Ari Pearl, Jonathan Leifer acquire Bay Harbor Islands hotel out of foreclosure

Ari Pearl, Jonathan Leifer and 9540 West Bay Harbor Drive. (Wyndam Hotels, PPG Development, L3C Capital Partners)

Ari Pearl, Jonathan Leifer and 9540 West Bay Harbor Drive. (Wyndam Hotels, PPG Development, L3C Capital Partners)

Developer Ari Pearl and investor Jonathan Leifer paid $30 million for the Tryp Hotel in Bay Harbor Islands, with plans to convert it to a condo-hotel, The Real Deal has learned.

Pearl’s PPG Development and Leifer, chairman and founder of L3C Capital Partners, acquired the waterfront property out of foreclosure. Lender Ladder Capital Realty II LLC filed the foreclosure lawsuit in November against Bay Village Condos LLC. Glen Waldman, who represents the borrower, confirmed his client sold the hotel and that the loan was paid off.

The Tryp by Wyndham Miami Bay Harbor hotel, at 9540 West Bay Harbor Drive, will be converted to a 96-unit condo-hotel, according to Pearl. It will be branded as The Altair, an independent flag, and will feature a rooftop pool, restaurant and gym.

The purchase marks the first collaboration between Pearl and Leifer, who are close friends, according to a press release. Pearl said that both he and Leifer were searching for “prime distressed assets” in South Florida, and that they purchased the hotel for “well below replacement cost.”

Moshe Averbuch (via LinkedIn)

Moshe Averbuch (via LinkedIn)

Moshe Averbuch of Pleasant Realty was involved in the sale, and Oren Lieber of Ritter, Zaretsky, Lieber & Jaime LLP represented the buyers. Aaron Kurlansky of FM Capital consulted for the developers and arranged a $26 million loan with an unnamed national balance sheet lender.

Kurlansky, who declined to name the lender, said it “wasn’t a typical off-the-shelf type of loan” due to the buyers’ plans for the hotel.

The seven-story Bay Harbor Islands hotel was completed in 2018.

Aaron Kurlansky

Aaron Kurlansky

Hospitality was among the hardest hit sectors last year, and few hotels traded. In September, the owners of the Variety Hotel in Miami listed the property for sale amid a foreclosure lawsuit.

Pearl, along with real estate investor Mickey Taillard, is planning to redevelop a Hollywood golf course with luxury residences.

He’s also working on a major mixed-use project in Hallandale Beach. In 2019, he secured a $100 million loan for the $220 million SLS Resort Residence & Marina Hallandale Beach development.

Russian Bay Harbor developers ran California cannabis business into the ground, lawsuit alleges

Paul King, Roman Temkin, and renderings of Pearl House and Le Jardin

Paul King, Roman Temkin, and renderings of Pearl House and Le Jardin

After he was sued for allegedly not repaying a $3 million loan, Sunny Isles Beach cannabis entrepreneur Paul King is accusing the Russian developers who lent him the money of ruining his California marijuana venture.

Last week, King filed a lawsuit in California’s Monterey County against Roman Temkin and Dimitry Romantsoff, five other individuals and six corporations tied to the two men. In the complaint, King alleges Temkin and Romantsoff engaged in fraud during the three years they wooed him with a promise to raise $21 million for his budding cannabis empire.

Court documents indicate Temkin and Romantsoff — who also uses the spelling Romantsov — are the true owners of Verzasca Group, a firm that developed two boutique condo projects in By Harbor Islands, and Gia Investments, the company that lent the $3 million to King’s companies, California New Wave and Cannafornia. Gia Investments sued King in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on April 9 for nonpayment of the loan.

King declined comment and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Eric Ostroff, the lawyer for Gia Investments, said King’s California lawsuit is based on false allegations. “The timing of this lawsuit strongly suggests that it was filed to retaliate against the lawsuit filed against Paul King in Florida,” Ostroff said. “We look forward to disproving these allegations in court.”

Temkin and Romantsoff are separately suing King for defamation, alleging he emailed false statements about them to one of their financial backers and that he created and posted a Youtube video falsely accusing the two Russians of defrauding U.S. citizens in a Miami real estate scheme. That complaint, filed on March 26, states Temkin’s and Romantsoff’s “real estate development efforts include several multimillion condominium projects, including but not limited to certain projects commonly known Pearl House and Le Jardin [Residences], both in Bay Harbor Islands.”

The projects are being developed by Verzasca Group, a company that on state corporate records lists former NHL player Darius Kasparaitis as president, and Tim Lobanov as managing director. They have been the public faces of Verzasca Group since the company was formed in 2015. But Linkedin and Zoominfo profiles for Temkin and Romantsoff list them as partners in Verzasca Group. In February, the firm avoided a foreclosure on Le Jardin after a federal judge approved a bankruptcy plan for the project.

In King’s California lawsuit, the cannabis entrepreneur, who is a Sunny Isles Beach resident, claims he met Temkin and Romanstoff through a longtime family friend in November 2017. They told him they were interested in helping him scale up Cannafornia and could assist him by investing their own capital and raising funds from wealthy Russian investors. King claims he was also convinced into giving Romantsoff a managerial role in Cannafornia. The Russians touted their years of experience in real estate development in their home country, according to the suit.

“King saw this as a unique opportunity to learn from experienced and wealthy businessmen and to make his dream a reality,” the lawsuit states.

Instead, throughout 2018 and into 2019, Temkin and Romantsoff attempted a hostile takeover of Cannafornia by installing themselves and their relatives into key positions of the company, including hiring Romantsoff’s step-son and sister, according to the suit.

“By doing this, Romantsoff, Temkin and their relatives were able to engage in widespread fraud and embezzlement, converting funds and goods belonging to Cannafornia on a massive scale,” the lawsuit alleges.

Even though Temkin and Romantsoff had only brought in $4 million of the $21 million they had committed to raising, King claims Temkin convinced him to lease two more properties in Salinas to expand Cannafornia’s operation. Temkin promised King he would use the proceeds, roughly $15 million, from the sale of a project in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to finance Cannafornia’s expansion, the lawsuit claims.

“Plaintiffs never received the additional $15 million in funding that Temkin promised and upon which plaintiffs had relied in leasing the [two properties],” the lawsuit states. “This was a huge blow to Cannafornia’s business and placed an incredible amount of stress on King as Cannafornia did not have money to meet its obligations for the rent and build-out of these new properties.”

LVMH in early talks to buy Tiffany for $16B, Riviera Beach residents being evicted

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Craig Robins’ claim that Ugo Colombo bribed juror in private jet case doesn’t fly with Miami judge. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman tossed out Craig Robins’ Dacra Development’s claim that Ugo Colombo and his CMC Group bribed a member of a jury — including promising a luxury condo — tied to their dispute over the $22 million private jet. [TRD]

Domio inks deal for first apartment-hotel in Wynwood. The short-term rental operator signed a deal to take over the residential component of the Related Group and Block Capital Group’s 175-unit project. Domio signed a lease for the apartments at The Bradley, a mixed-use project under construction at 51 Northwest 26th Street. [TRD]

SoftBank will move forward with its WeWork stock tender offer this week. The $3 billion offer includes up to $970 million that co-founder Adam Neumann owns. SoftBank was expected to launch the offer earlier this month, but it was delayed after the bank tried to make technical revisions to the offer documents. [Reuters]

Insurance executive Peter Worth just paid $8.8 million for a unit at the Bristol, months after closing on a Palm Beach home. Worth sold his employee benefits consulting firm, American Benefits Consulting, to Alliant Insurance Services in 2015. He closed on unit 1802 at the Bristol, a 25-story, 69-unit luxury tower in West Palm Beach. [TRD]

A wealthy Latvian family paid $6.5 million for a shopping center in North Bay Village. Lexi Commons LLC, managed by real estate agent Val Zevel and Ilmax LLC, purchased the 19,438-square-foot retail space at 1700 John F Kennedy Causeway. Records show Ilmax LLC is controlled by Leonids and Maksims Esterkins, who are real estate investors from Latvia. [TRD]

WeWork may look to its Japanese unit to figure out how to become profitable. The unit is already in the black and will be the springboard for a new service called Passport that WeWork plans to introduce across the globe. Passport users will be given “flexible” access to desks and shared spaces in an aim to boost occupancy. [Bloomberg]

Aging baby boomers are preparing to sell millions of homes, but the younger generations might not want them. A quarter of homes seniors are set to vacate by 2037 are primarily in traditional retirement communities: Florida, Arizona or in areas of the Rust Belt that have long been losing population. Those areas may not attract Generation X and millennial buyers. [WSJ]

Financial firms think that returning Fannie and Freddie to private ownership could be a risky and disruptive move. Investors from firms including BlackRock and Fidelity Investments have told the federal government that any attempt to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should include an explicit guarantee of the $5 trillion they issue in mortgage-backed securities, something only Congress can provide. The Trump administration has said it would move forward without this guarantee and that the government needs to reduce its role in housing. [WSJ]

LVMH to acquire Tiffany & Co. in $16B deal. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton reached a preliminary agreement to take over the American luxury jeweler in a deal that values Tiffany at $135 a share, according to the Wall Street Journal. It would be the largest acquisition for LVMH under French billionaire Bernard Arnault. Tiffany has more than 300 stores around the world and about $4.4 billion in annual revenue. [WSJ]

Millennia Companies is evicting Riviera Beach residents after they sued over conditions in the rental community. The Palm Beach County Tenants Union said six of the seven residents of the Stonybrook Apartments who were served seven-day eviction notices are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Millennia. The tenants are suing over alleged toxic mold, asbestos, rats and more. [Sun Sentinel]

Alan Levan is the next president and CEO of Bluegreen Vacations Corp. Levan will be taking over from Shawn B. Pearson, who is stepping down at the end of the year due to family reasons, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Levan, the CEO of BBX Capital Corp., has been Bluegreen’s chairman for over 15 years. [SFBJ]

From left: Arnaud Karsenti, Nelson Stabile, and Victor Ballestas with a rendering of Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands

From left: Arnaud Karsenti, Nelson Stabile, and Victor Ballestas with a rendering of Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands

Sereno condo association sues alleging poor workmanship. Residents of Sereno at Bay Harbor Islands are alleging that water is intruding in various locations, access gates and doors are improperly installed and stucco is cracking on exterior walls, according to a lawsuit filed this month. The Sereno Residences Condominium Association sued Bay Harbor Holdings, a partnership between 13th Floor Investments and Integra Investments, as well as companies that worked on the design and construction of the 38-unit building completed in 2017. [TRD]

Compiled by Katherine Kallergis

Neighborhood dive: Bay Harbor Islands surges with redevelopment

Bay Harbor Islands
A small enclave tucked between Surfside and Bal Harbor on the east and North Miami on the west, Bay Harbour Islands was once home to the largest concentration of mid-century Miami Modern (MiMo) style architecture in the country.
Many of the low-slung condo and apartment buildings in Bay Harbor’s East Island (where only multi-family and commercial structures are allowed) have some of Miami’s most renowned architects behind them. In fact, one could argue Morris Lapidus, Henry Hohauser and Charles McKirahan were the first true starchitects in the Magic City, transforming Miami’s architectural Art Deco style in the 1930s into the MiMo designs that emerged in the middle of the 20th Century.
McKirahan was the mastermind who designed the Bay Harbor Continental, a wedge-shaped co-op building anchored by a pylon-like staircase built in 1948. McKirahan’s masterpiece featured multi-story brise-soleils accented with blocks of multi-colored glass. He also designed the Bay Harbor Club, a blue two-story waterfront building with V-shaped beanpole columns that run from the ceiling to the ground that was the home of the lead character in the cable TV series Dexter.
Signs of Change
Once the National Trust for Historic Preservation named East Island to its annual list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” in America in 2014, it signaled the beginning of a significant redevelopment push in Bay Harbor. Today dozens of MiMo style buildings have met or are destined for the wrecking ball as existing condo owners seek to cash out by voting as a bloc to sell their buildings to developers, introducing a new luxury concept to wealthy buyers: boutique living.
“Bay Harbor Islands is super cozy hidden gem,” said Claudio Stivelman, CEO of S2 Development. “It is very well located. It is small. And it has all the goodies such as waterfront views, an excellent school, being close to the beach and being close to Bal Harbour Shops.”
The coziness gives Bay Harbor a real sense of community, Stivelman said. That’s why S2 Development was one of the first builders to enter the Bay Harbor submarket.
The company is developing O Residences, a 41-unit building that is offering 1,060- to 1,450-square-foot condos for $700,000 to $1.2 million. Demolition of the old building at 9821 East Bay Harbor Drive began in January. According to Stivelman, S2 has already signed contracts or collected deposits for 36 units.
“Bay Harbor is a very nice place where it is feasible to do a small cozy building,” Stivelman said. “For buyers who cannot pay $3 million to $4 million in South Beach, they can find a quality luxury condo for $1 million or less in Bay Harbor.”
Developers have pretty much gobbled up all the waterfront land in East Island and are now looking at dry lots and buildings, said Eduardo Pruna, sales director for Bijou Bay Harbor, a seven-story luxury condo with 41 units ranging from 900 square feet to 2,000 square feet, with prices starting at about $530 per square foot. “When we bought the land for Bijou a year-and-a-half ago, we paid $9 million,” Pruna said. “There are about 12 to 13 dry lots and buildings that are being traded right now.”
A free shuttle service runs from Monday through Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. The route includes stops in Surfside and North Miami. Miami-Dade County also provides public bus routes within close proximity of Bay Harbor Islands. The Broad Causeway is the only one main road in Bay Harbor Islands, connecting commuters to Collins Avenue on the east and Biscayne Boulevard on the west.
Most expensive residential sale
9800 West Broadview Drive, a 6,904-square-foot home with five bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms sold for $5.5 million in December 2015
Residential broker’s take
“Bay Harbor Islands is an extremely well-located neighborhood that offers an amazing lifestyle. It;s a place that lets you escape the hustle and bustle of Miami and Miami Beach,” Ivan Ramirez, president of Crescendo Real Estate
Demographic changes from 2000 to 2015
Population: 6,007 up 6.7% from 2010 and up 9.3% from 2000
Median age: 44
Median income: $129,965
Average household net worth: $563,168
Price trends
Median sales price per square foot: $308, 43 percent higher compared to the rest of Miami-Dade County
Increase in average rent over the last year: 20% to $3,245  
Most expensive home on the market
9410 West Broadview Drive, a 9,251-square-foot waterfront home with five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and three half-bathrooms for $13.7 million
Least expensive home on the market
Unit 70D, 10070 East Bay Harbor Drive, 790-square-foot unit with two bedrooms and one bathroom for $154,000
New development
Bay Harbor Islands is in the midst of massive redevelopment, with at least 26 projects in the planning or construction stages. Among them, in late December, Congress BHN LLC, a company tied to the Boston-based development firm the Congress Group, paid a combined $5.52 million for the 12 units at Harbor View in Bay Harbor Islands. Congress — which has acquired, developed, repositioned or managed more than 7 million square feet of real estate valued at more than $1.5 billion, according to its website —  plans to develop the site into a luxury condo building.
In February, South American firm Allure Development Group, purchased two development lots at 1055 92nd Street and 1047 92nd Street for  $4.4 million. Allure is planning to do a building with up to 30 condo units in a seven-story structure. The developers have hired Frankel Benayoun Architects, which had designed a previously approved project on the two sites, to design the new project.
Last week, townhouse project Palm Villas at 9870-9880 East Bay Harbor Drive launched sales and expects to break ground in May. LDG is co-developing Palm Villas in conjunction with Team 18, the lead developers of Kai, another project in Bay Harbor Islands. The townhouses will range from 2,300 square feet to 3,000 square feet, with prices from $990,000 to $1.3 million, or an average of $450 per square foot. LDG is also developing Bay Harbor One, an eight-story, 36-unit development that is more than 40 percent under contract, and that will also break ground in May.
Other projects underway include the seven-story, 15-residence Pearl House and the seven-story, 30-unit Le Jardin, both under development by Verzasca Group.
With so many new projects on the table, Crescendo’s Ramirez convinced many of the new developers in Bay Harbor to form the Island Living Council. The council will allow builders to pool their advertising and marketing efforts, Ramirez told The Real Deal. “The broker community doesn’t know about Bay Harbor Islands because it’s all small boutique projects,” Ramirez said. “They don’t get the exposure that big projects get. The only way to really market Bay Harbor was to join forces. We can now drive buyer traffic together.”

Source: The Real Deal Miami