Miami developer Ugo Colombo has joined the Brickell land rush with the $21 million purchase of the site of a restaurant in the area.
Downtown Development Holdings LLC, managed by Colombo’s CMC Group Inc., purchased the 1001 S. Miami Ave. property Friday for nearly $434 per square foot of land, according to Miami-Dade County records. The Baru Urbano restaurant operates on the site.
Colombo’s company name signals the eventual development of the 1.11-acre property at 1001 S. Miami Ave. It obtained a $12.6 million loan from SunTrust Bank for the acquisition.
Calls to Colombo were not returned by deadline.
Brickell Flatiron LLC is the seller. The Miami company is managed by developer Mallory Kauderer.
“The timing was right” to sell the property to Colombo’s group, Kauderer said Tuesday.
The company previously planned to build a high-rise tower with more than 300 condominiums, 20,000 square feet of retail space and nine parking levels, he said. Kauderer joined Brickell Flatiron as a manager in 2010, five years after the company began assembling the site.
Kauderer said he’s unsure of Colombo’s future development plans.
Developers have aggressively land-banked in Miami’s financial district this year. With raw land at a premium in Brickell, builders are finding unconventional ways to secure prime sites in the latest development cycle.
Some, like Colombo’s company, acquire properties with existing buildings that could later be razed to make way for high-rise construction.
Others, like Coral Gables-based Watson Investigations LLC, have purchased Brickell-area land through court proceedings. Watson in July paid $21.5 million for a 0.78-acre site across from the Brickell CityCentre project in the bankruptcy case of companies managed by Miami developer Renzo Renzi.
Greater downtown Miami, which includes Brickell, has 40 proposed condominium towers totaling nearly 12,000 units, according to Miami-based Condo Vultures LLC. South Florida has 171 proposed towers with nearly 22,500 units.
South Miami Avenue alone has 14 towers with 514 units in the pipeline. Four projects, including Related Group Inc.’s 382-unit 1100 Millecento Residences, are under construction.
Related’s Jorge Perez is pushing for a Lincoln Road-like dynamic by closing South Miami Avenue between Southwest Eighth and 13th streets to vehicular traffic.
If Perez gets his wish, Colombo’s Flatiron site would get a major boost from its position in the middle of the proposed pedestrian-only stretch, according to Condo Vultures founder Peter Zalewski.
The downside to development would be the elimination of one of the area’s most successful restaurants in Baru, Zalewski said.
“If Ugo puts up a condo, you lose one of the main attractions from a nightlife perspective,” he said. “Baru has become the place to go. They charge a cover to get in” on certain nights and weekends.
The danger for South Miami Avenue is the “overwhelming” volume of proposed condos on the block, Zalewski said. The first completed projects should be successful, but the market might not be able to sustain all of the proposed towers. Adding more critical mass to an already crowded area could produce extreme traffic congestion.
“All of the developers will tell you they are banking off CityCentre,” he said. But “we are talking Armageddon from a traffic perspective. All of these towers could bring complete bedlam, and public transportation takes you close to things but not to anything.”
Colombo is part of a group behind Beach House 8, a 10-story, eight-unit condo building proposed for the 3600 block of Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. CMC was part of the losing Portman CMC team that bid on the redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center.