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Panelists spoke at the RealInsight’s Florida Commercial Real Estate Summit at the Hyatt Regency Miami on Wednesday, October 16, highlighting the potential for distribution centers, hotels, shopping malls, technology hub and sports stadiums in Florida’s major cities.

Despite years of continuous activity, Florida’s industrial and multifamily sectors still have room for growth,  said Crocker Partners Managing Partner Angelo Bianco, Mitchell Property Realty President Ed Mitchell and Merrimac Ventures President and CEO Dev Motwani.

“Industrial is where we get our stuff,” said Mitchell.

His company recently bought industrial warehouses in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, and is soon closing on one in Miami.

“Capital lenders are all over you. It’s nice. Everybody wants to do industrial now,” Mitchell said when asked how capital partners influence his acquisition strategies. “But land costs present a challenge. It costs more to get land in Miami than to build.”

The average land acquisition price per square foot costs $60 to $70 a square foot.

In Boca Raton, Crocker is creating a campus with a food court and STEAM lab maker space, hoping to draw a tech company.

“The idea is to make the workplace like a hotel.” Bianco credited WeWork for the concept. “Their loss is our gain,” referring to the company’s recent woes.

The retail category drew little enthusiasm from panelists, especially at this time when national chains are flailing.

“The spaces are of interest only when there is a big box that you can tear down and add multifamily,” said Motwani. “Multifamily developments continue to generate strong returns, especially in the luxury market.”

As for why affordable projects don’t draw greater interests, Motwani pointed to the financial realities.

“Concrete costs what it costs. Land costs what it costs,” said Motwani. “From a financing perspective, it makes sense to get luxury condos done, not affordable housing.”

But municipalities can encourage affordable housing development through incentives, including fee relief, parking ratios and adding density bonuses, agreed Motwani and Bianco.

 

Source: Miami Herald

Intense real estate development in Fort Lauderdale may shift from the downtown area and the beach to neighborhoods south of the New River and other areas.

“You’re going to see a tremendous development amount of activity downtown, and that will continue,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. But in upcoming years, “I think you’re going to see more on South Andrews Avenue.”

Seiler was one of five members of a panel who spoke Wednesday night at the sales center for the Gale Residences Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Another panelist, Ken Stiles, co-CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corp., cited the potential for development of the area around the Broward Health Medical Center at 1600 South Andrews Avenue.

“It’s just waiting for somebody to step in and do something there,” Stiles said. “There’s not a lot of opportunity downtown anymore … so you’re going to have to look elsewhere. Yet assembling large tracts of land in the South Andrews Avenue corridor is a challenge. There are a couple of big landholders there that make it difficult for us to go in there.”

Fort Lauderdale-based developer Dev Motwani said the city’s planned streetcar system, the Wave, will reinvigorate the South Andrews Avenue corridor when it starts operating there.

“Imagine what’s going to happen when the Wave starts operating,” Motwani said. “Housing is an obvious play” for developers in the South Andrews area, “but there’s also retail opportunity. You can bring restaurants and shops that you didn’t have the daytime population for.”

Sean Jones, vice president of Milton Jones Development Corp. in Dania Beach, said he expects more new construction to unfold northwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale in the Sistrunk Boulevard corridor.

“You’re going to see more intense development in the northwest,” Jones said, citing such catalysts as the summer startup of the Brightline passenger train service at its Fort Lauderdale station, located at 101 Northwest Second Avenue.

The Fort Lauderdale economy is on a roll. Employment in metropolitan Fort Lauderdale increased by 28,604 jobs in 2016, more than in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“But financing development in Fort Lauderdale still can be difficult,” Jones said. “It’s a great place. But many times, banks are looking at things on a national basis, and on a national basis, they’re starting to pull back on financing.”

 

Source: The Real Deal