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The Lion King: Can Robert Rivani conquer Miami’s restaurant jungle?

The Lion King: Can Robert Rivani conquer Miami’s restaurant jungle?
Robert Rivani Photo by Paul Dilakian via

After dropping $19 million on the ground-floor retail space at the Miami Beach boutique condominium Marea at the end of 2021, Robert Rivani wasn’t finished.

The Black Lion Investment Group founder immediately began eyeing another prime retail space down the street owned by the same sellers, A&D Group Realty’s Domenico Albano and Americo D’Agostini.

For several months, D’Agostini recalled, Rivani would occasionally ask whether they were ready to make a deal for the ground-floor space at One Ocean, another luxury residential property in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood, home to the city’s most expensive condos and some of its hardest-to-get-into restaurants, like Carbone, Papi Steak and Joe’s Stone Crab.

We weren’t ready to sell,” D’Agostini said. “He kept giving us a better offer. He kept increasing the price per square foot.”

Inside Black Lion Investment Group’s plan to dominate the city’s fine dining scene

At the time, Black Lion Investment Group was still based in Los Angeles. But trips to South Florida during the pandemic showed him the fine-dining scene in Miami and Miami Beach — where some establishments can count on a steady stream of well-heeled dinner parties spending tens of thousands of dollars on a given night — is a lucrative sector of commercial real estate worth dominating. 

Hospitality is here to stay,” Rivani, 32, said in an interview. “Amazon can’t change that. The metaverse can’t change that. People are social. They want to hang out and dine with their friends and family.”

When Rivani offered to pay $12.2 million for the Ocean One commercial unit, or more than $900 a square foot, it was a done deal. 

Robert is very direct, and he is very proactive,” D’Agostini said. “He met our deadlines, didn’t let time pass, and stayed on top of his offer.” 

By Francisco Alvarado for
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