YTECH – 1428 Brickell, LLC, an investment affiliate of Ytech International, has acquired the BankUnited Office Building at 1428 Brickell Ave. in Miami, which Ytech says is the most desirable development properties remaining in Miami’s financial district.
The purchase, which includes $26.5 million for the real estate, plus “tens of millions of dollars more” to settle claims and non-real estate matters, is the final step in a series of transactions that brings an end to years of high-profile litigation and threats of foreclosure, said Yamal Yidios, the 34-year-old founder and sole owner of Ytech, which has completed more than $1 billion in real estate investment and development in the Southeastern United States.
“This transaction, which gives Ytech a property of nearly 50,000 sq. ft. on Brickell Avenue and development rights for up to 825,000 sq. ft., was a very challenging and rewarding business undertaking,” Yidios said. The 1428 Brickell property, which presently has a 100,762-sq. ft. office building, has been entangled in litigation making the property difficult to develop or transact.
“The property was on the brink of a summary judgment foreclosure hearing when Ytech was asked to become involved. Providing the immediate capital to stave off the impending foreclosure preserved the value of the asset for the Taplin family,” Yidios said.
Buying the mortgage and postponing the foreclosure action was just the first step in the eventual purchase. In a series of separate transactions and agreements involving both the real estate and non-real estate matters, Yidios and Ytech’s outside general counsel, Stuart Kapp of Kapp Morrison LLP, negotiated to bring an end to years of litigation that included claims by neighboring property owner Walter DeFortuna, lender ESJ Capital Partners and New York investor Shahab Karmely.
“We quickly realized that with years of history and frustration between the parties, Ytech’s best strategy was to serve as an intermediary, arranging for the purchase from the Taplin family on the one hand and a settlement with DeFortuna on the other,” Yidios said.
“We were convinced that at the end of the day, the dispute would be resolved by settlement or in court in a way that would allow Ytech to perform under its contract with the Taplins. Admittedly, it took some confidence to spend a significant amount of money pursuing a deal behind a specific performance claim, but we analyzed the situation and deemed it to be a calculated business risk worth taking.
“Transactions like these are not for the faint of heart,” Yidios said. “We had to make strategic business decisions, one after another at a very fast pace as we had to work through buying a mortgage, postponing a foreclosure, settling two litigations and buying the property. This was a legally intensive set of transactions,” Yidios said.
“1428 Brickell is a big deal,” Kapp said. “Yamal did independently what the two parties could not do together, and it is very satisfying that we could bring an end to years of friction between all the parties. It took tremendous insight, patience, resources and trust by the various parties to allow Yamal to craft a solution. Yamal’s underlying determination and perseverance were strong enough to offset all setbacks, delays and challenges,” Kapp said. “He was relentlessly determined to get all the parties across the finish line.”