In El Portal, one church’s downturn is another group’s blessing.
Developers Seth Gadinsky and Sam Soriero hope to offer a respite for tenants priced out of Wynwood by converting a 2-acre property that was once a Methodist church and elementary school into a mixed-use commercial space with affordable, long-term rents.
“We want to create a place that people can call home and not worry about looking over their shoulder and seeing their rents skyrocket,” said Gadinsky of Gadinsky Real Estate. The firm previously has adapted commercial spaces in Miami Beach for new uses, transforming an aging Collins Avenue gas station into a new Art Deco-inspired Walgreens and a low-income Miami Beach apartment building into a Banana Republic.
Everything we’ve done before was sheer commerce, but here you can really do well by doing good.
Seth Gadinsky, Gadinsky Real Estate
Gadinsky and Soriero, managing partner of Group 10 Capital Management, said they were lured by the ambiance of the 30,431-square-foot space, which features a kitchen, stained glass windows, sprawling yard and more than a dozen rooms, some still equipped with blackboards covered with Spanish lessons, painted murals and old desks.
Gadinsky and Soriero purchased the former Rader Memorial United Methodist Church, 205 NE 87th St., for $3.2 million in February, a figure they said will enable them to renovate the church and school and still guarantee cheap rent for a wide variety of tenants, from artisans to small-business owners.
“It’s a for-profit venture, and we’ll do fine, but we can afford to do it in a way where everyone wins,” Gadinsky said.
Developers have yet to finalize plans. Possible tenants include a restaurant, retail and galleries. They expect to charge about $25 per square foot for rent — well below the going rate three miles away in better-known Wynwood.
Traffic has increased. Business has increased. [Wynwood has] become popular and desirable, so people are going to charge more to get more of a return.
Tony Cho, Metro 1 Properties
In Wynwood, flexible spaces — designated for offices, studios and similar non-retail purposes — rent for about $40 per square foot and up, according to Tony Cho, CEO of Metro 1 Properties.
Since Wynwood was revitalized from an industrial neighborhood to a culture, retail and cuisine hub, rents have skyrocketed.
Increasingly, artists and galleries are leaving Wynwood for the up-and-coming Little River/Little Haiti corridor that flanks El Portal on the west. The most prominent transplants are artists whom Cho calls “pioneers,” open to the idea of fostering communities in roughneck areas that have potential to become the “next neighborhood,” but who are, more importantly, cost sensitive.
The best known of those developments is Little River // Miami, a development owned by Matthew Vander Werff and Avra Jain covering 25 acres west of Miami Avenue at 71st Street. Other neighborhood commercial developments include a trio of warehouses called Rail 71, and MADE at the Citadel, a creative co-working space at 83rd Street and Northwest Second Avenue in Little Haiti.
Gadinsky and Soriero hope to cater to that same demographic.
“Whether it’s El Portal or Little Haiti,” Cho said, “if they’re gonna provide good rent for a long time, it’ll attract artists.”
This story was updated to reflect the status of MADE at the Citadel
Follow Debora Lima on Twitter @dtdlima