920 Northwest Second Avenue. Inset: Marcus Samuelsson (Credit: Getty Images)
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson would buy a city-owned property for $1.5 million in Miami’s historic African American neighborhood and convert it into a supper club, under a proposed development agreement with the Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.
Samuelsson would also get $1.5 million grant to renovate the building at 920 Northwest Second Avenue.
Miami city commissioners, acting as the CRA’s board of directors, will vote on the proposal at a meeting on Monday. Representatives for Samuelsson could not be immediately reached for comment, but plans for an open-kitchen restaurant and lounge serving Southern cuisine with a mix of Caribbean, Latin American, and African-American influences have been in the works since last year.
Marcus Samuelsson Development Group, which is proposing a concept similar to the Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef’s famous Harlem restaurant Red Rooster, beat out six other bidders who responded to a request for qualifications put out by the CRA in January of last year. Three months later, the city commission authorized the agency to negotiate a lease or sale agreement with Samuelsson.
According to a memo on Wednesday addressed to CRA chairman and Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Marcus Samuelsson’s company provided the agency with “project development plans that comply with the RFQ requirements to develop the property into a high-end restaurant/entertainment venue and proof of financing for the project.”
The CRA purchased the 7,600-square-foot property in 2012 for $150,000 and spent another $850,000 rehabbing the building. The Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser assessed the parcel’s market value for 2016 at $662,204. During the segregation era, the building was home to a pool hall owned by famous music promoter Clyde Killens. The joint hosted acts such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, and Aretha Franklin.
Samuelsson is the youngest chef to ever receive a three-star review from the New York Times and he has been featured on “the Today Show,” “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef Masters,” and “Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain.”