Miami Beach developer Robert Wennett closed on the purchase of the Miami Produce Center in Allapattah, marking another sign of the new commercial investment in the industrial neighborhood. 

Records show Miami Produce Center LLC, an entity controlled by Wennett, paid $16 million for the combined 9.72 acres of land. The deal includes the 121,587-square-foot warehouses at 2140 Northwest 12th Avenue and the 33,908-square-foot warehouse at 1335 Northwest 21st Terrace.

In all, the warehouse space sold for $103 a foot, while the land sold for close to $38 per square foot. They were built between 1938 and 1955. Wennett’s company financed the deal with a $13.6 million mortgage from SunTrust. The Next Miami first reported that Wennett was buying the properties. (Wennett’s UIA Management owns 1111 Lincoln Road.)

Tavilla Realty Associates Ltd. sold the properties. It’s unclear how long the Acton, Massachusetts-based firm owned the produce center as no previous sales are available online, but industrial prices in Allapattah, historically home to produce and food distributors, have jumped in recent years.

At a commercial and industrial real estate presentation on Allapattah, Kohn Commercial Real Estate’s Ronald Kohn said the price for a warehouse has increased from $50 a foot in 2013 to $120 per square foot now. The burgeoning neighborhood, he said, is hiding in plain sight.

Carlos Fausto Miranda, broker and president of Fausto Commercial Realty Consultants, has closed about $48 million in deals in Allapattah so far this year. He declined to comment on whether he was involved in the Miami Produce Center sale, but called the buyer “one of the most visionary and creative property owners operating in Miami.”

While rents and prices have seen substantial growth, “there’s still value to be found,” Miranda told The Real Deal. “In general, what we’re seeing is a new wave of buyers coming into the area that are entirely transformative … We’re seeing also a new wave of tenants, innovative, creative and value-adding.”

Investors like Michael Simkins and the Rubell family have targeted the neighborhood, as well as smaller players.

McKenzie Construction and Craft recently redeveloped a large, 1938 warehouse into its current design and craft office, facility and showroom. Simkins bought the building in March from investor/developer Alex Karakhanian.

September 12, 2016 11:20AM
By Katherine Kallergis