo that would land it a new administrative building and parking garage, while facilitating the construction of a $465 million mixed-use project on the site of its current headquarters on the north bank of the Miami River.

    With a swift vote Thursday morning, the City Commission authorized the appointment of a special estate counsel in the city’s proposed deal to lease its riverside administrative center to property developer Adler Group in exchange for the construction of a new building and parking garage elsewhere in the city. (more…)

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  • Ronny Finvarb snags $27.6M construction loan for new South Beach Kimpton hotel

    Ronny Finvarb has nabbed a $27.56 million construction loan for his new Kimpton hotel on Alton Road in Miami Beach, The Real Deal has learned.

    Finvarb, principal of the Finvarb Group, told TRD that TotalBank is the lead lender, with participating lenders Floridian Community Bank and Apollo Bank. The financing has not yet cleared records.

    Site work has already begun on the future hotel at 1750 Alton Road, which will be called the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach when it opens in the fourth quarter of 2018, Finvarb said. The property was the former site of a Boston Market, which was demolished last year. (more…)

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  • ABI February 2017: Business conditions bounce back

     

    Firms find research, particularly on building materials, to be important to their practice

    Architecture firm billings bounced back in February, following a slight decrease in January. Architecture firms reported modest growth for the month, as the ABI score rebounded to 50.7 (any score over 50 indicates billings growth). Inquiries into new projects remained strong, and the largest share of firms in more than two years reported an increase in the value of new design contracts as new work in the pipeline continues to ramp up.

    Business conditions at architecture firms improved in three of the four regions of the country in February, but growth was sluggish in the Northeast and South. Firms located in the Midwest reported stronger growth, while firms located in the West reported declining firm billings for the seventh month out of the last eight. In addition, firm billings softened at firms with a residential specialization, as well as those with a commercial/industrial specialization. Firms with an institutional specialization continued to see growth, but at a modestly slower pace than in the last two months. (more…)

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  • South Florida apartment/condo developers flock to Tampa Bay

    “It was just a completely different city,” Guerra said, invoking a place that not only had survived the recession but seemed to be thriving.

    Guerra’s company, Coral Gables-based Altis Cardinal, bought a nondescript high-rise apartment building in the Historic Kenwood area four years ago and renovated it into the upscale Skyline Fifth. Altis Cardinal has since acquired several parcels nearby and plans 128 more apartments plus a large climate-controlled storage facility.

    Guerra isn’t the only South Florida developer who’s bullish on Tampa Bay.

    Drive around Tampa and St. Petersburg and it’s obvious that the bay area’s two biggest cities are in the midst of an apartment and condo building boom. What’s not so obvious is that many of the projects — including some of the biggest — are the work of South Florida developers.

    A West Palm Beach company is erecting a 41-story condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg that will be one of the tallest buildings on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A Miami company plans a 36-story apartment tower next to the Straz Performing Arts Center in downtown Tampa. Another Miami firm will act as lead developer on Tampa’s massive revitalization of its West River area. (more…)

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  • Impact glass giant Raul Casares, who ‘changed the South Florida skyline,’ dies at 82

    Raul Casares, the president of one of the nation’s largest window and sliding glass door companies, and his daughter Ingrid, the South Beach nightclub impresario who was so close to Madonna she could call the superstar simply “M,” used to drive along Brickell Avenue and play Spot the Glass.

    “We used to drive after every hurricane and look at all the windows that broke and none were his,” Ingrid Casares said hours after her father died Friday, Dec. 2, at 82 of complications from Alzheimer’s. When the pair spotted the holes pockmarked in buildings where glass once stood, Raul Casares would say, “That’s not mine. We’ll get this one.”

    That wasn’t idle boasting. “As Miami evolved into an urban city over the past 25 years, Raul understood that even the best-designed buildings must be built to last. When we built Bristol Tower on Brickell Avenue in the early ’90s, it was one of the only buildings to not sustain any damage from Hurricane Andrew. We didn’t lose one pane of glass,” said developer Ugo Colombo. “Raul’s work helped define our skyline, allowing developers to build taller, stronger, more beautiful buildings.”

    Casares’ handiwork as president of R.C. Aluminum Industries in Miami graced numerous high rises in South Florida. Among them: the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, the Santa Maria skyscraper on Brickell, the Il Villaggio, Apogee and Portofino buildings on South Beach, the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, a series of Grand Bay residences on Longboat Key near Naples, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and a 22-story office building in La Paz, Bolivia. (more…)

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  • Brickell’s boom continues to inch westward

    A development company plans to build a mixed-use residential tower on Southwest Second Avenue, about a block and a half east of I-95.

    Maizon is to be a 24-story tower, home to 262 apartments, about 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail uses and parking for about 366 vehicles.

    The city’s Urban Development Review Board on Oct. 5 recommended approval.

    The project is from ZOM Florida and its affiliate ZF Development II LLC, and designed by MSA Architects.

    The property is at 1100-1142 SW Second Ave. and 221-237 SW 12th St., and will stretch from Southwest 11th Street to 12th Street.

    The development will be right across the street from the city’s Fire Station No. 4.

    The developer is requesting several waivers, including permission to allow parking into the second layer, a reduction in a two-way drive width from 23 to 22 feet, two residential loading berths instead of one commercial loading berth, and a 30% reduction in required parking.

    The company is allowed to ask for the parking reduction in part because of the site’s proximity to public transit. It’s about a block west of the Brickell Metrorail Station and Brickell Metromover Station.
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  • Miami Urban Development Review Board green lights three major projects

    Miami’s Urban Development Review Board gave the thumbs up to three mixed-use projects in Brickell, Coconut Grove and Little Havana.

    The board voted 4-0 to recommend approval for Zom’s new apartment tower in the Brickell neighborhood. The board’s Wednesday vote allows the Orlando-based developer to now seek the go-ahead from Miami planning director Francisco Garcia for Maizon, a 262-unit residential building with 15,258 square feet of ground floor retail space.

    “Very nice work,” said board member Jesus Permuy of the project’s design. “I like the articulation of the building.” Agreed his colleague Anthony Tzamtzis: “It is a very good project.”

    Permuy did recommend a few minor design changes such as improving the landscaping in the building’s setback areas as well as the facade by adding a three-dimensional element.

    Zom, which has a contract to purchase land owned by Maria Ramon and Alberto Cabrera, would demolish low- to mid-rise apartment buildings at 1100-1142 Southwest Second Avenue and 221-237 Southwest 12th Street and replace them with the new tower. The project will consist of 424,258 square feet with 366 parking spaces and 24 bicycle spaces. It will also include open courtyard areas, an amenity deck and pool on the ninth floor, and an onsite residential leasing center.
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