According to economist Ted C. Jones, US retail sales and the demand for goods resulted in the freight rates for 20 foot containers from Shanghai to the US to increase approximately 125% in the past 12 months.
Another economist, Elliott Eisenberg PhD, also states that retail sales are terrific and that though we are buying goods online and curbside during the pandemic, it shows that consumer consumption has recovered.
What does that mean for commercial real estate in general and retail space specifically? I think there is a lot of pent up demand for going out, mingling with people, touching, feeling and trying on what people want to buy. With all of the people moving to South Florida, I think retail is going to rebound and will do so quickly. The products and services may change, but people still want an experience when they shop. At least I do!
It may sound strange, but there are several things that resulted from the pandemic that I am grateful for. One of the ones that I hope will stick around is the increase in street narrowing or closing to allow for more outdoor dining. It always struck me as strange that South Florida doesn’t have a lot of outdoor dining. I know summers get hot and sticky and we can get severe thunderstorms, but we also have a lot of beautiful days and evenings that are perfect for outdoor dining.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had a socially distance dinner with our neighbors on their back patio. Dinner was delicious and when I raved about the meat, they raved about Wild Fork Foods, which had recently opened their Pinecrest location.
I had heard about Wild Fork before, from a foodie friend of mine who also happens to be a great cook. He had told me about their salmon and said he was so impressed by the quality. Now that I had heard about it from two reliable sources, I was ready to go visit a place I had been curious about, since I had seen its storefront in Coral Gables, across from the University of Miami.
Their Pinecrest space is approximately 5,000 square feet, typical of their store size, full of freezers and nicely displayed food options, from plain ingredients up to fully cooked. They have a variety of meat, including some specialty meats, such as alligator, yak and elk. They also have frozen sauces, side dishes, veggies, fruit and desserts. Based on their pricing, strategic locations, quality, and the fact that the pandemic has made people change their shopping habits to go out less frequently and order groceries on-line, I think Wild Fork is going to see success in the Florida market and will continue to expand. If you own a retail center, you may want to consider them as a tenant.
Back in May, the National Association of Realtors released “Case Studies of Repurposing Vacant Malls.” Although none of them were in Florida, the case studies, and Morgan Stanley’s warning that 30-35% of U.S. shopping malls could close permanently, got me to thinking about what some of our local shopping malls have done to not close or have to repurpose.
My favorite one of the moment is CocoWalk. Purchased in 2015 for $87.5 million by Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property, and Michael Comras, the property is currently undergoing a major renovation turning it into a modern, mixed-use center, with office, retail and entertainment. I am especially looking forward to the offerings by Groot Hospitality
I am not one of the people who believe retail is dead. I only think it is changing, from old and passive to new and exciting. As always, those with a vision like the new CocoWalk group, will bring the change required to revive and renovate commercial buildings that may be affected by the pandemic.
Yes, you heard that correctly…some small businesses are expanding during the pandemic. Aria Rose Boutique in Coral Gables is just one example. Owned and curated by Lauren Patao, this boutique started out in a bedroom, grew to a small store front and, in the middle of a pandemic, expanded to it’s beautiful new location. I think Lauren’s positive attitude, clear vision, friendly disposition, customer service, and the gratitude she exudes in everything she does, as well as her sense of easy, comfortable style, accounts for her success.
Quick Disclaimer: I rarely eat doughnuts and when I do, it is usually only a jelly doughnut. A long time ago, a very non-nutritious friend of mine told me that the jelly doughnut was the most perfectly balanced food because it contained all of the 5 basic food groups. When I asked her how she figured that, she told me with a straight face, “The dough is the bread/grain group, the jelly is the fruit group, and they are made with milk and eggs.” I pointed out that she was missing the vegetable group and she responded that they are fried in vegetable oil! Anyway, I digress and have made this disclaimer longer than I thought.
Remember several of years ago when cupcakes, large and mini, were everywhere? Cupcake wedding cakes, cupcake birthday cakes, bridal showers, you name it, there were cupcakes and little cupcake shops were popping up in neighborhoods everywhere. I rarely eat cupcakes either, but I did enjoy all of the new, creative flavors that popped up when the cupcake craze hit. The craze hasn’t necessarily died down, I am happy to say that both Misha’s Cupcakes and Buttercream Cupcakes in Coral Gables near South Miami are both still around and are very popular. Misha’s are still so popular that you can find them at Miami International Airport.
But we’ve moved on in the carb alphabet from the “c’s” to the “d’s” for the latest food fad. Although they actually started popping up in 2015-2016, stores are opening up second locations and Instagram activists are snapping away. In South Miami, Honeybee Doughnuts has been open since 2016, they are frequently closed when I drive by because they sell out so often, and they are opening a second store in The Falls Shopping Center. Their doughnuts are works of art and extremely Instagrammable.
The Salty Donut has been around since 2015, since it started as pop-up in Wynwood. They recently opened their second store, this one in South Miami. They too have a cult following and I am sure the reason they opened up in South Miami was to satisfy their customers in the southern end of the county who spent countless hours driving to their Wynwood location.
Mojo Donuts, with locations in Hollywood and Miami, are opening up a third location in Coral Gables/South Miami. Mojo Donuts also has fried chicken, so I guess they are the new “chicken and waffles”.
I drove by The Underline’s Brickell Backyard, the first phase of 9 phases, and am excited to see that construction has started. This ambitious project will convert 10 miles and 120 acres of unused space under the existing MetroRail into a vibrant linear park. In the process, it will transform the real estate along the 10 mile corridor as well.
In case you hadn’t noticed, summer in South Florida is in full swing and the dog days of summer, the hottest time of year, starts today!
The rich smells of mangoes, mixed with the briny smell of the ocean, flowering jasmine, and bug spray are held in the humid air that surrounds us. School has been out for a while, the streets are less chaotic at rush hour times, and the beaches are a lot less crowded. Still, the heat and humidity can get the best of us.
Here are some tips to surviving the dog days of summer.
Relax! Miami Spa Month is actually two full months of discounts and special deals at Miami’s top spas.
Chill out – There are so many great ice cream spots to help you cool off. Two not in that link that I like are, for 21 and older only, Aubi & Ramsa, and Wall’s Ice Cream Parlor, which has good old-fashioned ice cream.
Spice it up – Miami Spice Month is also two full months of discounts and fixed-price menus are many of Miami’s award-winning chef restaurants.
Renovation is nothing new to investors who look for value-add properties. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint, new fixtures, or an exterior update are all that is needed for a new owner to be able to boost rents.
I have read several articles lately about re-purposing buildings, and there is a great example of one in Coconut Grove. Touzette studios designed a mixed use office and retail building out of a parking garage.
The Shoppes at Sunset Place and Cocowalk are a combination of all three.
With cooler weather and Miami’s “in” season almost here, I thought it might be appropriate to give us all a jump start on Miami Art Week, by listing some places where we can see art. Year round. In our own back yard. Without crowds. For FREE!
Other than the obvious Wynwood, there are so many places to see art in Miami. Thanks to Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places and astute business owners who also happen to be art aficionados, there are plenty of places to see art in Miami. In no particular order, and by no means all inclusive, here are a few of my favorites: