New medical offices to serve South Miami-Baptist Hospital area
By Marilyn Bowden
A Sunset Drive apartment building ravaged by hurricanes in recent years has been demolished to make way for an office building targeting medical users.
Developer Linda Rozynes said she plans to break ground at 9035 Sunset Drive this month on Sunset Tropic Building, a 36,500-square-foot, two-story class A building to be ready for occupancy in spring or summer 2003.
"The site is 2 miles from South Miami Hospital and a mile from Baptist Hospital," said Michael Taylor, a broker at Keyes who is handling leasing. "It's an area with a lot of physicians' offices, most in older buildings.
"With vacancy so low and demand at such a high premium from the growing medical community, the building should be leased in a short time."
Mr. Taylor said since signs went up at the site he's fielded inquiries for more than the building's total square footage.
He quoted the minimum space available at 2,500 square feet at an average rate of $28.75 a square foot net of electric, with incentives for the first sign-on.
Class A buildings represent 23.39% of the office market in the South Dade-Kendall submarket, according to a first quarter report from RealData Information Services. Occupancy in these properties is officially 85.9%, the report says, but "with as much as 11,227 square feet of sublease space available, an overall occupancy rate of about 83.23% is indicated."
However, RealData's statistics show class A office properties in a six-block radius of the Sunset Tropic site have occupancies ranging from 92%-100%.
RealData reports an average class A rental rate of $25.35 a square foot, up 1.12% from the same period last year, and that rates have increased at an average of 2.24% annually since 1997.
Most medical office buildings in the area were built in the 1980s, Ms. Rozynes said. Many have not been retrofitted for today's technological needs.
Sunset Tropic, designed by Peter Diaz, will have high-impact glass windows, larger pipes to allow for extra bathrooms or medical equipment, a back-up generator, full 24-hour security and four to five parking spaces per tenant, she said.
The Mediterranean-style lobby done in granite and marble, she said, is the work of interior designer Paula Atsch.
Coconut Grove Bank provided funding for the project. Design Build Interamerican is contractor.
Ms. Rozynes, whose background is in apartment acquisition and renovation, said this is her first development project.
She said she bought the 2.2 acres from her father "quite a few years ago.
"It had an unusual apartment building," she said, "that was one of the original properties developed when everything around it was agricultural.
"The site was originally owned by Mildred Cox, an old-timer who dealt in real estate and antiques. The present Sunset Congregational Church to the east of my property was her home. She started putting up buildings on properties around it."
Nature and a changing market dictated the demolition of the apartment complex to make way for the office building, Ms. Rozynes said.
"As every parcel of land around me has been developed, this site ended up being the lowest in the neighborhood," she said. "In 1999 Hurricane Irene dumped about two feet of water on it. We renovated and rented, and a year almost to the day later the no-name storm dumped three feet of water and left a lake behind.
"I realized there was no way of fixing this problem. Because everything else was now higher, the apartments would be the cesspool of the area. We had to close them."
Ms. Rozynes said she had the site rezoned several years ago to conform to the county's master plan, which calls for office buildings along Sunset.
Details: (305) 371-3592, ext. 247.