Large Texas developer plans to hold onto Dadeland condo project
By Marilyn Bowden
One of the nation's largest residential developers is building a condo community in the bustling Dadeland Mall area.
Fairfield Development, headquartered in Texas, has 35 years of development experience nationwide, but
Vice President Omar Del Rio said the company's focus in the Miami area has been to sell projects under construction or rehabilitation, often to condo converters.
Toscano, the company's Dadeland project, represents a departure from that strategy. Mr. Del Rio said it's the first South Florida development Fairfield will retain through completion.
"Fairfield loves markets with high barriers to entry such as Southern California, the District of Columbia and Boston," Mr. Del Rio said. "These are markets where it's tougher and more expensive to build and where it takes more time to get a project entitled. This is where we have our expertise."
Although Fairfield has been a major apartment developer, he said, "due to years of low interest rates, the rental market throughout the country lost a good deal of clientele, especially on the high end. Everyone is buying, and with construction costs going through the roof, it's tough to make a rental work."
Fairfield announced that sales have begun for Toscano, a 25-story, 396-unit community with ground-level retail that is under construction at 7360 N. Kendall Dr., across the street from Dadeland Mall in one direction and Publix in another.
The first phase will be completed early next summer, said Mr. Del Rio.
Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors, which is marketing the condos, said 66 were sold in the first weekend on the market. He said he anticipates a 50% sellout by the end of this month.
"We are dealing with a lot more users than most projects through the contacts our salespeople have," he said. "Since the first phase of the project is visibly under way and will be ready in a year, it's not like buying during presales."
He said units range from 687 to 2,499 square feet and are priced from the low $200,000s. Buyers tend to be younger people or empty-nesters, he said, who want to be near rapid transit and be able to walk to conveniences. The sales center is in Dadeland Mall next to Saks Fifth Avenue.
Mr. Shuffield said the Multiple Listing Service shows an inventory of only 60 existing condos for resale in the 11 square miles between Kendall Drive, US 1, 136th Street and Florida's Turnpike. "We're selling about 25 a month," he said, "so that's less than a three-month level of inventory. It shows there's a real shortage of condo units in this area."
The county's zoning department lists more than 3,000 condos planned for the Dadeland area, but Mr. Shuffield said fewer than 1,000 are under construction. "The buildout will be staggered," he said.
Toscano, designed by Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolf & Associates, will consist of two main buildings with differing unit styles, Mr. Del Rio said. The first phase, a five-story building fronting Kendall Drive, will feature ground-floor retail topped by four levels of residential units built around a courtyard. The second residential tower will be 25 stories high.
Because the county has mandated concealed parking facilities for construction near Dadeland, Mr. Del Rio said, residential units will wrap around the garage. A tri-level bridge connecting the two buildings to facilitate access to parking will house a gymnasium, he said.
Amenities include a 25,000-square-foot recreational deck with heated swimming pool and whirlpool spa, a fitness center with cardio and free-weight equipment, an exercise studio, sauna rooms and a meditation garden.
Among residential projects planned or under way in Dadeland are the335-unit Towers of Dadeland at Dadeland North Metrorail station; Downtown Dadeland, 416 units at Southwest 88th Street and Dadeland Boulevard; the Colonnade, 555 units at Southwest 82nd Street and Southwest 72nd Avenue; and Renaissance at Dadeland, 245 units at 8100 SW 72nd Ave.