Real Estate News

Miami’s Marlins Park neighborhood strikes out

Special to the Miami Herald

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski .

Nearly seven years ago, when construction started on a new state-of-the-art Miami Marlins baseball stadium, the underlying hope was that this massive public-private investment would trigger revitalization in an economically challenged part of the Little Havana neighborhood.

Back in the summer of 2009, South Florida’s residential real estate was bottoming out from a dramatic building boom that was fueled by loose lending and flip-minded buyers.

When the 37,400-seat Marlins Park finally opened in April 2012, the South Florida residential real estate market was in the early stages of this current cycle that has led to a run up in resale transactions, property prices and a development pipeline of more than 50,000 new condo units announced for east of Interstate 95, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

(For disclosure, my firm operates the website.)

Fast forward to this week’s start of the 2016 baseball season marking the fifth year of playing in Marlins Park. is once Again, the South Florida real estate market is showing signs of peaking as the number of available residential properties increases to lofty levels while the number of resales decreases as local prices hit a pinnacle.

During this latest boom, the Marlins Park neighborhood that stretches from the Miami River south to Flagler Street and Northwest 8th Avenue west to Northwest 22nd Avenue has largely been ignored by residential real estate developers and investors despite prices that are relatively low compared to other areas.

The handful of projects that were announced in the last few years have not yet launched, creating doubt about their likelihood of being developed during this cycle.

A number of factors have created challenges for the Marlins Park neighborhood, not least of which is the competition for developer dollars from other up-and-coming neighborhoods to the east such as the Design District, Upper Eastside and Wynwood.

Even the eastern portion of the Little Havana neighborhood has garnered more developer attention in recent years as efforts have gained momentum to revise the zoning rights in favor of larger projects in the area.

The end result has been that the Marlins Park neighborhood — in baseball vernacular — has not even gotten into the batter’s box during this current cycle.

To understand just how slow the residential real estate market in the Marlins Park neighborhood has been, consider that the peak of the area’s condo and townhouse market looks to have been in 2015 when 19 units traded in the first 90 days of that year. This year, only seven units have sold during the same period, according to data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

The lack of activity is surprising given that the average resale price of $173 per square foot in 2016 is less than half of that of Greater Downtown Miami.

When it comes to single-family houses, the peak year for transaction activity was also probably in 2015, when six residences sold in the first 90 days of the year. In 2016, three houses have sold in the same three-month period, according to the data.

Again, the resale prices are notably lower than other surrounding areas, at less than $150 per square foot in 2016.

Even the multifamily market of properties with four or fewer units in the Marlins Park neighborhood has struggled, with only a pair of transactions this year compared to four deals in 2015, according to the data.

Average transaction prices for these small multifamily properties have fluctuated between $70 per square foot and $137 per square foot since 2014, according to the data.

Besides the competition from other neighborhoods, another factor impacting the area’s development picture is the low rental rates being charged in the area — this despite record rents in Greater Downtown Miami and Miami Beach.

In the first 90 days of this year, tenants have entered into leases to pay a median rental rate of about $1.59 per square foot per month. This is down 36 percent from $1.74 monthly for the same period in 2015, according to the data.

By comparison, the median monthly rental rate in Greater Downtown Miami – a few miles to the east — were $2.40 per square foot in 2015.

Despite the cost benefit, leasing activity in the Marlins Park neighborhood is down 36 percent this year compared to last.Tenants leased less than two dozen properties in the Marlins Park neighborhood market in 2016, compared to three dozen in 2015.

It is important to note that the rental statistics are based on properties marketed for lease in the Multiple Listing Service. The statistics do not incorporate rental activity conducted directly between tenants and landlords.

Still, the unanswered question going forward is whether the Marlins Park neighborhood will fall down even lower on the list of attractive development areas as a result of former superstar player and soon-to-be team owner David Beckham deciding not to build his new soccer stadium across the street from the professional baseball field, as he had previously considered.

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

Condos/Townhouses

Year (through

March 30)

Number

Of Resales

Change

Avg. Price

Per Square Foot

Change

2016

7

-63%

$173

-12%

2015

19

6%

$197

58%

2014

18

157%

$125

56%

2013

7

250%

$80

82%

2012

2

-50%

$44

-29%

2011

4

-20%

$62

-17%

2010

5

400%

$75

-5%

2009

1

N/A

$79

N/A

Single-Family Houses

Year (through

March 30)

Number

Of Resales

Change

Avg. Price

Per Square Foot

Change

2016

3

-50%

$147

28%

2015

6

100%

$115

-49%

2014

3

0%

$226

194%

2013

3

-25%

$77

15%

2012

4

300%

$67

109%

2011

1

-80%

$32

-52%

2010

5

150%

$67

16%

2009

2

N/A

$58

N/A

Multifamily (One To Four Units)

Year (through

March 30)

Number

Of Resales

Change

Avg. Price

Per Square Foot

Change

2016

2

-50%

$130

86%

2015

4

0%

$70

-49%

2014

4

100%

$137

59%

2013

2

0%

$86

83%

2012

2

-60%

$47

9%

2011

5

67%

$43

-20%

2010

3

50%

$54

-17%

2009

2

N/A

$65

N/A

Rentals

Year (through

March 30)

Number

Of Leases

Change

Med. Price

Per Square Foot

Change

2016

23

-36%

$1.59

-9%

2015

36

125%

$1.74

22%

2014

16

78%

$1.43

31%

2013

9

-55%

$1.09

-37%

2012

20

150%

$1.72

15%

2011

8

N/A

$1.49

N/A

Source: CraneSpotters.com Compiled This Chart Using Data From The Southeast Florida MLXchange On March 30.

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