Bilzin Sumberg Advises on Over $8 Billion Worth of Real Estate Transactions in Past 18 Months

The Miami-based law firm has assisted developers and investors on some of the most significant deals in South Florida in 2014; looks ahead to 2015.

Press Release
January 13, 2015

MIAMI, FL - As Miami continues to gain momentum as an international hub for commerce and investment, Miami-based commercial law firm Bilzin Sumberg announces it has advised on acquisitions, dispositions and development deals valued in excess of $8 billion in the last 18 months.

“The past twelve to eighteen months saw one of the most active periods of development in Miami’s history,” said Bilzin Sumberg Real Estate Chair Jim Shindell. “From hotel redevelopment in Miami Beach; residential projects rising in Brickell; dozens of trophy office properties being refinanced throughout Miami; and mixed use construction taking shape in downtown and the Design District, there is virtually no area in the city left untouched by the current cycle – and virtually no project in which Bilzin Sumberg is not engaged at some level.”

Bilzin Sumberg has worked on some of South Florida’s most significant commercial real estate transactions, including:

  • Assisting Miami Design District Associates (MDDA), a partnership between visionary developer Craig Robins and L Real Estate in the sale of a minority equity interest (20%) in MDDA to a joint venture between General Growth Properties and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. for $280 million. The $1.4 billion project is a highly anticipated luxury mixed-use retail center in the heart of Miami’s Design District.
  • Representing Berkowitz Development Group in real estate work related to the purchase and development of the $500 million Skyrise Miami, a 1,000-foot bayfront tower in downtown Miami on a spit of land behind Bayside Marketplace. The hairpin-shaped tower broke ground in May 2014 and will be the tallest building in Miami with an array of entertainment attractions and amenities. Bilzin Sumberg’s client plans to raise $250 million using the EB-5 program through the issuance and sale of limited partner interests in the partnership to qualified foreign investors.
  • Representing an entity comprised of Starwood Capital, the LeFrak Organization and Invesco Ltd. in the purchase and renovation of one of South Beach's largest oceanfront luxury resort properties, including the Perry Hotel South Beach. With a price tag of $1 billion and nearly two million square feet of improved space, the property will reopen as a hotel and series of oceanfront condominiums under a new eco-luxury brand created by Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood Capital Group and founder of Starwood Hotels, called 1 Hotel & Homes.
  • Representing the North American branch of CorpBanca, a Chilean multinational bank, in negotiating and structuring a $41 million construction loan to Atton Hotels, a Chilean hotel brand, to build a 275-room, 12-story hotel on Brickell Avenue. This marks the brand’s first foray into the US market.
  • Representing a joint venture comprised of affiliates of the LeFrak Organization and Swerdlow Development Group in the negotiation of the long-term ground lease of a 185-acre brownfields redevelopment site in the City of North Miami. The client intends to redevelop the property as a $2+ billion multi-use master development, known as Biscayne Landing, which will be comprised of 4,290 residential units, 1.2 million square feet of retail, and a 150-room hotel. Development began in July 2014, with City-approved plans including residential, retail, and hotel components, as well as more than seven acres of open park space.
  • Representing The Collection in a $74 million financing deal backed by the office building and luxury car dealership at 4000 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables. The property is a combination of Class-A office space and one of the most successful luxury automobile dealerships in the country. Since The Collection owned and operated the building, a number of challenges were presented in documenting the loan. However with experience in hotel transactions and CMBS financing, the firm was able to identify creative solutions to complete successfully.

“Bilzin Sumberg is on the front lines for investment in the Miami real estate market, counseling clients who want to break into this market from other parts of the country and beyond,” said Bilzin Sumberg Partner and Hospitality Group Chair Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams. “These are long-term investors who are placing bets on our city’s future and supporting its continued development as a global city on the rise.”

Amaducci-Adams adds that in looking ahead to 2015, the real estate market should remain active, with developers increasing their focus on mixed-use developments as they seek to mitigate risks, lure lenders and take advantage of the growing trend for urban, live/work/play development. At the same time, she projects heightened lender competition for trophy assets as new feeder markets beyond Latin America begin eyeing the Miami market, including China, Russia, New York and Canada.

About Bilzin Sumberg

Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP is a commercial law firm based in Florida. The firm’s core practices include Business Finance & Restructuring, Corporate, Environmental, International, Land Development & Government Relations, Litigation, Real Estate and Tax. For more information, please visit bilzin.com.

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