Walk along the main strip of NW Second Avenue in Wynwood, and you'll pass a few art galleries, some fancy taco eateries, boho-chic boutiques, a Ducati dealership — and a huge pipe-and-plumbing-supply joint. Located in a 10,000-square-foot space at 2800 NW Second Ave., Lehman Pipe & Plumbing Supply, with its decidedly not-artist-designed orange and slightly paler orange chevroned walls, is one of the last remaining major industrial sites on Wynwood's main drag.
And now it's been sold for the jaw-dropping price of $41.5 million.The buyer is New York-based Thor Equities.
The site has been home to the pipe business for 68 years, according to the Real Deal, but the property last changed hands in 1995 for just $200,000 when ownership was transferred to a trust owned by the Lehman family. However, South Florida Business Journal reports the entire property was assembled, with Lehman adding the last piece in 1990, for a total of $636,600.
The five buildings on the property have a square footage of 45,000, but the total plot of land has rights to develop about 600,000 square feet of space.
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The Real Deal reports that Thor, an international real-estate investment firm, will redevelop the site. A mix of retail, apartments, hotel, and/or office space could be in play.
Thor also owns several other properties in the area. The northern end of Wynwood's arts district in particular is dotted with now-empty former industrial sites, with Thor Equity signs promoting their use as temporary pop-up spaces during Art Basel. In fact, Thor recently also paid $26.9 million for a property neighboring the Lehman site.
Though some industrial sites and even a few art galleries remain in Wynwood, the sale is the latest event in Wynwood's rapid transformation from warehouse/industrial zone to slightly shady art district to some sort of fantasy hipster playground in a mere 15 years.