High net worth global investors buy 3 Miami Beach sites
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
A Miami-based investor group has scooped up three Miami Beach properties owned by developer Mark Siffin, including a condominium and parking garage, and plans to buy more.
Nadim Achi led a group of high net worth investors seeking to invest in South Florida's prime real estate. He negotiated the deal with Mr. Siffin, chief executive officer of Maefield Development, to buy Capri South Beach, a beachfront condominium with 46 unsold units, a parking garage and three retail spaces on popular Ocean Drive.
The investor group, made up mostly of international investors, is looking for other prime properties to snatch in South Florida.
"Since we are local, we have developed relationships with brokers and developers that we felt had unique properties but maybe had issues with loans because of the market tsunami," said Mr. Achi, management director of Fort Capital Management, a Miami-based investment management firm. "They (the developers) put together the product and executed it and we felt because of bad timing, the banks would have to unload some of those products."
Such an opportunity came. Mr. Siffin sold to the group for almost $31 million the Capri residential complex, Park One Pelican Garage at 1041 Collins Ave. and three adjoining retail spaces on Ocean Drive. Medi Bar and Grill occupies one spot, store Havana Shirt the second, and the third is vacant, Mr. Achi said. He added he is in negotiations with a restaurant to fill that space.
Mr. Siffin has been busy with his planned City Square in the Omni area.
In July, he got City of Miami approval to modify the mixed-use project, now to consist of 2,000 square feet of retail space and an 11-story, 1,600-space garage topped by 250- and 350-foot interactive LED towers. It is planned on 10 acres between the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Miami Herald building owned by the McClatchy Co., although the land purchase from McClatchy is still pending.
Mr. Siffin didn't return calls.
After searching for a couple of years for a unique condominium to buy, Mr. Achi opted for Capri at 1445 16th St., closing the deal in late May.
He brought together well-heeled investors and first identified five properties that fit their buying criteria, he explained.
"We've been working on this for three years, and Capri was one of the five buildings we identified in the area," he said. "We looked at the asset and liked that we didn't have to do a lot to the property."
Capri sits on a prime, two-acre Biscayne Bay waterfront site made up of three buildings — Marina Piccola, Marina Grande and Ana Capri, totaling 69 residences — and an on-site yacht marina.
"We are believers it's going to be hard to replicate this property," Mr. Achi said. "There are tons of inventory out there, but special product there isn't much — we've done a lot of research."
To sell Capri's 46 remaining units, the new ownership brought on board Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors' Nelson Gonzalez, a Miami Beach realty agent, to handle sales.
Prices were quickly discounted by 15% to 40%, which helped sell the first five units, Mr. Gonzalez said. The condos are priced from $388,000 to $2.5 million and range from 783 to 2,143 square feet.
"It's evident that the reductions are working because the second we reduced prices, within three weeks we sold five units," said Mr. Gonzalez, EWM's senior vice president.
Most of the Capri owners are Italians, Germans, French and Swiss as well as some Argentines and Brazilians, he said, who are buying the condos as a second home.
"View and location is what's attracting the buyers. You get the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay — that's a premier view when you are living in Miami Beach. That's the main attraction," Mr. Gonzalez said. "Plus, you're within walking distance to the Lincoln Road movie theater, cafes, restaurants and grocery stores."
Mr. Achi said he's had to meet with some of the buyers and assure them that they have long-term intentions for the property, he said, adding he's told them: "we plan to make the building nicer and stick around."
The investor group, from countries such as Brazil, France, Italy and the US, are not only pooling their money to make these large-scale investments, Mr. Achi explained, but are also introducing Capri's sales team to potential buyers.
"They know so many people that they can get others in the country to buy a condo," he said, adding they can connect them with their networks of family and friends.
Because "investors today are nervous about the stock market," he said, many are choosing to place their money in these safer real estate investments.
Mr. Achi said the investors he represents are in search of other purchases in Miami Beach and are also looking at the thriving Biscayne Boulevard corridor.
"If you can sell them on the uniqueness of the property," he said, these investors are willing to wait a little longer to reap their returns.
"We tell our group that we have three to four years," he said. "We try to get them to know it's a longer process and it's not going to happen in a year or two."