By Brian Bandell  |  November 20, 2018  |  South Florida Business Journal

Ram Realty Services has started construction of a retail and apartment project in an area of Pine Rocklands in south Miami-Dade County after obtaining a big construction loan.

Coral Reef Resi PH I LLC, an affiliate of Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Realty Services, acquired the 82-acre site at 12500 S.W. 152th St. from the University of Miami for $22.1 million in 2014. It’s near Zoo Miami.

Ram Realty Services President Jim Stine said site work recently started on the property.

“We are developing 82 acres and preserving 106 acres of habitat,” Stine said. “We think it’s a great project for us as a company, and we think it will be a great project for the community. Our conservation plan could be a blueprint for future development.”

Stine said the company would restore the Pine Rocklands habitat that has not been well maintained. However, environmental groups, such as the Tropical Audubon Society, argued that the entire site should have been preserved.

The first phase of Coral Reef Commons will have 408 apartments and about 250,000 square feet of retail, Stine said. Tenants will include a 158,000-square-foot Walmart, a 45,000-square-foot LA Fitness, a 10,000-square-foot multi-tenant building featuring Starbucks and Chipotle, and outparcel buildings for PDQ, Panera Bread, Chili’s, and a Cumberland Farm’s service station, he said.

Coral Reef Commons is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020. Future phases of the project would include more apartments.