Alex Karakhanian, an active investor in Miami’s MiMo District, has just bought a retail property in Wynwood for $7 million, with long-term plans to develop a 12-story building, The Real Deal has learned. Karakhanian closed Tuesday on 31-51 Northwest 29th Street in an off-market deal. In the short term, he told TRD, he plans to renovate the vacant building, built in 1982, and lease the space. The building spans 10,750 square feet and it sits on a 27,800-square-foot lot. The price translates to $651 per square foot for the building and $252 per square foot for the land.
Metro 1 Commercial and Whitehall Realty Advisors are the leasing agents for the property.
Since the property is zoned T-680, the zoning allows for a building of eight stories, or up to 12 with Transfer of Development Rights or TDRs. Karakhanian said he can transfer TDRs from properties he owns in MiMo. “After the short-term leases run out, the longer term plan is to develop a 12-story building on that site,” he told TRD. The seller was Centerpoint Group VIII LLC, the owners of the popular restaurants Sushi Siam. There were no brokers used in the transaction, but the deal was facilitated by Doug Jones, managing partner at Coral Gables-based JAG Insurance Group, whose company insures both the buyer’s and seller’s properties, Karakhanian said. Prior to Jones’ making the introduction, the property had been listed for more than a year at $8.5 million. Karakhanian told TRD that he was having dinner with Jones at Houston’s in North Miami Beach, when the property came up in conversation. Karakhanian mentioned that he had seen the building, but did not know the seller. Jones made a call to the seller and the genesis of the deal began.
“We put the deal together over dinner,” Karakhanian said, “and the rest is history.” The purchase marks Karakhanian‘s second in Wynwood. In May, he bought one of the neighborhood’s oldest buildings, with plans to repurpose the former car manufacturing facility into a co-working space for creatives. He paid $6.6 million for the site at 1900 Northeast Miami Court. MiMo has long attracted Karakhanian’s attention. Earlier this month he paid $6.55 million for the Bank of America building at 5000 Biscayne Boulevard. In May, he sold the building formerly occupied by Michy’s, at 6925 Biscayne Boulevard, to a partnership between Michael Comras and Forte Capital Management’s Chaim Cahane, for $6.125 million.
He told TRD he is not abandoning MiMo, but is looking to Wynwood for the future. “I’m not ready to leave the MiMo area, but it is a diversification to another area with strong potential,” he said. “Wynwood is really at that point where we are starting to see a lot of pedestrian traffic,” he added. “I’m a retail developer, so where there’s traffic, stores typically do well, and I’m drawn to areas with significant traffic patterns.”