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Codina Acquires Vacant Sears In Hialeah, Plans Redevelopment

Codina Partners acquired a former Sears site at the Westland Mall in Hialeah and is partnering with the mall owner to redevelop the site.

Codina Partners acquired the site of a former Sears at the Westland Mall in Hialeah, the latest in a wave of development projects for the rapidly growing city.

The Coral Gables-based developer paid an undisclosed price for the 15-acre site at 1625 West 49th St. that includes the former Sears, surrounding parking lots and commercial outparcels. Codina is partnering with the mall’s owner, Dallas-based Centennial Real Estate, to redevelop the site with a multifamily rental and retail project, the company announced in a release.   

Centennial owns the Westland Mall but not the department stores or much of the parking lots surrounding them. The former Sears parcel was owned by Seritage Growth Properties, according to deed records, and the property no longer appears on the website of the REIT, which was spun off from Sears Holdings in 2015. 

The 302K SF mall, which is anchored by Macy’s and JCPenney after Sears closed in 2020, was sold last year by Starwood Capital Group. Starwood was on the hook for a $149M mortgage, which Centennial assumed when it acquired the deed for the property for the same price. 

Codina, led by a father-daughter team of Armando Codina and Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, is working with longtime friends and partners Jim Carr and Manny Kadre on the site's redevelopment. It will be the second Hialeah project for Codina after the firm built and leased up the 1.3M SF Beacon Logistics Park on 72 acres, which it assembled in 2018

“To me, Hialeah is the Brooklyn of Miami — a community in the right place that is filled with unrealized potential,” Armando Codina, executive chairman of Codina Partners, said in a statement.

Hialeah is the sixth-most-populous city in Florida, but more than 60% of its housing inventory was built before 1979, according to census data. The aging inventory and rising demand for housing has helped drive developers to the market. 

Three major projects currently under development will add more than 1,000 housing units.

In September, MG Developer and Baron Property Group locked in a $148M construction loan for a 559-unit project that, at 10 stories, will be the tallest residential development in Hialeah. Related Group and Fontainebleau Development are building the 624-unit Las Carreras apartments on the site of a former greyhound kennel in the neighborhood. Last May, Dacar Management secured a $81M construction loan for a mixed-use project, Residences and Shoppes of Highland, that will include 244 apartments and 190K SF of retail. 

“As Hialeah continues to grow in population and employment, the need for quality housing has rapidly increased,” Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo said in the release. The Codina project “will address this demand and give our flourishing city something we’ve never had: a vibrant and accessible city center where residents can seamlessly live, work, play and thrive — an epicenter for the cultivation of community.”