I have been spending a good amount of time in Doral lately and since my career launched in Doral over 20 years ago, this is an area I know well. Doral is poised for being either an amazing success of urban infill or a hot mess. Time will tell us, but as usual, I have an opinion on this.
Doral has a daytime workforce of over 170,000 people and its top 3 employers are Carnival Cruise Lines, Marriott and Univision. Over 4,000 hotel rooms that manage over 90% occupancy are located in Doral. For businesses, it is the largest industrial submarket in Miami with 70 million sq ft. For office users, it is the largest suburban submarket with about 9 million square feet. Companies who need ample, free parking in Miami flock to Doral. It’s mutually inconvenient central for all their employees, so with free parking and reasonable rental rates, it’s a home run.
With that context, it is clear that the two projects that will have the greatest impact on Doral will be Downtown Doral and CityPlace Doral. Downtown Doral is being developed by JP Morgan and Codina Partners. This project is near and dear to my heart because I leased this property for 8 years when it was known as the Koger Center and was comprised of 32 buildings on 120 acres. Now the developers have a new vision and they have been slowly executing it. Doral’s City Hall is in Downtown Doral as well as two apartment complexes, two parks and a new office building. Currently under construction is a K-8 school and a mixed-use project of residential and retail. When this project is done, it will have 2,840 residences, 1 million sq ft of office space and 180,000 sq ft of retail.
Next up is CityPlace which is a joint development between Related Group and Shoma Homes. The project started with a 280,000 sq ft office building where Amadeus occupies 100,000 sq ft. Residential projects are in various stages of construction and when this 2.2 million sq ft development is complete, it will have over 1,000 additional homes and 300,000 sq ft of retail space.
Both projects are racing to take advantage of the current real estate boom. The questions I have: will the millennials embrace these two suburban live/work/play communities? Will anyone other than wealthy Venezuelans, Brazilians and other South Americans purchase these residences? How the heck will this impact traffic in Doral?
In the meantime, Doral office buildings are pushing rental rates higher than I have ever seen in my 20-year career. My landlord side says, “Finally, it’s about time!” My tenant rep side says, “Sob, good times are over for now.” If you have questions about your office space and how to ride this current real estate cycle, please give me a call. I love meeting new folks.