Real Estate News

Miami Beach Retail Developer Gambling on Lincoln Theater Conversion


Clifford Stein

(MIAMI BEACH, FL) -- Clifford Stein, a Miami Beach accountant and attorney with 25 years experience in real estate finance and investment, is about to do what most accountants shy away from - betting on less than a sure thing.

Stein and his 23-year-old Savitar Realty Advisors have contracted to buy the 75-year-old, 38,000-square-foot, four-story Lincoln Theater building and turn it into a high-end retail strip at the Lincoln Road Mall, the nation's first all-pedestrian mall when it opened in 1961.

New World Symphony Orchestra, an internationally known group founded in 1987, is selling the structure in what local brokerage sources say will be a record multi-million-dollar deal for that sub-market.

Miami Beach realty sources tell Real Estate Channel the property could go for a minimum $10 million, or between $200 and $300 per sf---even as most of the listed prices for area commercial real estate have sunk to unprecedented lows.

The transaction is expected to close next week, but New World Symphony will continue to use the premises until January 2011. Stein doesn't anticipate having the building fully renovated and completed until 2013.

He envisions his project and the New World's new facility forming a new city center for Miami Beach.  An adjoining parking garage and a public park are also part of Stein's development plans.

"Lincoln Road is one of the world's most unique retail areas," Stein told The Miami Herald. "To have a major piece of property that is almost a half a block and has a landmark identity is very unusual."

The property interested him especially because "it's one of the only properties (in Miami Beach) that can give a tenant 20,000 square feet of Lincoln Road frontage," he told The Herald.

The theater would no longer exist in Stein's re-building plans.  Lyle Stern and Bruce Koniver of Koniver Stern Group will handle leasing for the site.

New World's new home will be constructed directly behind Stein's project.  Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, funded the establishment of the orchestra in 1987. Michael Tilson Thomas was the orchestra's first director.

New World officials told Wikipedia there are currently more than 600 New World alumni in 167 orchestras in 17 countries.

Stein is a member of the Florida Bar Association. From 1993 to 2001, he was the Commissioner of the Florida Real Estate Commission, the government unit that oversees and regulates the real estate brokerage industry in Florida.

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