AHEAD OF THE DEAL

Three seasons later, Marlins Park impact is minimal on area’s residential real-estate market

 
 
PETER ZALEWSKI
PETER ZALEWSKI

Special to the Miami Herald

As the Miami Marlins begin a third season at their $639 million publicly financed ballpark in Little Havana, the state-of-the-art stadium equipped with a retractable roof has had a minimal impact on the surrounding area’s residential real-estate market. (www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/01/27/miami-marlins-have-become-baseballs-most-expensive-stadium-disaster/)

Pitched to voters as a financial catalyst for the economically challenged area on the south bank of the Miami River, Marlins Park appears to have done little since its opening in April 2012 to bolster the neighborhood’s residential resale prices, spur an increase in transactions or even generate any sizable residential construction by the private sector.

It can be argued that the most encouraging sign for the area’s residential real-estate market is the recent news that a bulk buyer is selling off individual condo units in a troubled project that was acquired during the last South Florida boom-and-bust cycle.

Besides that, the residential real-estate statistics coming out of the Marlins Park neighborhood — Northwest Eighth Avenue west to Northwest 22nd Avenue, and the Miami River south to Flagler Street — are uninspiring.

For example, buyers purchased 35 condo resales at an average price of about $83,700 each in 2013, compared with 28 units at an average of less than $77,400 in 2012, according to data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

In the area’s single-family house market, buyers purchased 19 homes at an average price of nearly $129,500 in 2013, compared with 21 homes at an average of $120,400 in 2012.

Additionally, investors acquired 11 residential income properties at an average price of less than $177,150 in 2013, compared with 14 properties at an average price of $194,400 in 2012, according to the data.

Even as rental rates in South Florida have skyrocketed in recent years, the data captured by the Southeast Florida MLXchange suggests the trend is not occurring around Marlins Park.

Tenants leased 40 properties at an average monthly price of $1,221 in 2013, compared with 61 properties at an average price of $1,252 in 2012, according to the data.

Contrast the current residential real-estate market around Marlins Park with the series of new development proposed for nearby neighborhoods such as Edgewater, Wynwood and Civic Center that are also economically challenged.

As Miami-Dade County’s residential resale inventory has fallen, prices have risen to high enough levels to spur a new wave of construction all around the Marlins Park area.

To the east in greater downtown Miami, developers are proposing more than 50 new condo towers with nearly 14,650 units, plus hundreds of new rental units.

To the south on Eighth Street — or Calle Ocho — in the heart of Little Havana, a developer has just launched presales for a pair of new condo towers with a combined 320 units.

To the west in Coral Gables, developers are proposing seven new condo towers with more than 700 units, plus a series of rental projects.

To the north across the Miami River in the Civic Center neighborhood, a developer has proposed the $150 million River Landing mixed-use project composed of retail, office, civic center and residential space on the site of the Mahi Shrine Auditorium on Northwest North River Drive.

It is not to say that the residential area around Marlins Park is doomed to its current sluggish state, but rather any new development that is to occur will probably be influenced primarily by the improving South Florida economy.

The unanswered question going forward is whether government leaders — who have already pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds for the new stadium — will take any steps to incentivize residential real-estate developers to take notice during this growth cycle of the economically challenged area around Marlins Park.

Peter Zalewski is a principal with the Miami real-estate consultancy Condo Vultures. Zalewski, a licensed Florida real-estate professional since 1995 and founder of CVR Realty and Condo Vultures Realty LLC, advises developers, lenders and institutional investors. Zalewski also runs the preconstruction condo project website CraneSpotters.com in conjunction with the Miami Association Of Realtors.

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