Edited By: TJVNews.com
As Miami real estate continues on an upward trend, it has been reported that one of the largest loans for a project in South Florida since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic was landed by billionaire investors Len Blavatnik and Vladislav Doronin, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The loan, which amounts to $277 million will be earmarked for construction of a luxury hotel and a Miami Beach condominium, according to the report.
It appears that OKO Group which is a development firm owned by Doronin and Access Industries, a privately held industrial firm owned by Blavatnik are joining forces to build an 18-story beachfront tower with 22 apartments in Miami Beach as well as taking on the renovation of the iconic Versailles Hotel on Collins Avenue that will have 56 rooms.
In 2014, Doronin acquired Aman Resorts and the project is branded by them, according to the WSJ report. As a luxury hotel operator, the brand is renowned for its boutique properties featuring high-end service and room rates that can go for more than $4,000 a night.
The Ukrainian born Blavatnik has investments in a number of industries, including energy, entertainment and real estate. Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that losses at DAZN Group Ltd., the sports streaming platform backed by Blavatnik, swelled 79% to $2.3 billion in 2021 as it poured money into top soccer rights. DAZN was previously known as Perform Group Plc, a UK-listed company which was bought by Blavatnik’s Access Industries in 2014, then restructured and re-branded, Bloomberg reported. Blavatnik has a net worth of $37.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The loan for the Aman project is also further evidence that money continues to flow into ambitious South Florida real-estate developments. The report also indicated that 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. Among those new residents are Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump as well as Tiffany Trump. Developers broke ground last year on Miami’s future tallest skyscraper, a Waldorf Astoria-branded hotel and apartment tower set to rise over 1,000 feet, the WSJ reported.
The loan was made possible by Bank OZK, which, according to the WSJ report, has emerged as the country’s most aggressive financier of high-end condominium projects over the past decade. As a midsize bank located in Little Rock, Arkansas, the WSJ reported that it 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.
Mortgage brokers say developers with a good track record, or those who bought development sites years ago at low prices, are still able to get loans, the WSJ reported.
Bank OZK has provided financing for some of Florida’s most expensive recent construction projects, and has frequently been in the middle of this Miami area property boom. In 2018, the bank issued a $558 million construction loan against a condo development in Sunny Isles Beach and as the report indicates, in 2019 Bank OZK provided a $664 million loan for a Tampa mixed-use development backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC .
The WSJ has also reported that an entity tied to Blavatnik’s Access Industries acquired the property at 3425 Collins Avenue for $100 million in 2013, as was evidenced in the property records. This acquisition took place in the years prior to South Florida’s real-estate boom which translated into land prices catapulting. The project won approval from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board in 2021 and OKO said all apartments have been presold, the WSJ reported. Construction is under way and OKO said it expects to complete the project in 2025.
In addition to his varied entrepreneurial pursuits, Len Blavatnik also devotes a great deal of time and resources to an extensive array of philanthropic ventures.
Thanks to grants from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Center for Jewish History in New York City has benefitted tremendously. As with other literary and cultural institutions, the pandemic forced the Center to close its public events in the spring 2020 and in the period that followed in 2021 and 2022.
According to a press release from the Center of Jewish History, “a new grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation is turning a time of great challenge into a time of renewal, supporting key projects and mission-critical activities at the Center during 2021 and 2022.
The Center and its partners also provide access to large collections of photographs, documents, and posters capturing the devastation and recovery of European Jewry in the years following World War II; extremely rare holdings in the YIVO Library of works hidden from Nazi pillage in the Vilna ghetto; first editions of seminal works of authors such as Franz Kafka, Theodor Herzl and Else Lasker-Schuler, and personal archives from Albert Einstein held at the Leo Baeck Institue; and, in the American Jewish Historical Society archives, the largest collection of the Soviet Jewry Movement outside Israel, selections of which have been digitized with the support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.”
“We are deeply grateful for the partnership of the Blavatnik Family Foundation,” said Bernie Michael, the Center’s president and CEO. “This grant ensures continuity in some of our most respected programs like cutting-edge audiovisual digitization and support for outstanding scholars.”
“We are turning the challenges of this year into the opportunities of the coming years,” said Peter Baldwin, the Center’s board chairman. “Thanks to the Blavatnik Family Foundation and our other long-time sustainers, we are now looking ahead to emerging from the pandemic as a stronger organization ready to carry on our vital mission, ensuring that the history and stories of the Jewish people will continue to be told for generations to come.”
The Blavatnik Archive is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating materials that contribute to the study of 20th century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II and Soviet Russia, as was reported by PR Newswire. The Archive was founded in 2005 by renowned philanthropist Len Blavatnik to reflect his commitment to cultural heritage and expand his support for primary-source-based scholarship and education. Primarily through its metadata-rich, item-based website, the Archive shares its holdings as widely as possible for research, education, and public enrichment.
In November 2021, with the support of the Blavatnik Archive and the Blavatnik Family Foundation as well as the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the David Berg Foundation, international virtual conference was held that honored the nearly 1.5 million Jewish men and women who fought in World War II against Adolf Hitler and the Axis powers. The “Jewish Soldiers & Fighters in WWII” conference was organized in connection to the Archive’s traveling exhibit, “Road to Victory: Jewish Soldiers in WWII.”
Targeted for genocide by Hitler and his allies, Jewish men and women bravely fought alongside their non-Jewish fellow military and partisan combatants to defeat a monstrous enemy, protect their homelands and avenge the murder of their families. Building on Blavatnik Archive’s “Veteran Testimony Project,” comprised of 1,200 video testimonies and thousands of personal archival documents, the conference focused on learning the lessons from those who were there.
“It is imperative that we learn from history, commit to research, education, and conversation, as well as honor those who fought, and remember those who tragically perished,” said Len Blavatnik, founder of Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.