The Leste Group and Brazilian real estate firm Opportunity Fundo de Investimento Imobiliário plan to build a 500-unit apartment building in Brickell, the first project in their $1 billion South Florida development.

Through the pair’s newly formed joint venture, LORE Development Group, the partners hope to build a 70-story tower on a half-acre of parking lot at the southeast corner of SW 10th Street and SW First Avenue, Stephan de Sabrit, Leste’s managing partner, told real deal.

According to de Sabrit, LORE purchased the development sites at 74, 78, 84 and 88 SW 10th Street and 1013, 1015 and 1021 SW First Avenue for $35 million.

Designed by Corwil Architects, the $500 million project will occupy 442,000 square feet. It will include 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a rooftop swimming pool.

The development marks a new vision for the site, which was previously slated for a hotel, de Sabrit said.

The property’s seller, GW Brickell, paid $26 million in 2015 for a combination of six lots, records show. The entity is led by Brazilian investor Jose Luis Galveas Loureiro.

Brickell Towers is in the approval process, including receiving Rapid Transit Zone designation, allowing more units to be developed on land close to public transport. The location is close to the Brickell subway station.

Construction is set to begin next June and is expected to be completed by summer 2027, de Sabrit said.

Opportunity Fundo de Investimento Imobiliário, with offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is a prolific real estate developer in Brazil. The privately held company was founded in 1994 by Daniel Dantas, Veronica Dantas and Dorio Ferman. Jomar Monnerat de Carvalho is director of Opportunity.

Miami-based Leste, an alternative investment manager led by Emmanuel Hermann, managed nearly $2 billion in assets as of March, according to its website. Its portfolio includes equity and credit, private equity and litigation financing. While the company invested as a project partner, the pipeline in the LORE Partner Program marks Leste’s development debut.

For years, Opportunity has invested in U.S. real estate through Leste as a limited partner, de Sabrit said.

“Last year, we decided, ‘Okay, we’ve gathered a lot of knowledge now, we’re comfortable with the southeast Florida market, and we really want to develop our own stuff, rather than just having third-party investment,'” de Sabrit said. “That’s when we decided to work together.”

The $1 billion Brickell-based LORE plans to build 500 to 1,000 units a year in South Florida over the next five years, he said. Projects will include multi-family homes and condominiums, including boutique condominiums in Miami’s Coconut Grove. De Sabrit declined to provide details about that or other plans.

The development of LORE comes as many developers in South Florida are putting their projects on hold due to costly financing, expensive construction materials and labor, and skyrocketing insurance rates.

LORE is betting in part on its connections in the alternative lending space to get “the right capital,” de Sabrit said.

High interest rates have cooled the price of development land in Miami, which hit $19.3 million an acre late last year. However, LORE paid much more than that for its Brickell portion: a $35 million purchase price equals $70 million per acre.

Prior to starting LORE, Leste and Opportunity had been investing in projects in the US and Brazil. In North Miami, they are investment partners in Chicago-based Golub & Co.’s 450-unit multifamily building on part of the closed Johnson & Wales University campus. Golub paid $10 million in 2021 for the vacant campus site at NE 126th and 127th Streets and two parking lots at 1660 NE 127th Street and 12600 NE 17th Avenue.

The Brickell Financial District, now home to Ken Griffin’s Citadel and the headquarters of Citadel Securities, has also attracted the attention of apartment and condominium developers.

Swiss firm Empira Group bought a one-acre site at 901 SW Third Avenue and 244 SW Ninth Street for $21.5 million and plans to build a 26-story multifamily building. Grand Peaks participated in the project.

On Brickell Key, Swire Properties has planned a Mandarin Oriental-branded project that includes a tower with 220 apartments and another tower with 151 hotel keys, 61 apartments and 28 hotel residences. The development will replace the existing Mandarin Oriental Hotel at 500 Brickell Key Avenue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *