MIAMI — When a 12-story Surfside condominium tower collapsed last year — killing 98 people in a calamity that made headlines around the world — South Florida developers kept their distance, choosing not to bid for the tragically stained beachfront property.
Instead, thousands of miles away, a billionaire Middle Eastern developer has pledged to pay $120 million for the roughly two-acre site where Champlain Towers South once stood overlooking the ocean. Atlantic.
Last week, as sole bidder, Dubai-based DAMAC Properties Inc. formalized the purchase of the land. In a quiet closure, DAMAC took control of the valuable property 13 months after the building collapsed on June 24, 2021.
Another tower of condos, with luxurious amenities, should rise in its place. When exactly is not yet clear.
“We have marketed this property globally – developers from Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East have expressed interest,” said Michael Fay, director of commercial real estate firm Avison. Young, who was appointed to market the land in a class action lawsuit. “DAMAC was so strong. We chose them because of the financial close they brought to the deal.
One of the stumbling blocks for potential bidders was the requirement to pay a $16 million deposit, sign a purchase agreement, and present proof of funds to be considered. DAMAC brokers Jeff Cohen and Vivian Dimond with Brown Harris Stevens in Miami said the developer not only paid the initial deposit of $16 million, but added another deposit of $34 million to the total figure. the offer after completing a series of technical investigations and site tests.
With due diligence, title cleared and closing completed, proceeds from the sale of the Champlain South Towers at 8777 Collins Ave. was transferred to the building’s condo association receiver, attorney Michael Goldberg, according to court records.
Goldberg will now use some of that money along with condo association insurance coverage to pay $96 million to Champlain’s 136 condo owners under a Miami Circuit Judge-approved settlement agreement. Dade Michael Hanzman in May. The settlement will be distributed based on the value of each condominium unit – ground level, square footage, number of rooms and type of view – according to an independent real estate appraiser.
The question now arises: what’s next for the prized property?
DAMAC announced plans to develop the Champlain Towers South site into another high-rise condominium up to 12 stories, but in a contemporary design with plenty of luxuries and amenities. The former condo tower, which was undergoing a 40-year review and major renovation at the time of its collapse, was built in the early 1980s. In recent years, the Surfside waterfront has become one of South Florida’s hottest real estate markets, with new condos reaching multimillion-dollar prices.
DAMAC Properties owner Hussain Sajwani is a friend and business partner of former President Donald Trump. Sajwani and his company have both deep pockets and extensive experience in the development game.
A DAMAC spokesperson previously said Sajwani plans to build an ultra-luxury condo building. “We have always viewed Miami as a natural choice, given its reputation as a popular and luxurious destination,” spokesman Niall McLoughlin said in an email.
Sajwani’s resume sparkles with successful projects – dozens of residential developments across the Middle East, partnerships with fashion houses Versace and Fendi, and two Trump-branded golf courses in Dubai, one of them designed by Tiger Woods.
He has a reputation for running bold marketing campaigns, like giving away free Lamborghinis to potential buyers. And he’s also moved closer to Trump, attending the former president’s inauguration, offering him a $2 billion development deal and becoming a member of his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
At a New Year’s Eve gala at the club in 2016, Trump called Sajwani and her family “the most beautiful people.”