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MIAMI BEACH, FL-Developers of Caribbean, a 103-unit condo complex at 3737 Collins Ave., have obtained $124.7 million in construction funding and are breaking ground this month. Caribbean is a joint venture between New York City-based Bluerock Real Estate and Christa Development Corp., which is based in Rochester, NY and is the managing partner and sponsor.

The lender is Chicago-based Corus Bank, a subsidiary of Corus Bankshares, which has funded numerous condo developments in South Florida. This package consists of a first mortgage and a mezzanine loan, according to James Dow, first VP. He declined to disclose terms and rates. The bank’s familiarity with the Miami Beach market and this project’s high level of pre-sales, he says, enabled the bank to make a loan of this size without any participants. “While other lenders are avoiding the South Florida market,” he says, “we are looking for more loan opportunities similar to this one, with significant pre-sales and large earnest money deposits.”

David Christa, Christa’s CEO, tells GlobeSt.com that 75 of the 103 units are pre-sold, “including three of the four penthouses.” Caribbean consists of a complete renovation of the six-story Art Deco-style Caribbean Hotel, which was built in 1941, into 35 residential units, and construction of an adjacent 19-story south tower containing 68 units.

The JV acquired the hotel and 1.7-acre oceanfront parcel for nearly $37.8 million. Christa estimates hard construction costs for renovation of the hotel and construction of the new tower at $45 million, and says he anticipates a $200-million sellout. Units in the renovated hotel range from 704 sf to 1,748 sf, while those in the new tower are from 1,434 sf to 3,910 sf. Pricing begins at $1 million a unit and reaches to $8 million for penthouses, each of which has a private pool. Christa expects to deliver the project in 24 months.

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