The mood this week at the ICSC Florida Conference, the annual event that brings together roughly 2,000 of the retail industry’s top professionals, was unequivocally optimistic. Throughout Florida, the retail industry is in growth mode, propelled by population growth, strong consumer spending, a recovering housing market and record-breaking tourism. Cross-border investment in Florida’s retail market boomed in 2014, according to the ICSC Florida Retail Report, and with Florida outpacing the rest of the country in terms of population growth, demand is expected to remain strong.
The excitement around what is happening in South Florida – and Miami in particular – was palpable at this year’s event. Miami’s retail vacancy is at its lowest point ever, 3.9%, and record-breaking trades – like last week’s $342 million sale of a portfolio of six Lincoln Road properties to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing – are indicative of investor confidence in South Florida.
The rush of new businesses and residents into Miami is driving new development, most of it in the city’s urban core, where there are four mega-projects under construction or planned that will introduce around 1.8 million square feet of new retail to the city.
Arguably one of the most transformative of these developments is MiamiCentral, the 2.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use transit-oriented development by Florida East Coast Industries, which will have about 185,000 square feet of retail space. Because it will be the nexus for all the public transportation in the city, including the new All Aboard Florida high-speed passenger rail, some 12 million commuters are expected to pass through the terminal every year.
Visionary mixed-use projects like this, that address transportation, urban revitalization and economic development, are just one of the reasons South Florida has become a retailer’s paradise.
By: Ken Krasnow
Managing Director | CBRE South Florida
Ken Krasnow is the Managing Director for CBRE’s South Florida offices. In 2013, his region executed over 1000 transactions – 175 sales, and 825 leases – with an aggregate value exceeding $2.8 billion. In addition, CBRE South Florida completed over 1,400 valuation and advisory assignments and $600 million in loan originations.
Follow CBRE on Twitter: @cbre_Florida
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