Realtor Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, grand dame of Miami real estate, knows a thing or two about how her city works. When asked what Miami's next great neighborhood will be, she had just the answer for us.
By Alicia Cervera Lamadrid
While most eyes are pointed towards downtown and Midtown when seeking real estate opportunities, my money bets on the south. Over the past few years many buyers have headed north in search of cheaper land values often times feeling "priced out" of the southern market. Some of the area's most premiere and historic neighborhoods have been long overlooked, creating tremendous upside in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. Both areas offer a lifestyle established as one with great schools, beautiful parks, libraries (if anyone can remember what going into one of those was like), great shopping, wonderful new restaurants, world-class art and tree canopies with roots dating back countless generations.
In Coconut Grove you can almost inhale the rebirth as you walk down the sidewalks, or step into a shop that is still fabulously seedy. The Grove is one of the few neighborhoods in Miami that still shares gardens with peacocks, hummingbirds and other avian varieties. The Gables has its share of wildlife, too, including a wide array of fish, birds and even manatees. What was once considered a boring neighborhood has been transformed into an epicenter of activity from cycling to running, to boating to paddle boarding to canoeing - the quality of life is truly one of the best Miami offers.
There's no better proof of the south's re-emergence than new residential developments. Last week, Merrick Manor launched sales for a 180 unit building located just a stone's throw from the Village of Merrick Park. In Coral Gables, new construction pricing per square foot is considerably less expensive than Brickell or Miami Beach. Currently, Merrick Manor averages $360 psf where comparable buildings in Brickell range from $450-$500 psf. In Coconut Grove, the area's new and only luxury residential project, Grove at Grand Bay, announced that the first tower is over 70% sold resulting in the second tower sales launch a few weeks ago. At this development, unit pricing per square foot is significantly less when compared to the same quality of luxury residences in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
Values in the south will continue to appreciate as municipalities increase capital improvements, such as the re-development of Coconut Grove's waterfront. With the removal of the standing Convention Center, additional green space and restaurants will create an inviting, enhanced waterfront experience while preserving the area's history. In short, the south offers great value and lifestyle that will continue to attract attention during our current real estate cycle. If you haven't been to the Gables and the Grove lately, by all means take another look, or a first look or a second look, and believe me when I tell you that you'll be back.