By Ashley Davis
A rendering of the Time Century Jewelry Center, which has just secured $23.6 million in construction funding
Miami—For its first Miami project, a New York City real estate investment and development firm has turned its eye to the Magic City’s jewelry district.

Time Century Holdings LLC purchased the Metro Mall building in downtown Miami in 2018 for $14.5 million, intending to turn it into the Time Century Jewelry Center, a planned luxury destination of retail jewelers and wholesalers, with offices as well.

Headed by Yair Levy, Time Century announced it has obtained a $23.6 million construction loan from City National Bank of Florida. The funds will go towards the jewelry center’s “Phase 1” renovation, estimated to cost a total $50 million.

Phase 1 involves the remodel of the wholesale and retail spaces, including the basement, ground, mezzanine and second floors. Later this year, Phase 2 construction will entail renovating the four floors of planned office space.

With all renovations expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2022, Miami’s jewelry district will see a significant expansion, with the 225,000-square-foot Time Century Jewelry Century building at 1 NE First St. occupying an entire city block.

Levy and his team began initial building renovations in early 2020, demolishing the building’s existing interior. With construction considered an essential service, work on the building continued throughout the pandemic.

20210219 TimeCentury2The Time Century Jewelry Center will be geared both toward the jewelry trade and consumers, with four floors of wholesale and retail space and an additional four floors of office space.

Despite the heavy toll the pandemic took on the global economy, Time Century said it was able to pre-lease more than half of the building’s retail space.

In a statement, Levy said: “This loan is a true endorsement of the transformation of downtown Miami. City National Bank has a pulse in the community and wants to be part of projects that will further position downtown Miami as a global destination.

“Our wholesale retail space, which is more than 60 percent pre-leased, has already attracted jewelers from Europe, South America and Asia. We are proud to have partnered with City National Bank to bring this project to fruition.”

The remaining wholesale retail space available in the building ranges from 500 to 2,000 square feet and is renting for $65 to $150 per square foot.

In addition to the four floors of retail and wholesale space and four floors of office space, the Time Century Jewelry Center will feature a three-story atrium with escalators and computerized directories to guide visitors to their destination. Signage for the majority of wholesale and retail tenants will be unobstructed and easy to view from the main floor, Time Century said.

20210219 TimeCentury3Time Century Holdings LLC is a New York-based real estate investment and development firm, founded more than 50 years ago. The jewelry center is its first Miami property and expected to be complete in 2022.

Valet parking for the building and several new parking garages nearby will make the building easily accessible by car, while Miami’s public transportation, like the MetroRail, People Mover and the Brightline train, which connects Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, all serve the area.

Located along NE First Street and E. Flager Street, Miami’s jewelry district houses more than 400 jewelry stores in a matter of four blocks and generates close to $1 billion in annual sales.

Downtown Miami has experienced a revitalization in recent years, with the pandemic only expected to increase interest from companies that are relocating from other parts of the country.

New York private equity firm Blackstone will soon lease a 41,000-square-foot office at a new building near the Time Century Jewelry Center, for example.

Time Century Holdings’ Levy, meanwhile, has an interesting, and controversial, history.

The Israeli-born developer, who called New York City home for decades, was permanently banned from selling condos and co-ops in New York State by the State Supreme Court in 2011, when the court ruled that Levy had used funds for one of his buildings for personal expenses.

Levy disputes those charges, though he was forced to pay restitution.

According to an interview with “The Real Deal,” while still a teenager in Tel Aviv he would occasionally work cutting diamonds.

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