Two Coral Way Parcels Return To West Brickell Market
Written by Marilyn Bowden on July 20, 2000
By Marilyn Bowden
Two Coral Way plots are back on the market as West Brickell land values continue to appreciate.
A 2.4-acre parcel surrounding a recently redeveloped Amoco filling station across from the Brickell Publix, valued at $5.2 million when it was assembled by the Trion Group three years ago, now bears an asking price of $7.1 million.
Just down the block, LaSalle Partners is looking to sell a 2.07-acre site at 1200 S Miami Ave. that was to have been redeveloped as an apart-hotel and spa.
LaSalle spokespersons did not release prices, but the previous owners paid $6.6 million for the site in 1982.
Trion President Ken Barber, who owns the Brickell area Walgreens building opposite the parcel for sale, said rapid appreciation in property values has made his original plans for the site untenable.
"Property changes in character as the market drives it," he said. "Four years ago Publix and Walgreens were doing very well. It seemed like a good opportunity to build a 30,000- square-foot local center. The price of property made sense then.
"We put together a plan and fully leased the project."
But changes in the market have made it apparent that that plan was not the highest and best use of the property, Mr. Barber said.
"If we built it," he said, "in 10 years it would be torn down again by market demand."
As Brickell becomes "a community within a community," he said, the land is better suited to a vertical mixed-use project involving residential, retail and office components not Trion’s area of expertise, though he would consider joint development.
"With the Hyde Park property at the tail end of Coral Way in what wasn’t even an area for investment until recently selling for $70 a foot," he said, "you’ve got to think West Brickell is coming into its own."
Edie Laquer of Laquer Corporate Realty, broker for both re-listed properties, says it’s all a question of timing.
"Typically in real estate time works against you," she said. "But in terms of West Brickell investments, time works for you."
Commenting on the LaSalle sale, Ms. Laquer said it took quite a few years to put the property together and come up with a highest and best use as an apart-hotel.
"What was determined after that evaluation period," she said, "was that in view of the fact that you can count available properties on one hand, the best use is to sell rather than develop.
"LaSalle’s plate is full with projects around the country, and they felt they would be best served by concentrating on other projects."
Developer Harvey Taylor, who jump-started the area’s retail redevelopment with the Publix Plaza, said rising land values are fueled by the absence of buildable tracts still left in the area.
"Developers of those tracts can’t afford the intended use and can’t afford to pay the land price," he said.
Mr. Taylor’s Coral Station project just east of Publix was redesigned, he says, and he will start getting construction documents shortly. It will include apartments, office, retail and a parking garage.
Commercial brokers familiar with the area say the sale of the Hyde Park property at $70 a square foot would certainly encourage nearby land-owners to sell.
Ms. Laquer said the Walgreens and Publix sites on Coral Way sold in the low- to mid-$30s a square foot in the early 1990s.
"This is a normal reaction to what’s happening in the marketplace," said Bob Valledor, owner of Valledor Co. "Every time there’s a change to a major property it creates renewed interest in the buildings around it."
As interest in the area grows and land becomes more scarce, he said, the law of supply and demand drives prices up.
"About 15 or 20 years ago the Coral Way corridor was experiencing land values at these numbers," said Tom Dixon of Thomas J. Dixon Inc. "Then sales activity diminished. It looks like Coral Way is coming back into the cycle.
"As Brickell develops there’s an overflow of interest in adjoining real estate."
But with most proposed development planned for Seventh and Eighth streets close to the Miami River, Mr. Dixon said, "it’s surprising that there would be interest in Coral Way properties." Details: Laquer Corporate Realty, (305) 374-6116.