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Developer Buys Nearly 6 Acres on New River
Daily Business Review   Paola Iuspa-Abbott  December 2011

Cymbal Development hopes to bring a mixed-use project to Fort Lauderdale’s New River, helping fuel a new wave of construction along the river in the city’s downtown.

Miami-based Cymbal paid $11.5 million for the prime site across the river from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The deal closed late Wednesday, according to a Cymbal news release.

Cymbal bought the property as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy action by Cabi New River, an affiliate of Aventura-based Cabi Developers. Cymbal principal Asi Cymbal said he plans to develop a concept for the site once he visits mixed-use waterfront projects around the world. He said the development will be of “international stature” and would likely include residential, retail and marina uses.

“This is a prime and significant urban core waterfront site so our intention is to scout major metropolitan cities that have mixed-use waterfront projects and get some ideas,” he said Thursday in an interview.

The deal marks Cymbal’s entry into the Broward County market.

“Sometimes it helps to look at an area with an outsider’s perspective,” he said. “We see this area filled with lots of potential. Fort Lauderdale is underserved in terms of great and thoughtful designed projects. We hope to fill that void.”

Miami-based Related Group and American Land Ventures, also of Miami, are navigating the planning and permitting process for two rental communities east of the Cymbal property.

Related is in the process of acquiring site-plan approval for a 225-unit building on about one acre along the south bank of the New River between Southwest Second and Andrews avenues.

American Land is seeking approval for a 195-unit apartment building on a 35,000-square-foot site on the river between Southeast Fifth Avenue and U.S. 1.

The deal helped Cabi restructure more than $17 million in debt, most of which is owed to HSBC Realty Credit. Cabi assembled the site for $21.5 million over several years during the housing boom. HSBC funded the acquisitions.

The property includes a 200-boat dry storage facility, Pirate’s Republic restaurant (formerly Shirttail Charlie’s) and a water taxi service operating out of a warehouse. Cabi assembled the land with plans to build a large indoor storage facility for more than 500 boats and a high-rise condominium. But the collapse of the housing and credit markets ended its redevelopment plans

Cabi New River is one of several Cabi affiliates in Broward and Miami-Dade counties seeking to reorganize while under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Asi Cymbal has developed projects in Miami, Los Angeles and New York. He built Midtown Center, a retail property on 1.5 acres near the Midtown Miami retail-residential complex north of downtown Miami.

Cymbal is planning a mixed-use project in Miami’s Design District. The project would have 54 residential units, about 42,000 square feet of retail space and a 400-space parking garage.

Cymbal also owns a construction company and is a managing partner of several Miami restaurants and bars, including gigi, Bardot, Sra. Martinez and Crumb on Parchment.