Brickell tenants given notice to leave as property sold
By Jaime Levy
With a New York-based real estate investment firm planning to close on a piece of Brickell Avenue property in December, commercial and residential tenants at the site have been told to move by November.
Gotham Partners of New York is negotiating with current owner Horacio Toro for the property at 1060 Brickell Ave. The company plans to build a two-tower project that will include 25,000 square feet of residential space, 585 residential units and more than 1,000 parking spaces.
Because the company does not want to clear out tenants after the sale, a Gotham spokesman said, all of the three-story building's residents and shops are being told to move before the deal is final.
"Our goal in life here is not to have a small retail property we want to build over it," he said, adding that the company had not yet found a development partner but would soon begin searching aggressively.
"One of the risks of real estate is that getting rid of tenants can be a problem. That's the seller's issue, not ours."
Mr. Toro, the seller, could not be reached this week for comment.
The Gotham spokesman would not disclose the purchase price, but its value is assessed by Miami-Dade County at more than $2.8 million.
The location's shop owners many of whom have been at 1060 Brickell for more than a decade said they received notice in mid- to late September that they had to leave the building by November. Many said they were having a difficult time finding locations in the tight Brickell real estate market.
"Two months is kind of short" warning, said Leon Wilson, owner of Camera Capers, a photo shop that overlooks Brickell. "I've got 17 years here, and if I can't find a place, I have to do something with the equipment, machinery and inventory."
Mr. Wilson said he has hired an agent to find another Brickell location but if he cannot find one nearby, he said, he will close his doors for good.
"It's a real toughie because there are no retail spaces on Brickell Avenue," he said. "But go off on the side streets, and you lose exposure."
Ric Watters, owner of Salon Rik Rak, which faces Southeast First Avenue, said he had similar concerns. He said he is looking at two or three locations around Brickell, but that he has not found anything yet.
"We need a certain amount of square feet, and it's difficult to find. Many of the property owners here are not interested in a salon. I thought the whole idea of this area was they wanted to start doing retail," he said. "I find it very, very hard. Even if I do sign this week, I'd need three months to move in."
Frustrated by the short notice, Jacques Ardisson, who owns Giacomo's Italian and sushi restaurant, said he will try to stay at his location as long as he can.
"They didn't give us so much time to relocate," said Mr. Ardisson, who is also looking for another nearby location. "We're going to stay there until there is a crane coming and they are knocking down the building. We will try to stay there as long as possible."
Maria Alfonso, owner of Brickell Gourmet, said she asked Mr. Toro whether she could remain open until Dec. 15, when she usually closes her restaurant for the holiday season. But, she said, the answer was 'no.'
"I'm very sad because I've been here almost 20 years," Ms. Alfonso said. "We want to go. But we want to go when we find a place. We feel very disappointed right now."