The Miami Herald: Developers see a rebirth for Miami’s Omni area

Standing on a ninth-floor balcony with distant views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami, Nir Shoshani and Ron Gottesman look a bit like men on an island.

The duo that three years ago bought the shell of the distressed Filling Station Lofts for $9.2 million are now renting its completed 81 units — next to an abandoned Cemex factory — for about $2.60 per square foot. They’ve gone all-in on the surrounding Omni district, with plans of building condo, rental and office towers and transforming the sparsely developed area into Miami’s arts and entertainment district.

“When you look three to five years down the road, this area,” said Shoshani, referring to a swath of vacant land and parking lots around the Filling Station Lofts, “will be important and sustainable.”

That might seem laughable if it weren’t for a flurry of speculation in the area, just north of Interstate 395 and east of the FEC tracks. Across the street, 7.4 vacant acres sold last month for $64 million. Next door, a trio that owns most of the block says they’re selling to an established rental developer. And throughout the district, prominent developers are pursuing plans to build more residential units, plus shops, clubs and restaurants.

All told, it’s enough to fuel the belief that after a prolonged slump, the Omni area is finally emerging.

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