City National Bank Supplies $37M for Miami Restaurant Properties


Robert Rivani’s Black Lion Investment Group has secured a $37 million loan to refinance three Miami restaurants, Commercial Observer has learned.

City National Bank of Florida provided the loan on Rivani’s Gekko at SLS, Amara at Paraiso and Catch Miami Beach restaurants. 

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Alex Canelas and Eddie Subervi originated the loan for City National, which closed late Tuesday. 

Rivani said the proceeds from the refi will pay off existing debt and be used to reinvest in other properties in his portfolio, which has grown to more than $250 million worth of assets in South Florida since Rivani entered the Miami market three years ago. He said demand for the retail sector remains high in Miami given the population increase the city has experienced since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For Class A trophy restaurant space you can’t find any in Miami, and it’s still one of the hottest subsectors in the city,” Rivani said. “I’m very bullish on Miami being the city leading the charge in the real estate sector for all of the United States.”

Gekko is a Japanese-themed steakhouse in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood that features 

Miami nightlife mogul David Grutman and Latin recording artists Bad Bunny as business partners. Los Angeles-based Black Lion acquired the 11,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the SLS LUX Brickell condo building at 8 SE Eighth Street for $13.5 million in 2021.

Amara at Paraiso, an upscale Latin restaurant that opened in 2018, was acquired by Black Lion in 2021 for $12.1 million. The 12,316-square-foot property at 3101 NE Seventh Avenue is on the waterfront in Miami’s Edgewater section. 

Catch Miami Beach, also called Catch South Beach, signed a lease at Rivani’s 200 South Pointe Drive property in late 2022 shortly after the investor purchased the retail condominium space for $11.5 million. It is scheduled to debut later this week, according to Rivani. 

Black Lion’s increasing presence in Miami was further highlighted in mid-April when the company announced a $62.5 million acquisition of The Lincoln at 1691 Michigan Avenue, which comprises nearly 119,000 square feet of office space and more than 43,000 square feet of retail. Rivani said he plans to invest $50 million into sourcing up the property, which will include Black Lion’s new Miami headquarters.

City National Bank of Florida declined to comment.

Andrew Coen can be reached at