Wharton Urban Finalizing Development Plan for 400,000 SF Mixed Used Project in Bay Harbor, Miami

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Wharton Equity Partners, Investment Partner Buy Taplin Property in Bay Harbor Islands for $20M

Plans call for a mixed-use project with Class A offices, boutique retail space and luxury rentals
By Ina Cordle

Wharton Equity Partners, through its Wharton Urban platform, and Northwood Ravin just bought the late Marty Taplin’s office building and property in Bay Harbor Islands for $20.25 million, with plans to develop a mixed-use project, The Real Deal has learned.

The site, at 1177 Kane Concourse, encompasses 1.82 acres of mostly vacant land and a surface parking lot, with an existing, 21,078-square-foot, three¬ story office building built in 1953. An additional 0.26-acre waterfront parcel at 9600 West Bay Harbor Drive also has an asphalt parking lot.

David E. Eisenberg , CEO of Wharton Equity Partners, told TRD that the joint venture’s preliminary plans are to develop a mixed-use project with Class A offices, boutique retail space and luxury apartment rentals. The exact size is not yet known, but the property is zoned B-1, allowing up to 65 feet, or about five stories of commercial and residential uses. The additional parcel is zoned Gateway, allowing for multifamily and apartments.

The seller is the 1177 Kane Concourse Partnership, owned by the Taplin family, which bought the property in 1994. It was tied up in a foreclosure for years, documents show, until the mortgage was paid off in Aug. 30, a few months after Taplin’s heirs sold the Sagamore Hotel for $63 million in April.

Eisenberg said he and his Wharton Equity partner, Peter C. Lewis, have had their eyes on the site for years. “We had met with Marty Taplin several times over the years to talk to him about either purchasing or joint venturing the development of this property,” Eisenberg told TRD.

“Its a huge, largely undeveloped parcel of commercially zoned property nestled between several very affluent communities,” he said.

The site’s proximity to Bal Harbour Shops also adds to its appeal, said Eisenberg, who envisions a gourmet market and boutique fitness facility as part of the tenant mix. “A similar type of retail to Sunset Harbour: a community oriented destination … which is something that doesn’t exist in this market.”

Wharton Equity, a real estate investment firm with offices in Miami and New York City, has been active in the Miami market in recent years. The firm, in partnership with Mack Real Estate Group. has just completed Eve at the District, a 500,000 square-foot, mixed-use project at Northeast 36th Street and Northeast First Avenue on the edge of the Design District and Midtown. Wharton also owns a 2.3-acre development site in the heart of Miami’s Central Business District, zoned for more than 2 million square feet of mixed-use development, including more than 2,200 residential units. And the firm also owns and is renovating the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel in partnership with Hersha Hospitality and a New York private equity fund.

Northwood Ravin, founded by David Ravin, is a development, construction and property management firm that focuses on the Southeast. It has offices in Charlotte and Morrisville, North Carolina and Tampa, according to its website.

Bay Harbor Islands, a once sleepy town, is surging with new development. At least 26 new projects are in some stage of development on the neighborhood’s two islands, many of them boutique condo buildings and townhouses, including Sophie, Sereno, Akua, Bay Harbor Gardens, Pearl House and Le Jardin.

Wharton Urban Finalizing Development Plan for 400,000 SF Mixed Used Project in Bay Harbor, Miami