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GlobeStreet.Com - 9/7/04 -

Midtown Miami Bond Sale Tops $103M
By Melissa Bogdany

MIAMI-Midtown Miami Community Development District, a municipality established to manage and maintain the infrastructure and common elements of the 26-acre Midtown Miami, has closed on the sale of a $103.6-million bond to finance the project's infrastructure.

The mixed-use project, a "city within a city" planned for here, is to consist of 3,000 residential units and one million sf of retail space. The project is rising on the former site of the Buena Vista Rail Yard. The property is bordered by Northeast 1st Avenue to the west, Northeast Second Avenue to the east, Northeast 29th Street to the south and Northeast 36th Street to the north. Midtown Miami, a seven- to 10-year project, is scheduled to break ground this month.

Banc of America Securities of Winter Park was the underwriter of the tax-free municipal bond, sold to about 20 large US institutional investors. The bond is to be repaid from two sources--property taxes and an assessment to residents of the condominium project, according to Midtown Group principal Daniel Pfeffer.

Demand was strong among institutional investors. "The project was very well received by the institutional marketplace, and pricing was extremely aggressive," according to Robert Burch, managing director of Banc of America, who, with Ramiro Albarran, facilitated the transaction. "It was one of the more widely distributed bonds in Florida CDD history. The significant demand afforded all parties a very favorable interest rate."

The City of Miami will generate $350 million during the life of the bond. "This property taxes-backed bond issue is a prime example of how a public/private partnership works well," Pfeffer says.

Plans call for the first phase of Midtown Miami, Two Midtown Boulevard, to consist of 338 units and ground-floor retail space in three buildings. This phase is sold out.

The Midtown Group, Midtown Miami's developer, partnered with Majestic Properties to form Midtown Group Realty LLC to sell the project. Most prices range from $200,000 to $800,000, with some units and penthouses from $1 million to $2 million. This fall, Midtown Group Realty plans to launch sales of the 372-unit phase two, Four Midtown Boulevard.

The Community Development District is working on building new roads, public utilities and public parking garages.

Midtown Group is a partnership between Midtown Equities of New York and Samuel & Co., represented by Joe Cayre, Daniel Pfeffer and Michael Samuel.