Jan 20, 2023
Billionaire Claure Takes Up New Office in Miami’s Crypto Scene
(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Marcelo Claure’s new investment company has leased a floor at a new office tower in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, a growing hub for technology companies, venture capitalists and cryptocurrency firms.
Law firm Weitz & Luxenberg will also take a floor at the office tower at Wynwood Plaza, a one-million-square-foot (93,000 square-meter) complex that includes shops and residences and is expected to be completed in 2025. Claure Group is a co-investor in the project.
“I made a point that the next place that I chose as my headquarters would also be part of my real estate play,” Claure said in an interview. “Wynwood is similar to the Meatpacking District and that will help with recruiting the kind of employees we like,” he said, referring to the once-industrial, now hip New York City neighborhood.
Developers are betting companies will expand in the city even as some of the hottest industries that Miami sought to attract — most notably crypto — go through a turbulent shakeout. Barry Silbert’s Genesis Global was the latest domino to fall, filing for bankruptcy on Thursday and listing Claure Group as its 10th-biggest creditor with a $45.9 million claim.
Claure, 52, built a $2 billion fortune as a deputy to SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son before leaving the firm last year. While waiting for the end of his non-compete clause, he’s charting his own investment firm, which will take up an entire floor at the Wynwood Plaza, fitting “close to a hundred people,” he said.
Claure had previously said that his firm will invest in “a combination of everything,” including real estate, technology, gaming and crypto.
“It’s safe to say that in the next couple years we will grow beyond that one floor, but it’s a good start,” Claure said.
Wynwood, once a warehouse district that became best known for its graffiti murals, has emerged as a new spot for residential and office development in Miami. In recent years it has lured firms including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Spotify Technology SA and Blockchain.com.
But with crypto prices far from their peaks and job cuts across the board, it remains to be seen if demand will keep up with planned new developments.
“The move to Florida is a long-term trend that’s going to continue,” said David Levinson, chief executive officer of developer L&L Holding Co. The downturn “will be over by the time our project is completed.”
Developers are also expecting that some of the firms already in Miami will relocate to new offices — like Claure’s firm, which is currently downtown.
“Historically there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of office space built in Miami, so a lot of existing tenants never had an option to upgrade,” said David Weitz, a managing partner at developer Oak Row Equities.
Miami-Dade County’s office market had more than 601,000 square feet of space absorbed by tenants last year, the most since 2018, according to Cushman & Wakefield Plc. Firms such as Citadel and Banco Santander SA have helped prop up demand, especially in the Brickell financial district.
In addition to the new leases, the developers on the Wynwood Plaza project secured $215 million in construction financing from Bank OZK, the companies said in a statement.
Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub of Newmark represented L&L Holding and Oak Row Equities in capitalizing the project, while Scott Wadler and Michael Basinski of Berkadia arranged the Bank OZK financing.
--With assistance from Natalie Wong.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.