Downtown Parking Lot Put Up For Sale At 95 Million
By Marilyn Bowden
A parcel of more than 2 acres in the heart of downtown Miami is on the market for the first time in 14 years.
The property, a full block at South Miami Avenue and Southeast Second Street, just west of the Bank of America Tower and at ramps to Interstate 95, is now a parking lot. It was assembled by Federated Department Stores in the 1980s and sold to a private investment group in 1989, said Allan White, a broker at Colliers International who is marketing it.
He quoted an asking price of $9.5 million, or $104 a square foot.
"It would be particularly interesting, in my opinion," Mr. White said, "for a developer to do a mixed-use project on this site, such as one residential tower and one office tower over a common parking pedestal with ground-floor retail. I can easily envision a landmark project of, say, 325,000 square feet of residential units, 300,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail."
The kind of residential development he has in mind, he said, is moderately priced condominiums that would serve people who work in the downtown core.
"The most important thing in revitalizing downtown is to have people living here," said Alonso Menendez, chief of staff at Miami’s Downtown Development Authority, whose mission is to promote the development of the downtown core. More than 60,000 commute to jobs downtown, he said.
"We have to provide housing for those people," Mr. Menendez said. "If we build it, they will come. If we provide them with appropriate housing at adequate pricing, it will turn us into a 24-hour city."
Mr. White pointed out that the high-end One Miami project is among few downtown residential projects. "At a relatively low 10% land-to-building ratio, final unit pricing for condominiums would thus be about $158,000 to $190,000. This should be very realistic and achievable in the Central Business District and should also compete very well against luxury residential units, which may well be in oversupply if every project is actually built."
Adding to its value as a site for condos, he said, is the proximity of four Peoplemover stations.
"Due to the site’s odd configuration," Mr. White said, "the upper floors would have unimpeded river views and natural light."
Mr. White said his second idea for the land – a new Class A office tower in a market with a vacancy rate in the double digits – is debatable. Nevertheless, he said, "I think Miami is ready for a new office building.
"If a tenant comes into the downtown market with a sizable space requirement today, the largest contiguous space available is 47,000 square feet on two floors in a building that is nearly 30 years old. We don’t have large blocks of contiguous office space – and that is what fuels new construction."
Needing up to four years to obtain major-use special permits, Mr. White said, a new office tower could not come on line until at least 2006.
"There are a number of large users whose leases expire in 2006-7," he said, "including law firms, accounting firms and banks."
Tom Dixon of Thomas J. Dixon & Associates and a long-time broker in the area, said that although the price may be good, "value is related to what can economically be built there.
"Right now, there is a very large supply of available office space in Brickell and downtown," he said, "and perhaps an excess of condos. I wish them luck, and it may be there is someone that needs that kind of space. But there are other sites of that size in the downtown area."