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Will This Miami Nightclub Be First U.S. CRE Sale In Bitcoin?

A Miami Beach nightclub called Treehouse at 323 23rd St. in South Beach is for sale, and the seller will accept Bitcoin as payment. If a Bitcoin buyer emerges, it could be the first U.S. commercial real estate transaction using cryptocurrency, according to Avison Young principal and Miami Managing Director Michael T. Fay.

The Treehouse nightclub in Miami Beach.

Fay's Florida capital markets group is representing the seller, Acqua LLC, led by Michael Freundlich, a South Florida investor.

"He'll do part Bitcoin, full Bitcoin. He'll hold paper. He'll do a lease with an option. He would probably entertain another digital currency, like Ethereum or LikeCoin," Fay said.

Acqua has turned down offers of $15M, or about 250 Bitcoin, Fay said. Freundlich purchased the Treehouse property through an LLC in 2015 for $3.2M.

“The creative financing option of this offering also adds tremendous value for investors and is ideal for many foreign players who heavily deal in cryptocurrencies and are looking to transfer that into an investment in American land,” Freundlich said in a statement.

The volatile Bitcoin hit a record-high valuation of $58,956.90 on March 13, then fell to $54,790.33 on March 15. It quadrupled in 2020 and more than doubled in 2021, according to Reuters.

There have been numerous residential real estate sales involving cryptocurrency, but the concept is still relatively untested in commercial real estate.

According to Architectural Digest, Manhattan- and Frankfurt-based RFR Holding, which owns the Chrysler Building, in January 2020 bought a commercial building in Zurich’s luxury shopping district for $134M, with 20% of the purchase made with cryptocurrency — tokens based not on Bitcoin but on the Ethereum blockchain. Last week, when a buyer paid $69.4M for digital art in the form of a non-fungible token, or NFT, he used Ethereum. The price of Ethereum was $1,788.96 on March 15.

The Miami Beach nightclub, which in former incarnations was known as Rain and Groove Jet, is a single-story, 4,322 SF structure on an 8,890 SF lot one block from the beach, with indoor and outdoor areas. It has a 5 a.m. liquor license. Under coronavirus guidelines, it has been operating from 6 p.m. to midnight, five nights a week at 50% capacity.

“In addition to the nightclub’s impressive weekly cash flow, the property’s location is one block from the beach and boasts ideal CD-3/Commercial zoning, which means it is in a high-intensity district with inherent property air rights allowing for future redevelopment opportunities,” Fay said in a statement.

"This club did major dollars pre-pandemic," Fay told Bisnow.