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'Million Dollar Listing' Alumnus Invests In Flagler Village

Former Red Cross building in Fort Lauderdale´s Flagler Village neighborhood. 521 NE 4th Avenue.
This former Red Cross Building in Flagler Village was bought by Walnut Street Capital.

An alumnus of the TV show "Million Dollar Listing" is investing in Fort Lauderdale's Flagler Village neighborhood.

Walnut Street Capital founder Arthur Bartholomew told Bisnow that he was in the process of buying a two-story building at 521 Northeast Fourth Ave. when a friend introduced him to Samantha DiBianchi, who had made a name for herself on the Bravo TV show and has since opened her own real estate firm. Bartholomew said she liked the space for a flagship office and wanted to be an investor in the deal, so on she came. 

Philadelphia native Bartholomew played professional soccer in Europe but was sidelined by an injury. He said a job with LNR Property lured him to South Florida, and he worked there three years, then started his own company in 2010 with small multifamily projects and single-family homes. He now specializes in small multifamily assets Little Haiti, Little River and Fort Lauderdale.

"We buy the land, stabilize it, entitle it and resell to someone bigger on the food chain," Bartholomew said. 

In January, Walnut Street paid just over $1M for two homes at 611 and 617 Northeast Fourth Ave., which span just under 17K SF. A month ago, he said, he bought two buildings near Miami's planned Magic City Innovation District — 5990 and 5994 Northeast 4th Court.

Rents were $800 a month, he said. but after making repairs, he raised rents to $1,350 in seven units. The remaining five are about to come on the market, he said. 

He liked the Red Cross building on Fourth Avenue, he said, because "it is RAC city center zoning — the most aggressive zoning. North of it is a park that will always be a park."

Because there are no height restrictions, it has potential as a future site for an office or multifamily project, he said. Furthermore, a Brightline commuter train is expected to begin service nearby in the coming months, and a Wave streetcar is planned for the area, so thousands of millennials are expected to move there.

"Fort Lauderdale is very pro-developer with its zoning codes," Bartholomew said. "There's a lot of single-story or two-story that could essentially be skyscrapers."