Miami Worldcenter in on the move

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Real Estate

A piece of the last vacant parcel at Miami Worldcenter sold on Friday.

The Chicago-based development firm Akara Partners bought an acre from Miami Worldcenter Associates for $18.85 million, according to a press release.

The land, beside the Metromover Station, is located at Northeast Second Ave., from Northeast 10th St. to Northeast 11th St. Only 36,273 square feet can be developed because the remainder of the property, or 8,227 square feet, is located underneath the Metromover Station. Akara is planning two towers, according to an Akara spokesperson. It will build a 450,000-square-foot apartment tower in its first phase; the firm is still finalizing the second project to be built in another phase.

The 38-story tower, Kenect Miami, will house 450 units, 10,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 square feet of co-working space. Unit layouts are expected to range from a studio with one bathroom to a three bedroom unit with three bathrooms. Amenities include a garden and gym. Construction is expected to start during the first quarter of 2021 and end sometime in 2023.

“The Kenect brand is designed with the busy professional in mind — adapting to the way people live and work to create a lifestyle, not just a residential building. Miami Worldcenter fits that vision of a lifestyle as the new epicenter of downtown Miami,” said Rajen Shastri in the press release, the CEO of Akara Partners.

The firm has five other apartment towers under the Kenect brand, including in Nashville, Phoenix, Chicago, Cleveland and Denver. Rents vary by market, but a studio in the Nashville project runs for $1,490 per month.

Brokers Robert Given, Troy Ballard and James Quinn with Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller.

The land is a slice of the last remaining block that Miami Worldcenter Associates placed on the market in October 2019. A 1.18 acre parcel is still on the market.

“Akara Partners is known for building projects that overdeliver for tenants, providing flexible work environments and residential options, including microunits and co-living residences. The firm’s track record and the success of the Kenect concept in other cities made them an ideal fit for Miami Worldcenter,” said Nitin Motwani by email, the managing partner for Miami Worldcenter.

The approximately $4 billion Miami Worldcenter comprises 27 acres. The master plan thus far includes a citizenM hotel, Legacy Hotel & Residences with a medical center, the condo Paramount MiamiWorldcenter, apartment Caoba, ZOM’s Luma rental tower, and the Marriott Marquis Miami Worldcenter Hotel & Expo.

A 1.15-acre site within Miami Worldcenter sold for $24.02 million.

MWC Block A LLC, part of Miami Worldcenter Associates, sold the property near 1016 N.E. Second Ave., to SanaProperty8 LLC, led by Sankesh Abbhi, managing director of Coral Gables-based Abbhi Capital.

"Abbhi Capital is excited to partner with Miami Worldcenter in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the Miami skyline and create the premier cultural, professional and social hub of the city,” the company said in a statement. “We are proud to be a part of Miami Worldcenter’s strategic vision and look forward to the bright future of this incredible location and project.”

The site within the massive mixed-use project on the north side of downtown is just southwest of the Eleventh Street Metromover station, and directly behind One Thousand Museum condo. It’s next to a planned 79-story tower by Akara Partners.

In an interview with the Business Journal, Abbhi said he’s had his eye on Miami Worldcenter for a while because they like the area, especially the close proximity to the Virgin Trains USA passenger rail station.

He hasn’t finalized plans for the site or hired a design team yet, but Abbhi noted the zoning has great flexibility. He could built up to 1,200 apartments or up to 2,400 hotel rooms. A building there could total 1.2 million square feet.

Abbhi started his career as the founder of Synowledge, an outsourcing company for the pharmaceutical and clinical development industry. It was sold to BioClinica in 2015. He is now the CEO of Aris Global, a cloud platform for life science companies. Abbhi Capital is an investment firm that focuses on health care, technology, real estate and hospitality.
The property could be developed into a 1.2 million-square-foot building.

“Abbhi Capital's purchase of 1.15 acres within Miami Worldcenter's mixed-use master plan is the latest example of sustained interest from investment firms that see value in aligning with our best-in-class team of developers and operators,” said Nitin Motwani, managing partner of Miami Worldcenter Associates. “We look forward to collaborating with the Abbhi Capital team as our vision for a 'city within a city' in the heart of Downtown Miami comes to life with an array of residential, retail, commercial, entertainment, and hotel uses.”

The 27-acre Miami Worldcenter aims to boost economic activity with more residents and, soon, shops, restaurants and hotels in the area. The Paramount condominium tower and the Caoba apartments were completed within the last year. Much of the retail space is finished, but tenants aren’t expected to open until the second half of 2021.

Several buildings are currently under construction at Miami Worldcenter.

ZOM Living is building Luma with 434 apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail and CitizenM Hotels is building 348 rooms. Miami Worldcenter Associates, the master developer, is also finishing the retail space and the World Square public park.

Planned phases of Miami Worldcenter include:

The Marriott Marquis Miami Worldcenter Hotel & Expo Center by MDM Hotel Group with 1,723 rooms and 500,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The One Worldcenter building with 350,000 square feet of offices by Hines, Kenect Miami with 468 apartments by Akara Partners.
The Miami World Tower by Lalezarian Properties with 560 multifamily units and 3,136 square feet of retail.
The Legacy Hotel + Residences by Royal Palm Cos. with 256 hotel rooms, 274 short-term rental condos, and 100,000 square feet of medical offices.
The second phase of Caoba with 441 apartments.