Downfall of Downtown Miami Project: Lawsuit Accuses Developer Yair Levy of Financial Troubles in Diamond Dealer’s Dream Building

Yair Levy, a New York-based developer with a controversial history, faces challenges in realizing his vision for the Time Century Jewelry Center in downtown Miami. A lawsuit filed on September 19 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court claims that Levy, the majority owner of the property via an affiliate of his company, Time Century Holdings, has run out of funds to complete the $50 million renovation project.

According to the complaint, during a meeting on September 12, Levy disclosed to prospective tenants, including the diamond dealer Freddy’s Certified Diamonds & Fine Jewelry (the plaintiff in the lawsuit), that he requires an external investor to complete the project. Freddy’s had planned to move into the property last year after paying a substantial sum for a security deposit and build-out expenses. Additionally, they have paid significant holdover rent to their current landlord.

Shortly after this meeting, a lender initiated a foreclosure complaint against the Time Century affiliate that owns the building, alleging default on a $27.2 million mortgage debt meant to cover part of the renovations.

The lawsuit also reveals that Freddy’s owner learned about Levy’s troubled past in New York, where he was found liable for fraud and barred by the state attorney general’s office from certain real estate activities. In 2011, a New York state Supreme Court judge ruled against Levy for misusing funds in a failed condo conversion project, leading to a lifetime ban on selling condos and co-ops. Levy’s current difficulties extend to his New York properties, where Wells Fargo has initiated foreclosure proceedings against several buildings owned by Levy and his family.

Time Century, in its statement through a spokesperson, expressed hope for a prompt resolution and emphasized its ambition to transform Time Century Jewelry Center into Miami’s premier jewelry destination. Freddy’s president, Frederick Strauss, and his lawyer did not provide comments.

Levy’s involvement in the downtown Miami mixed-use building began in 2018 when Time Century acquired an 80 percent stake for $14.8 million, marking Levy’s initial venture into South Florida real estate. A year later, Levy allegedly lured Freddy’s to become a key tenant, promising to establish a world-class jewelry destination. Despite these promises, construction at the Time Century Jewelry Center remains incomplete.

“For over 15 years, US Asset Loans have been providing funding to Real Estate investors”

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