January 15, 2016
Carla Vianna, Daily Business Review
In Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood, single-family homes dating back to the 1920s have a view of high-rise condominiums in the distance.
While most large-scale developers have focused on Miami’s downtown and Brickell areas, others have been lured by the residential neighborhood’s charm and are swiftly acquiring what’s left of its available land.
The latest transaction — two parcels totaling 26,068 square feet that sold for $3.6 million — boasted a sales figure never seen in the neighborhood. The parcel at 4900 NE Second Ave. traded at a record $242 per square foot, according to brokers involved in the deal. The other parcel sits at 185 NE 49th St.
Marcus & Millichap’s Scott C. Sandelin, vice president of investments, and Jonathan De La Rosa, an associate, represented the buyer, a Miami-based partnership, and the seller, Matthew Gissen.
Although no immediate plans for the property have been released, Sandelin said long-term plans are to redevelop the sites, one of which houses a 7,489-square-foot former rehabilitation center.
“I see [Buena Vista] being attractive to developers that understand street-level, mixed-use property and have the desire to build more of them,” Sandelin said.
David Lahmy fits that description. He passed on the hip, revitalizing Wynwood warehouse district and kept going north. He passed the city’s luxury shopping-mecca-in-the-making in the Design District and settled on a city block at the crossroads of Northeast Second Avenue between 50th Street and 50th Terrace.
“We’ve been searching for some acquisitions around Miami, and we identified this area to be maybe one of the only real neighborhoods in Miami,” said Lahmy, co-owner of BVM Development LLC.
BVM announced in December its Upper Buena Vista project — “a mixed-use, pocket village that will present eclectic charm and bohemian style in a community never before seen in Miami.”
The developer acquired the 0.85-of-an-acre property in March 2014 for about $1 million and plans on bringing 60,000 square feet of commercial and residential space to the area.
The first phase set to begin construction this quarter will include the restoration of a 1936 building to feature 4,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The building will house a neighborhood eatery, rooftop terrace with an old-fashioned feel and an outdoor cafe due to open this summer.
Other phases, which will begin early next year, will include branded retail and boutique stores, interconnected gardens and walkways, 24-room hotel, wellness center and seven short- and long-term residential cottages.
Zoning laws restrict the neighborhood to small-scale, mixed-use development, a concept embraced by BVM. Lahmy wants to bring European flair to Buena Vista.
But Wait, There’s More
He’s not the only one.
A few blocks south at 4510 NE Second Ave., developer Harry Benitah has launched Buena Vista Villas, a mixed-use project with 12 condo units, 10,000 square feet of retail and underground parking.
Benitah heads SLH investment Group, the U.S. subsidiary of France’s Groupe Terrot.
The developer has another project planned at Northeast Second Avenue and 47th Street. Buena Vista Lofts, which would hold eight residential units and 5,000 square feet of retail, is now in the permitting stage.
“This side of Miami is definitely growing in a very good way,” Benitah said. “Ten years ago, it was not a good neighborhood to hang out in.”
Buena Vista Villas’ one- to three-bedroom units are selling for $500 to $560 per square foot, he said. Its six top-floor units have access to a private rooftop equipped with a Jacuzzi. But that’s as far as amenities go, in stark contrast to the downtown high-rises, Benitah said.
Pre-sales began about six months ago, and most of the project has been sold, said Tony Cho, president and CEO of Metro 1, the marketing agent for the property. The buyer pool is varied, ranging from Miamians, New Yorkers and a few South American buyers, he said. Ground-breaking is expected by the end of this quarter.
“It’s a really cool neighborhood with very limited opportunity for development,” said Cho, whose first house purchase was in the Buena Vista neighborhood.
Another developer, Nicolas Brocherie with Olivine Group, is planing his own mixed-use development. Still in its preliminary stages, the project would have four residential units and retail space, he told the Daily Business Review.
To further push the neighborhood’s burgeoning development, Northeast Second Avenue is undergoing a major upgrade. The city announced the start of the fourth segment of the road project from Northeast 42nd Street to Northeast 51st Street in October.
The $4.5 million in improvements will include road reconstruction, new drainage, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, signage, decorative street lighting and landscaping.
Michal Aviv, CEO of BVM Development, said, “We are proud to be a part of the rebirth of the Buena Vista community and pledge to honor its history.”