Wednesday, January 14, 2015
News about the Privé project in Aventura
We read this in the South Florida Business Journal - Jan 14, 2015,
Is the Privé project endangered ?
I don't think so. But I'll keep my eyes wide open.
Construction of Privé in Aventura has been held up because the developer hasn't secured city approval for a double sidewalk.
The developers of the Privé at Island Estate condominium project filed a $200 million lawsuit against Aventura demanding that the city lift the regulatory hurdles that have delayed its construction.
The 160-unit project in two 16-story towers would be constructed on an eight-acre island in the Intracoastal Waterway. Visitors would have to drive through another island with single-family homes to get there.
Under an agreement developer Gary Cohen made with the city in 1998, he must build sidewalks on both sides of the streets from the mainland through the first island to his island if he wants to build a multi-family project. However, three homeowners have filed a lawsuit that has so far prevented Cohen from building the sidewalk through their lawns.
Aventura has refused to let Privé launch vertical construction because the double sidewalk doesn't run all the way through.
"We have no choice but to go to court to have our development rights enforced – rights which we have had indisputably for 40 years," Cohen said in a news release. "Unfortunately, the kind of action we're taking is necessary and not uncommon when developing waterfront property in South Florida."
According to the lawsuit, the 1998 agreement between Aventura and Cohen said the developer will agree to install a second sidewalk, but it doesn't specify whether that must take place before development begins or that the sidewalk must be continuous. The lawsuit said Aventura is attempting to add words or phrases to the 1998 agreement that would stall the project.
The agreement doesn't require that the sidewalk be completed first, the developer said.
"We feel that the city has dealt with Privé in a perfectly fair manner and the city has fully complied with applicable law in considering all the requests and applications of Privé," said Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske attorney David M. Wolpin, who represents Aventura in the matter.
Cohen is partnering with BH3 Management to develop Privé. In the complaint, the developer said 71 of the 160 units have been sold with $192 million in sales under contract and $55 million held in escrow. The developer hopes to deliver the units in the first quarter of 2017.
Because of the delay with the city, Privé can't close on its $150 million construction loan and may have to find an alternative loan on less favorable terms. If the project doesn't move forward, the developers could lose over $190 million in sales contracts and over $11 million in soft costs.
"We know sidewalks are not the real issue here," BH3 principal Daniel Lebensohn said. "It is clear these homeowners' petty actions and abuse of the system are only meant to try and stop our project altogether, and the City of Aventura, for whatever reason, is enabling their efforts.
This has got to stop and will be stopped."
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