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Moishe Mana Is Still Buying Up Downtown Miami

There are a lot of companies and partnerships working to make downtown Miami a happening place, but standing out among them is a one-man force.

Billionaire developer Moishe Mana, who since 2014 has spent $315M buying some 40 parcels in downtown Miami — about 1.65M SF of office and retail, and about 317K SF of land. Although Mana has admitted to some frustrations, another new purchase indicates he is still on a buying spree.

Moishe Mana, founder of Moishe's Moving Systems and now successful developer

Mana's longtime broker, Mika Mattingly of Colliers International South Florida, announced that Mana paid $2.3M for the 7,600 SF, nearly 100-year-old Silver Bell Building at 108 South Miami Ave. It last traded for $475K in 2000, according to The Real Deal. Mattingly told the publication that by the time he is done with his acquisitions, Mana may be up to $400M in spending. 

"This property is in the middle of everything exciting that is happening in downtown Miami, including Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline," Mattingly said in a statement. "Moishe Mana sees tremendous potential in downtown's strategic location so he is assembling as many properties as possible to own a critical mass. That way, he will be able to bring true change to the area to benefit the entire city of Miami."

Mana also owns the property next door. He intends to redevelop his portfolio and create a vibrant, round-the-clock community with an emphasis on the arts.

His holdings include Mana Contemporary Miami, a three-story building on Flagler Street, Miami's main downtown east-west thoroughfare. It houses nonprofit groups and artists' studios. His team has described plans to create a "Gallery Row" in long-empty storefronts along SE First Street. Renovated offices with tech tenants, and residential micro-units are also part of his vision.

He also has significant holdings in Wynwood and has floated the idea of an Asia Trade Hub, with offices, showrooms, retail and hotels. He has described Miami becoming a Hong Kong of the Americas, a center for doing business with China and Latin America.

Mana, a native of Israel, started a Man With a Van moving business in New York, then created a niche for himself moving and storing fine artwork. He went on to create a 35-acre campus for storage and exhibitions, Mana Contemporary, in Jersey City in 2011 and another a Mana Contemporary in Chicago in 2014.

Mana told the Biscayne Times earlier this year he has sometimes been frustrated by local bureaucracy and taxes — turning Flagler Street into a curbless, pedestrian-friendly strip has been notoriously frustrating for all parties involved — and that President Donald Trump's policies and anti-immigrant stances were making it harder to do business internationally. But he vowed to keep plugging away at his vision for Miami.

“We need to continue this project, even if it’ll be emotionally difficult for me,” he said.