Father-and-sons developer team with a history of refinancing its completed projects —and investing the money in future land purchases and buildings —has gotten another loan. The Miami-based Melo Group secured a $142 million debt financing loan on Thursday for its completed rental apartment building Art Plaza at 58 NE First St. The loan is a 10-year, fixed-rate permanent refinance on the original $85 million construction loan used to build the 667-unit building. Peter Mekras, president of Coconut Grove-based real estate firm Aztec Group, secured the loan on behalf of the Edgewater-based developer.
It is the 10th refinancing loan Mekras obtained for the Melo Group in the past decade, he said. The most recent loan he secured was also worth $142 million for the 710-unit Square Station in 2018. Mekras said the Melo Group’s business model revolves around investing its profits into a new business venture. “They buy land,” he said. “I’m not aware of any new acquisition [they’ve made], but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of one, because they use [the money] to buy more land and build more buildings.” The Melo Group filed for approval in July to build Edgewater’s tallest residential twin towers Island Bay. In addition to the 60-story buildings with a combined 783 units, the Melo Group would add a community park and pave a 480-foot Baywalk in front of its property at 700 NE 24th St. The Melo Group, led by the Argentine-born Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo and his sons Carlos and Martin, saw potential for residential development in Edgewater and neighboring Arts & Entertainment district when few firms did eight years ago. They have four projects in the Arts & Entertainment district, including Melody, Square Station, Art Plaza and under-construction Miami Plaza.