Miami Beach Reflections

Al Malnik Knows Real Estate

So we get alot of emails and questions about the huge mansion at the end of Ocean Blvd where it meets A1A. This gargantuan Florida mansion next to the Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park. The founder of the Miami Beach landmark restaurant The Forge is expanding his residential enclave in Palm Beach County’s exclusive Ocean Ridge. Multimillionaire Alvin Malnik dropped $7.9 million for a five-bedroom house on the Atlantic Ocean in the sleepy town east of Boynton Beach. The 9,417-square-foot house built in 1985 is at 6307 N. Ocean Blvd.

The lawyer-turned-real-estate-investor and his wife, Nancy, live in an 11-bedroom, 18.5 bathroom estate next door at 6301 N. Ocean Blvd. Their expansive home of six years measures about 44,600 square feet on 2.23 acres, making it the biggest house in Ocean Ridge. Ocean Ridge has about 3,000 residents — including seasonal visitors. Joseph and Carol Russo sold Malnik his newest home on March 28. The Russos paid $2.2 million for it in 1990. County appraisers put the market value of the oceanfront home at $3.85 million, less than half of the purchase price. Malnik paid about $800 per square foot, and one broker said it was a good price.

“Some homes are selling for well above $1,000 per square foot in that area,” said broker Candace Friis with the New York-based Corcoran Group in Delray Beach. “It is a terrific buy for the buyer. It is a very nice house.”

Friis was not involved in the sale. She said the property was not on the Multiple Listing Service. The Russos recently bought a house that’s half the size in Palm Beach. They paid $3.95 million for a 4,686-square-foot home on Australian Avenue in February.

Malnik owes his South Florida celebrity in part to the success of The Forge, now run by his son, Shareef Malnik. Rich in European architecture and art, the former casino is a draw for celebrities, politicians and wine connoisseurs. The restaurant’s underground cellar has room for up to 300,000 bottles.

Alvin Malnik, 73, bought the neglected restaurant in 1968 when he was a young attorney and his roster of clients included mob financier Meyer Lansky. Malnik’s association with the gangster tainted his reputation even though Malnik has always denied any involvement with organized crime, noting he was never convicted of any crime.

In recent years, Malnik has focused on real estate. He transferred ownership of The Forge to his son in 1991 after a spectacular roof fire heavily damaged the restaurant. Shareef Malnik re-opened it and took it to a higher level. He created Jimmy’z at Cuba Club as part of the restaurant and has hosted celebrities such as Madonna, Michael Jordan, Robert De Niro and Paul McCartney.

The elder Malnik has been an active investor in South Florida real estate for at least three decades, said Mark Gilbert, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield in Miami. Malnik invests in commercial and residential income-producing properties, but his name rarely appears on corporate records filed with the state. Gilbert has been a friend of Malnik’s for years and does business with him at times. Gilbert was the registered agent of ANC Rental Plaza, in which Malnik was an investor. In February, ANC sold the former Blockbuster headquarters in Fort Lauderdale for $23 million to Miami-based N.R. Investments. The new owner is converting the tower to office condos, said N.R. Investments’ principal Nir Shoshani. Renamed Museum Plaza, the 177,000-square-foot building has 45,000 square feet available for sale. Blockbuster founder H. Wayne Huizenga’s penthouse office and the ground-floor retail space are on the market for $290 to $320 per square foot, Shoshani said.

Malnik’s real estate portfolio also includes 32.5 acres of vacant land northeast of Lyons Road and Clint Moore Road west of Boca Raton, according to Palm Beach County property records.