Gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine and developer Scott Robins have sold their holdings in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour for $69 million — with help from Bilzin Sumberg’s Martin Schwartz.
Levine, a former two-term Miami Beach mayor from 2013 to 2017, and Robins, founder of the Scott Robins Cos. Inc. development company and SRC Properties LLC property manager, purchased properties in the area since at least 2007. With redevelopment, they breathed new life into an older neighborhood that hadn’t seen much change before they arrived.
Schwartz represented the two in the sale to Asana Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based real estate investor, and closed the deal July 13.
The bayfront Sunset Harbour west of West Avenue and from 20th Street to Dade Boulevard has become a destination mainly for locals with a list of tenants that includes Panther Coffee, Purdy Lounge, Lucali, Pubbelly Sushi and Pubbelly Noodle Bar as well as Publix and Fresh Market.
“The locals needed a place to go. In Miami Beach, Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive really started to move in the direction of tourists. So Sunset Harbour became the local enclave for restaurants, health-oriented businesses, gyms,” Robins said. “A lot of tourists come into Sunset Harbour just to experience the local flavor of Miami Beach.”
The properties sold are at 1787, 1919, 1929 Purdy Ave.; 1900, 1916, 1930 Bay Road; and 1935 West Ave.
Levine and Robins, who owned the real estate through limited liability companies, bought five of the seven properties for $7.9 million, according to the property appraiser’s office and the state Division of Corporations. The combined purchase price was unclear.
Asked about the change in prices, Robins said: ”Let me put it to you this way. It was a very good deal for us. … From all different aspects, this was a very successful project for us.”
Schwartz is used to closing complex deals as a partner at Bilzin Sumberg in Miami. This one was simple aside from three parts of the deal requiring simultaneous work.
“I call it the three-ring circus,” he said.
For one, Levine and Robins didn’t own the fee title for one of the properties, just a ground lease.
“As part of this transaction, what they were doing is simultaneously with the transfer of title to the buyer, they were buying the fee title from the people that they ground leased the property from,” Schwartz said. “We had to close that simultaneously with the purchase.”
Another wrinkle was that City National Bank had a mortgage on the seven properties as well as an eighth piece owned by Levine and Robins elsewhere.
“We had to work out a deal with City National Bank where they kept their mortgage on one of the properties, the eighth property, while Scott and Phil were selling the other seven properties. They had to release the seven properties from the loan, and we had to re-do the loan in order to accommodate the sale,” Schwartz said.
He previously represented the sellers in a public-private partnership deal they struck with the city.
Miami Beach built a parking garage at Levine-Robins holding at 1900 Bay Road, and the two developed and owned the retail portion of the project, Sunset Harbour Shops. The 30,000 square feet of retail that fronts both Bay Road and Purdy Avenue was sold in the recent transaction as well.
“Typically, what we do is we go into neighborhoods, we change neighborhoods, we complete the development process and, once those neighborhoods are on their way and rented and going, it’s usually time for us to move on,” Robins said. “We fill those assets and move on to the next area and do the same thing hopefully.”
Robins, whose brother is Dacra Development founder and CEO and Design District developer Craig Robins, said some of the neighborhoods he might focus on next are Wynwood, Allapattah and Little Haiti, but he didn’t offer specifics.
Schwartz said the purchase price speaks to the growth of the Sunset Harbour area.
“I think it shows Scott and Phil were in the forefront,” he said. “They had a lot of foresight in order to buy in an area that was not looked at as a primary area for investment at that point in time.”
Levine didn’t return a request for comment on the sale.
King & Spalding partner Mark Thigpen in Charlotte represented Asana.