A company tied to Swedish developer Par Sanda — who spearheaded transformation of a group of mid-century mom and pop beachside motels into the “North Beach Village” — has sold three motel sites for $12.1 million, Broward County records show.
The former Martindale motel at 3016 Bayshore Drive had been earmarked for redevelopment along with two adjacent parcels. Sanda and his team had planned to reopen the sites as a 100-room resort called Flow.
The adjoining lots previously were occupied by the Sandy Shores and Seaside motels.
Property sales records show Fort Lauderdale-based Flow Hotel LLC as selling the three motel sites, totalling 25,865 square feet, to Bayshore Hotel LLC.
Florida business records list Bayshore Hotel’s manager as Pawel Plata, who is also associated with the nearby Shell motel at 3030 Bayshore Drive, which is closed for renovations. He also is connected with the Seville Hotel & Apartments a few blocks away.
Sanda’s investment company bought the Martindale and other two motels for $4.9 million in April 2013.
Christine Sposa, vice president of operations at North Beach Village Hotel Properties, the Sanda affiliate that oversees its hotel operations, said the decision to sell the Flow property to Plata made sense as he shares a “similar idea and vision,” for the neighborhood.
Plata had started renovating the adjacent Shell hotel when the Flow redevelopment began, and he was “intrigued” by Sanda’s plans, Sposa said.
Redevelopment of the triple-motel site began in late 2013 and the first phase of the new Flow hotel — 25 rooms — was initially expected to open in spring 2014. That didn’t happen and the project wasn’t completed.
Sposa said recent talks between Sanda and Plata about the site’s future eventually led to its sale.
“[Plata] loves the area and sees great things happening here,” said Sposa.
Plata could not be reached for comment Friday.
With the Flow project out of the pipeline, North Beach Village Hotel Properties is focusing on continued beautification and improvements at its existing properties, Sposa said.
By late March or early April, 16 new rooms will be added at the company’s Tranquilo hotel on Vistamar Street as part of a renovation of an adjacent property, she said.
The company also recently reopened its outdoor eatery Plaza Bistro during weekends.
Since 2010, Sanda’s investment companies have purchased more than 35 low-rise buildings and lots and spent about $80 million to create the European-style village between Fort Lauderdale beach and the Intracoastal Waterway west of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and south of Bonnet House.
Renovations of several 1950s-era motels and inns in the area have taken place, by Sanda and other property owners.
Today, Sanda’s North Beach Village Resort collection of 16 boutique properties also include the Cocobelle Resort, Tara hotel, Aqua, Beach Gardens, Royal Palms and Tropirock and Solas hotels.
Last year, the company opened an art gallery in a building previously used for short term-residential rentals called Village Design as part of its desire to expand entertainment and dining options.
“It’s becoming a cool place for event space,” Sposa said.
Prior to that, the company opened its 15-room flagship North Beach Hotel at 551 Breakers Ave., which offers a mix of deluxe studios and one-bedroom units as well as two penthouses with full kitchens.
The hotel’s Village Café restaurant and bar has also become a popular neighborhood dining and entertainment spot, she said.
Demand for North Beach Hotel’s penthouse space, which features a multipurpose loft with its own balcony terrace and entertainment area, has been growing since its opening, Sposa said.
“Now things are really starting to take off,” she said. “Since we hired an event coordinator we’ve been doing site tours like crazy. This year is going to be a big boom for us [with events].”
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
“Sleek, modern, and 100% American made. This is Brightline. The express train service that’s coming to Florida in the form of a brightly colored fleet connected to a high-tech locomotive.
Designed with their guests and optimal efficiency in mind, their locomotive and passenger cars are being manufactured in California by Siemens USA, the global powerhouse of innovative train-builders. And a fuel-efficient Cummins diesel-electric engine built in the heart of Indiana will power the locomotive with 16 cylinders pumping up to 4400 horsepower for optimum reliability and consistency. The lightweight engine is designed to have lower emissions and reduced noise, plus positive pressure clean air management and energy efficient LED lighting throughout. It’s their smart locomotive that is powering your trip.
The ingenuity of their train service is obvious both inside and out. From the fun of trying to ride each of the bright orange, green, pink, blue and red colored cars, to simply enjoying your view out of their giant picture windows that are perfectly aligned with every seat.
Choose between two tiers of available seating options – Smart and Select – and enjoy free Wi-Fi, smartly placed power outlets, and custom built leather seats with plenty of room and multiple seating configurations! Within each tier, there will be a quiet car where you can work or relax, and a social car for when you’re traveling with family, friends or colleagues.
You can enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine delivered right to your seat or check out a new take on a train café car designed to meet your every need; stocked full of quality food and drink options, wine and local beers, a retail store, souvenirs and entertainment.”
The Wave Modern Streetcar is a 2.8-mile streetcar system that will serve as a local circulator in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Once people get to Downtown, they will have a viable transportation option that will help them to transport “beyond the car” by using The Wave, to move around quickly and safely.
It is expected that, once completed, the Wave will encourage private investment to bring new housing, shops, restaurants and retail opportunities. It is also expected to connect Downtown’s many points of interest and link to the regional transit network.
The Wave is environmentally sound. The streetcar is powered by electricity, which when compared to gasoline, significantly reduces emissions and harmful air pollutants. It also provides a quiet ride, unlike the bus that operates on a noisy combustion engine. Additionally, the streetcar glides on steel wheels while the bus uses rubber tires that are not environmentally sound and are difficult to dispose of.
In early 2014, it was announced that the Wave Streetcar project was recommended for $50 million in Small Starts grant funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 United States Department of Transportation budget, providing additional funding required to design and construct the project. A consultant is being procured for the Final Design of the project which will be completed during 2014-2015. Technical specifications are being developed for the procurement of the streetcar vehicles with a goal of receiving delivery of the vehicles in 2017.
As international investors seek new opportunities within the U.S., real estate and additional developing markets continue to attract attention. At the Coloney Group, we work with investors from around the world and aim to find the best investment opportunities in Florida.
Recently, Miami-Dade has begun to explore the possibility of implementing additional verification requirements for international investors and partners. These new checkpoints could reveal investor information for international buyers, like full names, addresses, and country of origin. Law enforcement has said this is necessary to minimize money laundering and other kinds of crime. The Coloney Group recognizes that all cash transactions are necessary in real estate to expedite the process, so we are helping our clients invest in Ft. Lauderdale in addition to Miami.
Ft. Lauderdale presents several opportunities for the discerning investor and first time homebuyer alike. The rental market is extremely strong. Prices are as high as ever and inventory is extremely low, which makes a great scenario for landlords/investors. Fort Lauderdale has been consistently listed as 1 of the top favorable investor markets in the nation. It’s a remarkable time to invest and purchase properties here.
The Coloney Group can help you find the investment property or home of your dreams. We work with agents and professionals all over Florida, and can guide you through all of the processes necessary to obtain property. The Coloney Group also can share access to our exclusive listings.
If you are considering Florida as your next investment destination or as the location of your future home, be sure to reach out to our trusted, world class real estate gurus at The Coloney Group. We consider each client a partner and can pull from over three decades of experience in Florida to reach your goals. Give us a call today to discuss your needs
MIAMI—Miami is increasingly becoming a focus of attention for Chinese buyers and investors. Developers are traveling to China to market their condos and raising the city’s profile among wealthy Chinese.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Arnstein & Lehr partnerAnthony Kang to discuss ways to make Miami a more inviting place for Chinese buyers and gives tips on how to bridge the cultural gap. Kang, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, represents Chinese and Taiwanese entities and individuals from South Florida and abroad. He focuses on business transaction, commercial litigation and real estate.
GlobeSt.com: What does Miami need to work on in order to help attract Chinese buyers and investors to our city?
Kang: A direct flight from Asia would be a giant step forward. Having more organized trade groups and business associations intended to serve Chinese buyers and investors would also make a difference.
Meanwhile, we should work on many of the things that simply would make us a more attractive city for all newcomers and residents alike. Things such as raising and maintaining the standard of secondary schools and institutions of higher education, promoting industries and businesses beyond tourism, and providing strong and trustworthy professional services.
Moreover, just as foreign investors from Latin America may feel more comfortable working with real estate agents, lawyers, and developers who speak Spanish, many Chinese business people prefer to communicate in Mandarin Chinese. Therefore, having at team members and professionals who speak the language and understand their culture can create a competitive advantage.
LeClaire, Jennifer. ‘How Miami Can Attract More Chinese Investors’. GlobeSt.com 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
New foreclosure cases declined in August across Palm Beach and Broward counties, the result of more stringent lending standards and an improved housing market.
Broward had 203 new filings last month, down 74 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing firm in Irvine, Calif. In Palm Beach County, there were 110 filings, a 54 percent drop from August 2014.
Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, said foreclosures have been on a steady decline for months and have fallen below levels last seen a decade ago before the start of the housing meltdown.
“The loans that were originated over the last five years have been extremely risk-averse,” Blomquist said. “Very few of those homeowners are falling into foreclosure.”
Lenders repossessed 627 Broward homes in August, up 51 percent from a year ago, but the vast majority of those cases are left over from the housing downturn, Blomquist said. Repossessions in Palm Beach County declined 24 percent from a year earlier.
Florida had the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate in August, at one in 596 homes in some stage of the process. Nevada, Maryland and New Jersey ranked ahead of Florida. It was the first time since June 2012 that the Sunshine State did not rank in the top three, RealtyTrac said.
Some lenders may be holding off filing foreclosures in Florida until the Florida Supreme Court rules on how the statute of limitations applies in some older cases, but that isn’t expected to launch another foreclosure crisis.
“That’s going to affect a very limited number of cases,” said Jerry Tepps, a South Florida foreclosure defense lawyer. “That’s not going to change the overall picture at all.”
Powers@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers
There’s good news and bad when it comes to Chinese interest in U.S. real estate investing.
By Michael Turnbell
August 28, 2015, 3:09 PM
Like pieces of a giant linear puzzle, new tracks are slowly falling into place for a new passenger train service to Orlando.
All Aboard Florida will soon hit a milestone, whenfreight trains begin using a new bypass track in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The shift will allow freight trains to keep rolling while work proceeds on the station. Similar work is planned around the new station in West Palm Beach in September.
The track shift in Fort Lauderdale was supposed to take place Monday but was postponed due to Tropical Storm Erika. A new date hasn’t been announced.
Construction on both stations, meanwhile, has been under way for months, with the foundations taking shape and piles being driven into the ground along the tracks. Supports for platforms and the modernistic passenger lounges are also rising.
In downtown Miami, more than 1,600 piles have been driven more than 100 feet for the base of a massive elevated station on an 11-acre site near the old Miami Arena.
But construction really won’t take off in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach until freight trains are shifted out of the path of the stations. V-shaped trusses and columns that will be a signature feature at both stations will be cast on site, then erected this fall.
In Fort Lauderdale, the existing two tracks will be rebuilt “bowed” out to make room for a 35-foot-wide, 800-foot long platform where passengers will board trains.
All Aboard Florida is a private passenger rail service that will run from Miami to Orlando via the tracks that parallel to U.S. 1 and Dixie Highway. Service is set to begin in early 2017 from Miami to West Palm Beach and the rest of the line by the end of 2017.
Other signs of progress:
To date, 18 railroad crossings have been completed. In most cases, the work required construction of a second track through the crossing and reconstruction of the existing track and the approaches to the crossing. About 170 remain to be rebuilt.
A “practice” freight train will test the new bypass track in downtown Fort Lauderdale before regular freight trains begin using it daily. The test had been scheduled for Sunday, but has been postponed due to Tropical Storm Erika.
Work on the Northeast 26thStreet crossing in Wilton Manors, which was set to begin Sunday, and on the Johnson Street crossing in Hollywood, which was set to begin Tuesday, has been postponed due to Erika. As of Friday, no new crossing closures in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties have been announced.
“We’re trying to piggyback where we can so we only have to close the crossings once for an extended period of time,” said Adrian Share, All Aboard Florida’s executive vice president of rail infrastructure.
Workers will come back at a later date to finish improvements at each crossing so trains do not have to sound their horns except in case of emergencies. In most cases, that work will involve the installation of new lights and gates.
But Share said that work will only take hours, not days, and won’t require lengthy closures of the crossings. The work also will be completed before All Aboard Florida begins service.
For maps showing the traffic detours, visit AllAboardFlorida.com, click on the “Construction” icon and then “Grade Crossing.”
Because construction work will be ramping up in coming months, motorists can receive alerts about future road work by going to “Email Sign Up,” also on the “Grade Crossing” page.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-356-4155, Twitter @MikeTurnpike, Facebook at SunSentinel.com/concreteideas
South Florida’s housing market ranks as the most stable in the Sunshine State, according to a report Wednesday from mortgage company Freddie Mac.
The metro area of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties scored 82.4 in June on Freddie’s Multi-Indicator Market Index, up 14 percent from a year ago.
The index measures local and state housing markets by tracking home loan applications, affordability, mortgage loan delinquencies and employment. A score of at least 80 is considered favorable or stable. A perfect score is 100.
South Florida’s market hit 80 in May for the first time since August 2008. The three-county region is the only one of eight metros in Florida above 80, though Cape Coral is at 79.9.
“Those markets hardest hit by the Great Recession, including many in Florida, are rebounding, but they still need to improve to get delinquencies back in line with their benchmark historic averages,” Len Kiefer, Freddie’s deputy chief economist, said in a statement. “The key driver of all this recovery has been solid job growth.”
Fresno, Calif., was the nation’s highest-rated market in June with a score of 96.8, according to Freddie Mac. Austin, Texas, was second at 94.9.
Meanwhile, a separate report from RealtyTrac Inc. underscores the improving local housing market.
The Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing firm said cash accounted for 48 percent of all home and condo sales in July in the tri-county region, down from 53 percent a year ago. At the same time, sales involving Federal Housing Administration mortgages — those used by first-time buyers and young families — are on the rise, RealtyTrac said.
“Even though cash buyers are pulling back on purchases, sales numbers are holding strong, and that’s a very good sign that the traditional buyer is coming back to the market,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac.
Jay Parker, CEO of the Douglas Elliman Florida brokerage, said the tri-county area has transformed from a boom-or-bust market to a stable destination.
“More and more people are looking at South Florida as a home as opposed to an investment,” he said.
Powers@sunsentinel.com, 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers
This was supposed to be the year that homebuyers regained leverage in the housing market. So far it isn’t playing out that way.
Sales and prices rose across Broward and Palm Beach counties in July, local Realtor boards said Thursday. A dearth of homes for sale continues to favor sellers, as properties go under contract in days or weeks, often at or above asking price.
Broward’s median price for existing single-family homes last month was $312,000, up 10 percent from a year ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said Thursday. The July figure was the highest since 2008.
Closed sales were strong but fell short of the blistering sales pace from June, the busiest month since at least 1993. There were 1,683 transactions in July, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier.
In Palm Beach County, the median price rose 3 percent to $289,250, according the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. Sales jumped 20 percent, to 1,810 from 1,515 a year earlier. As in Broward, Palm Beach County sales fell compared with June.
“The underlying fundamentals are good, and that’s helping the market,” said Selma Hepp, chief economist for Trulia.com, a real estate website. “What’s not helping the market is the lack of inventory.”
Broward had 6,233 single-family listings at the end of July, down slightly from a year ago. In Palm Beach County, there were 6,761 listings, off 7 percent.
Both counties had less than a five-month supply of homes for sale, meaning it would take that long to sell all of the homes if no more were listed. A six-month supply is considered ideal.
More homeowners were expected to test the market in 2015, giving buyers a better selection and ultimately a boost in negotiations. For the most part, though, buyers remain frustrated.
Some owners are holding off putting their homes on the market because they’re afraid they won’t be able to buy another place fast enough, Hepp said. The tight market is pushing prices higher, prompting concerns about affordability.
But John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, said in a statement that “we’re not in any great danger of a runaway market because mortgages are still difficult to get for most households.”
Agents say homes not priced appropriately will sit on the market. In some neighborhoods, though, buyers think they have little choice but to pay the higher asking prices — only to discover that the homes don’t appraise for as much.
“It’s a seller’s market,” said Wendy Newman-Scheppke, an agent in Broward and Palm Beach counties. “Sellers are asking for what they need versus what the value is.”
Carrie Hazen, an agent who also sells in both counties, said some buyers haven’t yet accepted the fact that housing is hot and sellers are in control. They don’t want to pay what the market bears or they’re holding out for a better deal.
“You’re not going to get a 2,500-square-foot house for $250,000 in the perfect neighborhood,” Hazen said. “People have to tweak their wish lists.”
The existing condominium market also is thriving, with sales up in Broward and Palm Beach from July 2014.
During the housing bust, median condo prices plunged below $100,000, but those bargains are long gone. The median price in Broward rose 7 percent in July to $137,000, while Palm Beach County saw a 13 percent increase to $145,000.
The median price means half of the properties sold for more and half for less. A higher median doesn’t necessarily reflect rising values across the county.
Powers@SunSentinel.com, 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers
There’s good news and bad when it comes to Chinese interest in U.S. real estate investing.
The good news is that wealthy Chinese have jumped at the chance to pump up to $1 million into U.S. businesses if it’ll buy them a visa
and a chance at U.S. citizenship. They’ve far outpaced every other nationality, snagging nearly 85 percent of the 10,000
entrepreneurship visas available last year through the EB-5 program that grants green cards to investors.
Technically, program rules designed to maintain a fair distribution limit a country’s allotment to 7 percent of available green cards, but
no other country came close to that threshold.
Fueled by Chinese economic growth and the end of a similar investment path in Canada, Chinese applicants scooped up more than
8,300 U.S. visas in 2014, up exponentially from a decade earlier when they accounted for about 13 percent of the allotment.
The money will help finance major real estate projects such as downtown Miami’s proposed $430 million Skyrise tower, earmarked for
$270 million in foreign capital.
But here’s the rub: The steady influx has clogged the system, delaying processing and putting in limbo billions of dollars earmarked for
real estate and other U.S. ventures as immigrant financiers await answers on pending applications.
“One of the effects of retrogression is that Chinese investors might want later release of their money,” said Rogelio “Roy” Carrasquillo, a
partner in Akerman’s corporate practice group in New York.
The EB-5 visa program dates back to 1995 but didn’t become a mainstream source of mezzanine financing until the 2008 recession,
when traditional lenders tightened their purse strings. It allows foreign lenders to invest $500,000 to $1 million in U.S. businesses that
create or save at least 10 full-time jobs over a two-year period. In exchange, investors get a path to permanent U.S. residency.
The program gave new hope to real estate and other sectors constrained by a tight domestic lending market. It raised north of $6.5
billion nationwide and supported more than 131,000 U.S. jobs from 2005 to 2013.
But for South Florida developers increasingly dependent on foreign capital as an important source of financing, the backlog could slow
construction deadlines, impact deal structures and create a need for supplemental financing—like bridge loans from traditional lenders
—to float projects as immigration processing hobbles along.
Applicants file I-526 entrepreneur petitions as the first step in the EB-5 visa program. By June 2014, nearly 10,400 petitions were
pending—thousands more than the number of visas available for entrepreneurs since investors typically also file for spouses
“The whole issue right now is not that there has been any cap that has been reached. There are plenty of visas, but the slowdown is
with Chinese investors,” said Scott Bettridge, a labor and employment attorney in Akerman’s Miami office. “Other nationalities may
continue to process without any issues.”
In May, months before the end of the fiscal year, the U.S. State Department announced it had reached the maximum number of approvals and would slow China’s dominance of the visa program to allow other nationalities to make a stronger showing.
Officials retrogressed the EB-5 China immigrant visa category for two years, setting May 1, 2013, as the cutoff date for applications set
to be processed this year. They’ll likely start reviewing applications received after that date in the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1 and
continue on a rolling schedule depending on visa availability.
Potential Back door
For some developers, like Riviera Point Development Group CEO Rodrigo Azpurua, Chinese capital is already a secondary choice.
Azpurua relied on Chinese investors in 2010 to fund half of two office projects in Miramar and Doral. But after a surge in interest from
South America and Europe, he looked outside China for more than $65 million to finance three South Florida projects with offerings
ranging from $15 million to $25 million.
Regardless of the source’s nationality, capital raised through EB-5 is relatively cheap, offered at nominal interest rates of 1 percent to 3
percent—about one third of the rates offered by conventional lenders and private equity partners who generally require a 10 percent
It’s a bargain for developers and a sign that most visa applicants see a green card as a fair return on their investment.
Most of the wealthy Chinese investors, motivated by a desire to educate their children at top U.S. universities, have already found a
strategy to beat the visa processing delay.
“The majority are applying for the second generation,” Azpurua said. “Instead of waiting to apply when the kid is 19 years old, they’re
applying when he’s 17.”
As for developers, they could continue to raise EB-5 capital, but they’ll need to target potential investors willing to wait out the delay
instead of investing in other countries, like Australia, with similar programs.
“You have to believe it’s going to have some effect, but I understand today the retrogression hasn’t had a significant effect in China,”
said Ronald Fieldstone, a partner at Arnstein& Lehr. “The Chinese market is still very vibrant. I think the philosophy right now is wait
When Fieldstone visited China in May, he found investors excited about a proposed U.S. law that would create a back door to
citizenship by allowing entrepreneurs to skip the temporary green card and apply directly for permanence residency.
Under the EB-5 program, applicants typically get a temporary green card valid for two years that allows them to migrate to the U.S.
They can then apply to adjust their status to permanent residency two years later if they fulfill the job creation and other criteria set out
in the program. But proposed legislation might allow investors to become permanent residents on the same timetable even with
The bipartisan bill by U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would allow applicants with approved I-526
petitions to skip temporary residency status and go straight for permanent residency once they qualify, even if retrogression prevented
them for continuing the application during the first two years of investment.
“It’s an interesting compromise to the obvious issues with retrogression,” Fieldstone said. “There’s an advantage to investing early and
getting their name in the queue.”
Joseph, Samantha. ‘How Chinese Demand For EB5 Visas Has Slowed Things Down’.Daily Business Review 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.