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After the Dust Settles: Implications of Continued Development in South Florida

Albert E. Dotson, Jr.

To say South Florida’s real estate market is “booming” would be an understatement. The massive interest in development throughout Miami and its surrounding cities continues to increase. To quantify just how large this interest is, the Miami Herald has recently reported that, since 2011, developers have announced 400 new condo buildings with nearly 49,000 units for sites located east of I95 in the South Florida region. With any large development boom, however, comes implications and obstacles. More development means more people, and more people means more necessary infrastructure.

There are two specific areas where South Florida’s rapid development has produced significant implications. First, some traditionally low-income neighborhoods, namely Overtown and Doral, are experiencing major price surges. The Real Deal reports that in Overtown, one of Miami’s poorest communities, land was selling for about $20 per square foot when developers first started to take interest in the area. Now, land in Overtown is hitting the $150 per square foot range. Why the surge? Overtown is very centrally located. It sits between Downtown Miami and the new and trendy Design District, areas already exploding with development and opportunity. Overtown is also attractive because it is situated near sites for three exciting new projects—All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral, Miami Worldcenter, and the proposed Miami Innovation Tower. A handful of developers are rapidly closing deals on properties throughout Overtown, hoping to renovate and improve the area while still allowing those already living there to stay.

Doral is another hotspot experiencing a major price surge. As the home site of Trump National Doral and higher-end Lennar developments like Central Park Astoria, The Daily Business Review has reported that Doral is now among the most expensive cities in Florida. Its sudden boom can be attributed to the new and growing downtown area, which offers residents walkable conveniences. People are also attracted to brand new units being offered within several well-planned housing developments. We wrote about this boom back in 2013 and accurately identified both Downtown and Doral as hot emerging markets that are now making a serious impact on South Florida’s overall development.

The second implication of South Florida’s rapid development lies in transportation. With growing cities and booming development, South Florida is faced with an important question: how will it address it’s increasing population’s transportation needs? The answer is surely not simple, but the dilemma does present some interesting opportunities, including the opportunity for public private partnerships (P3s) to improve our transportation system. Cities or counties can engage in public private partnerships with experienced private companies to make transportation in and around South Florida a much less daunting venture. As we discussed in a past post about development spurred from The Underline, South Florida is teed up for several P3 opportunities that accompany creative development efforts.  With all the new and existing projects taking hold throughout South Florida, Miami Dade County could benefit from public private partnerships as a way to combat the overcrowding implications of rapid development.

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