Wynwood is getting an eco-friendly hotel at the site of the Art by God store

Art by God, the museum store specializing in furnishings and jewelry made from natural artifacts, has closed on the sale of its Wynwood location. Fittingly, the site is set to become an earth-friendly hotel.

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The 13,622-square-foot property, located at 60 NE 27th St., sold for $15.1 million, or $1,108 per square foot. The buyer is the Miami-based Lucky Shepherd, a multi-company firm founded in 2016 that specializes in holistic wellness in technology, real estate and design.

The new owners plan to raze the existing property and build a 150-key eco-friendly lodging, with 48 residential units and two studios, a farm-to-table restaurant, a speakeasy and a rooftop pool and bar. Touzet Studio is the architect on the project. Gensler will handle the interior design.

Gene Harris, who founded Art By God Inc. in 1982, paid $350,000 for the former warehouse, or $25.60 per square foot, in 1997 before converting it into a store in 2014.

“He is an art dealer that has been in Wynwood for many months, seeing all the new development in Wynwood,” said Miguel Pinto, president and managing broker of APEX Capital Realty, which represented the seller. “He was there before any of the new developments. Naturally, his land value went through the roof. It was a good opportunity for him.”

Mika Mattingly of Colliers International and Michael Light of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer.

A COVID delay

The property, which was sold off-market, had been under contract since November 2019.

Pinto said the delay in closing, which was a collaboration between the three brokerage firms, was due to the difficulty of finding financing for a hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hospitality has been one of the hardest-hit sectors and having a developer willing to move forward with a land acquisition of over $15 million and having the foresight that COVID is temporary and will go away speaks volumes for them,” Pinto said. “People who understand the market really get it. At the same time, people are being cautious because they do not want to catch a falling knife.”

The hospitality industry has been banking on Wynwood as a lucrative hotel location to capitalize on its flood of annual visitors (more than four million in 2019, according to the Wynwood Business Improvement District).

The San Francisco-based Sonder is currently developing a 72-room hotel at 111 NE 26th St., just one block from the Wynwood Walls. The international firm Quadrum Global is developing a nine-story, 217-room hotel at a three-parcel assemblage it bought for $8.5 million at 2217 NW Miami Court.

The New York-based Domio leased an entire 175-unit building developed by The Related Group and Block Capital Group, originally intended as apartments, and is operating it as a hotel at 51 NW 26th St.

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