David Martin’s Terra Buying Genting’s Miami Land for $1.2B

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Genting Group is selling its bayfront downtown Miami assemblage to an investment group led by Terra for $1.2 billion, which could mark the most expensive urban land sale in Florida. 

The Malaysian gambling operator had secured five bidders, each offering more than $1 billion for the 15.5-acre property as of a month ago. 

The land, at 1431 North Bayshore Drive, hit the market in November with an Avison Young team led by Michael Fay and John Crotty. It’s in downtown Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District, north of the Kaseya Arena, and close to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

SmartCity Miami, led by Terra and Martin, is set to close on the property later this year, according to a press release. Terra has been very active across South Florida with luxury condo, apartment, hotel, retail and office developments. It recently offered half a billion dollars to buy out owners of an aging condo building in Miami Beach, which it would knock down and build a new luxury development. 

Martin suggested in a statement that his team is looking at what can be built on the Genting site, which he called a “prized piece of real estate.” He did not disclose his partners.

The site, with more than 800 feet of waterfront on Biscayne Bay, could allow for roughly 8,000 units. It includes the former Miami Herald headquarters.

Fay and Crotty, the listing brokers, also led the $120 million sale of the site of the deadly Surfside condo collapse. Ricardo Fraga of Greenberg Traurig and Laura Gangemi of Gangemi Law Group are representing the Terra-led entity in the Genting purchase. A Bilzin Sumberg team of attorneys led by Suzanne Amaducci represented Genting Group. 

Miami-based Bilzin secured zoning and land use changes over the years, as well as worked on a proposal with Miami-Dade County for a possible public transportation project on the site that could reduce parking requirements, the Daily Business Review reported this week, prior to the sale announcement. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Genting for years failed to secure gambling rights for the properties as part of a larger mixed-use development. 

The site it’s selling represents more than half of Genting’s holdings in the area. Genting acquired the ex-Herald’s 14.6-acre waterfront property for $236 million in 2011, at the time a record for Miami-Dade County land sales. The Herald building was torn down in 2015 and the site has been leased out for events that include the Art Miami and Context fairs. Genting will keep the Hilton Miami Downtown hotel and Omni Center north of the properties.

Genting’s Kevin Jones said in the release that the company plans to “accelerate development plans” in both Florida and New York. 

A year ago, the Hollo family’s Florida East Coast Realty sold the 2.5-acre development site at 1201 Brickell Bay Drive for $363 million, or about $145 million per acre, which is the current record for land sales in Miami-Dade County. Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin of Citadel was later revealed to be the buyer. 

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