Luxury high-rise targets Brickell site
By Catherine Lackner
The long-vacant Mental Health Association building at 30 SE Eighth St. might become home to Brickell's newest luxury high-rise by year's end.
The 25,000-square-foot site, which contains not only the association's former building but also a parking lot and small strip mall, has been sold for the second time in three years, said Dora Puig, the listing agent for Fortune International Realty.
"It is under contract but not closed. It's been purchased by a developer who's doing his due diligence now," she said.
She declined to name the developer but said he "wants a luxury residential project near the Metrorail station and in the heart of Brickell Village. I do know it's going to be an upscale rental building with a nice breezeway in the bottom and maybe some retail."
She said she expects a closing in about three months.
"He needs a long due diligence period because he's dealing with the City of Miami for approvals," Ms. Puig said.
Edie Laquer of Laquer Corporate Realty sold the property in late 1998 to a buyer who never tore the old Mental Health Association building down or changed the property in a material way.
"I don't know whether they ever meant to develop it, or just wanted to hold onto it and then flip it," she said.
Near the time the property was sold, Ms. Laquer said it was "ideally suited for any number of uses." The zoning, SD-7, is the "most liberal outside the central business district."
With growth surging forward in the Brickell Village area west of Brickell Avenue, Ms. Puig wouldn't speculate whether the city's approval of the 600-unit Brickell View project in February would threaten the chances of her buyer's project. BAP Development, builder of Brickell View, had to address numerous safety and noise concerns before getting city permission to build at South Miami Avenue and Coral Way.
"It's my understanding that the city is trying to promote the Brickell Village area as the missing link between downtown and the high-end residential in Brickell," Ms. Puig said.
Her buyer's project, she said, "will shape Brickell Village and get younger people here. He aims to create a Coconut Grove atmosphere, with lots of pedestrian activity. It's really going to create a café lifestyle."
Ms. Puig acquired the listing at the end of last year and had a buyer by Feb. 3, she said. "The Brickell Village area is so hot, I was getting eight to nine calls a day on the property. After it was listed, I had brokers begging me to find them something. Everything that goes on the market there gets absorbed very quickly."