Office Condos Rising As Interest Rates Increase Appeal Of Ownership
Written by Frank Norton on March 20, 2003
By Frank Norton
Office condos continue to rise as construction of the $21 million Minorca begins this week in Coral Gables.
Owned offices are growing in popularity as low interest rates spur small businesses to think equity instead of rent, says Minorca developer Frank Espinosa of Miami-based BEC Group.
The eight-story complex at 2000 Douglas Road is to include 157 condo units for office, retail and residential, BEC said.
"The need stems basically from Miami demographics," Mr. Espinosa said referring to Miami-Dade County. "We found in our market research that a lot of Latin buyers are used to owning their own business spaces back in their home countries, so this gives them an opportunity to do so here."
Offices and homes will range from $250,000 to $450,000.
Minorca is about 75% pre-sold, said Howard Taft, of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, which secured $5 million in financing for the project.
The Mediterranean-style complex emphasizes stone pillars and pastel colors common to the city’s business district. Small firms will occupy about 50,000 square feet on lower levels, Mr. Espinosa said, with one- to three-bedroom units above.
Minorca is not the first in a wave of mixed-use condo developments.
A few blocks away developer Tibor Hollo of Florida East Coast Realty is planning a 16-story office condo at Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Minorca Avenue.
"This is the second building I’ve heard coming with office condos so it could be the start of a trend," said Gables Mayor Don Slesnick.
The mayor said he understands the need for commercial and residential diversity.
"Good buildings with good mixes contribute to the downtown by bringing in people to work and live, and that promotes business and commerce in any area."