Posts By : Miami Today

With supply scarce, Doral offices are 91% full, prices rising

With supply scarce, Doral offices are 91% full, prices rising

Week of Thursday, August 3, 2017

By Katherine Lackner

Codina Partners build 8333 Downtown and has three more office buildings on the way in a tight market.

With scare supply and no new product in the pipeline, the Doral office market continues to be robust, observers say.

“Institutional capital now accepts that Doral is a mature, exciting and deep market, and one they want to be in,” said Doug Okun, Senior Vice President at CREC. “It’s become a first-class city.”

The new residential stock “is a driver,” he said, as are the ever-increasing amenities, including retail, schools, restaurants and infrastructure. Most buildings offer plentiful parking, which is not the case in urban markets or even some suburban markets, he said.

With about a 91% occupancy, pressure is being put on lease prices and concessions are becoming rarer, he said. Space in a class A building can fetch $40 per square foot, “which was hard to image five or 10 years ago,” Mr. Okun said. Class B space leases in the high $20s or low $30s per square foot, he said.

Most developers consider mixed-use projects or residential units to be the highest and best use for their land, he said. That, combined with high construction costs, suggest that the dearth of new office buildings will continue, further driving up demand for existing space.

“I remain bullish on the Doral office market,” Mr. Okun said. “I think it will continue to get better, and almost every data point supports that.”

“We are witnessing Doral become more of an urbanized environment,” said Ericka Witkowski, associate with Avison Young. “The ‘live-work-play’ play dynamic, in addition to the already acclaimed economic benefits of leasing in Doral, is really creating the ideal ambience that attracts major corporate headquarters. That will continue to grow this submarket. Doral continues to be one of the most sought-after markets in South Florida, which is attested to by a less-than-9% vacancy rate.”

“County-wide year-to-date leasing activity remains up 6% year-on-year, driven to a notable degree by non-CBD submarkets that had been unsettlingly quiet through 2016,” said JLL’s second-quarter 2017 office market report. One of the larger deals inked that quarter was the Everest Business Funding lease of 27,000 square feet in Downtown Doral, the report noted, but, on the whole, transactions were smaller.

JLL lumps Doral into the Miami Airport submarket, where rents overall are $30 per square foot and vacancy is 9%, according to the report. Class A space in that submarket can be had for $33 per square foot (and the vacancy rate is 8%), while class B space leases for $27 per square foot and the vacancy rate is 11%, the report said.

Miami Beach office market in ‘very best of health right now’

May 18th, 2017

By Catherine Lackner

S.Hurwitz_CREC_2016Miami Beach, a small, boutique office market, is “phenomenal as an asset class and arguable in the very best of health right now,” said Stephen Rutchik, Colliers International executive Vice President.

With no new office product introduced since 2002 and exploding values that make residential and mixed-used projects the highest and best use for raw land, tenants are shopping around in existing spaces and landlords are re-investing in older buildings, he said.

“There’s been a very significant appreciation in rents,” he said. “We’re still at a discount to the central business district, but not as much as before.” Class A rents in downtown Miami are about $45-$50 per square foot gross, while that space can be had on Miami Beach in the mid-$40s, he said.

“Many employers are looking for a submarket that has all the amenities their employees want as well as places to entertain clients. Miami Beach provides that and it’s not horribly congested like the CBD. It also has that cool factor, like Wynwood,” which doesn’t have much in the way of pure office space, observers say.

On Miami Beach, a higher proportion of people get around on bikes, skateboard and scooters than on the mainland, which is appealing to the millennial who work for or own tech companies, Mr. Rutchik said. “Tech firms are the drivers of net absorption. Being on Miami Beach checks their boxes.”

“We are seeing that the Miami Beach office market is currently performing quite well, with several similarities to other South Florida boutique office markets, such as Aventura and South Miami,” said Steven Hurwitz, a partner at CREC who leads the firm’s office leasing practice, via email.

“They provide a wide range of high-end, close-to-home opportunities for professionals wanting to avoid the ever-growing traffic congestion in South Florida. In Miami Beach, calls A vacancy remains in the single digits, and rental rates continue to climb, with supply constraints and limited, to no new deliveries on the drawing board.

“Land values and the return on other asset classes – like residential, retail and hospitality – have made Miami Beach’s office supply flat for many years. It is highly unlikely you will see an institutional-quality office building being delivered in South Beach anytime in the near future,” he said.

Miami Beach tenants are typically middle- to high-net-worth decision-makers, the fund and investment managers, principals in music and talent agencies and others who don’t typically need to be downtown, he said.

“Compass (a new tenant to Miami Beach) took the top two floors at the old Sony Building at 605 Lincoln Road in the past year and Warner extended its lease last year and is staying on Miami Beach, so that’s also good news for the market,” Mr. Hurwitz said. “Miami Beach tenants are those that want great quality in a location outside the more congested downtown and Brickell markets. Many of them live on Miami Beach, as do their employees.”

“Miami-Dade County’s pace of total office leasing activity bounced back from a tepid showing in 2016 with little adjustment to near-record high asking rate,” said JLL’s first quarter 2017 office report.

“Countywide total leasing activity registered 40% year-on-year growth (representing the largest single-quarter square-footage leased since the fourth quarter of 2015), led by the long-awaited return of suburban submarkets to long-term historical average activity.”

Miami Beach is a relatively small market with 1.9 million square feet of office space, the report continued. Throughout the Beach, rents average $41 per square foot, and the vacancy rate is 9%. Miami Beach class A space fetches $45 per square foot (with an 8% vacancy), while rates for class B are $39 per square foot with a 9% vacancy.

Long slog of Miracle Mile revamp alters business scene

WEEK OF THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2017

A Singular Voice in an Evolving City.


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Long slog of Miracle Mile revamp alters business scene

By Catherine Lackner

The renovation of Miracle Mile and Gerald Avenue has been a long slog and, with completion set for January, it’s far from over. Stakeholders on the streets have experienced the construction differently.

“We’ve been very fortunate, but we are sensitive to the fact that others have had serious difficulties,” said Barbara Stein, executive producing director of the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile.

“We’ve become somewhat of a destination, and people seem to be able to get to the theater on time,” she said. “People have a choice to see or not see the show, and we’ve had some good series.”

Parking is a challenge, she said, “but parking is always a challenge, and not just in Coral Gables, but everywhere. We’re hoping the return of valet service will help.”

On balance, Ms. Stein called the renovation “a little bit of pain for some gain.

“These are going to be amazing improvements, and we hope that the people we bring in will help generate opportunities for everyone,” she said. “We’re all working together for the prosperity of the community.”

An unintended consequence of the renovation forced Flowers & Services, formerly of 366 Miracle Mile, to leave the city.

“Due to the construction, the owner of our former location raised the rent from $4,000 to $11,000,” said Maria Budow, co-owner of the business. “We moved. Once the renovation is done, a restaurant can come in there and put tables on the sidewalks, which we couldn’t do.”

Flowers & Services moved to 6600 Coral Way. “It’s really nice and there’s plenty of parking,” Ms. Budow said. “We’re happy.”

Rent increases may be part of a trend, said Rafael Romero, Vice President of CREC, via email.

“While some retailers may not survive these challenging times, the long-term gains will deliver enhanced tenants and increased market vitality. With less than a 3% retail vacancy rate in Miami today, any vacancies will be absorbed quickly in this area.

“We expect landlords of existing retail buildings to upgrade infrastructure to meet the vision of the new streetscape, playing a significant role in the new retail aesthetic,” said Mr. Romero, whose office at 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd. is two blocks from Giralda Avenue and four blocks from Miracle Mile. “Coral Gables will also need to work closely with the surrounding landlords to deliver a destination with a synergetic tenant mix.”

“This is a defining moment for downtown Coral Gables,” said Christopher Brown, co-developer of Giralda Place, a nine-story, 33-unit condominium project at 2222 Ponce de Leon Blvd., which will have 13,390 square feet of ground-floor retail and about 100,000 square feet of office space.

“We’re already seeing growing interest in Giralda Place due to the streetscape project taking shape across the street. While tenants have seen a dry sales period, there is real buzz surrounding the streetscape’s completion and resulting increase in foot traffic,” he said via email.

“The improvements will greatly benefit current retail tenants by helping to boost lost revenue from the heavy construction and providing them with a competitive advantage, as there are no other thoroughfares in the vicinity that share the same attributes.”

“We invite people to come experience the progress of the Miracle Mile streetscape as you stroll the south side of the 100 and 200 blocks of Miracle Mile [which house] the Miracle Theatre, Barnes & Noble and dozens of quality shops and eateries,” said Javier Betancourt, Coral Gables economic development director, via email.

“Hand-cut stone pavers – inspired by our beautiful South Florida skies – are being meticulously installed on ultra-wide sidewalks to create a captivating pedestrian experience for locals and visitors alike,” he said. “The first phase of this multimillion-dollar renaissance has successfully addressed long-standing drainage issues while installing high speed fiber, new shade trees, and specialty lighting. The drainage work is done and the magic is now taking shape.”

The first phase of the Giralda Plaza streetscape is taking shape, as well, he said. “To celebrate,

‘Parking is always a challenge, and not just in Coral Gables, but everywhere. We’re hoping the return of the valet service will help.’

Barbara Stein


‘While some retailers may not survive these challenging time, the long-term gains will deliver enhanced tenants and increased market vitality.’

Rafael Romero


many of the restaurants along ‘restaurant row,’ (the 100 block of Giralda Avenue) will operate impromptu outdoor cafes in the plaza each Saturday from breakfast to midnight.

“Entitled Giralda Alfresco, these Saturday experiences will allow us to get a taste of what’s to come, because it’s just too pretty now to wait until summer, when it’s officially complete,” Mr. Betancourt said.

The project – which was discussed for years before the first inch of pavement was broken – will create streets that are more walkable, vibrant and attractive, he said. Giralda Plaza is scheduled for completion by early summer, and seven of Miracle Mile’s eight blocks are scheduled for completion by November of this year (in time for the holiday season), with the last block slated for completion by January 2018.

“The city is sensitive to the hardships faced by merchants during this period of construction,” he said. Coral Gables has taken steps to support the merchants, including:

‘While tenants have seen a dry sales period, there is a real buzz surrounding the streetscape’s completion and resulting increase in foot traffic.’

Christopher Brown


‘The first phase of this multimillion-dollar renaissance has successfully addressed long-standing drainage issues while installing high speed fiber.’

Javier Betancourt


  • Working with the contractor to accelerate and expedite the work.
  • Attracting people to downtown through a variety of free events, such as Wellness Wednesdays, Jazz in the Gables, Movies on the Mile and Giralda Al Fresco.
  • Providing discounted or complementary parking for customers, including free parking vouchers and free valet vouchers for Giralda Avenue merchants.
  • Conducting a robust marketing and advertising campaign in publications and social media.
  • Installing more than 180 business continuity parking and wayfinding signs.
  • Waiving city permit fees and expediting permitting for facade improvements.
  • Providing flexibility with respect to certain code enforcement regulations.
  • Enhancing privately owned paseos at the city’s expense.
  • Providing rent abatement for retail tenants in city-owned properties.
With high connectivity, Doral offices 98% full, values reported holding

Office values continue to hold strong in Doral, says Douglas Okun, senior vice president of CREC, which manages the Lennar Corporate Center, where occupancy sits at 98%…

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Tight little island: office space on Miami Beach scarce

As it has historically been, Miami Beach remains a boutique market with very little office space available, sparse parking and no new construction on the horizon, experts say…

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Seven Office Components Headed for Doral

Responding to market demand, several new office spaces are taking shape in Doral, while there is churn in the market farther east in Waterford, sources say…

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Brickell Retail at Premium, with Rents Doubling in a Year

3.9.16-Miami-Today-Brickell-retail-at-premiumWith the opening this fall of Brickell City Centre’s luxury open-air mall and a flood of new residents expected, Brickell has emerged as a sought-after retail spot. …

…  “It’s true that retail follows rooftops,” said Rafael Romero, associate vice president of CREC, “but ‘rooftops’ is just another way of saying ‘people,’ and the rooftops-the people-are here.” One of Brickell’s key advantages is public transit…

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With no new construction,
Doral office space demand rises

Though it is far from the central business district – or maybe because it is – office space in Doral continues to be a hot commodity. “The Doral office market is very active, for several reasons,”…

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Downtown Dadeland’s demand seen increasing with residence openings

Despite coming onto the market in the mid-2000s, shortly before the global recession, Downtown Dadeland has enjoyed remarkable popularity. Anchored by a Metrorail line and adjacent to US 1, Kendall Drive and the Palmetto Expressway, the mixed-use complex offers residential, shopping, restaurants, hotels…

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Escalating Shopping Center Rents Show No Signs of Abating
Miami Today  |  By Catherine Lackner

Retail and shopping-center space in Miami-Dade County is fetching escalating rental rates that show no signs of abating, said Steven Henenfeld (pictured), Vice President of Continental Real Estate Companies (CREC). Vacancy rates are “touching historic lows,” he added.

“Leasing is doing extremely well,” with overall vacancy rates in Kendall standing at only 3%, though there may be individual variations. Some centers in Doral are fully leased, he added.

The area east of I-95 is exploding with high-end retailers paying high-end rents, Mr. Henenfeld said. Brickell, the Design District, Miami Beach – as well as retail planned for Miami Worldcenter – “all is becoming Bal Harbour,” he said.

In Wynwood, retail space is going for more than $50 per square foot, in Brickell for $80-$100 per square foot, in excess of $100 per square foot in the Design District, and higher than $300 per square foot on Lincoln Road, “and these are triple-net leases,” he said.

On the west side of I-95, a tenant could expect to pay “in the high teens into the $20s for a junior big-box” of about 25,000 square feet in Kendall, in the high $30-$40s per square foot in East Kendall, and in the $50 per square foot range in Doral.

“In these markets, even when things were booming in the past, we didn’t see rents like these,” Mr. Henenfeld said.

The reason? “Simple economics – supply and demand,” he said. “There’s a land shortage, and no more places to grow.”

There havs been an explosion of residential development, which creates more demand for retail, he added. The growing economy also provides fuel, he said. “People think the economy is doing extremely well right now, and it reflects their optimism.”

At Dolphin Mall, it’s not only the strength of the American economy, but also Miami’s appeal to international shoppers that has not only kept the mall healthy but triggered a recent expansion that will add five new restaurants, a new valet service and a 1,300-space parking garage.

The mall, which bills itself as Miami-Dade’s largest outlet mall, with 240 stores in 1.4 million square feet, draws a combination of locals as well as domestic and international tourists, said Pete Marrero, mall general manager.

“We have a diversity of customers, with the vast majority of international tourists coming from South America,” he said. For an international destination, South Florida is under-retailed, he said. “I don’t think we have reached the saturation point.”

Even if more retail were to be added, “it might hurt us in the short-term, but on a long-term basis it will only help bring in that many more tourists.”

Investors and lenders have noticed retail’s robust growth, said Jason Shapiro managing director of the Aztec Group.

“We’ve seen a fair amount of transactions happening, both on the investment and financing sides. Lenders are increasing their loan-to-cost or loan-to-value spread.”

For example, on a recent Miami-Dade construction-loan transaction for a center anchored by a Publix, during the pre-leasing process rents rose dramatically, he said. “Over a span of three to six months overall, on average, rents were 20% higher toward the end of the cycle. That supports the positive nature of the things that are going on in retail.”

A number of factors are responsible, he said. “The economy continues to improve in Miami-Dade County and there are unique global sources of capital coming in all the time, seeking investments of this type. There’s only so much land available.”

Future forward movement “depends on interest rates,” he said, “But in the short term I expect it to continue.”

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