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New York Investor Faces Foreclosure On 9-Story Property In Downtown Miami

A nine-story office and retail building in Downtown Miami is facing foreclosure after the owner failed to repay a $27M construction loan. 

City National Bank of Florida is seeking to force the sale of 1 Northeast First St. after its owner defaulted on a $27M construction loan.

City National Bank of Florida sued the owners of 1 Northeast First St. on Tuesday after the partnership failed to repay $26M in principal on a construction loan provided in 2021 for a $50M renovation project. The primary borrower listed in the suit is TC Metro Mall Investments, an affiliate of the investment firm Time Century Holdings, which is run by New York-based developer and investor Yair Levy. 

The bank initially provided a $23.6M mortgage for the renovations in February 2021 before providing an additional $3.6M last August, according to the suit. The borrower failed to repay the loan upon its maturity date on Feb. 10, 2023, and didn't make payments during a proceeding forbearance period that ended on June 29. 

The suit, filed by Carlton Fields attorney Naomi Berry, requests the clerk of the court to order a sale of the property at a foreclosure auction to repay the principal owed to the bank.

City National Bank also claimed that Levy and his partners failed to secure a certificate of occupancy by the Feb. 10 deadline in the construction loan, and the lawsuit lists six notices of unsafe structure from the city of Miami from August 2021 through February 2023. 

"Time Century is in the process of addressing and resolving all issues and is looking forward to the continued development of the Time Century Jewelry Center," a spokesperson for Time Century said in an email. 

A City National Bank spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit also lists three liens against the property from construction contractors. Sprinkler system company Century Fire filed the first lien in May, and Isaacs Roofing & Insulation Corp. and A&B Pipe and Supply filed liens in August, according to the suit.

Time Century paid $14.8M in 2018 for an 80% equity stake in the property, marking Levy’s first South Florida acquisition, according to The Real Deal, which first reported the foreclosure suit. It was unclear who the minority investors in the building are.

The 1 Northeast First St. property was known as the Metro Mall building at the time of Levy’s acquisition, but he rebranded it as Time Century Jewelry Center. The 97-year-old building is home to four floors of office space, and the other four floors are occupied by jewelry retailers and wholesalers, TRD reported. 

Time Century Jewelry Center is inside Miami’s four-block jewelry district, which hosts more than 500 jewelry stores. It is adjacent to the Seybold Building, a historic property built in 1921 that anchors the district.  

The building was the subject of a January profile in The New York Times, in which Levy said the building had undergone more than $40M in renovations that “left only the foundation.” 

“We threw everything away,” he told the Times. “It’s all brand new.” 

A spokesperson for the property said at the time that more than 60 leases had been signed at the property, with annual rents ranging from $150 per SF for retail space to $40 per SF for office space.

In its lawsuit this week, City National Bank said TC Metro Mall Investments had failed to turn over rents as required after the entity defaulted on the loan payments.

UPDATE, SEPT. 18, 9:20 A.M. ET: This story has been updated to include a comment from a Time Century spokesperson.