Solution Case Study Flex Panel
When the previous owners of Miami's Jungle Island sought to sell the iconic zoological park, which was encumbered by public and private loans and complicated by the intricacies associated with the management of a wildlife facility, they turned to Bilzin Sumberg.

Bilzin Sumberg, which has represented the Jungle Island owners for over twenty years since its official relocation to Watson Island in 2003, assisted the owners of the park in developing and executing a multidimensional strategy for obtaining approvals from the City of Miami who owned the land (which it ground leased to the owners of Jungle Island), Miami-Dade County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and private lenders, all of which held loans on the leasehold interest in the property. Further, Bilzin Sumberg's multidisciplinary team accounted for the development of long-term business strategies for the management of the wildlife facility by including provisions that would enable the park’s current operator to continue servicing the iconic attraction.

Real Estate

Real Estate Case Study Flex Panel
Bilzin Sumberg negotiated the complex Purchase Agreement, which had certain provisions that governed the future management of the facility thus ensuring continuity as well as the various consents necessary for the purchaser's assumption of the public and private loans encumbering the leasehold interest in the property. While at its core this was a real estate deal, layers of contingencies made it an intricate effort requiring a multidisciplinary approach. The land under Jungle Island is owned by the City of Miami and was leased to our client pursuant to a Ground Lease between our client and the City and the sale of our client's leasehold interest in the ground lease and the improvements at the property to the new buyer (as contemplated in the Purchase Agreement) required approval by the City Commission. Further, the County, City, and HUD held loans related to the property and each of their consent was required for the new buyer to assume the loans.

Land Development & Government Relations

Land Developement and Govt Relations Case Study Fl
The owners of Jungle Island turned to Bilzin Sumberg for assistance in navigating the intricate political landscapes of the City, County, and Federal government. First, the sprawling 18-acre zoological park, which sits on Miami-owned Watson Island between downtown Miami and Miami Beach, was bound to an existing ground lease agreement with the City. Second, the County, City, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development held loans relating to the property. Bilzin Sumberg’s governmental relations strategy accounted for the need of multiple governmental approvals. The Bilzin Sumberg team navigated through the intricate approval process of the assignment of the lease with the City by taking lead in the official request made to City officials and negotiating all necessary lease assignment agreements. Likewise, the team secured approval for the assumption of approximately $45 million owed to public and private entities in loans by the new buyer which also required various tiers of consents. Combined, these governmental approvals facilitated the zoo’s final sale.

Real Estate and Corporate Finance

Real Estate Finance Case Study Flex Panel
Bilzin Sumberg mobilized its experienced team of real estate and finance attorneys, which led the efforts to review and analyze the park’s current debt structure. Jungle Island’s final sale was subject to several loan assumptions by the new buyer. Thus, the Firm’s finance team addressed these preconditions by negotiating and securing various consents to the assumption of loans held by private lenders, City of Miami, Miami Dade County, and the Federal government, respectively. The Firm’s finance team also handled drafting various closing documents relating to the assumption of the debt.
Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams
Partner, Head of Real Estate
Javier F. Aviñó
Practice Group Leader, Land Development & Government Relations
Albert E. Dotson, Jr.
Managing Partner
A. Vicky Leiva
Of Counsel