Michael Swerdlow is credited with revolutionizing the process of valuation and sale of retail leases in bankruptcy liquidations during the late 1970's by converting the leaseholds of bankrupt tenants that had historically been viewed as liabilities into valuable assets while handling the liquidations of such retailers as Food Fair (Pantry Pride), E. J. Korvettes and Wicks stores and liquidating substantial real estate assets of such other companies as AT&T, United Technologies and Chrysler Corporation. In total, more than 30 million square feet of leases were restructured marketed and sold by Swerdlow between 1977 and 1984. Thereafter, between 1985 and 1987, Swerd1ow developed over 2 million square feet of retail and office space in northern Virginia, Connecticut and Illinois.
In 1988, Michael Swerdlow and affiliates, acting as the managing general partner of Hollywood STS Associates, L.P., a limited partnership, which at that time included Shearson Lehman Hutton Holdings and Triangle Industries (owned American National Can), purchased Hollywood, Inc., the owner and developer of substantial real estate holdings in South Florida. This acquisition, valued at approximately $400 million, provided Hollywood STS with a portfolio of approximately 3,000 acres of undeveloped land and two million square feet of operating properties ("the Hollywood Portfolio").
Shortly after the acquisition of the Hollywood Portfolio, South Florida suffered its most severe recession in recent history. Notwithstanding the downturn in the real estate market, The Swerdlow Group was able to maximize the return to its partners by revitalizing under managed properties and assessing the potential of undeveloped parcels and obtaining necessary entitlements to position such undeveloped parcels for development in anticipation of the eventual upturn in the real estate market. The most attractive real estate in the Hollywood Portfolio for development or redevelopment was identified. These properties were, for the most part, strategically located in the more densely populated areas of South Florida. Consequently, The Swerdlow Group developed great expertise in what came to be known as "infill development".
In the first quarter of 1996, The Swerdlow Group formed a strategic investment alliance with Colony Capital, Inc. ("Colony"). Under the terms of the alliance, Colony became a partner with Swerdlow in several properties owned by the Swerdlow Group, including some of the properties in the Hollywood Portfolio, and provided equity capital to fund the Swerdlow Group's future development and acquisition opportunities. Colony's equity capital was contributed on a predetermined formula to a series of single purpose partnerships. Colony thereafter partnered with the Swerdlow Group in the Las Olas Riverfront, Beacon Tradeport and Dolphin Mall development projects. Colony invested in excess of $100 million of equity with the Swerdlow Group.
Between 1988 and 1998, the Swerdlow Group developed 3.1 million square feet of retail, industrial and office space and approximately 4,000 residential units which required equity investments of over $350 million.
In 1999, Brett Dill joined Swerdlow Group from Colony Capital and played a critical role in consolidating the Swerdlow Group’s holdings into a new entity called the Swerdlow Real Estate Group, a private REIT whose shareholders included Swerdlow, Fidelity Investments, Colony Capital, Landmark Funds and Merrill Lynch. The REIT had an initial capitalization of approximately $500 million (approximately $175 million in initial equity) and had grown to approximately $1 billion in total assets. Major projects undertaken by the REIT included the development of the Dolphin Mall in partnership with The Taubman Company. The value of the Dolphin Mall was in excess of $300 million. The REIT also acquired and redeveloped the Great Mall of the Bay Area in Silicon Valley, California, which sold for approximately $280 million. The REIT had over five million square feet of properties that they developed, owned, and operated. The REIT was liquidated at the end of 2005.
In early 2001, Swerdlow Group partnered up with Olympus Real Estate Funds, Landmark Funds and an affiliate of BT Deutsche Banc to complete the development of the Beacon Tradeport project which has since been renamed the Dolphin Commerce Center. The project contained approximately 400,000 square feet of technologically advanced telecommunications tenants, as well as an additional 700,000 square feet of distribution facilities and 97 acres of developable land.
Also in 2001, Swerdlow Group entered the high-rise residential condominium market that was sweeping the country and, in particular, the South and Central Florida markets. Swerdlow Group successfully negotiated a multi-billion dollar ground lease with the City of North Miami and the subsequent negotiation of an unprecedented financing arrangement which facilitated the development of Biscayne Landing, a 190-acre master-planned community which includes 6,000 luxury condominium units. In addition Swerdlow Group acquired and obtained entitlements to construct over 2,000 condominium units in six different waterfront locations along the South Florida. Swerdlow Group partnered up with Boca Developers whose expertise was in the construction of high-rise condominiums
In July of 2006, sensing the over-development of the condominium market in Florida, Swerdlow Group successfully sold all of its ownership interests to Boca Developers and recognized a sizeable profit.
Since 2006, Swerdlow Group has been actively involved in pursuing distressed real estate and debt opportunities that meet our investment criteria, Because of the financial stability of our Partners and Investors, we are in an excellent position to quickly act on those opportunities that may arise. We are currently evaluating many opportunities that are presented to us. Please see Projects tab for current projects underway.