Miami real estate news and information

TotalBank sues Mas family over Old Spanish Village in Coral Gables Florida

 Old Spanish Village


In real estate, location is everything … The same applies to timing.  In the midst of a major South Florida real estate downturn, and a disasterous economic climate that Miami has been swimming through over the past several years,  I’m not at all convinced that breaking ground and launching one of the biggest projects Coral Gables has seen in awhile was well-timed: Old Spanish Village.  

Ponce Circle Developers (a partnership between Jose R. Mas and Juan C. Mas of the Mas Group, and Raphael Sanchez of the Sanchez Group) obviously disagreed though….  moving forward with construction on OLD SPANISH VILLAGE in the midst of  the major real estate downturn and economic crisis seen throughout Florida, and globally as well. 

Allen Morris purchased the section of land on which Old Spanish Village was to stand,  paying $24 million for the site in 2008.  The intention was to build a 16 story offfice tower there (design-inspired by the Cathedral of Barcelona) … Construction of the project was to begin once 50 percent of the office space had been ‘pre-leased’ out to prospective tenants ( Rockefeller among them).   Apart from the office tower, the project was slated to include luxury downtown Coral Gables condos, townhomes, row houses, and homes, ranging from $400,000 to $2.5 million a piece.   In my mind, it was, as is a phenomenal project… although badly timed because of the economic situation.

Today, the  site  for Old Spanish Village sits virtually bare…  previous edifices having been imploded and the  land cleared and leveled in preparation.  With the exception of  a handful of townhouses which were actually built in a short timeframe (and set up as model homes … ready for occupancy),  the seven acre plot of land sits bare… construction having been postponed.  The  project’s current 2012 delivery date looks like somewhat of stretch  at this point (at least to me).  

South Florida is unquestionably seeing  early signs of recovery even now.   In my opinion, 2010 will be very telling, and from current indications, I’m banking on a visible improvement  in the real estate market in South Florida as we move into 2011 and 2012.

According to Brian Bandell who writes for the South Florida Business Journal (  the Mas family finds itself at the center of a $2.4 million dollar lawsuit surrounding  their Old Spanish Village project.  Jose R Mas and Juan C Mas  along with Rafael Sanchez of the  Sanchez Group hold a $42 million dollar mortgage from First Bank Puerto Rico …  on that Ponce Circle Developers’  Old Spanish Village project. According to Bandell, the bank is  not looking to  seize the property, since the property itself is not secured by the loan, however it is apparently going after personal judgements against the individual partners in Ponce Circle Developers, who, according to the South Florida Business Journal  are in arrears in their mortgage repayment from as far back as August of 2009.

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