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Coral Gables Law Firm Closes Third Construction Loan for Estate Investments

If you think Estate Investments Group is slowing its work in West Miami — where the multifamily builder already has prompted population and property tax base increases — then you are wrong.

Estate Investments, the prolific Miami-based apartments developer, has obtained $51.35 million for its fourth West Miami project — with help from law firm Sanchez-Medina, Gonzalez, Quesada, Lage, Gomez & Machado.

Partner Roland Sanchez-Medina Jr. and associate Michael Montiel in Coral Gables secured the construction loan for Soleste Alameda, the two-building apartment project with a total of 306 units rising at 6290 and 6320 SW Eighth St.

The deal closed Nov. 5. “There’s a certain amount of comfort between the (West Miami) commission and this particular developer. The relationship is excellent,” Sanchez-Medina said.

Estate Investments already has completed and sold two other projects in the central Miami-Dade County city. District West Gables, comprising two developments along Ludlam Road and across Southwest 21st Street from each other, was sold to Chicago-based real estate investment and property management company Waterton for $116.4 million. Soleste Club Prado, 950 Red Road, was sold for $61 million to Denver-based Grand Peaks.

Also in West Miami, Estate Investments is developing Soleste Twenty2, a 338-unit building at 2201 Ludlam Road, along with Soleste Alameda. The Soleste Alameda financing covers 60 percent of the project’s cost. The financing breaks down to a $46.7 million loan from Arkansas-based Centennial Bank and a $4.6 million one from LV Lending LLC, according to Montiel. Having two lenders made the deal more complex for the attorneys. “You’re juggling multiple balls,” Sanchez-Medina said, adding that negotiations involved his team as well as that of each lenders’ attorneys.

Holland & Knight associate Rebecca Mendez in Miami represented LV Lending; and Becker shareholders Hugo Alvarez in Miami, Michael Boutzoukas in Tampa and David Blattner in Fort Lauderdale represented Centennial. Alvarez said he was the bridge for the Centennial loan. He drew on his long-term professional relationships with Estate Investments chief operating officer Tony Castro and Centennial president J.C. de Ona in Miami, Alvarez said. He previously represented Castro during the Great Recession when buyers were suing developers for deposit returns and worked on deals for de Ona.

There also was a fortuitous bank merger that helped the deal. Centennial Bank’s parent company in September 2017 merged with Pompano Beach-based Stonegate Bank. “Since Stonegate had been acquired by Arkansas-based Centennial Bank, I knew they had increased their lending capacity. That allowed me to introduce Estate Investments Group to Centennial Bank and that introduction was the necessary springboard that provided us all with the opportunity to work together,” Alvarez said.

As for the Sanchez-Medina firm, Soleste Alameda was the third Estate Investments loan the law firm has secured. It also secured the $57.8 million construction loan for Soleste Twenty2 on April 16 and the $34 million one for Soleste Bay Village on Oct. 24.

Soleste Bay Village is the 211-unit, five-story building to rise in at 18301 S. Dixie Highway in an area envisioned as Palmetto Bay’s future downtown. The firm worked aspects other than financing for these projects, such as zoning. In Soleste Alameda’s case, the law firm had negotiated a tentative deal with West Miami for a block of Southwest 63rd Avenue, between Eighth and Ninth streets, to be closed.

The two mid-rise Soleste Alameda buildings are to be across the avenue from each other. While the city approved the closure, higher authorities like Miami-Dade County didn’t sign off, prompting Estate Investments to have to tweak building designs, Montiel and Sanchez-Medina said.

Estate Investments has been credited with upping West Miami’s population by 10 percent and increasing the small city’s tax base 28 percent in a year, according to a Nov. 8, 2017, Bisnow article. Its West Miami projects are part of a total of nine of its multifamily developments across Miami-Dade County. The majority are west of Interstate 95 and target working professionals who are priced out of the luxury apartment units that are all the craze in downtown, Brickell and along the waterfront.

Estate Investments is targeting the working professional, in part building in suburban areas that are centrally located and close to major thoroughfares like the Dolphin and Palmetto expressway. “They provide a particular niche in South Florida that in my opinion is badly needed,” Sanchez-Medina said.

At Soleste Alameda, which is to be finished in fall 2020, the rent average will be $1,600 a month, and unit size will range between 450 and 900 square feet.

Rents at Soleste Bay village will start at $1,200; and those at Soleste Twenty2 will be from the mid-$1,300s to the $2,600s to $2,800s.

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