Trump Plaza’s condo board votes to remove ex-president’s name from West Palm towers

President Donald Trump and Trump Plaza  (Getty, Google Maps)

President Donald Trump and Trump Plaza  (Getty, Google Maps)

Trump Plaza’s condo board voted to remove the ex-president’s name from the West Palm Beach towers.

The twin towers’ board unanimously voted last week to change Trump Plaza’s name as a result of the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The move marks the latest attempt in the past year to create distance from Trump. Last year, residents voted to remove Trump signage, including street-level signs as well as the Trump Plaza signs that adorned the top of the buildings. The rooftop signs were originally taken off for repairs, but residents voted for them to remain off the building.

Trump purchased the 221-unit development at 525 and 529 Flagler Drive in 1986 and handed the buildings over to lenders in 1991. They decided to keep the Trump brand attached to the condo to help sales, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The 32-story towers have sweeping views of the Intracoastal, Palm Beach and the Atlantic Ocean, with units selling from $1 million to over $4 million. A new name has not yet been determined.

Many businesses and former partners of The Trump Organization are cutting ties in wake of the Capitol storming. In Chicago, the 3,000-square-foot “TRUMP” sign on the Trump International Hotel & Tower may also be coming down.

[Palm Beach Post] — Jordan Pandy

Feds seek to seize 11 properties in Palm Beach County allegedly tied to money laundering

A few of the properties in Palm Beach County (Credit: Google Maps)

A few of the properties in Palm Beach County (Credit: Google Maps)

The federal government is seeking to seize 11 properties in Palm Beach County that were allegedly tied to a money laundering scheme.

Federal prosecutors allege Laura Luz Maria Torres operated businesses in which she sought to defraud the USCIS through the submission of at least 1,000 fraudulent asylum and work permit applications between 2012 and 2020.

Torres used the money from the scheme to buy properties she owned or controlled, according to federal prosecutors. The government is now seeking to seize 10 properties in West Palm Beach, including: 5211 Kim Court, 807 Belvedere Road, 1103 Green Pine Boulevard B-1, 3331 Lake Avenue, 1408 Parterre Drive, 621 Hudson Road, 716 Briggs Street, 911 Green Street, 732 Forest Hill Boulevard, and 4524 Gun Club Road Suite 103.

She also owned and controlled a property in Lake Worth at 1229 Creekside Drive, an affidavit shows.

According to the alleged scheme, undocumented immigrants came to Torres to apply for asylum. Torres would allegedly make up laws that they could apply for, but the immigrants were largely ineligible for asylum since they had been in the U.S. for over a year, according to prosecutors. Torres would tell the clients that she could get them work permits and ultimately legal status. Once the immigrant would pay the fee, Torres would submit an application to the USCIS.

She charged each person between $2,000 and $4,500 in fees to start the process, according to an affidavit. Torres allegedly made up fake narratives on their applications about persecution the clients faced in their home countries such as drug cartels invading their villages and forcing them to sell drugs.

Torres would use local addresses for the immigrants’ applications at properties that she personally owned or controlled, according to prosecutors. When she received the work permits from USCIS she allegedly would demand additional fees and tell the immigrants that they could be deported if they did not pay her more.

Torres has operated her businesses under a variety of names, including El Latino Multiservices, M&K Multiservices, L & L Document Services and AYE Services.

The federal government alleges fraudulent tax filings were filed in the names of the asylum seekers to the U.S. Treasury. The government alleges between 2015 and 2017 more than 202 U.S. Treasury checks, totaling $945,000 were issued, with most going to addresses owned or controlled by Torres.

Torres was arrested June 29 on charges of conspiracy to make false statements, conspiracy to launder money and identity theft. A call to Torres’ attorney was not immediately returned.

The South Florida Business Journal first reported the news.

South Florida is no stranger to money laundering. Federal prosecutors are currently seeking to seize a penthouse in a luxury condo tower in downtown Miami that allegedly was used by the Republic of the Congo’s president’s son to embezzle money.

In 2018, wealthy, politically connected Venezuelans allegedly laundered money out of the country’s state oil company and into assets throughout the world, including real estate assets in South Florida. The assets included a condo in the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, a condo in Related Group’s Icon Brickell and two homes in Coral Gables’ Cocoplum neighborhood.

Starwood Capital nabs West Palm apartment complex

Starwood Capital Group’s Barry Sternlicht and 5500 North Haverhill Road

Starwood Capital Group’s Barry Sternlicht and 5500 North Haverhill Road

A company tied to Starwood Capital Group bought an apartment complex in West Palm Beach for $13.8 million.

SREIT Royal Poinciana, an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group, bought the 144-unit apartments at 5500 North Haverhill Road for about $96,000 per unit, records show. LCA Las Palmas LP, which is tied to Chicago-based Lakeside Capital Advisors, sold the property.

The 8.2-acre community was developed in 1996, near the highly trafficked North Military Trail.

The property last traded for $7.78 million in 2016, records show.

Demand for apartments in West Palm Beach is increasing as the city’s population grows and continues to attract more companies. In the last decade, Palm Beach County’s population has grown more than 15 percent, with total employment growth at 28 percent, according to a recent report from CBRE.

Starwood Capital Group has offices in Greenwich, Connecticut and Miami Beach, Florida. Starwood Capital is an active investor in South Florida’s multifamily market. In August, it bought Summerlake Apartments, an 84-unit complex in Davie, for $11 million.

Paper magnate inks deal for condo at The Bristol

The Bristol in West Palm Beach

The Bristol in West Palm Beach

The Bristol in West Palm Beach continues to attract wealthy buyers as it nears sellout.

Paper magnate Bob Grossman and his wife Lynne purchased unit 2101 at the high end-luxury condo development for $12.2 million.

Bob Grossman and his brother Steven Grossman sold their containerboard manufacturing and corrugated packaging company, Southern Container Corp., in 2008 for $851 million, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In 2017, Bob and Lynne Grossman paid $10 million for a unit in the north tower of Oceana Bal Harbour at 10201 Collins Avenue. They also own a number of superyachts.

Flagler Investors, led by Al Adelson and Gene Golub, developed The Bristol, a 25-story, 69-unit luxury tower at 1100 South Flagler Drive. Units range from 3,600 square feet to 14,000 square feet.

The project is the first new luxury condo building in West Palm Beach in the past decade. The development group has sold almost all of the units, and was able to attract estate owners in Palm Beach who were looking to downsize, according to Adelson.

Buyers include beauty mogul Sydell Miller, who closed on a full-floor penthouse for $42.6 million in March. Her Palm Beach estate sold in December for $105 million, tying the record for the largest residential sale ever in Palm Beach. In September, Miami developer James Harpel also bought a unit at The Bristol for $7.9 million.

Ben Carson talks Opportunity Zones, top developers riff on condos vs. rentals: 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]

This page was last updated at 5:30 p.m.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson talks Opportunity Zones and… ants. Carson spoke at The Real Deal’s annual Showcase & Forum in Miami’s Mana Wynwood. HUD will give preference to developers and investors who build affordable housing in federal Opportunity Zones when it comes to certain grants. [TRD]

South Florida developers riff on shift from condos to rentals at TRD Miami showcase. New York developer Michael Shvo, who is making a push in Miami Beach, said he would not follow the trend, arguing that with the right site and project, the general market’s performance is irrelevant. [TRD]

Compass refutes WeWork comparison. Both companies, backed by SoftBank, were boosted by impressive valuations despite questions about profitability, and have seen a slew of executive departures. However, in hours of interviews with The Real Deal, six of Compass’ C-suite executives sought to distance the brokerage from the narrative of the troubled coworking giant. [TRD]

Scott Wadler is now managing director at Berkadia. Wadler spent over a decade at HFF, most recently as senior director of the firm’s Miami office. He handles construction financing, hospitality and residential deals throughout the Southeast. [TRD]

South Florida Q3 resi sales a mixed bag, with inventory falling. In Miami, Miami Beach and surrounding cities, sales generally rose in the third quarter, according to the newly released Elliman Reports, authored by Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc. But elsewhere in the tri-county region, sales dropped or remained stagnant. [TRD]

County Commissioner warns Miami Beach about roadblocks for Baylink transit project. The mayor of Miami Beach’s ordinance to increase the city’s control over transit projects would harm plans to build the Baylink project connecting Miami Beach to downtown Miami, Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins warned Miami Beach officials Wednesday. [Miami Herald]

Home foreclosures are dropping

Home foreclosures are dropping

Home foreclosures dropped nearly 20% in Q3, report shows. Overall, 143,105 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings from July through September. U.S. home foreclosures dropped sharply in the third quarter, with New York City, South Florida and Los Angeles all registering declines. [TRD]

West Palm Beach’s Rosemary Square and its lender are going to court. Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach and its lender Wells Fargo are heading to a federal trial on Oct. 23. The two are in a dispute over an appraisal needed for the refinancing of a $150 million loan at the entertainment center in the heart of West Palm Beach. [Palm Beach Post]

Quiksilver signs a lease in Miami Beach, Delray Beach’s Atlantic Crossing announces first retail and office tenants: 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]

This page was last updated at 5:45 p.m.

Quiksilver signs a lease in Miami Beach. The athletic wear company signed a 2,800-square-foot lease for a new flagship store at 673 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

Delray Beach’s Atlantic Crossing project announces first retail and office leases. The project is expected to go vertical by year-end, according to the developer, The Edwards Companies. The lead tenant will be Merrill Lynch, which will occupy the entire third floor. Chico’s has also signed for a 3,150-square-foot shop fronting Atlantic Avenue. The first restaurant tenant is Chicago-based The Hampton Social, according to a release.

Lennar picks up 50 lots in western Palm Beach County. Lennar Corp paid $6.1 million for the lots in the Arden home community as the company continues to buy land in western Palm Beach County. [TRD]

Retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez scored a home in Miami for his next UFC Gym. Rodriguez’s A-Rod Corp. signed a lease for 24,000 square feet at 3635 Northeast First Avenue in Midtown Miami. The fitness facility is expected to open in the spring of next year. [TRD]

Miami Beach broker Howard Chase and his wife, Liliana Chase, are getting into the restaurant business. The couple signed a three-year lease with extension options, for the former Cheeseburger Baby space at 212 Northeast 79th Street in Miami, Howard Chase said. [TRD]

A healthcare executive picked up a unit at the recently completed Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach. Nelson Shaller, who founded IHS Dialysis, bought unit 502 at the new luxury condo development at 4701 North Meridian Avenue for $6.4 million. The development group, led by Lionheart Capital, sold the unit. [TRD]

Kuwaiti royal was defrauded of $160M investment in Mountain of Beverly Hills: lawsuit. The interior minister of Kuwait has filed suit, claiming he was defrauded out of a $163 million investment in the 157-acre Mountain of Beverly Hills by its former owner. [TRD]

Auto magnate Terry Taylor sold a new dealership in Homestead to Bomnin Auto Group for $19 million. Property records show TT of Homestead Inc. sold the former Keith Pierson Chevrolet Superstore at 1075 Southeast Sixth Avenue to Bomnin Automotive CC. It’s now called Bomnin Chevrolet Homestead. [TRD]

Venezuelan oil tycoon Gerardo Pantin Shortt wants to sell his waterfront Miami Beach mansion. Pantin, who built his fortune contracting with Venezuela’s state oil company starting in the 1980s, owns the nine-bedroom, 9,091-square-foot Sunset Islands home. It hit the market this week with Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman, according to Zillow. [TRD]

Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach

Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach

Banyan Cay finds new hotel partner for stalled West Palm Beach development. Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach has partnered with Benchmark to develop, operate and market the property, according to the Palm Beach Post. The project could be turned into a Hyatt/Destination Resorts property, a boutique luxury hotel brand. Work had stopped on the development this spring, according to the Post. [Palm Beach Post]

Zoning, redevelopment top issues in District 2 Commissioner race. Coconut Grove neighborhood groups hosted a candidate debate this week, which incumbent Ken Russell and opponents Jim Fried and Javier Gonzalez attended. The three candidates were asked about their positions on development in Coconut Grove and changes to building regulations, according to the Miami Herald. The candidates also discussed their skepticism about the federal Opportunity Zones program. [Miami Herald]

The federal government is expected to buy more homes due to climate change. A recent study showed that most of the more than 43,000 properties FEMA has paid to demolish in the last three decades are in rich counties, according to the Miami Herald. [Miami Herald]

Compiled by Keith Larsen

$634M public-private partnership proposed in Dania Beach, buyer at luxury condo project in Pompano Beach sues developer: Daily digest

A daily roundup of South Florida real estate news, deals and more for August 23, 2019

August 23, 2019 04:00PM

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 at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. Please send any tips or deals to [email protected]

This page was last updated at 4 p.m.

Two developers want to build a $634 million project on mostly city land in Dania Beach. Armada Hoffler Properties and Capital Group’s proposal to build The Dania Beach City Center project, with residential, office, retail and hotel development, will be considered by the Dania Beach commission next week, according to South Florida Business Journal. The city issued a request for proposals in March to develop the property at 100 West Dania Beach Boulevard. [SFBJ

The former CEO of La Quinta Holdings is suing the development group of Sabbia Beach. Wayne Goldberg is alleging the developer falsely induced him to purchase a condo for $5.35 million. He is now seeking to close on the penthouse and recover compensation for the harm he and his family have suffered. The complaint alleges that Fernbrook Florida falsely represented that only seven units at the Pompano Beach condo project were still available at the condo development, driving up the sales price. [TRD]

Billionaire David Koch died at 79 on Friday. He was the 11th richest person in the world. In Palm Beach, the industrialist paid $10.5 million for an estate at 150 South Ocean Boulevard in 1998. The 13-bedroom, 20,378-square-foot mansion was built in 1920 on nearly 2 acres of land across the street from the ocean, according to property records. [TRD

Atlantic | Pacific Real Estate Group and Blue Arch Advisors closed a $140 million portion of a fund that invests in multifamily properties. The fund is looking to raise a total of $300 million, which will give it buying power of over $750 million. Investors in the fund include domestic and international institutional investors as well as high net worth individuals. [TRD

Development has been ramping up in Hialeah. Avra Jain is looking to bring back the glory days of Hialeah, starting with a major adaptive re-use commercial development on about 6 acres of land in east Hialeah, she said during a panel hosted by CREW Miami at Four Seasons Hotel Miami earlier this week. [TRD

Fort Lauderdale has a big water problem. The city will hold on fixing its water treatment plant after the lowest bid it received was $15 million higher than the city’s budget, according to the Sun Sentinel. The city commission still plans to use about $10 million in utility funds to pay for other city services, despite the city’s aging water and sewer systems, and crumbling pipes. [Sun Sentinel]

Developer Jeff Greene is back to building condos on a West Palm Beach site he’s building on. Greene bought the property at 550 Quadrille Boulevard in 2014, and planned to build 84 luxury condos at the mixed-use project. Then, he decided to replace the condos with rental apartments when he reconfigured his plan to include less office space. Now, he told the Palm Beach Post that there is “such a demand for smaller units that are super luxurious and have an enormous amount of amenities” that he’s leaning toward selling the 300-plus units as condos. [Palm Beach Post]

Robert Finvarb and Tony Cho closed on a $67 million loan for a mixed-use hotel near Brickell City Centre. The partnership secured the financing from City National Bank to build a 21-story, 264-key dual-branded hotel on the property. The project, designed by Arquitectonica, would also feature 25,000 square feet of retail space, structured parking and a rooftop terrace. [TRD]

Ex-members of Trump National Doral have been waiting to inch forward on the refund list at the Doral golf course and resort — and they may have to wait decades more. To move up on the list by one spot, four new members need to join the golf club, and the list is more than 265 people long, according to the Miami Herald. Few members have joined between December 2017 and January 2019. One member said that he moved up by two spots, which means only eight members had joined in that period of time. [TRD]

Compiled by Katherine Kallergis

Crocker and Greenfield sell “Darth Vader building” in West Palm for $98M

Crocker Partners and Greenfield Partners spent $15 million on renovations since buying the Northbridge Centre in 2016

Crocker Partners Brett Reese and Northbridge Centre

Crocker Partners Brett Reese and Northbridge Centre

Crocker Partners and Greenfield Partners sold the Northbridge Centre in downtown West Palm Beach for $98 million, marking one of the largest office sales in the city’s history.

The partnership sold the 294,000-square-foot Class A office tower for $333 per square foot to Chicago-based Vanderbilt Office Properties and New York-based C-III Capital Partners, records show. The property is at 515 North Flagler Drive, at the base of the Flagler Memorial Bridge.

Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners bought the office property in a joint venture with Westport, Connecticut-based Greenfield Partners for $68 million in 2016. The joint venture then spent $15 million on renovations, including adding a new conference center, a cafe and a barista bar as well as upgrading the common areas and lobby.

The building is known to locals as the “Darth Vader building” because of its dark windows.

CBRE’s Chris Lee and Jose Lobon brokered the sale.

Brett Reese of Crocker Partners said that when the partners purchased the building rents averaged about $20 per square foot, but rents now range up to $42 per square foot due to the renovations.

Reese said he’s also seen a change in the tenant mix as West Palm Beach has evolved to become more of a destination for investment managers and private equity firms.

“Since we renovated, we brought in over 10 new family offices and private equity [firms] to the building,” Reese said. “Historically it has been a building where lawyers have gravitated to given its proximity to the courthouse. It’s now changed. We are seeing more financial services.”

Tenants at the office building include Qwest and Wells Fargo as well as a number of law offices. Reese said the building is currently about 60 percent leased.

There is high demand from investors for Class A office space in West Palm Beach. A lack of Class A buildings has hurt the city’s ability to attract more employers, according to economic development officials.

But that could soon change. In August, the West Palm Beach City Commission approved the controversial Okeechobee Business District, allowing Related Companies’ 25-story Class A office building to go forward.

Crocker Partners has acquired and managed over 149 properties since 1993, totaling 44.3 million square feet and $5.2 billion invested, according to its website.

Last October, Crocker Partners was part of a group that sold the Brickell City Tower in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood to New York Life Investors for $117.25 million.

Vanderbilt Office Properties, LLC is a privately held, real estate investment manager. Since 2014 it has invested more than $2.7 billion in real estate with 13 transactions, according to its website.

C-III Capital Partners has over $8 billion in assets under management. It is also one of the largest CMBS special servicers in the U.S., according to its website.

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Jeff Greene plans 38-story condo project near Currie Park in West Palm Beach

JefF Greene and West Palm Beach

Billionaire Jeff Greene plans to develop several high-rise condominium buildings in the Northwood area of West Palm Beach, where he owns 20 acres near waterfront Currie Park.

Greene would ask the city to approve the high-rise condos as tall as 38 stories in an area with a 13-story limit on building height.

The billionaire and former gubernatorial candidate would build as many as six condo buildings along Currie Park, now a haven for homeless people.

Taller condos would allow for more green space at ground level, said Jason Frantzen, a senior partner of Herzog & de Meuron, a Switzerland-based architecture firm that Greene hired to design his condo project.

Herzog & de Meuron is a renowned firm that designed the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

At 38 stories, the condo project Greene is planning would be about eight stories taller than any other structure in West Palm Beach, including One West Palm, his mixed-use development downtown under construction at 550 Quadrille Boulevard.

Residents of the Northwood area of West Palm Beach lauded Greene’s condo development plan after he and Frantzen discussed it during a recent community meeting at Northwood’s Center for Creative Education. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth

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Related breaks ground on second phase of CityPlace project

CityPlace was renamed Rosemary Square

From left: Rendering of Rosemary Avenue and the Water Pavilion with Stephen Ross

Related Companies is making progress on its redevelopment of CityPlace in West Palm Beach.

The New York developer announced it is officially changing the property’s name to “Rosemary Square” and is breaking ground on phase two of its plans for the mixed-use property. The project calls for a redesigned plaza, public spaces, green areas, outdoor dining venues, new stores and interactive art, according to a release.

Urban design firm Gehl, architect David Manfredi, landscaper Matt Hadden and sustainability consultant the Spinnaker Group are designing phase two.

Related is planning to invest nearly $550 million into projects in downtown West Palm, including a new mixed-use luxury residential tower, a second hotel next to the Hilton West Palm Beach, and 360 Rosemary, a new 300,000-square-foot office tower. The developer secured approval in November for a 21-story apartment building on the site of a former Macy’s building at CityPlace.

Related is also tied up in litigation with its lenders over CityPlace’s $150 million mortgage. In a counterclaim filed earlier this year, Wells Fargo, a trustee for CityPlace’s lender Credit Suisse Commercial Mortgage, is alleging that CityPlace’s appraisal for its loan was based on misleading and inaccurate information given to its appraiser.

The Rosemary Square project calls for the installation of “Water Pavilion West Palm Beach,” a sculpture by Danish artist Jeppe Hein; the opening of True Food Kitchen, a 6,000-square-foot restaurant that’s expected to open in late fall; seafood restaurant High Dive by Michelin-starred Jeremy Bearman, also set to open in the fall; Sur La Table; Barrio Sangria Bar; and the re-opening of The Shack.

Tacos & Hip Hop by DJ Steve Pershad and local taqueria Zipitios, owned by Ricky Perez, are also planning to open as pop-ups.

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