Doral city manager says ‘We’re a city in transition”

Written by on August 2, 2016

Doral city manager says ‘We’re a city in transition”“We’re a city in transition,” says Edward A. Rojas, Doral city manager. “It’s a unique situation in that we were a little sleepy suburban community and now we’re a product of our success. There are some growing pains.”

In the late 1950s, before the Palmetto Expressway was built, investors Doris and Alfred Kaskel purchased 2,400 acres of swampland between Northwest 36th and 74th streets, with the boundaries of Northwest 79th and 117th avenues on the east and west. They intended to build a hotel and golf course, according to the city’s website. They christened it Doral, a combination of both their names, and opened it in 1962 at Northwest 87th Avenue and 36th Street.

As suburban development in Miami pushed west, home builders, office park planners, and major employers arrived in Doral, which finally was incorporated as a city in 2003.

Traffic, Mr. Rojas said, “is a very important topic these days,” and not only because several thousand new residential units and at least three large mixed-use complexes are scheduled to go online within the next few years.

“We have created about 21,000 new jobs in the past three years and are one of fastest-growing communities in the state, if not the country,” Mr. Rojas said. Close to 200,000 people come into Doral daily to work, do business or go to school, he said.

Major employers include Amadeus North America, Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Florida, Brinks Inc., Carnival Cruise Lines, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Perry Ellis International, Univision Network Limited Partnership and Wal-Mart Stores East, according to the city’s website.

“We’re working hard to try to complete our road grid wherever we can, and working with the Florida Turnpike and Miami-Dade Expressway Authority,” both of which have roads that border Doral, Mr. Rojas said. “We’re looking to see how we can provide alternate means of transportation, so that people don’t have to use their cars.”

A free trolley service spans the city and is popular, he said, and Doral is working with the Town of Medley – site of the nearest Metrorail station – to create circulators that would enable both residents and commuters to use Metrorail to get to work. The city is also expanding its bike paths and investigating bike storage facilities that would include showers so that cyclists could still pedal to work or public transportation during hot weather.

“We have asked developers, when they bring their plans, to help make sure the roads are aligned and complete the grid, but it’s not like this is a grid that allows multiple options,” he said. “We can move only so much.”

Like everywhere in South Florida, the lack of affordable housing is a problem in Doral; much of the housing stock being built is in the middle to upper price ranges, observers say.

“If we could have true workforce housing, more affordable housing, we could cater more to the teachers, firefighters, police officers and others,” Mr. Rojas said. “If we can capture those markets, we can reduce the number of commuters coming into and out of our city.”

Brickell is set to get a housing project geared to those with low to mid income levels, developed by Related Group

Gallery Of West Brickell is set to be built on the Northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street, and will include:

  • 8 Public Housing units
  • 40 affordable-housing units (income under $23,500)
  • 229 market-rate units. (income between $23,500 and $66,000)

A ground floor art gallery will display the works of up-and-coming artists as well as provide space for events and social gatherings.

Related is seeking local affordable housing funding, while also trying to sell 80/20 tax free bonds to finance construction.

Groundbreaking is expected in the third quarter.

Demand for affordable housing in the area is high. Brickell View Terrace, which was recently completed nearby, received 8,000 applications for 100 affordable units, according to the DBR.



Related Group sells new apartment complex in hot market for $62M

The Related Group sold its recently-completed SofA Delray apartment complex in the high-demand downtown Delray Beach market for $62.4 million.

The price of $362,791 per unit shows that investors are willing to pay a premium for apartments in the city’s downtown, where a vibrant restaurant and shopping scene has emerged.

RD Delray, an affiliate of Miami-based Related Group, sold the 172 apartments at 150 S.E. 2nd Ave. and 151 S.E. 3rd Ave. to MFREV II-SOFA, an affiliate of Chicago-based Mesirow Financial. Prudential Multifamily Mortgage provided a seven-year, $40.56 million loan to the buyer.

The project was built on the 2.58-acre site just south of Atlantic Avenue in 2015 and 2016. Units range from 691 square feet with one bedroom, to 1,296 square feet with two bedrooms. Amenities include a pool, lounge deck, two summer kitchens, a private wine cellar and a tech club lounge with java bar.

“Related Development is proud to have delivered the SofA project to Downtown Delray Beach,” said Arturo Peña, VP and development manager at the Related Group. “Its success continues the district’s evolution as an amazing live/work/play destination.”

This was the Related Group’s first project in Delray Beach. The opportunity was identified and pursued for city approval by former Related Group VP Uri Man.

The Related Group is best known for building high-rise condos in Miami’s urban core, but its new $12.5 million acquisition is in rural Royal Palm Beach.

The sellers were entities managed by Robert Shelley and Brian Tuttle in Hillsboro Beach, named TLH 20 Hughes, TLH 23 Hill, TLH 30 Quareshi, and TLH 27 Lemaster. They sold about 30 acres on the south side of Southern Boulevard, just west of U.S. 441.

The buyer was RD Royal Palm Beach, an affiliate of Miami-based the Related Group led by CEO Jorge Perez. The addresses of the parcels sold included parts of 10707, 10741, 10823, 10845, 10855, 10881 and 10911 Acme Road.

Jay Bailyn, of Boca Raton-based PMA Sales Group, brokered the deal and is representing the seller in other pending transactions in the area.

This site is part of a 89.7-acre area that was recently annexed into Royal Palm Beach. The first phase of this site plan included 390 apartments and 150 single-family homes. The second phase would have more residential, plus retail and restaurants along Southern Boulevard, an assisted living facility, a memory care facility and a golf-driving range.

Bailyn said the overall site would include a town center and a hotel. A similarly-sized apartment site is under contract to another well-known developer and a public home builder is in negotiations for the southern half of the property, he added. A bridge over the canal along Southern Boulevard should be constructed by year end.

It appears Related Group acquired the site designated for the first phase of apartments. Steve Patterson, president and CEO of the Related Group’s rental and mixed-use division, told the Business Journal in October 2015 that it had part of the annexation area in Royal Palm Beach under contract and would build about 390 apartments there.

“We’re excited to begin work in Royal Palm Beach,” said Max Cruz, VP of development at the Related Group. “We see this project as a continuation of the work Related has begun across Palm Beach County and look forward to building upon the area’s already high standard of living. We purchased 29 acres and plan to move forward with 390 multifamily homes with completion scheduled for Q1 2018.”

Although Royal Palm Beach bears little resemblance to downtown Miami, the area has relatively high income levels and is a reasonable distance from Palm Beach County’s growing employment centers.

CityPlace Doral is Doral’s exciting new 300,000 square foot retail development, a city within a city. The main street, neighborhood shopping, upscale dining, outdoor cafes and entertainment are designed with expansive pedestrian sidewalks to provide the visitors and residents of CityPlace Doral with the excitement of the urban shopping experience. Incorporated in 2003 and named after Doral’s prestigious Country Club (recently acquired and under renovation by Donald Trump), the City of Doral has received numerous accolades for its quality of life by US News & World Report, CNN Money, Business Week, Forbes and the Doral was also listed in Fortune Small Business’ top 100 cities for business and lifestyle appeal. The City of Doral is strategically located just West of downtown Miami and Miami International Airport and has a daytime workforce of over 150,000. Major employers have made Doral their home including The Miami Herald, Carnival Cruises, The Federal Reserve, Brightstar, Boston Scientific and Univision Film Studios. With its shops, entertainment and over 1,000 new residences, CityPlace Doral will become the focal point and downtown shopping destination for the residents and visitors of Doral.

TAMPA — An upscale Miami developer has been chosen to lead the city’s signature West River redevelopment, a $500 million project intended to expand the revitalization of downtown west of the Hillsborough River.

The Tampa Housing Authority’s governing board on Wednesday approved the selection of the Related Group for the West River project, which includes the construction of 1,636 condos and apartments and 177,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The ambitious effort is part of a larger plan to transform 200 acres on the west side of the Hillsborough River between Interstate 275 and Columbus Drive. The area is home to the sprawling 44-acre North Boulevard Homes, the city’s oldest public housing project, and an aging apartment tower for seniors.

In their place will be a mix of parks, open space, condos and apartments, some priced at market rate and some designated as public and Section 8 housing.

The project will be developed under the name Related Urban Development, a venture of Related and its public-private partnership affiliate the Urban Development Group.

“With a developer of the caliber of Related Urban on our team, I am very confident we can leverage these predominantly public land holdings and transform the West River area into a vibrant, walkable, transit-oriented and diverse community,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn in a statement.

Board members on Wednesday also awarded the contract for construction of two other West River apartment buildings worth an estimated $40 million each to Bank of America Community Development Corp.

Related was founded by Jorge Perez, who has a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

It was chosen from among six firms that bid for the project. Its website touts the company as “Florida’s leading developer of sophisticated metropolitan living.”

That description could apply to its recent Tampa projects.

Among them is the Manor at Harbour Island, a 21-story, 340-unit tower planned next to Plaza Harbour Island that has been fiercely opposed by neighbors. Related last year bought the Tampa Tribune headquarters at 202 S Parker St. for $17.75 million and plans a mid-rise residential project on the 4-acre site that overlooks the Hillsborough River. The company also built the Pierhouse at Channelside.

Related also has experience developing affordable housing projects, such as Collins Park in Miami, a 124-unit apartment tower for seniors.

“This is a company that doesn’t partner with anybody,” said Leroy Moore, chief operating officer of the Housing Authority. “For them to go into a new opportunity area like West River says a lot as to how they perceive this city as being ready for this type of quality development.”

City leaders envision West River as a walkable, mixed income community that will be further enhanced by the $35 million remaking of nearby Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, the most expensive park project in the city’s history.

Under the agreement with Related, at least 820 rental units and 30 percent of the for-sale homes will be available for low- or moderate-income families, Housing Authority officials said.

The agency began relocating residents out of North Boulevard Homes and the senior center about a year ago. Those residents will be given priority if they want to return to the area once the project is built.

Financing for the projects will come from a variety of sources including private equity, community development block grants, and an application for a $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant, which was submitted by the city this week, Moore said

If that grant is successful, demolition of the existing public housing could begin in 2017 with construction starting the following year, Moore said.

Contact Christopher O’Donnell at or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

Tampa Housing Authority picks Related Group as lead developer on West River project

The transformation of the now-defunct Tampa Tribune‘s downtown real estate will begin sooner rather than later.

Related Group, which is planning a 400-unit, eight-story residential development on the Tribune site, began removing furniture from the building this week, said Arturo Pena, vice president of development.

Miami-based Related closed on the 4.4-acre waterfront property at 202 S. Parker St. in July 2015, paying $17.75 million. The development will also include a 10,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor.

Pena said some environmental abatement will be done next week, and that “optimistically,” demolition could begin July 1. “Realistically,” he said, it will likely be mid-July before the building comes down.

The redevelopment of the Tribune site, which has dazzling views of the city skyline, could mark a new era in urban development in Tampa, driving growth on the western bank of the Hillsborough River.

When Related bought the Tribune‘s real estate last summer, then-publisher Brian Burns told his newspaper that the paper would move to other office space and either relocate its presses or make arrangements with a printing company. The Tribune signed a temporary lease with Related, allowing the newspaper to stay in the building until May 1.

Tribune leadership toured several office buildings in Tampa, zeroing in on four different locations and striking a deal with the Tampa Bay Times to print its papers.

In the end, though, a much bigger deal with the Times was signed: The Times on May 3 announced it had acquired the Tribune and would shutter its rival immediately.

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer is a reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

WPB commission gives nod to Marina Village project on North Flagler
First of six buildings to have 25 stories, 132 apartments and a four-story garage

The Marina Village project planned for North Flagler Drive between 38th and 42nd Streets in West Palm Beach, a joint venture between Miami developer the Related Group and West Palm-based boat repair/refit company Rybovich, is starting to take shape.

The West Palm City Commission last month approved the site plan for the first of six residential towers on the 19-acre site next to Rybovich’s boat yard and headquarters at 4200 North Flagler Drive. The first building is 25 floors with 132 apartments and a four-story garage. The first phase also includes a 3,025 square-foot beach club with swimming pool and a public promenade.

Construction on the first building should begin late this year, with completion expected in 2018, Steve Patterson, CEO of Related, told The Real Deal via email. The rest of the project will be rolled out over six phases with a projected completion date of 2025. In addition to more than 1,000 residential units (future buildings are slated to house condominiums), the project includes 61,500 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

“We aim to make Marina Village a place where residents will want to live, work and play,” Patterson said. “Our projects in urban, walkable destinations are seeing strong interest across all demographics, and we feel the trend will continue at this project.” That includes retirees, empty nesters and millennials looking for an urban environment. “There’s something here for everyone,” Patterson said.

Local real estate pros endorse the project. “In anticipation of it we bought an entire block front on Broadway across from the Rybovich facility for retail development,” West Palm developer Jonathan Gladstone told TRD. “This transforms the entire area.”

The neighborhood surrounding Rybovich isn’t a pretty sight. “The positive here is that the area has been blighted for decades, and this will stimulate redevelopment of the historic neighborhood and Broadway,” a major north-south street just west of Flagler Drive, Rick Gonzalez, president of West Palm-based REG Architects, told TRD. “The more difficult thing to accept is the scale.” It reminds him of the buildup of Biscayne Bay, he said, when he was growing up in Miami.

“But you have to look at the existing conditions: they’re horrible,” Gonzalez said. “This is a compromise. It’s just a shame that it will change the character of the area. That’s the history of Florida.” But the restoration of the waterfront will be a blessing for boaters like himself, Gonzalez said.

Meanwhile, he hopes the six residential buildings will have different designs, much like the buildings in the Battery Park waterfront section of New York City, to avoid a cookie-cutter look.

Neil Kozokoff, another West Palm developer, also is enthusiastic. “This is a game changer for the whole north end of West Palm Beach, bringing a critical mass of new development,” he told TRD. “If anyone can do this, it’s Related.”


Apartments in Midtown Atlanta


ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Related Group has selected Balfour Beatty Construction to build its new luxury, mixed-use residential tower in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. Located at West Peachtree and 14th Street, the 39-story tower will become the tallest residential tower project built in Atlanta since 2009. Consistently ranked by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a top 5 commercial contractor in Atlanta based on Georgia contract revenue, Balfour Beatty Construction is well established in the market with deep experience serving the commercial office, K-12, higher-education, hospitality, and multi-family markets.

“Midtown is Atlanta’s most walkable neighborhood and home to an impressive mix of businesses, retail and green space. We’re honored to be the construction partner on this high-profile project that marks The Related Group’s first entry into the Atlanta market.”

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The Related Group’s Midtown Atlanta project will feature 390 luxury apartments with 6,500 square feet of retail space. The property will feature a pool terrace with clubroom amenities and a fire pit terrace on the 39th floor. Ideally situated in the gateway to Atlanta’s Arts District, Piedmont Park and the Midtown business district, residents will also enjoy convenient access to Whole Foods Market’s planned pub, microbrewery and cooking school, in addition to a variety of neighborhood restaurants.

“The Related Group is well known for its commitment to creating places that inspire and bring meaningful momentum to the neighborhoods where they are located,” said Al Petrangeli, president of Balfour Beatty Construction’s Georgia Division. “Midtown is Atlanta’s most walkable neighborhood and home to an impressive mix of businesses, retail and green space. We’re honored to be the construction partner on this high-profile project that marks The Related Group’s first entry into the Atlanta market.”

To maximize efficiency and manage costs, the Balfour Beatty team is leveraging lean construction methods and the latest technologies to deliver the project. The building’s window wall system will be manufactured off-site, along with various other mechanical systems, to help accelerate the project timeline. The team is using building information modeling (BIM) technology to maximize efficient coordination with trade partners and to mitigate potential challenges well before installing mechanical systems or the building’s skin. Designed by architecture firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Steward, Stewart, the project is scheduled for final completion in first quarter 2018.

About Balfour Beatty Construction

An industry leader for more than 80 years, Balfour Beatty Construction US provides general contracting, at-risk construction management, and design-build services for a wide variety of markets, serving clients in both the public and private sectors. The company is the U.S. subsidiary of London-based Balfour Beatty plc (LSE: BBY), a leading international infrastructure group that finances, develops, builds and maintains complex building programs focused on social and commercial buildings, power and utility systems, and transportation. Consistently ranked among the nation’s largest building contractors, Balfour Beatty Construction US is ranked the third largest domestic building contractor and a top 10 green builder by Engineering News-Record. To learn more, visit or look for BalfourBeattyUS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Source: Brian Bandell Senior Reporter – South Florida Business Journal

The Related Group proposed building a third phase of its New River Yacht Club apartments in Fort Lauderdale, even before the second phase has broken ground.

Patrick Campbell, a VP and project manager at the Miami-based developer, said the rental market in Fort Lauderdale is so hot that the company and its partner Rabina Properties want the option to come out of the ground with both the second and third phase at once.

The city’s Development Review Committee will hear plans for New River Yacht Club III by Related Group affiliate New River III LLP on May 10.

The eight-story project would total 184,175 square feet with 190 apartments, 1,800 square feet of retail and 337 parking spaces, including 60 tandem spaces where two cars would share a space. The 1.56-acre site is located at 416, 417, 429 and 441 S. Andrews Ave. and 416 S.W. 1st Ave.

Amenities would include a pool deck on the parking garage, a fitness center, a club room, meeting rooms and a business center, Campbell said. Cohen, Freedman, Encinosa & Associates Architects designed the project.

The unit mix would be 15 studio apartments, 80 one-bedroom apartments, 67 two-bedroom apartments, 15 two-bedroom apartments with a den and 13 three-bedroom apartments. They would range from 635 square feet to 1,530 square feet.

The Related Group and Rabina Properties completed the first New River Yacht Club in July 2015 and obtained approval for 349 apartments in the second phase at 401 S.W. 1st Ave., the former home of Apex Marine, in 2015.

“We’ve seen such great response to phase one with over 98 percent occupancy and setting the trend for rental rates downtown, we felt we would go further for phase three and near end of year will break ground on one or both of them,” Campbell said. “What finally is happening is downtown is really turning into a 24-hour city.”

Campbell said the plan for the New River Yacht Club buildings is to keep them as rentals long term. He’s bullish about the condo market on Fort Lauderdale beach, where Related Group is partnering to develop the Auberge Beach Residences and Spa. He just returned from Chicago and said wealthy buyers in the Midwest have shown increasing interest in owning second homes and vacation residences in Fort Lauderdale.