Leases  ·  Sales

Black Lion Lists Two Miami Restaurant Locations for $55M

Proposed sales include just the real estate, not the restaurant operations

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Retail investor Robert Rivani, founder and CEO of Black Lion Investment Group, is looking to make a quick profit on two high-profile Miami restaurant sites.

The Los Angeles-based Black Lion announced Thursday that it has hired JLL (JLL) Capital Markets and FA Commercial to market the two properties. Expected price tag: $55 million. 

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Black Lion paid a total of $25.6 million for the two retail sites in 2021.

One of the properties is occupied by Gekko, a Japanese-inspired steakhouse in the Brickell Financial District. Its menu features 6-ounce steaks priced from $300 to $400. The other is Amara at Paraiso, a waterfront Latin American eatery in the Edgewater neighborhood, just north of Downtown Miami.

Gekko is backed by recording artist Bad Bunny and hospitality innovator David Grutman. The luxe restaurant operates from the 10,916-square-foot space at 8 Southeast Eighth Street.

Black Lion acquired that property, on the ground floor of the SLS LUX Brickell condo building, in 2021 for $13.5 million. The space was empty at the time; Black Lion later inked a lease with Gekko.

The 12,316-square-foot Amara at Paraiso is at 3101 Northeast Seventh Avenue. Black Lion paid $12.1 million for that property in 2021. Amara opened there in 2018, before Black Lion acquired the standalone restaurant with water views.

Both restaurateurs have 15 years left on their leases. While the real estate is changing hands, the restaurants will keep operating, JLL Senior Managing Director Alex Sharrin told Commercial Observer.

Sharrin said Black Lion is willing to sell the properties separately or together. He said the success of the two restaurants has boosted the value of the properties.

“These are some of the top-grossing restaurants in the country,” Sharrin said. “You’re underpinned by incredible sales and strength of real estate.”

Rivani has been snapping up trophy retail assets across the Miami area in recent years – and in some cases shedding them quickly. In one example, Black Lion bought a 6,500-square-foot ground-floor space in the luxury condominium at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard in late 2022, then flipped it nine months later for a $1.5 million gain.

“Our vision at Black Lion is to acquire and transform properties into trophy assets that redefine the areas where they are located,” Rivani said in a statement. “We brought in two world-class restaurant brands that have elevated the luxury hospitality scene and become cornerstones for their respective neighborhoods. Passing along the torch for these jewel assets is the natural next step as we move on to bigger projects on the horizon.”

Other Black Lion acquisitions include a 2022 deal for a 12,000-square-foot retail condominium in the South of Fifth section of Miami Beach for $11.5 million. In 2021, Black Lion bought the ground floor of the 801 South Pointe Drive condominium for $19 million. 

Jeff Ostrowski can be reached at jostrowski@commercialobserver.com.