Blanca Commercial plans statewide expansion after hiring Guitar from All Aboard Florida

By Brian Bandell
October 31, 2017

John Guitar, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Miami-based Blanca Commercial Real Estate announced plans for a statewide expansion after hiring John Guitar from the developer of All Aboard Florida.

Guitar was named managing director and vice chairman of Blanca CRE. He was previously senior VP of business development for Florida East Coast Industries, where he led the development and leasing of its All Aboard Florida projects that are being built near the Brightline transit stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Blanca CRE is the leasing broker for All Aboard Florida’s two new office buildings at MiamiCentral and worked closely with Guitar on that project.

“We are thrilled to welcome a respected professional of John’s caliber to lead our firm’s next phase of growth continuing to focus on delivering exceptional client service and top industry insight,” said CEO Tere Blanca, who founded Blaca CRE in 2009. “Beyond his extensive knowledge and experience, John’s collaborative nature, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to excellence align perfectly with our culture. He will apply his expertise to lead our growth strategy and bring tremendous value to our clients and our entire team.”

Blanca CRE ranked No. 15 on the Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Brokerages list with $215 million in deals in 2016, mostly office leases. The company has focused on Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but it now plans to open offices and hire brokers in other Florida markets.

“The Blanca Commercial Real Estate platform is unique and special,” Guitar said in a statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to work with its stellar team of passionate real estate professionals who share an unwavering commitment to client service and apply my knowledge, skills and talents to further drive its growth and expansion as the region’s leading independent commercial real estate brokerage firm.”

Reached by the Business Journal, Guitar said it was time for a change after 14 years with FECI and he was impressed by the way Blanca Commercial managed client relationships with great dedication. He has experience working and hiring real estate professionals throughout the state.

Blanca CRE won’t grow for growth’s sake, Guitar said. When existing clients want the company to help it in other Florida markets, the brokerage will work to locate there and meet their needs, he said. It won’t open an office in a new Florida market without a client there first.

“We’ve had a trajectory of growing slowly in how we hire our talent,” Blanca said. “Talent needs to completely align with the culture of our company.”

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Flagler Street upgrade downtown delayed once again

By Catherine Lackner
October 24, 2017

The glacial pace of Flagler Street’s renovation downtown has built frustration since the project was proposed in 2011. Last week, directors of Miami’s Downtown Development Authority agreed to another delay, this one for three months. Supporters say it’s a good thing.

“The task force is recommending a 90-day pause,” said Brian Alonso, who co-chairs the Flagler Street Task Force with Neisen Kasdin, authority vice chair and office-managing partner of Akerman LLP. “And, based on the history, this was not taken lightly.”

Moishe Mana, who has invested in Wynwood and bought a portfolio of Flagler Street properties, wants to study with his architect, Bernard Zyscovich, a possible incorporation of cobblestones into the driving surface, said Mr. Alonso, a principal in his family’s real estate business.

Mr. Mana will pay for the study, which comes as the project is between contractors. The city fired the first, F.H. Paschen; Lanzo Construction has been chosen to continue the work but isn’t under contract yet. The board didn’t discuss whether Mr. Mana would contribute to the upgrade if the study finds incorporating the pavers is the way to proceed.

Adding cobblestone would probably require drainage changes and add engineering challenges, so reconstruction can’t go forward in tandem with the study, said board and Flagler Task Force member Gary Ressler, a principal of the Tilia family of companies, which owns the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building at 169 E Flagler St.

“90 days?” asked board member Danet Linares, executive vice president of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “We’ve already lost so much time. And this is coming at the 11th hour.”

Mr. Mana is the street’s largest stakeholder, said Ken Russell, authority chair and Miami commissioner, and it’s appropriate that he weigh in on the project.

Construction began in early 2016, but only one block has been finished. Authority members faulted Miami’s Office of Capital Improvements for not supervising the contractor. Multiple problems at the jobsite have include a maze of underground utilities that didn’t conform to site maps and other unforeseen obstacles.

The project began before Mr. Mana acquired his properties, Mr. Ressler said. “Mana is now the largest property owner on Flagler, and he is passionate about the street’s success.” The street is already shut down and there is usually a construction moratorium in November and December for the holidays, he said.

“It’s a moment in between,” Mr. Zyscovich said. “It’s three months at no cost to the city, to see if this is worth doing, and it’s the last possible moment” to make such a large-scale change before reconstruction resumes.

“Does the city accept?” asked board member Jerome Hollo, vice president of Florida East Coast Realty.

“We don’t object,” said Jeovanny Rodriguez, director of the Capital Improvement Program. “We realize it’s going to take time; there’s a question of the impact on utilities. We can’t do the construction at the same time.”

“It’s a matter of doing it right versus doing it fast,” Mr. Russell said. “I really trust the task force; they’re the stakeholders on the street.” Directors agreed, and unanimously approved the pause.

 

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Real Estate Journal: From ink to reality, the new Wynwood takes shape

By Brian Bandell
September 15, 2017

Just under two years since Miami approved a new zoning plan for the Wynwood Art District, developers have proposed many projects that would introduce new uses to the neighborhood, often with architecture unlike anything found elsewhere in South Florida.

This could be the start of a second transformation for Wynwood. For the first time, there will be large-scale apartment buildings with hundreds of residents to activate the neighborhood at all hours, and multi-story office buildings housing professionals in cutting-edge industries.

What was once a gritty collection of warehouses for industries such as garment manufacturing and shoe sales was reinvented into a trendy tourist attraction with captivating street murals. Wynwood now has some of the most popular bars and restaurants in South Florida, and an increasing number of unique retailers. Some warehouses have been converted into office space, mostly by firms in the creative industries.

Many investors who paid eye-popping figures for property in the neighborhood are now looking to develop them. So far, 11 projects have been proposed in Wynwood, creating opportunities for residents and businesses who prefer modern spaces, but with a vintage industrial feel.

Ten of the proposed projects are either ground-up developments or major adaptive reuses under the new Neighborhood Revitalization District, which allows for buildings of up to 12 stories tall and 150 residential units per acre.

Combined, they propose 296,872 square feet of retail, 176,766 square feet of office space, 985 residential units, and 1,953 parking spaces. So far, three of those projects are under construction.

The 11th project is Mana Wywnood, a special area planned by New Jersey real estate investor Moishe Mana approved for up to 9.72 million square feet of mixed-use development. Mana is working on plans to build a trade center there to facilitate business between the Americas and East Asia, including showrooms, retail, restaurants, and a hotel. Mana Wywnood has yet to break ground as some issues with the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) regarding buried power lines are in negotiations.

Jon Paul Perez, VP of Miami-based Related Group, said he saw all the property flipping in Wynwood at rapidly growing prices three years ago and didn’t understand it. After a closer look at the neighborhood and how many people visit on a daily basis, the Miami-based developer has bought in big-time. Related Group is a co-developer of four projects there.

“I go to Wynwood to eat. I go to Wynwood to bars,” Perez said. “It’s gratifying to be doing one of the first large-scale developments in a place that I enjoy hanging out in.”

Office a big driver

In South Florida, multifamily development is often the most lucrative from a financial perspective so areas with flexible mixed-use zoning tend to attract a lot of residential projects. Wynwood is more balanced.

The 10 proposals under the NRD include three apartment buildings, one condo and one live-work projects versus four developments with office space. This is in a neighborhood that has few traditional office buildings, mostly converted warehouses.

Tere Blanca, CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Wynwood is an ideal location for office space because it’s a neighborhood where employees want to play, said Tere Blanca, CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the broker for the Cube Wynwd office proposed by RedSky Capital and the office space component of the Wynwood DS parking garage by Goldman Properties.

Being near popular arts, food and beverage experiences makes a workplace more attractive for employees. Cube Wynwd, which should break ground in 30 to 45 days, is near Panther Coffee, and Wynwood DS is currently under construction near Wynwood Walls, she noted.

Blanca said there are no signed leases for either property yet, but there has been strong interest and at least one letter of intent.

“It’s only natural that office will flourish in the neighborhood,” Blanca said. “It has elements that are unique and are a draw to a very diverse demographic.”

The asking lease rates are $58 per square foot for Wynwood DS and $38 to $42 per square foot for Wynwd Cube, Blanca said. That’s comparable to rates in Brickell, downtown Miami and Coral Gables.

Blanca said office space in Wynwood won’t compete with those more traditional markets because it’s aiming for a different set of companies and workers. She also predicts that co-working firms will lease space in Wynwood.

“Three years ago, I would think Wynwood appeals to the creative industry like architects and communications and entertainment firms,” Blanca said. “Now it seems that it is drawing across all sectors of industries. Even law firms are considering Wynwood.”

Goldman Properties built Wynwood around office uses, said Joseph Furst, a managing director at Goldman Properties and chairman of the Wynwood (BID). More offices create more customers for restaurants, and more restaurants make the neighborhood more attractive for companies, he said. This could make Wynwood a great location for companies to lure talent, which is crucial in a tight labor market.

“I think we will be competitive with ‘Class A’ rents in the Central Business District if we are building ‘Class A’ buildings,” Furst said.

Related Group and East End Capital are building office space in the Wynwood Annex, which will share a parking garage with the Wynwood 25 apartments.

Perez said the partners chose office because new companies don’t want to be in typical corporate environments. He sees a market for technology-focused firms seeking 3,000 to 6,000 square feet of space. The employees in those firms then might want to live in the neighborhood too, he added.

Perhaps the biggest change in Wynwood is that people will soon be calling it home. The existing multifamily buildings are mostly small-scale. In late 2018, Wynwood 25 should have 289 apartments completed in the first wave of the neighborhood’s residential boom.

Many developers in Wynwood are testing out a relatively new design for South Florida, the micro unit. Apartments in Wynwood 25 will average 730 square feet, with the smallest in the low 400s per square foot.

Perez said Wynwood 25 was designed with extra amenities like an outdoor courtyard, a game room, a coffee bar, and an active rooftop with a garden, grilling area, cinema and pool, where residents can congregate.

“We want to create a whole new community within a building,” Perez said.

Most apartments in Wynwood 25 will ask under $2,000 in rent, he said. On a per square foot basis, this is similar to other new apartments in downtown Miami, but the small unit sizes bring the overall price down.

“The people who would be living there are price sensitive to rent and different than the person living in Brickell,” Perez said.

The new Wynwoodzoning allows developers of micro units to reduce parking requirements so not every unit has a space. Perez said Wynwood 25 will provide one space per unit so renters will have an option to park.

Meanwhile, Related Group and Block Capital Group are seeking foundation permits for Wynwood 26, with 174 apartments plus retail, and hope to break ground in 30 to 60 days, Perez said. To appeal to a young demographic, the commons areas will be designed by rock star Lenny Kravitz, he added.

The timing for W House is less certain because it’s planned as condos, in addition to office and retail, said Perez, who is partnering with Metro 1 Properties and Dragon Global there. Related Group is monitoring the condo market to determine the best time to launch sales. A decline in condo sales has put multiple projects in South Florida on hold.

Perez said condos at W House would be smaller and less expensive than in downtown Miami and Edgewater, perhaps $250,000 for a 500-square-foot unit. The advantage here would be for investors, who could buy a condo for less than in downtown Miami and probably have a higher profit margin renting it out, Perez said.

Once the first apartment buildings establish pricing in the residential market, that will clear the way for the W House condos and even more residential development, said Tony Cho, CEO of Metro 1 Properties, one of the earliest brokers to do business in Wynwood and owner of several local properties. He noted that Wynwood’s code allows short-term rentals.

“People can come in at $300,000 to $500,000 and own a piece of Wynwood,” Cho said. “It’s a market-rate condo product more catered toward millennials and creative people willing to live in smaller spaces with bigger amenities. It’s very leasable and will garner bigger returns.”

Developers are also counting on big returns from retail, which is a component of every proposed project in Wynwood. Cho said retail rents have continue increasing. He’s quoting over $100 per square foot from primary streets near Panther Coffee, and around $40 per square foot for side streets. Those rents are justified because most new tenants in Wynwood have been very successful, he said.

The good news for developers in Wynwood is that lenders are willing to finance projects in the neighborhood, said Charles Penan, executive VP of Miami-based Aztec Group, which has brokered loans on multiple properties in Wynwood.

“Wynwood is the only market in South Florida that’s not overbuilt in any asset class,” Penan said. “There’s a need for office, a need for apartments, a need for retail, and even a need for condos.”

An architect’s playground

The architecture in Wynwood’s new projects is far from the typical modern glass or Mediterranean style seen in most of South Florida. The proposed buildings are adorned with colorful art, crafted to harken back to the neighborhood’s history of repurposed warehouses, and designed with paseos acting like secret passages between streets. This creativity is not just encouraged, it’s mandated by the Wynwood Design Review Board created by the NRD.

About three-fourths of the projects have paseos, which will make it easier for pedestrians to navigate Wynwood’s long blocks, said Amanda Hertzler, executive managing director of architecture firm MKDA’s Wynwood office. Not only do paseos build on Wynwood’s theme as a neighborhood to explore on foot, they offer shelter from the summer heat in a place where shade trees are scarce, she said.

One functional reason that developers plan paseos in Wynwood is that lots are deep, Hertzler said. It’s hard to lease a 200-foot-deep space to a retailer because that’s bigger than their typical footprint. Designing paseos through the properly allows the developer to lease the interior space along the walkway to smaller retailers for pedestrians to discover once inside, she said.

“It is opening up the retail market to independent shops, which is the cornerstone of Wynwood,” Hertzler said.

MKDA designed Wynwood Park for ASG Equities and the Gindi family. Through adaptive reuse, a warehouse would be transformed into 41,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor seating, multiple paseos, and nearly an acre of open space in a park-like setting. The second floor would have micro food and beverage shops, like a food truck experience, Hertzler said. The concrete walls would be punched out to create windows.

At a warehousing building owned by RedSky at 2407 N.W. 2nd Ave, MKDA created a plan to rip off the roof and put in a second floor, most likely for a display showroom, she said.

One reason that adaptive reuse projects such as this are attractive for developers is that the parking requirements are grandfathered in, so no new parking is required. Akerman attorney Steven Wernick, who helped write the NRD code, said the ability to transfer development rights from existing properties to new developers who want height bonuses also encourages adaptive reuse.

“We are trying to create interesting cuts in buildings and ways to activate rooftops and parts of buildings that would otherwise be forgotten,” said Wernick, who represents Goldman Properties. “What I have seen is a commitment by the DRC and the business owners to push the envelope, but with creativity and flexibility so each project looks a lot different from the next.”

Hertzler is conducting a ton of feasibility studies for developers trying to figure out what would work from both a design and a financial perspective.

One of the more creative ideas she came up with was a stack of 20-by-20-foot steel cage cubes that would form a building, with each glass-enclosed cube containing a different type of user. Few areas in South Florida would even consider that, but Wynwood is different.

Architect Kobi Karp, who designed Wynwood 25, said the new projects in the neighborhood are like an art gallery of buildings.

“It’s a collection of designs from the architects who are trying to express themselves,” Karp said. “The more you are building off of the DNA of Wynwood, the more successful you will be.”

Karp said Wynwood 25 was designed to resemble stacked warehouses. It will have a paseo decorated with art exhibitions.

Much of the creativity in Wynwood comes from the investors, Karp said. Many of them are companies from New York that have developed in trendy neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, so they have experience with urban renewal.

The next chapter

As the first wave of development rises in Wynwood, many investors and businesses are waiting to see how the neighborhood evolves.

After a whirlwind of major real estate purchases in Wynwood from 2014 through 2016, only one $10 million-plus deal has closed so far in 2017. Cho said investors have purchased many of the best lots in Wynwood and are in development mode working to produce returns, so there are fewer sales now. Plus, traditional financial institutions have grown more reluctant to finance acquisitions at high valuations in a new area, he said. Cho expects that the success of the new projects will spur more deals.

The one development type that has yet to be officially proposed in Wynwood, but is desperately needed, is a hotel, Furst said. He knows a couple of groups working on hotel plans, but financing them has been an issue because there’s no track record of hotels operating in Wynwood to set expectations for financial performance.

With so many tourists visiting Wynwood and staying there late into the night, there’s a strong case for a hotel, Penan said. It would probably be a boutique brand, not a Marriott or Sheraton, he said.

When a hotel does come to Wynwood, Hertzler said that would drive even more tourists to restaurants and retails because they could stay in the neighborhood longer instead of dropping by for a few hours. She said the huge prices developers have paid for property in Wynwood have made it difficult to financially justify a hotel.

With retail as the most valuable property type in Wynwood, Hertzler expects that ground-floor office tenants like MKDA will eventually be pushed out of their spaces to make way for shops. That would create more demand for multi-level office space in Wynwood. She expects that many developers will build three-story office buildings, instead of the maximum 12 stories, because those will be easier to lease.

“You have beautiful views eight stories up, but there’s a disconnect with the neighborhood that high,” Hertzler said.

Hertzler hopes that redevelopment in Wynwood will result in more shade and better sidewalks, which is required of new projects, so it will be easier to walk around on hot days.

Furst said as the BID’s budget grows from new development – it’s at $850,000 now – then it could start creating neighborhood amenities, such as parking/transportation and public spaces. He looks forward to building a woonerf, a Dutch-style pedestrian street, at Northwest 3rd Avenue with outdoor furniture and landscaping. The city is already preparing a request for proposals to design it.

As residential, schools, and food and beverage come in, that creates a walkable community with strong job creation and economic development opportunities, Wernick said.

“When you bring in those residential buildings, now residents have amenities and jobs that they may be able to walk to from their apartments.”

 

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South Florida lease roundup: Doral Logistics Center fills up & more

New leases also at the Miramar Park of Commerce and Royal Palm Office Park

August 2, 2017

Clockwise from top left, Miramar Park of Commerce, Royal Palm Office Park and Doral Logistics Center


Doral Logistics Center fully leased

The Doral Logistics Center, a 174,024-square-foot industrial complex, is 100 percent leased after an aircraft supply company leased the remaining 88,680 square feet, Transwestern announced.

Parts supplier NexGen Aero LLC will move into the south side of the building at 2900 Northwest 112th Avenue in Doral.

The landlord, Seagis Property Group, was represented by Transwestern’s Thomas Kresse, Walter Byrd and Ben Eisenberg, and Carlos Gaviria, according to a release. Wayne Schuchts, of Avison Young, represented the tenant.

Seagis Property Group owns about 10 million square feet of industrial real estate in South Florida, New Jersey and New York.

Miramar Park of Commerce gets 150,000 square feet of new leases, renewals and extensions

The Miramar Park of Commerce, a 5-million-square-foot business park, just announced three new leases, five lease renewals and three expansions. Sunbeam Properties & Development represented the park in the transactions. Cyborg Instruments, an online European furniture distributer signed a lease for 26,976 square feet of space in building MPC-7C at 3930 Executive Way in Miramar.

Roses Delight, a warehouse and distribution center for healthcare products, canned and dry foods, paper and disposables, leased 11,640 square feet of space in building MPC-11C at 2721 North Commerce Parkway.

Blue Wave Communications, a technology and cable company, leased 7,400 square feet of space in building MPC-2A at 10330 USA Today Way. Broker and global freight forwarder Promptus, LLC renewed its lease for 29,094 square feet, and corrections-related services company JPay, Inc., renewed its 24,487-square-foot lease.

Kone, Inc., represented by Gregg Raus of JLL, signed the largest lease extension. The elevator and escalator company extended its lease for 18,959 square feet of space at 3421 Enterprise Way. Its location at the Miramar Park of Commerce serves as an office, warehouse and distribution center for associated parts.

The Miramar Park of Commerce has about 180 tenants and 5.2 million square feet of warehouse and office space.

Royal Palm Office Park in Plantation gets 54,603 square feet of new-to-market and renewed leases

Royal Palm Office Park, a 465,592-square-foot office park in Plantation, announced 54,603 square feet of new-to-market and renewed leased space at the office park, according to a release. Blanca Commercial Real Estate’s Tere Blanca, Danet Linares, and Flavia Eternod represented the landlord. According to LoopNet, asking rents are $26.50 per square foot.

Brookfield Hospitality Properties, an arm of Brookfield Asset Management based in New York inked a 40,310-square-foot lease space at the park. Other tenants include iConstructors, a Tampa-based construction company, and Province, which will lease 2,093 square feet. In total, 44,242 square feet of new leases were signed at the park at 900 and 1000 South Pine Island Road.

Lease renewals include the party rental space The Daily Room and accounting firm Rosenbaum Sobel, PA.

The Lincoln Property Co., a Dallas, Texas-based real estate investment firm, bought the park from Duke Realty for $128 million in August 2014. — Amanda Rabines

 

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Women of Influence 2017

July/August 2017

 

 

Stearns Weaver Miller to open office in Coral Gables

By Brian Bandell
July 31, 2017

Stearns Weaver Miller, one of South Florida’s largest law firms, will open a new office in the new 2020 Salzedo mixed-use building in Coral Gables.

The firm signed a 3,000-square-foot lease for the penthouse space in the building with developer Codina Partners. Danet Linares of Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord in the deal.

Stearns Weaver Miller currently has offices in downtown Miami, Fort Launderdale, Tampa and Tallahassee. It ranked No. 9 on the Business Journal’s Law Firms list with 98 South Florida attorneys.

Armando Codina, executive chairman of Codina Partners, is a rare breed – a visionary who delivers more than he promises,” said Eugene Stearns, board chair and shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller. “We listened to him more than 30 years ago when he asked us to move our then-small law firm to the other side of town in Museum Tower. Looking back on it that was a pivotal decision in our lives. We have since grown into a successful statewide law firm headquartered in the building Armando built. Now for our second Dade County office, we join Armando on the other side of Coral Gables at 2020 Salzedo.”

Codina Partners and its affiliates CC Homes and CC Residential are also tenants in 2020 Salzedo, which has its 49,379 square feet of office space 95 percent leased. The building also has 213 apartments and 6,882 square feet of retail. Pastry chef Antonio Bachour will open a restaurant and bakery on the ground floor.

“We are proud to help companies establish operations at 2020 Salzedo, a centrally located, luxury property that will enable their next phase of growth,” Linares said.

Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson is the No. 8 law firm in Southeast Florida by number of lawyers and partners, according to the South Florida Business Journal‘s 2017 Book of Lists.

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Offices Set to Open Before Brightline Trains Reach Miami

By Carla Vianna
July 13, 2017

The first phase of All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral project — a stand-alone 96,000-square-foot office tower adjacent to the downtown Miami transit hub — is on track to open this summer despite a delay in train service.

MiamiCentral, which will serve as Brightline’s Miami train station, is an 11-acre development composed of two office towers, retail space, a food hall and 800 apartments.

The privately funded passenger rail system will connect Miami and West Palm Beach via Fort Lauderdale and eventually connect all three cities to Orlando. A fall launch is expected.

The Two and Three MiamiCentraloffice towers rising at the transit center are 60 percent leased, said Tere Blanca, president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate Inc. The nearly 300,000 square feet of Class A space will be the first to deliver in Miami since the recession.

Three MiamiCentral, which is west of the station, is scheduled to open at the end of summer, bringing about 100,000 square feet of office product to downtown Miami, Blanca said. She said Brightline has signed for about 18,000 square feet at the office tower.

Two MiamiCentral, which is linked to the station, is set to open in the fall. The 10-story, 190,000-square-foot building has secured a handful of big-name tenants, including its two anchors, Ernst & Young, and shared office provider Regus.

Media company Cisneros has leased the top two floors of the office tower, and Moss & Associates will open an office on the building’s seventh floor. Venevision International Enterprises, Fortress Investment Group and All Aboard Florida’s parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, are also moving into the building.

“We have numerous full-floor users fully engaged in negotiations,” Blanca said. “One of those will close very soon.”

She expects to make a tenant announcement within the next month. Rental rates for Two MiamiCentral are about $33 to $35 per square foot triple-net and $29 per square foot at the freestanding tower. The Brightline train service catalyzed ambitious transit-oriented development in the three cities it will connect.

Two 60,000-square-foot stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are nearing completion, while construction on the more complex Miami station, which includes 3 million square feet of development, is steadily progressing.

Florida East Coast Industries will deliver two apartment towers at the downtown Miami station in 2019. The residential units will be under the company’s newly launched Park-Line brand, FECI announced Thursday. FECI is also planning a 290-unit tower in downtown West Palm to be completed next year.

The company secured $130 million in EB-5 financing for its MiamiCentral station, according to a June 30 mortgage document. The loan came via CanAm Enterprises LLC’s Florida regional center.

CanAm’s website lists a total loan value of $350 million from 700 EB-5 investors for All Aboard Florida.

No one knows when the first train will roll or how much a ticket will cost. Introductory service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach was originally scheduled to begin this month followed by service to Miami in August.

Brightline said a grand opening is expected this fall.

“Brightline is working diligently to complete construction of its stations and infrastructure, test its amazing train sets and add hundreds of new employees,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to providing our guests with an exceptional travel experience in late summer to early fall. Details on the timing of our service launch will be provided as we progress.”

The Orlando link has been furthered delayed due to litigation.

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Blanca Serves as Business Liaison on Access to Justice

By Carla Vianna
June 30, 2017

 

 

For the next three years Tere Blanca will lead discussions with Florida’s business community on how to make the justice system more accessible for low- to moderate-income residents struggling with legal burdens.

The president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate in Miami has been appointed to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, which focuses on addressing the civil legal needs of disadvantaged Floridians. She will also serve on the Council of Business Partners, advising the 21-member commission from a business perspective.

Blanca will serve as liaison between the commission and the council, which includes other business executives from industries across Florida.

“It’s an important cause that can have a major impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” she said.

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga created the commission in 2014 to find ways to reduce inefficiencies and costs associated with civil litigation. He believes including business leaders in the conversation is key.

The business council will work closely with Florida Bar past president and commission member Gregory Coleman. The Critton Luttier Coleman partner in West Palm Beach also serves as chairman of the executive committee.

Blanca, who previously served on Miami-Dade County’s Beacon Council, said her real estate company has a long history of giving back to the South Florida community. In her new role as liaison between the two groups, Blanca will identify innovative ways for businesses to promote better access to justice, and she’ll work alongside attorneys on the commission to help bridge that gap.

“Employers, too, have a stake in this,” Labarga said in a news release. “Employees who have challenges accessing justice have higher absenteeism and reduced productivity. It is in all our interests to address access to justice.”

Members of the business council include representatives from Universal Parks & Resorts, life insurance company FBMC Benefits Management Inc., food distributor Cheney Brothers Inc. and First Southern Bank.

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Habitat Miami’s Hard Hats and High Heels

$100K raised for a family in need

June 25, 2017

 

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami recently hosted more than 400 of Miami’s professional, social and philanthropic leaders at the second-annual “Hard Hats and High Heels” cocktail reception and fundraiser at EAST, Miami in Brickell City Centre. The event, organized by Habitat Miami’s Women’s Leadership Council, successfully raised over $100,000 to help build a home for a single mother and her family through Habitat’s Women’s Build initiative. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami is focused on building affordable housing for low-income families in Miami-Dade County.

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Habitat for Humanity “Hard Hats and High Heels” Fundraiser

To celebrate the completion of its 1,000th home and 25 years of service to the community, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami is inviting you to celebrate while raising funds to build more housing for Miami-Dade families and recruit a new generation of volunteers with the first-ever “Hard Hats and High Heels” cocktail reception and fundraiser. 5:30-8 p.m. $50 before May 31; 75$ after. East Hotel at Brickell City Center, 788 Brickell Plaza.