Discussing real estate in Coconut Grove
The fact that people need to get together to discuss development in a small village is quite scary. Realtors and investors were the interested parties here deciding the fate of Coconut Grove. I mentioned last week that a few people own most of the Center Grove.
Francisco Angulo, President of Coldwell Banker; State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez of District 112; Peter C. Gardner President of PointeGroup Advisors a property management firm; and property owner and F. Antonio Puente Senior VP of Fairchild Partners involved in commercial real estate and the marina waterfront project.
According to Angulo, the residential real estate market in Coconut Grove and the rest of Miami is booming due to a couple of factors, first, the huge infusion of international money pouring in due to instability in other parts of the world, secondly, the ridiculously low number of homes available for sale. Data shows number of properties available here has dropped by about two thirds compared to previous years. It is a seller's market, sellers are getting 97% of the asking price. Research shows Miami is the number one sought after destination for foreigners, Los Angeles takes second place.
Gardner talked about his firm’s plans for the parcels they own in the area. They bought up quite a few locations in the Center Grove and have a plan for Village West, which has been in the works for years -- it's the six block area which is to become a mixed use development. He believes the downturn in Coconut Grove started when the playhouse closed which put a “big hole” in business activity, he now sees a lot of activity in the market and is confident a turnaround has been underway. Gardner defines himself as a very competitive guy so he thinks he can compete with neighboring South Miami, which has benefited greatly from Coconut Groves past malaise, he wants to bring the correct mix of residential, office and retail to PointeGroup’s new parcel, Florentine Plaza at 3444 Main Highway. Gardner and his team plan to redo the whole complex, building out into the parking lot that faces Grand Avenue, off of Fuller Street. The PointeGroup office is now in the former Fuddrucker's space on the top floor.
PointeGroup also owns the former Johnny Rockets location and that whole triangle, going out in either direction up to the former Guess store on Grand Avenue and down towards the New York pizza place, on McFarlane. I do know they are trying to find the right tenant for the Johnny Rocket's location. They do care what goes in there.
Puente talked about the Grove Key Marina/waterfront project (Grove Harbour). He explained that the marina, an Arquitectonica design, will start groundbreaking midyear and once finished major national retailers will be anchor tenants and below the parking area space will be offered to smaller tenants. Anchor tenants? Who?
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff also spoke, he explained that now that Coconut Grove is the last area in his district to become revitalized he knows how to do it right since he has learned from the experiences and mistakes in other areas such as Downtown, Midtown and Brickell. He believes every time another major city raises taxes it benefits us since large firms would want to relocate to Miami. There are venture capital firms that want to invest and relocate here, one for instance that has a large number of employees with an average employee compensation of $80,000 per year.
Sarnoff also talked about pricing for playhouse tickets, trying to come up with a figure that would be reasonable. So it is nice to know that people are making plans for the new playhouse in realistic terms. He also mentioned that the parking space next to the playhouse should be turned into a parking garage. On Thursdays, it's the home of the Grove Green Market, otherwise, it's a small surface parking lot.
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