Commercial development booming in Coral Gables
By Deserae del Campo
Commercial development in Coral Gables is booming as two projects totaling $128 million in construction costs move through city permitting processes and three others are planned nearby.
Developer Ralph Sanchez, along with a team of architects, is inching toward final approval from the city's Development Review Committee for the $82 million Ponce Circle Development at 2801, 2901 and 3001 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
The developer plans to demolish a 10-story and three-story commercial building and several one- and two-story single-family homes now occupying the site to build 10- and 16-story Mediterranean style mixed-used buildings and townhomes.
"We have to go back to the Development Review Board for a Level 1 preliminary review and a Level 2 comprehensive plan for the project," said Mr. Sanchez, an attorney who created the Miami Grand Prix auto race in downtown Miami.
With permitting and design planning set, Mr. Sanchez said construction could begin in about a year-and-a-half.
"Right now, we are listening to what the city and neighbors have said and are in a redesign phase of the project," he said.
The project is to be composed of 43,411 square feet of retail, 10,798 square feet of restaurant space, 501 residential units and 878 parking spaces.
The other big development in Coral Gables, at $46 million, is at 2701 S LeJeune Rd., where developer Armando Codina plans to tear down the City National Bank of Florida building and build two office buildings. The larger of the two will become headquarters for Burger King, which had looked at moving out of the area before the site became available.
The bank will move to a smaller building in the city.
"The project is going through the approval process," said Tadd Schwartz, partner at RBB Public Relations, representing Codina. "In the next couple of months, things should be finalized and moving ahead as planned."
Also in the works are a 69,660-square-foot commercial development at 1600 Ponce de Leon Blvd.; Villa Laguna, a mixed-use development at 4015-4135 Ponce de Leon Blvd.; and Gables Gateway, 4585 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
"Whether a corporate tenant or a condo purchaser, Coral Gables is considered a premier address not only because of its central location but also because it's a fabulous environment to live and work," said Catherine Swanson, director of the Coral Gables Department of Development.
"Our city provides an exciting location for commercial development," said Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick. "We have a clean environment and a secure downtown area that appeals to the urban masses of South Florida." "The city continues to receive significant interest from investors wanting to build in Coral Gables," Ms. Swanson said. "Their biggest challenge isn't the process but rather the availability of land."