Erase doom and gloom: Miami-Dade commercial realty shines
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
With the first half of the year almost in the rearview mirror, commercial realty professionals pronounce conditions better than projected, with industrial, office and retail markets activity picking up.
From sales to leasing to new projects, activity is rising in a market badly hit by the real estate bust and financial crisis, which have left their marks.
But large transactions, international investment growth and new developments on the horizon are firm indicators that Miami-Dade is positioned for a strong comeback.
On the industrial side, leasing has been significant in the year's first five months, with about 1.5 million square feet leased in the first quarter, said Audley Bosch, director of industrial brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield in Miami.
Those industrial coups included beauty products business Betty Dain Creations leasing 130,000-square-foot headquarters in Medley's Flagler Station and Gamma USA taking 150,000 square feet in East Hialeah.
The main factors driving demand in the industrial market are international trade, specifically in the Caribbean and Latin America, Mr. Bosch added, and local pent-up demand "from the uncertain times we were going through."
Reviews are mixed in the office market, as business hubs like downtown Miami and Brickell face an added inventory of 2 million square feet, with the last of three new towers to open its doors in August.
With few new-to-market entries, office tenants have been hopscotching from one building to another, absorbing space in one building while leaving a void in another.
Despite not having sufficient demand for the abundance of office space available, some properties have managed to boost their tenant rosters.
For example, new 1450 Brickell is 65% leased, with 27 tenants committing to the 35-story building since it opened last year, including several new to the market.
The 32-story Brickell Bay Office Tower has signed seven new leases and renewals for a combined 37,000 square feet so far this year, said Christian Driussi, the tower's vice president.
"We are in talks with different prospects" for the remaining 26,000 square feet, Mr. Driussi said. "We believe, with some of them, we are very close to reaching an agreement."
Retail hot spots such as South Beach, downtown Miami, Brickell and Midtown are gaining tremendous traction and are seeing a positive growth in sales, said Lyle Stern, president of Koniver Stern Group.
"The Lincoln Road customer [base] is as strong as it's ever been," he said. "I think the hotel occupancy numbers reflect that."
In February, popular retailer H&M announced plans to open its first Miami-Dade store on Lincoln Road.
Add to that major commercial projects close to breaking ground.
The planned Met Square and Met 3 are to bring a Whole Foods Market, movie theater and 2,000-space garage to downtown. In Brickell, the newly unveiled 4.6 million-square-foot CitiCentre is to house a major shopping center, hotel, two residential towers and an office building.
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