A record-setting property transaction could pave the way for a major retail development planned for the center of Wynwood that would bring the urban jungle some much needed green space.
An affiliate of ASG Equities, which is owned by the Gindi family of New York’s Century 21 Department Stores, closed Friday on the largest-ever single transaction in Wynwood’s history – $53.5 million, or $1,250 per square foot for building and land, said Tony Arellano, executive vice president of Metro 1 Commercial. Metro 1 Commercial, together with Whitehall Realty Group, brokered the deal for the property located on NW Second Avenue between 26th and 27th Street, which encompasses buildings with a total of 41,616 square feet on a 42,000-square-foot lot.
The seller was an LLC owned by the Mitrani family, Wynwood pioneers who have held the property for at least 45 years when the neighborhood was a garment district. Previous sales information in Miami-Dade property records is incomplete. The block is the current home to several galleries, including the Dina Mitrani Gallery.
The property, located at 2600-2630 NW Second Ave. adjacent to the Wynwood Walls, will be developed into a flagship two-story retail project named Wynwood Park. The project’s vision is to redevelop just under an acre of both adaptive re-use retail and just under an acre of open park space.
“There will be as much park as there is building. The park will be interwoven within the building,” said Arellano. There will be green space in the center of the building, and on the rooftop as well, keeping with the creative vibe that Wynwood is known for. “The idea is to build a retail environment under a tree canopy, a Wynwood Central Park.”
In the next couple of weeks, the new owners will finalize design concept plans for the two-story Wynwood Park and submit them to the Wynwood design review board, Arellano said. Wynwood Park will be designed by the Wynwood architecture studio of MKDA, a New York City-based design firm. “While world-famous murals color Wynwood's walls, and first-class restaurants dot the streets, the lack of green space is evident to local and tourists alike,” said Amanda Hertzler of MKDA, which added an office in Miami in 2013.
The Gindi family was unavailable for an interview Tuesday. The developers hope to complete the project in the next 18 to 24 months, Arellano said. Pre-leasing has begun.
“The goal is to create a complement, or a sister project to the Wynwood Walls, to create a sense of place for people to hang out, keeping in mind the unique character of Wynwood,” said Arellano. “We’re looking for tenants in line with Wynwood’s fabric – creative retailers and interesting food and beverage.”
Despite a market slowdown in South Florida – and the recently reported cases of Zika – developers and investors continue to flock to the artsy neighborhood, which is transforming into a regional center for retail, culinary, art, culture and creative businesses.
Recent high sales include the $41.5 million real estate investment firm Thor Equities for a Wynwood block about a year ago, the $35.3 million paid for a set of warehouses along Northwest 2nd Ave. this spring and three more sales ranging between $22 million and $27 million, said Devlin Marinoff, managing director of Whitehall Realty who also brokered the sale.
“Wynwood is a unique combination of retail, art and culture with food and beverage that caters to all ages and demographics,” said Marinoff. “If you walk Wynwood on a Sat night or a Sunday or even a midweek evening you see professionals, hipsters, couples, singles, tourists ... It’s turning into a neighborhood that's really enjoyable to walk, resembling a true city vibe. ... The landlords and design review board have stayed true to this as well.”
“Something about Wynwood captivated our attention,” said Raymond Gindi of ASG Equities, in a statement. “Made in Detroit, Made in Brooklyn, Made in Wynwood, that means something today and that is a very powerful brand. We cannot wait for retailers and patrons to enjoy a sense of place while taking a walk in the park, Wynwood’s Park.”
Demand for assets such as Wynwood Park has been powered by a population boom of young professionals into Miami’s urban corridor. Last week, the Miami Downtown Development Authority released a report showing that the population in Miami’s greater downtown area, is up 150 percent since 2000. The area’s nearly 90,000 residents have an average income nearly double the city of Miami’s, and about half of them are millennials, the report found.
Wynwood’s largest landowner, moving-company and arts entrepreneur Moishe Mana, is moving ahead with a massive development containing nine million square feet of space on about 24 acres of mostly vacant land stretching from Northwest Second Avenue, to its western edge at Interstate 95.
The planned Mana district, centered around a green commons area that would cut diagonally through the development, is aimed at luring tech companies, commercial trade and arts and cultural institutions to Wynwood. Mana assembled the proprerties at rock bottom prices; he paid $5 million for the largest parcel, the free trade zone parcel.