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.
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.
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.
Make it easy for consumers to find what they are looking for. In a recent blog Is Veganism Going Mainstream, I discussed how Marshalls was making it easier for vegan shoppers to identify purses that coincide with the shopper’s values. In addition to Marshalls highlighting vegan purses, Whole Foods also makes it easy for consumers following specific dietary guidelines, such as Paleo, Whole 30, Gluten Free etc., to find products that meet their requirements without them having to read every label.
Make it experiential. Whether you own or operate an individual store, a chain of them or a shopping center, the consumer has to experience something beyond the shopping itself. Retailtainment was first used back in 1999 by sociologist and author George Ritzer
Make it interactive. Books and Books, the independently owned local bookstore is amazing at interacting with their customers. In addition to having knowledgeable staff, they have a cafe with great food, spaces for getting together and socializing and they offer book signings and readings by authors. Patrons come early have dinner or a cocktail, socialize, buy the book, and interact with the author. You can’t get that from online shopping and, in spite of technology (or maybe because of it) people want to have places where the can interact.
Make it Instagram and Pinterest worthy: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and the rest of social media has made it essential that whether it is food, clothing, real estate, spaces and places, whatever it is you are selling has to be Instagram and Pinterest worthy. Two places in Miami do that extremely well. Miami Design District and Wynwood. Don’t believe me? Go into Instagram and #miamidesigndistrict to view 158,000 posts or #wynwood to view over 2.4 million posts.
Make it about community. Several of the places already discussed such as Books and Books, the Miami Design District, and Wynwood are great examples. FootWorks in South Miami has running clubs and helps train you for half and full marathons, Dharma Studio in Coconut Grove offers free yoga classes three times a week in the Grove, and Aventura Mall has all sorts of events scheduled throughout the year. If you are in an area that has one, check with your local Business Improvement District and see how you can get involved to bring more traffic to your store.
Coconut Grove has been experiencing yet another revitalization. It has been through at least three cycles of boom to gloom since I moved here in the early 1990’s but, thanks to the commercial property owners, who formed the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District and agreed to tax themselves, this boom feels different. Why? Because the Coconut Grove BID has worked hard to create a community by taking on projects and neighborhood improvements that the City of Miami was not able or was unwilling to. From fixing sidewalks, trimming trees, and sponsoring three free community yoga classes a week through Dharma Studio, the BID has made the Grove a hangout for locals and tourists alike.
Since the BID formed in 2009, new restaurants such as Lokal and Spill Over, both by Matthew Kushner, Glass and Vine by Giorgio Rapicavoli, Strada, and Atchana’s to mention a few have moved in and prospered. SapientRazorfish, one of the largest interactive advertising companies in the world, moved into the Shops at Mayfair and Cocowalk is getting a much needed redesign and tenant mix. Any evening or weekend you can stroll through the shops, parks and restaurants and see the vibrant diversity of this popular neighborhood. If you like what you see, thank the commercial property owners and their BID!
A couple of days ago a wrote about what South Florida will look like in 2070 if we continue developing the way we are. The state of Florida is growing by 1,000 people per day, making traffic unbearable and threatening our quality of life. Luckily, there are many projects going on in South Florida that will improve our community and increase property values around them. Three of them include:
Although today’s Miami Herald article “Housing market shows signs of cooling” may send some buyers back to the sidelines, it should be emphasized that they are referring to the condo market. Here is a snapshot of what EWM’s Coral Gables office saw in activity this week:
New Sales Listings: 15, 6 condos and 9 single family homes, 6 listings above $1 million.
New Rental Listings: 12, 7 condos and 5 single family homes
Residential Sales: 34, 7 condos and 27 single family homes, 3 were above $1 million.
To break what is going on with our sales into percentages, we saw 44% more sales than new listings. Of the 7 condos that sold, one was sold above asking price and another was sold at asking price. The numbers were even more impressive for the single family homes with over 38% of them selling at or above list price (26.47% selling at and almost 12% over).
So what does this mean if you are a seller? If your house or condo is priced right and is in a location with tight inventory, such as the house pictured above listed by EWM’s Carole Smith, it will sell. Now is a great time to list, before inventory in your neighborhood rises.
What does it mean if you are a buyer? If you are looking for a home in a neighborhood with a tight inventory, make sure you are aware of the most recent sales so you know what to offer. If you are interested in a home with a lot of inventory, or with a significant increase in inventory projected, do the numbers to get a good price.
Whether you are visiting Miami to escape cold weather or are a year-round resident enjoying the cool weather and lack of humidity, this Saturday night is a perfect night to head over to the Barnacle moonlight concert. This historic home has an expansive lawn that slopes gently down Biscayne Bay and is an ideal setting for an intimate night of outdoor music.