Work Begins On Cutler Ridge Shopping Center With Razing
Written by Eric Kalis on May 18, 2006
By Eric Kalis
The former Builders Square Garden Center in Cutler Ridge was demolished this month, the first step toward completion of the Cutler Bay Towne Center by year’s end.
Coral Gables developer Fraga Properties closed on the $12 million purchase of the 135,000-square-foot building at 20811 S. Dixie Highway in March. The building had been vacant for several years before Fraga bought it, said Kelly Smith, an agent for Colliers Abood Wood-Fay who brokered the deal.
"After Hurricane Andrew, the place became basically dead," Mr. Smith said. "Only in the last year have national retailers paid attention" to the Cutler Ridge area, "but this project is at an awesome location and should do very well."
Fraga President Albert Fraga said he received the necessary demolition and work permits from Miami-Dade County in April to break ground on a new retail center. After razing the Garden Center, he said, the company converted the lot into 88 parking spaces.
On Friday, Mr. Fraga said, he will submit to county officials plans to subdivide and renovate the Builders Square main building.
"Right now, the façade is pretty much a box," he said. "We will add circles and elevated signage for tenants. Obviously it will be subdivided, so there are several important entryways that do not exist yet."
Mr. Fraga said he proceeded with construction though he had not signed any leases because the company has received letters of intent for all but 15,000 square feet of the building. He said leases should be signed within a few months and two groups have expressed interest in the remaining space.
"We made the decision to commence with the plan prior to leasing because it is the only way to achieve our goal of finishing the project in this calendar year," he said.
Mr. Fraga said prospective tenants include home-improvement stores, furniture and clothing stores and fitness centers.
When Mr. Smith attended the International Council of Shopping Centers convention last summer in Orlando, he said, the building generated significant interest from national retailers.
Fraga Properties has developed numerous malls in Florida, including the Doral Pointe Shopping Center and Doral Retail Shopping Center.