In 1963, the mail carriers union purchased a property in Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood — now the exploding and prosperous Design District — for $130,000.
After $80,000 in renovations, the union leased the 43,632-square-foot property to the U.S. Postal Service for a Post Office.
Fifty-three years of being landlords went well for the letter carriers, but last week it got even better. The property at 66 NE 39th Street sold Dec. 8 for about $43.2 million to a New York-based real estate development company.
“Since the whole Design District is changing now, the value moved up so much that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our members ... that we could sell this building,” said Mark Travers, president of the board of directors of Tropical Letter Carriers Holding Corporation, the union’s business entity. “Now we want to find a new home, get a decent amount of property, have nice accommodations for our members and have the funds to maintain it forever.”
The buyer, Thor Equities, deals with retail, office, hotel and residential space, mostly in New York, and sees potential in Miami’s Design District for more investment. In the past, Thor Equities has purchased more than 18 small properties in the area for renovation and resale.
“This is an opportunity to have a property that has the physical scale, so that we could do a big mixed-use project with both retail, office, residential and hotel,” said Joseph Sitt, CEO of Thor Equities. “We think it’s a fabulous market that both tourists and residents would want to be in, and we think that it’s a very exciting city and an exciting neighborhood.”
Built in 1947, the building is in the heart of the Design District.
“It’s amazing,” said Travers, referring to the renaissance of the district. “This area used to be borderline dangerous. We used to have to hire off-duty police officers just because of safety, and now it has a thriving nightlife, and the whole area has been rejuvenated. We have all kinds of restaurants and shops and upscale stuff going on.”