10 January 2023
Aman Miami Beach Developers Secure Financing for Luxe Hotel and Condo Project

Bank OZK, an aggressive financier of high-end condominium projects, is the lender

Aman Miami Beach

Billionaire investors Vladislav Doronin and Len Blavatnik have landed a $277 million construction loan for a Miami Beach condominium and luxury hotel, one of the largest loans for a South Florida project since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. Doronin’s development firm OKO Group and Mr. Blavatnik’s Access Industries, a privately held industrial firm, are teaming to build a 18-story beachfront tower with 22 apartments. They are also renovating the neighboring former Versailles hotel, which will have 56 rooms.

The project is branded by Aman Resorts, a company Mr. Doronin acquired in 2014. The ultraluxury hotel operator is known for its boutique properties featuring high-end service and room rates that can go for more than $4,000 a night.

The lender is Bank OZK, a midsize bank headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., that has emerged as the country's most aggressive financier of high-end condominium projects over the past decade._The bank specializes in lending for big construction projects that many other banks, under pressure from regulators to reduce their exposure to development loans because of their perceived risk. often avoid.

Its latest loan comes at a challenging time for the real-estate sector. Many banks have drastically reduced the amount of commercial mortgages they issue, particularly those backed by office building,. Higher interest rate; have made it harder for developers to turn a profit on construction projects. leading 1onie to ditch development plans.

Still, mortgage brokers say developers with a good track record or those who bought development site years ago at low prices, are still able to get loans. 

The loan for the Aman project is also further evidence that money continues to flow into ambitious South Florida real-estate developments. 

The Miami area in particular has experienced a surge in real-estate investment in recent years, as property developers look to cash in on an influx of wealthy new residents since the start of the pandemic. Developers broke ground last year on Miami's future talent skyscraper, a Waldorf Astoria•branded hotel and apartment tower set to rise over 1,000 feet.

Bank OZK ha: often been in the middle of this property boom, financing some of Florida's most expensive recent construction projects. In 2018, the bank issued a S558 million construction loan against a condo development in Sunny Isles Beach. The following year it financed a Tampa mixed-use development backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Cates 's Cascade Investment LLC with a SG64 million loan.

An entity tied to Access Industries bought the lot at 3425 Collin: Ave. for $100 million in 2013, according to property records. long before South Florida's real-estate boom sent land prices into the stratosphere. The project won approval from the Miami Beach Historic Pre:ervation Board in 2021 and OKO said all apartments have been presold. Co1tstruction is under way and OKO said it expect: to complete the project ill 2025.

Aman's head of global residences, Vanessa Crout, said around 90% of the units were sold to American buyers, and around half were sold to buyer, from high-tax states such as New York and California considering moving their residency to Florida.

Ukraine born Mr. Blavatnik has investments in a number of industries, including energy, entertainment and real estate. Mr. Doronin, born in what is now St. Petersburg. Russia, has also developed an Aman resort, private club and hotel in Manhattan and is developing a number of other projects in South Florida,.

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