Attorney Michael Rosen’s work for the seller of a 181-acre site in North Miami-Dade County involved more than handling the transaction. He also handled — and won — a trial for his client.
The Mazel Group LLC, a Brooklyn developer, sold the tract in North Miami-Dade County for $40 million to San Simeon Lennar LLC, an affiliate of Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corp.
Rosen, a partner at Fowler Rodriguez in Coral Gables, represented The Mazel Group in the deal that closed Oct. 3.
The property is at 20898 San Simeon Way, in an unincorporated area that’s just south of the north county line. It used to be a golf course and now it’s vacant, despite at least two previous property owners’ plans for a development.
Most recently, The Mazel Group had planned for a residential project.
It bought the property for $19.1 million in 2014, according to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser’s office.
Then, in May 2015, an adjacent residential community’s homeowners association, Lakeview of the California Club Homeowners Association Inc., sued The Mazel Group over having construction vehicles use a road belonging to Lakeview to enter The Mazel Group’s property, court records show.
When the property was a golf course, golf carts and cars used Lakeview’s road, and the homeowners association raised no issue, and, in fact, it informally allowed it, according to the complaint.
But the association raised issue with the construction vehicles, citing endangerment to residents, at one point barricading the road, according to the complaint. It asked the court to stop Mazel’s construction vehicles from using Lakeview’s road, according to the complaint.
“We wound up having a trial during the middle of this sale procedure,” said Rosen, who represented The Mazel Group in the lawsuit. “The Mazel Group counterclaimed it had the right to use” the road.
A trial was held in May and the legal fight concluded in June when the court issued a final judgment in favor of The Mazel Group. The court said the developer has the right to use the road and prohibited the homeowners association from blocking it, court records show.
It wasn’t necessary for the lawsuit to end, and for it to end in favor of Mazel, for the sale to Lennar to close, Rosen said. Still, he added, it was better that it had this outcome.
“As a practical matter, it was helpful to get a conclusion because it was still within the time frame of Lennar’s due diligence. If Lennar was not happy with the result obtained from the litigation, they could have canceled the deal on that basis,” Rosen said. ”It was good the litigation was terminated and terminated in favor of Mazel … because Lennar now gets the benefit of that decision as well.”
Aside from the lawsuit, there were other hurdles to closing the sale.
Lennar asked for several extensions of the due diligence period, according to Rosen.
Then, there was Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida on Sept. 10, and, in its aftermath, multiple transactions were delayed as power outages and closed airports delayed inspections.
Working with the county “was a long procedure that was extended even more so when Hurricane Irma hit, Rosen said, noting that the county had other priorities from the storm.
Prior to selling, The Mazel Group had installed water and sewer pipes, cleared some of the land and built a wall along part of the property’s boundary, Rosen said.
But then it decided to sell to Lennar instead of continue with its plan for residences.
“They got a very good and fair offer from Lennar and just made the decision that rather than continue with the long and arduous procedure to build a residential community of that size, they decided to sell,” Rosen said.
It’s expected that, given that Lennar is a residential developer, residences will be built on the property, he added.
Lennar declined to comment on its plan for the property.