Empira Group Acquires Brickell Development Site, Plans 26-Story Multifamily High-Rise

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

Swiss real estate investment powerhouse, Empira Group, has made headlines with its recent acquisition of the 901 Southwest 3rd Avenue development site for $21.5 million, previously referred to as Empire Brickell, in the bustling Brickell neighborhood of Miami. This marks the firm’s second foray into greater downtown Miami’s development landscape in just under a year, with the transaction successfully closing on April 17th, 2023. With construction anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2024, Empira Group envisions a 26-story tower comprising 310 market-rate apartments alongside approximately 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The project’s completion is slated for 2026.

Coral Gables-based Corwil Architects is at the helm of the multifamily high-rise’s design, which will feature a diverse selection of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences, accompanied by 380 parking spaces. A comprehensive suite of amenities, including a pool, fitness center, lounge area, and business center, will be housed on the seventh floor. In a nod to environmental stewardship, the building will incorporate energy efficiency, water conservation, sustainable materials, and indoor air quality measures to pursue a LEED Silver certification or higher.

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

“This investment underlines Empira’s commitment to investing in Miami’s residential real estate market, which is poised for tremendous growth over the next few decades,” said Lahcen Knapp, Empira’s Chairman. “Miami has emerged as one of the top U.S. business hubs and the city’s trajectory and global significance keeps trending upwards.”

“This is just the beginning of our investment strategy in key U.S. markets,” added Rafael Aregger, Empira´s Head of Investments US in Miami. “Among developed countries, the U.S. has one of the most significant housing shortages, which presents a tremendous growth opportunity for us. We are focused on cities experiencing rapid population and job growth, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Dallas, Austin, and Phoenix among others. Our experience and financial strength will help us bring new housing to markets that need it most.”

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

Miami’s Brickell neighborhood is a prime destination with world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment offerings. Situated mere blocks from the renowned “Wall Street of the South,” Brickell Avenue, the development site at 901 Southwest Third Avenue and 244 Southwest Ninth Street are in the heart of Brickell’s Financial District. Boasting the title of the country’s second-largest international banking hub, the district encompasses over 20 million square feet of office space. In the wake of the pandemic, Miami has become a magnet for tech, private equity, finance firms, and major law firms, luring them away from traditional high-paying employment centers like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Industry giants such as Blackstone, Google, Citadel Securities, Microsoft, WeWork, Thoma Bravo, CI Financial, and Goldman Sachs have either entered or broadened their footprint within the city.

The new acquisition enjoys a strategic advantage a mere 1.5 miles north of Empira’s development site at 3025 and 3051 Southwest 3rd Avenue. Located in a neighborhood called “The Roads,” the site will host an 85-unit boutique multifamily property replete with generous amenities. This proximity allows Empira to capitalize on economies of scale in management and leasing, utilizing its operational expertise to deliver robust returns to investors.

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

Additional partners in this transaction were Grand Peaks Properties, JLL Capital Markets, and global law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, which served as legal counsel.

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

901 SW 3rd Avenue. Designed by Corwil Architects.

“Greenberg Traurig is proud to support Empira on another exciting project that will bring much in-demand multifamily housing to one of Miami’s fastest-growing neighborhoods,” said Danielle Gonzalez, a Real Estate Practice shareholder in the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig, who is advising Empira in connection with its U.S. expansion. “This is more validation that South Florida’s thriving economy and business-friendly climate are attracting key investment from across the globe. Greenberg Traurig looks forward to continuing to work with Empira as it builds out its presence in South Florida and in other target markets around the U.S.”

“We are incredibly excited to be a part of Empira Group’s continued expansion into the United States,” said Simon Banke of JLL Capital Markets. “With the rapid growth of Miami’s already robust economy, Empira’s development of 901 SW 3rd Avenue will add much-needed residential supply to Brickell and do so in the form of a high-quality residential offering. In addition to an expansive amenity base, the project’s immediate access to both major highways and public transit will make it uniquely attractive to future residents.”

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