October 4, 2018 | South Florida Business Journal
By Brian Bandell
Startup co-working venture URBIN has secured a future location in Miami's Coconut Grove after a new real estate deal, said Richi Kapoor, CEO of Coconut Grove-based Location Ventures.
This would be the second location for URBIN, as it acquired an office building in Coral Gables in July, with plans to convert it into a co-working center.
In the new deal, CP Miami LLC, an affiliate of Hollywood-based MG3 Developer Group, sold the four-story commercial building at 3138 Commodore Plaza for $7.2 million to the partnership of Terra, led by David Martin; Rudy Touzet of Banyan Street Capital; and URBIN, Kapoor said. In addition to being an equity partner in the ownership, URBIN signed a 99-year ground lease for the property, he added.
Martin and Touzet already had the property under contract, and URBIN wanted it for a co-working center, so it joined them in the deal, Kapoor said.
“With Coconut Grove fast becoming one of Miami’s most in-demand live-work-play destinations, we’re excited about bringing URBIN to the neighborhood through the adaptive reuse of an existing property located on one of the Grove’s most desirable streets,” Martin and Touzet said in a joint statement.
The seller was represented by Cushman & Wakefield's Miguel Alcivar, Dominic Montazemi, Scott O’Donnell, Greg Miller and Jason Hochman.
Constructed in 1986 on a 15,000-square-foot lot, the building currently totals 32,906 square feet with a large, open courtyard. Kapoor said URBIN plans to add 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of air-conditioned space to the building by creating an enclosed glass structure over the atrium and some of the walkways.
“We don’t want to be just a one-size-fits-all co-working centers,” Kapoor said.
The completely renovated building would have a wellness facility, a technology and entrepreneur incubator, art and creative studios, corporate VIP suites, and a micro retail market.
“The whole point is to help the boutique retailer who can no longer afford the best locations, and give them access to the top neighborhoods,” Kapoor said.
It should take 20 to 24 months to complete the renovation, he added. Construction should start in eight to 12 months. The building is currently vacant, he added.
Kapoor has lived in Coconut Grove for 12 years and had an office there.
“We are seeing this great resurgence in Coconut Grove, with beautiful condo projects, great homes, and the center of the village is coming alive with refreshed development,” Kapoor said. “Commodore Plaza is the heart of Coconut Grove.”
Kapoor said URBIN has raised $41 million for the co-working venture in the past six months. It will fund the Coconut Grove location, the Coral Gables center that he hopes to partially open in February 2019, and more locations. The company also plans to build co-living centers, where people would rent beds and share common amenities.
In addition to his personal investment, Kapoor said the investors in URBIN include former New York Jets and New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma; Gabriel Navarro, Marcel Navarro, and Martin Pico of MMG Equity Partners; Jason Shapiro of Aztec Group; and Marty Halpern of UnitedTranzactions.
Kapoor said URBIN’s team of local developers knows South Florida’s neighborhoods better than many of the national co-working and co-living companies.
“People want to get involved with the co-working business because it’s an emerging asset class,” Kapoor said. “People are willing to pay a lower top-line price to get access to the best neighborhoods and cities.”