Ocean Bank Lends $85M for Development of Miami Resi Towers

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Ocean Bank provided Miami-based real estate developer Melo Group with a $85 million loan to aid in development of Art Plaza Apartments, a multifamily complex currently under construction just north of Downtown Miami, according to a press release Tuesday announcing the deal.

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The planned development includes two, 34-story towers and 667 multifamily units at 58 Northeast 14th Street in downtown Miami. Construction is slated to wrap in mid-2019, according to the press release.

A representative for Melo Group declined to comment beyond the release or provide additional financing details.

“Melo Group has an exceptional track record of developing quality Class-A multifamily residences in Miami,” Ralph Gonzalez-Jacobo, an executive vice president at Ocean Bank, said in a prepared statement.  “We have a long-term relationship with Melo Group and are pleased to be involved in another of their high-rise projects.”

Art Plaza will include 577 two-bedroom units and 90 one-bedroom apartments, and will also feature 12,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

Similar to many developers in major growth markets across the Southeast, Melo is taking advantage of Miami’s promising demographics. The city’s population has grown by nearly 40 percent since 2010 and its downtown residential population of young professionals aged 25 to 44 climbed 86 percent over the same period, according to a study released by the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in early May.

“When housing prices plummeted during the Great Recession and urban living became affordable, we saw young people gravitate to Downtown Miami in record numbers,” Ken Russell, City of Miami District 2 Commissioner and Miami DDA board chair, said in a statement at the time of the study’s release. “Residents soon discovered the benefits and conveniences of downtown life and many put down roots here. These Downtowners are now raising families in our urban core, which is a first in Miami’s history. The result is a mature and dynamic downtown that stands as one of the country’s fastest-growing residential neighborhoods.”

The city’s population influx has spurred a heavy increase in retail development, according to the Miami DDA study.

“Downtown Miami has gone from the depths of the recession to thriving global economy in a matter of years,” Christina Crespi, the acting executive director of the Miami DDA, said in a prepared statement in the study’s release. “This upward trajectory should continue as the public and private sectors prioritize economic diversification, innovation and adding new amenities to support our growing and diverse community.”

Art Plaza will sport a swimming pool and pool deck, a Jacuzzi, a fitness center, a social room for residential tenants and a valet service and covered garage parking, with security controlled remote access. A spokeswoman for Melo said that rents at the high-rise will be market-rate and will more than likely start from $1,500 to $1,700 for one-bedroom units.

The new development at Art Plaza comes on the heels of the Melo Group recently completing the construction of its 710-unit Square Station apartment complex located at 1424 Northeast Miami Place, situated basically across the street from the Art Plaza development. Melo’s fingerprints also extend to the 497-unit Melody Tower, located just east of Art Plaza and Square Station at 245 Northeast 14th Street.

An official within Ocean Bank’s commercial real estate division did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the deal.