Antonio Brown gives deposition for allegedly damaging Sunny Isles condo, Baptist plans senior living in Coral Gables: Daily digest

Every day, The Real Deal rounds up South Florida’s biggest real estate news, from breaking news and scoops to announcements and deals. We update this page throughout the day. Please send any tips or deals to [email protected]

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Antonio Brown gives deposition for allegedly damaging Sunny Isles condo. The troubled former NFL wide receiver sat for a deposition on Tuesday over claims he allegedly damaged a luxury Sunny Isles Beach condo last year, according to the New York Post. The owners of the Mansions at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach sued Brown, claiming he caused $35,000 worth of damage. [New York Post]

Baptist Health South Florida reveals plans for luxury senior living project in Coral Gables. Baptist Health South Florida and Belmont Village plan to build 10 stories, with 232 senior living units, 12,505 square feet of retail or commercial space and 207 parking spaces on the former site of the planned Collection Residences condo project. [SFBJ]

Adam Neumann to step down as WeWork’s CEO. Adam Neumann stepped down Tuesday as WeWork’s CEO as the company moved to salvage a planned initial public offering. The chief executive’s exit concludes talks that began in recent days between Neumann and his company’s investors and board members. [TRD]

Fort Lauderdale luxury auto dealership allegedly built without landlord’s consent, according to a new lawsuit. A nearly completed Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce dealership in Fort Lauderdale is at the center of a property dispute between the facility’s developer, Holman Automotive, and its Alabama-based landlord. [TRD]

Miculitzki family lists property near Wynwood Walls for $18M. Block Capital Group, owned by the Miculitzki family, is looking to sell a retail property near the Wynwood Walls for $18 million. 295 Wynwood LLC, led by Martin Miculitzki, gut-renovated the property at 2729 Northwest Third Avenue and leased the 9,616-square-foot building to Bfyne, a clothing store; Giache Crepes; and D’Cajon, a restaurant. [TRD]

Medical device makers sell Manalapan estate for $27M. The founders of a medical supply company sold their 2.3-acre waterfront Manalapan estate for $27 million, 38 percent below its original asking price. David and Margaret Lumia sold the property at 1340 South Ocean Boulevard to Villa Del Balbianello LLC, led by Eric Thompson of Towson, Maryland. [TRD]

Compass’ COO Maëlle Gavet is out. Compass‘ chief operating officer Maëlle Gavet is leaving the residential brokerage next month, according to sources familiar with the matter. Gavet’s exit is the most notable in a string of recent departures from the SoftBank-backed firm. [TRD]

Spec home builders sell North Bay Road mansion for $16M. Spec home builders Brett Palos and Bart Reines sold a waterfront Miami Beach estate for $16 million, property records show. The buyer is Rodney O’Neal, the former president and CEO of Delphi Automotive, an auto parts supplier. [TRD]

Motivational speaker Grant Cardone raises $50M for multifamily fund via crowdfunding. Cardone Capital’s $50 million Cardone Equity Fund V is oversubscribed and closed as of Friday, said Susan Schieman, chief financial officer of Cardone Capital. [TRD]

Raanan Katz buys Pembroke Pines shopping center. A company tied to Sunny Isles Beach commercial property owner Raanan Katz bought a retail center in Pembroke Pines for $22.3 million. [TRD]

Co-working rivals are cashing in on WeWork’s struggles. Flex-space company Knotel, co-working startup Industrious and meeting-space company Convene have all raised funds over the past month amid WeWork’s IPO woes, in part by highlighting the differences between themselves and the SoftBank-backed giant. In particular, firms often point out that their partnerships with landlords will better protect them in a downturn. [WSJ]

The WeWork IPO is just the latest in SoftBank’s long list of problems. SoftBank-backed companies including Uber, its Chinese rival Didi Chuxing, Slack and cancer-test company Guardant Health are all likely to be marked down in the firm’s third-quarter reporting. The odd structure of Softbank’s Vision Fund — in which 40 percent of the capital comes in the form of debt-like preferred stock — poses greater risks in a downturn, and Masayoshi Son’s firm recently took out an unusual three-year loan to pay back its investors, using its stakes in Uber and Guardant as collateral. [WSJ]

Some developers embrace short-term rentals. From a condo project in Nashville marketed for short-term rental use, to hotel-licensed, Airbnb-branded developments in Miami and Austin, developers are taking a new approach to increasing profits and driving sales. They are also taking steps to address safety and regulatory issues which have historically led landlords to shy away from transient uses. [WSJ]

Miami Beach could see new hotels on Lincoln Road. The Miami Beach City Commission is considering allowing taller buildings and smaller room sizes on Lincoln Road, which would allow for hotels to built on the popular street, according to the Miami Herald. The ordinance could head to a vote in October. [Miami Herald]

The property known as La Follia at 1295 South Ocean Boulevard closed for a record-breaking $105 million in July.

The property known as La Follia at 1295 South Ocean Boulevard closed for a record-breaking $105 million in July.

Here’s what it takes to sell a luxury home in posh Palm Beach. Tax benefits are leading more out-of-towners to plant a flag on the exclusive island, where brokers are in fierce competition and backstabbing is par for the golf course. [TRD]

Rendering of Virgin Hotels Miami and Richard Branson (Credit: Getty Images)

Rendering of Virgin Hotels Miami and Richard Branson (Credit: Getty Images)

Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels unveils plans for first Miami hotel. The 40-story property in the Brickell neighborhood will have a co-living component. The hotel is one of at least two that Virgin Hotels plans to operate in the Miami area, according to AFAR, which first reported the news. The second will be in South Beach. [TRD]

Compiled by Keith Larsen

This Palm Beach mansion sold after a 36% price chop

Estate of Robert Tomsich, who founded appliance maker company, and his wife sold the property

151 Via Bellaria, Chris Leavitt and Jim McCann

151 Via Bellaria, Chris Leavitt and Jim McCann

A Palm Beach mansion that hit the market last October for $24 million has sold, but at a sharp discount.

The Tomsich family sold their estate at 151 Via Bellaria to the chairman of Alliant Insurance for $15.4 million. The closing price followed another reduction in February, when the 13,826-square-foot home was chopped to $17 million.

It’s the latest of a number of ultra-high-end residential sales to close in Palm Beach this summer. The $105 million sale of 1295 South Ocean Boulevard in June marked a new record for the most expensive single-family home sale in the town. And earlier this month, the former estate of convicted fraudster and developer Robert Matthews sold for $30.2 million to Vahan and Danielle Gureghian, a couple who run a charter school business.

For the Via Bellaria sale, property records show the buyer was Peter Worth of Alliant Insurance Services. Worth joined Alliant when his company, American Benefits Consulting, an employee benefits consulting firm, was acquired by Newport Beach, California-based Alliant in 2015.

The estate of Robert J. Tomsich, founder and chairman of Nesco Inc., a small food appliance maker, and Suzanne Tomsich sold the non-waterfront home. Robert Tomsich died in August 2018. The couple, native to Cleveland and longtime residents of Palm Beach, were also philanthropists, most recently giving $2 million to create an endowment fund to Cleveland Clinic Florida, which renamed its West Palm Beach facility after them in 2017.

The five-bedroom mansion sold for $1,115 per square foot. It sits on a 1.14-acre lot. Jim McCann of Premier Estate Properties was the listing agent, according to Zillow.
The Palm Beach property features gardens, two two-car garages, a master suite and separate cabana. It last sold in 1998 for $5.5 million.

Chris Leavitt of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer. He declined to comment.

US government sells Palm Beach home of convicted Venezuelan money launderer

Alejandro Andrade was sentenced to a decade in prison

Alejandro Andrade and 1290 North Ocean Boulevard (Credit: Realtor)

Alejandro Andrade and 1290 North Ocean Boulevard (Credit: Realtor)

The federal government sold a high-end Palm Beach home that belonged to former Venezuelan treasurer and convicted money launderer Alejandro Andrade for $11 million.

Property records show U.S. Customs and Border Protection sold the six-bedroom, 6,416-square-foot home at 1290 North Ocean Boulevard to Matthew and Astrid Womble of EverWatch, a family office in the Northeast.

The Palm Beach Daily News first reported the sale.

The government put the property on the market with Cristina Condon of Sotheby’s International Realty in February for $14.45 million. Among its features are an open floor plan, a summer kitchen, pool and water features, a cabana, 126 feet of ocean frontage, and a gated entrance with a two-car garage, according to the listing.

Through an LLC, Andrade paid $8 million for the property in 2013.

Andrade was sentenced to a decade in prison for his role in a money laundering scheme involving South Florida real estate. Andrade, the former national treasurer of Venezuela under the Hugo Chavez regime, admitted in a guilty plea that he received over $1 billion worth of bribes from his co-conspirator, Venezuelan TV mogul Raul Gorrín, and other co-conspirators in exchange for allowing them to tap into Venezuela’s special fixed currency exchange rate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Andrade received cash, as well as private jets, yachts, cars, homes, champion horses and high-end watches from his co-conspirators. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to forfeit his assets, which included 17 champion show horses and several real estate properties in Palm Beach County, including a house in Delray Beach and three homes in Wellington.

He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

U.S. authorities also seized 24 of Gorrín’s properties, including two waterfront homes in Coral Gables, a condo at Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, and apartments on Manhattan’s East Side.

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gorrín played a major role in a failed attempt to push out Venezuela’s current president, Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is a suspect in a separate $1.2 billion money laundering ring involving former executives of PDVSA, the national oil company in Venezuela.

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Non-waterfront home sold for $8.15M, or about $1,500 psf

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

The family that controls the largest franchisee of Aaron’s rent-to-own stores paid $8.15 million for a non-waterfront home in Palm Beach, property records show.

Alina Porter sold the five-bedroom, 5,296-square-foot house at 412 Australian Avenue to the trust of Charles A. Smithgall IV, managed by trustees Ray Simmons and Thomas Beard, for $1,539 per foot. Simmons is president of the Smithgall family office, according to his LinkedIn profile. The family is the largest franchisee of Aaron’s Inc., a major rent-to-own retailer.

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

Porter owned the Palm Beach property with her late husband, Herbert. He owned a printing press company, Howard Press, which he sold in the late 1990’s.

According to property records, the Porters paid $3.7 million for the house in 2004. The Mediterranean-style home was built a year earlier with high ceilings, intricate moldings, fireplaces, and a winding staircase. The property includes a pool, two-car garage and a gated entrance.

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

412 Australian Avenue (Credit: Redfin)

Carole Koeppel of Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller, and Ann Summers of Brown Harris Stevens of Palm Beach brought the buyer, according to Redfin.

Non-waterfront homes in the town of Palm Beach are known to fetch high prices. In April, former magazine publisher and widow of the prominent Boston restaurateur Charlie Sarkis paid $7.4 million for a house at 171 Dunbar Road.

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44 EB-5 investors sue PNC Bank over Palm House Hotel losses

44 EB-5 investors sue PNC Bank over Palm House Hotel losses

The bank allegedly set up fake escrow accounts for the investors

The Palm House Hotel

Forty-four EB-5 investors from China, Iran and Turkey who lost money in the still unfinished Palm House Hotel project are now suing PNC Bank and a South Florida branch executive, alleging the defendants aided and abetted fraud.

The investors in the condo-hotel project in Palm Beach filed the civil suit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court earlier this month, alleging that PNC promised their investment would be protected in an escrow account until they secured their green cards. The plaintiffs were part of the federal EB-5 cash-for-visa program, which gives investors a green card in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in an American business and creating at least 10 jobs.

The suit also names Ruben Ramirez, a vice president at PNC Bank’s Boynton Beach branch.

In actuality, the investors claim that PNC Bank never held the money in an escrow account, but rather in a “fake escrow account” that operated as a business checking account.

By putting this money into the checking account as opposed to an escrow, the investors allege that the Palm House Hotel’s developer Robert Matthews and the South Atlantic Regional Center’s director Joe Walsh, were able to take money out when they pleased for personal expenditures such as a 151-foot yacht and luxury homes.

An attorney for PNC Bank and Ramirez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The beleaguered Palm House Hotel project has now become a poster child for the risks of investing in an EB-5 project. After soliciting more than $40 million beginning in 2012, the project still remains unfinished and federal officials allege its developer Matthews defrauded investors by using the money to pay for personal expenses. Now, investors have lost their investment and are unable to receive their green cards because the project never met its job goals.

“None of the plaintiffs’ EB-5 investment funds were used to develop the project,” the complaint states.

Matthew’s development group allegedly went to great lengths to gain foreign investment. In marketing materials, it allegedly claimed that famous celebrities and politicians such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Celine Dion and Bill Koch would serve on the Palm House’s advisory board. Other marketing information also said the project was receiving interest from Tommy Hilfiger to become a Hilfiger-branded project.

The new lawsuit shines a light into how investors can be attracted to EB-5 projects. Unlike some other EB-5 projects where the investor’s money is not protected in an escrow account, investors were assured through documents that their initial investment was safely tucked away in an escrow account, according to David George, an attorney at George Gesten McDonald, who represents the plaintiffs.

“That was one of the most important representations to cause them to invest [in the project],” since EB-5 legislation does not require that developers keep the money in an escrow, George said.

While the EB-5 investors are still looking to get their money back, a bankruptcy judge recently approved the sale of the project to a U.S. affiliate of London + Regional Properties for $39.6 million.

London + Regional Properties, a U.K.-based luxury hotel and resort company, beat Related Cos. to buy the former failed EB-5 project in Palm Beach, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Palm House Hotel for $40M

Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Palm House Hotel for $40M

The sale to London + Regional Properties ends the bidding for the unfinished EB-5 project

March 11, 2019 05:30PM

Palm House Hotel

A bankruptcy judge finally approved the sale of the troubled Palm House Hotel to a U.S. affiliate of London + Regional Properties for $39.6 million.

London + Regional Properties, a U.K.-based luxury hotel and resort company, beat Related Cos. to buy the former failed EB-5 project in Palm Beach, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

The judge declined to accept a last minute bid by Wellington developer Glenn Straub whose lawyer said the developer was prepared to pay $40.6 million for the property, according to the Daily News. But the judge ruled it down, saying it came too late in the process. The bankruptcy judge also previously ruled down a “credit bid” by Straub, which would allow him to make an offer without putting down any cash for the condo-hotel project at 160 Royal Palm Way, according to the Daily News.

London + Regional Properties is a private real estate investment firm with almost $12 billion in assets. The company owns the 453-room London Hilton hotel on Park Lane in London’s Mayfair neighborhood.

Some of the proceeds of the sale would go toward paying EB-5 investors who invested $500,000 in the project in order to get a green card. The investors have not yet been paid back.

Federal officials have charged the former developer of the Palm House, Robert Matthews, with multiple counts of wire and bank fraud and money laundering over the development.

[Palm Beach Daily News] — Keith Larsen

Seven-bedroom waterfront house in Palm Beach sells for $23.8 million

735 Island Drive on Everglades Island in Palm Beach
A buyer paid $23.8 million for a house on Everglades Island in Palm Beach that served as a showcase for art collected by the late Steven Ames and his wife, Ann.
The sale price was $4.2 million below the asking price for the house.
The identity of the buyer of the waterfront house was unavailable in initial information about the transaction that the Palm Beach County Clerk posted Friday on its website.
Steven Ames, who was a partner of investment firm Oppenheimer & Co., died in March 2016. Art collected by Ames and his wife sold for $122.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction a year ago.
The couple bought their Everglades Island property at 735 Island Drive for $6 million in 2003, tore down the existing house there and finished building their custom-designed, Georgian-style house in 2008.
The seven-bedroom house has a three-car garage, 190 feet of frontage along the Intracoastal Waterway and 11,775 square feet of living space indoors and in its lakeside loggias.
The house had been listed for sale for more than 18 months with an asking price of $28 million. Sotheby’s International Realty agents Mary Boykin and Crissy Poorman had the listing.
Broker Linda Gary represented the unidentified buyer. [Palm Beach Daily News] – Mike Seemuth

Source: The Real Deal Miami

Ken Griffin’s Billionaires’ Row estate to cover three beachfront lots

Outlined in yellow is where Ken Griffin plans to build his residential estate and in white, another property he owns.
Billionaire Ken Griffin is making sure his new home on Billionaires’ Row stands out. The hedge funder will reportedly convert the 8 acres, three houses and 575 feet of beachfront in Palm Beach into an oceanfront mansion with a “long-and-lean profile.”
Griffin, founder and CEO of global investment firm the Citadel, paid nearly $130 million in 2012 for four properties at 20, 30, 40 and 50 Blossom Way, the Palm Beach Daily News reported. And last year, Griffin bought a mansion at 70 Blossom Way for $15.2 million, marking his total investment in the neighborhood at about $145 million.
He’s currently worth $7.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Griffin will build “a large residential estate with a single-family home straddling three lots,” according to the newspaper. At a town hall meeting this month, the council approved plans to create a new private entrance for the estate from South Ocean Boulevard, shortening the Blossom Way cul-de-sac, and joining the three lots through a unity of title. His new driveway will cut through the dry lot he owns to the west. Three neighbors have signed off on Griffin’s changes.
In January, the town council already agreed to move an easement changing pedestrian access to the beach, at Griffin’s request.
Griffin made headlines last year when he paid $60 million for two penthouses at Faena House, and then again in January when he put them both on the market for $55 million and $18 million, respectively. [Palm Beach Daily News] – Katherine Kallergis

Source: The Real Deal Miami

Billionaire Lindemann takes out $19M loan on Palm Beach estate

1565 North Ocean Way in Palm Beach
Billionaire and pipeline CEO George Lindemann and his wife Frayda closed on a $19.1 million mortgage for their Palm Beach estate. 
County records show the Lindemanns took the loan out, due in April 2019, for the beachfront property at 1565 North Ocean Way, a 7,657-square-foot home with four bedrooms. Bank of America is the lender.
As of last year, Forbes reports that George Lindemann is worth $3.8 billion. He’s founder and CEO of Southern Union, a natural gas pipeline company, and also owns 19 Spanish-language radio stations. Frayda Lindemann is vice president of the Metropolitan Opera board. Property records show they paid $23.5 million for the 3.4-acre estate in 2008. It includes a pool, fountain, patio and tennis courts, as well as beach access.
The 1937-home also belonged to developer Pat Carney, who paid $15 million for it in 2006 only to flip it two years later for a $8.5 million more.
The Lindemanns’ immediate neighbors include insurance executive Arthur L. Williams Jr. and Kenneth Tropin, an investment manager.

Source: The Real Deal Miami