South Miami approves long-planned Shops at Sunset Place redevelopment

Federal Realty, Grass River and Comras will move forward two years after the project appeared dead on arrival

Renderings of Sunset Place

Renderings of Sunset Place

Two years after a redevelopment proposal for the Shops at Sunset Place died, the South Miami mall’s new owners kept their plan alive long enough to get it approved.

During a special commission meeting on Wednesday, the South Miami City Commission voted unanimously in favor of several ordinances that will allow a partnership between Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and The Comras Company to transform the roughly half-a-million square-foot shopping center into a mixed-use site featuring a reimagined mall, a pair of apartment buildings and a hotel.

The commission’s 5-0 affirmative vote was a marked contrast from the elected body’s rejection of the proposed zoning changes in 2017 when it voted 3-2 against the project. In a written statement, Federal Realty vice president Mark Brennan said the partnership worked with Mayor Philip Stoddard and City Manager Steven Alexander to draft a new agreement that incorporates a number of resilient elements to combat climate change.

“The Commission’s unanimous vote reflects the community’s outpouring of support for revamped retail and dining, market rate housing, a hotel, and new public spaces that will help revitalize downtown South Miami and enhance connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood and nearby transit options,” Brennan said.

The new development on the 9.7-acre property at 5701 Southwest 72nd Street would entail a 440,000-square-foot shopping center, roughly 32,000 square feet of new office space, 40 condos totaling 40,500 square feet, two apartment buildings with 414 units, a 182-room hotel, and two additional levels to the existing parking garage.

During the meeting, the city manager outlined modifications to the project that include rooftop solar panels, a white or reflective roof system, green roofs and replacing some street parking spaces with landscaping. South Miami became the first city in Florida in 2017 to require owners of new homes to install solar panels.

The developers also agreed to eliminate an underground parking garage that had been planned for phase two of the project, Alexander said, due to concerns that the garage could flood with groundwater as a result of sea level rise.

The developers agreed to fund several initiatives, as well. The city will receive $250,000 for a new streetscape along Sunset Drive, $1.5 million for pedestrian safety measures – including a possible pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 – and an amphitheater and public plaza that can hold 500 people.

Alexander said if Sunset Place is not redeveloped, downtown South Miami will suffer with a reduction in quality stores and less desirable retailers replacing them. “Its success and energy is essential for the existence and well being of our smaller shops,” he said. “Cumulatively, our small downtown area has lost 90 restaurants, shops and other businesses since the project was formally initiated in 2016.”

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Infinity buys retail condo space at Paramount Bay on Biscayne Boulevard

2063 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami
New York-based Infinity Real Estate just paid $4.85 million for a retail condo space at Paramount Bay on Biscayne Boulevard, as it continues to expand its Miami portfolio, The Real Deal has learned.
In the off-market deal, Infinity bought a 6,794-square-foot ground-floor site at 2063 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The current tenant is Visionnaire, a home furnishings store. The price equates to $714 per square foot.
“We felt that the price per pound was very appealing,” Steve Kassin, managing partner of Infinity Real Estate told TRD. “We look at things based on existing cash flow and also on the prospective cash flow if we were to replace the user or upon maturation of  the lease.” 
Irma Figueroa, director of retail leasing and sales for the Comras Company brokered both sides of the transaction. She also handles leasing for the building and had signed the tenant.
The seller of the retail space is an entity led by Argentine investors, Figueroa said. The group paid $2.35 million for the space in 2013, Miami-Dade property records show.
Edgewater is exploding with new residential projects, including four Paraiso towers, Elysee Miami and Aria on the Bay. The developments, in turn, are boosting the area’s demand for retail space, Figueroa said.
“In Edgewater there are so many residential units going up it makes the retail more valuable, she told TRD.
Infinity, an owner, operator and developer, focuses on properties in East Coast urban markets, including Manhattan, Washington, D.C., Miami and Philadelphia, said David Berg, Infinity’s investment director.
The latest purchase marks Infinity’s second in Edgewater. The company is partnering with Greystone and Alta Developers to develop a new residential rental building at 2500 Biscayne, which is currently under construction. Infinity is currently partners in the overall project, and will eventually own the 13,000 square-foot retail space, Berg told TRD. 
Steve Kassin of Infinity Group and the Johnny Rockets building
Infinity also purchased the Johnny Rockets building on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach last year for $12.4 million.
In addition, Kassin told TRD that the firm has been involved in private lending for retail real estate owners and developers in Miami’s Wynwood and Midtown areas.
Infinity Real Estate, part of the Infinity Group co-founded by Kassin, is continuing to look for acquisitions in the Miami market, he said. “We’re looking at anything and everything that is retail, multifamily or hospitality-related, and our sweet spot is really the neighborhoods you see us in.”

Source: The Real Deal Miami