FIRC to sell Key Biscayne Shopping Center by the unit
By Sherri Ranta
Key Biscayne Shopping Center is to become a retail condominium as owners FIRC Group Inc. put one of the island's oldest commercial complexes up for sale next week with hopes of generating about $20 million.
Sales are expected to move quickly as tenants and investors consider the unique nature of the shopping center, the oldest on Key Biscayne, and its location near upscale condominium residences and a new hotel, said Tony Fraga, president and CEO of FIRC Group Inc., a Miami-based development company.
"We'd like to start to cash in on our investment and do other things," Mr. Fraga said. "Timing is everything with real estate. I think that right now is a good time to benefit from our efforts from all of these years. It's an opportunity for tenants and investors to own a piece of the most successful shopping center on Key Biscayne."
Built in the 1950s, Key Biscayne Shopping Center is in the 600 block of Crandon Boulevard near new upscale residential complexes Ocean Club and Grand Bay Towers as well as the soon-to-be-completed Ritz Carlton Hotel.
FIRC bought the center for about $6 million about 12 years ago.
Almost half of the center's 76,500 square feet was re-constructed after Hurricane Andrew. A post-hurricane expansion doubled the size of the anchor Winn-Dixie store to 39,300 square feet. The remaining 23 stores share about 37,200 square feet, according to Nickel Goeseke of Cervera Real Estate.
FIRC Group is offering tenants the first choice to purchase their units before the sale next week goes public. About three tenants are expected to buy spaces, Mr. Goeseke said. He declined to name the buyers.
As a general policy, Winn-Dixie leases space and is not expected to purchase the store, Mr. Goeseke said. The lease will be offered to other investors.
In addition to the Winn-Dixie, tenants at the shopping center include BlockBuster Video, Colonial Bank, G&C and Key Pharmacy as well as a real estate office, a jeweler, three restaurants and a clothing store.
"We think," Mr. Goeseke said, "it's going to sell relatively quickly because it's a one-time opportunity to invest in a premier project and location in a special market.
"Once we go to market, we'll have a lot of interest from investors."
Though not common, the idea of a retail condominium complex, is not new. Developer Javier Cervera developed Square On Key Biscayne as a retail condo complex on Crandon Boulevard in the 1980s.
FIRC Group is expected to begin another project on the island. Mr. Fraga said his company will be demolishing a 10,000-square-foot medical office building behind Key Biscayne Shopping Center with plans to rebuild and more than double the square footage.
That project is still in its planning and permitting phase, he said. Cost estimates are not available, Mr. Fraga said. He said FIRC is also developing malls in Miramar and Kendall.