The city’s original offer on the property was for $1,834,225
By Andres Amerikaner of The Miami Herald
The largest commercial landowner in Sunny Isles Beach is starting to throw his weight around. While settling an eminent domain suit with the city for $7 million earlier this month, developer Raanan Katz, an Israeli immigrant who owns four outdoor malls in Sunny Isles Beach, sent the city a list of 20 items he would like to see addressed.
On the list: traffic problems, construction delays and complaints about the city’s look and marketing tactics.
“He is always interested in making the city a better, more vibrant place,” said real estate and corporate attorney Tom Angelo, who has represented Katz for the past 10 years. “He definitely has a long-term view for the city.”
Katz was one of the original investors in the area, before the city incorporated. In 1987, he sank $1.75 million into land on the less-desirable, west side of Collins Avenue.
His company, RK Associates, has grown to own 6 million square feet of retail space in New England and South Florida.
His already-heavy presence in Sunny Isles Beach is about to get heavier. Northeast 170th Street is being renamed Raanan Katz Boulevard at its entry to his strip mall on Collins Avenue – one condition of the settlement he signed with the city.
Katz, an avid basketball fan who is a minority owner of the Miami Heat, also wants his name on a sports facility in the city.
He also asked the city to drop $336,400 in code violation fines on his properties. The city accepted and made it part of the settlement.
Other items on Katz’s wish list:
- Quick completion of Sunny Isles Boulevard renovations.
- Faster city licensing.
- More crosswalks and a cosmetic upgrade of Collins Avenue.
- Extending traffic light timing on certain intersections to allow more time for left turns into his shopping centers.
- Forcing vacant property owners to immediately landscape and clean their properties.
- Working with the Aventura Marketing Council to better market the city to tourists.
In a letter written as part of the settlement, Mayor Norman Edelcup responded that he will “work in a cooperative fashion” with Katz. Many of the suggestions have already been addressed, Edelcup wrote, adding that he will support a separate request by Katz to increase the choice of permissible sign colors at shopping centers from two to four — an item that wasn’t on Katz’s list.
Angelo said Katz is looking forward to working with the city.
“We certainly hope that the mayor will live up to his word,” he said.