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Front Page » Top Stories » Bayfront Site Off Brickell Sells For 19 Million

Bayfront Site Off Brickell Sells For 19 Million

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Written by on March 29, 2001

By Sherri C. Ranta
A 2.5-acre bayfront site at Brickell Bay Drive and Southeast 14th Street was sold Monday for $19 million, considered to be one of the highest prices for any land in Miami in many years.

Plans call for a $200 million, 46-story glass condominium tower. It will be the first major residential project for the partnership of Edgardo Defortuna and Miguel Angel Barbagallo’s Fortune International Development.

The team bought the land and the planned project — to be known as Jade at Brickell Bay — from BrickellInvest Joint Venture, a Multiplan USA affiliate.

Industry insiders say the price, at $174 a square foot, is among the highest paid for land in Miami since the mid-’80s. Mr. Defortuna said the lowest appraisal was $22 million.

Broker Thomas Dixon said the price represents one of the highest for land sold for development in a decade.

"It doesn’t happen very often."

Fortune brings together Mr. Defortuna, president of Fortune International Realty, and Mr. Barbagallo, president of Florida investment firm Inversora del Conosur and a top executive of the family-owned Buenos Aires development and property management firm Barbagallo Desarrollos Inmobiliarios.

Mr. Defortuna said while the price appears high, "in reality it’s a lot more than a piece of land — it’s really a project that we have bought."

With about 600,000 square feet of saleable space — 306 units — the price is about $32 a saleable square foot. "On that basis, it is a good price — what you can put on that land. We are very pleased."

Groundbreaking is due this year. A sales center is to open in late May. Pre-construction prices for condos are listed at mid-$200,000 to more than $1 million.

After buying a total of 5 acres, including an adjacent 2.5-acre site that was sold in October, BrickellInvest has resold the land for a cool $35 million.

Real estate consultant Richard Langhorne said the price "is very, very high.

"It means," he said, "that land prices are back to where they were when the Equitable paid $200 a square foot for the site at 801 Brickell Ave. in the early 1980s."

Sale of the Brickell Bay Drive property came in two 2.5-acre parcels, the latest being Monday’s $19 million sale.

The first parcel sold in October to TWJ, a family-owned company based in Israel, according to Tibor Hollo at Florida East Coast Realtors, who represented TWJ in the deal. The purchase price was about $15.5 million, BrickellInvest officials said.

Mr. Hollo said the owning Kalimi family plans to wait at least two years before doing anything with the property. Eventually some type of mixed-use development is planned, he said.

Sonnenblick-Goldman Co. served as financial adviser for the sale of both parcels in the 5-acre site.

Sonnenblick-Goldman representative Manuel de Zarraga said the sale this week is a realization of BrickellInvest’s strategy of buying land in Miami’s premier Brickell area and enhancing the value of the land by replatting the site, designing premier luxury condominium towers and securing all the required development approvals.

Alex Garcia with Multiplan USA says the company is "very happy" with the final price. He credited the price to "a combination of our enhancing the value and riding the market at the right time."

Officials at Fortune International Development are also satisfied with their price, saying the lowest appraisal they received on their parcel was $22 million.

While the price may appear high, Mr. Defortuna said, "in reality, it’s a lot more than a piece of land — it’s really a project that we bought."

With about 600,000 square feet of saleable space — 306 units — the price is about $32 a saleable square foot. "On that basis, it is a very good price — what you can put on that land. We are very pleased," he said.

Industry insiders say the price is affordable because of the high number of units planned.

"That’s 122 units per acre — high density. If you don’t get that number of units, the cost per unit goes up," said Mr. Langhorne.

Jade at Brickell Bay will be designed in the spirit of II Villaggio on South Beach, officials said. Features include direct bayfront views for nearly all units, private elevators and the architectural design of Luis Revuelta, who also designed Santa Maria and Bristol Tower on Brickell Avenue.

A sales center for Jade at Brickell Bay is to open in late May. Pre-construction prices for condos will be listed at mid-$200,000 to more than $1 million.

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