Centro is fourth condo tower without parking in Greater Downtown Miami

Peter Zalewski
Peter Zalewski

Question: Will the planned Centro condo project with more than 350 units and only a handful of parking spaces lead to more residential towers being proposed without adequate parking in Greater Downtown Miami?

The planned Centro condo tower being constructed by Newgard Development Group in the 100 block of Southeast First Street in the Central Business District of Greater Downtown Miami is not unique.

By our count, the Centro project would represent the fourth new condo tower to be developed without parking in Greater Downtown since the beginning of the previous South Florida boom more than a decade ago.

A fifth condo tower without parking – dubbed One 15 – is proposed down the block to the west of the Centro project, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

(For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the website.)

This count of parking-less towers in Greater Downtown Miami does not include various condo associations, such as Flagler First and Capital Lofts, that were created during the previous boom by converting existing mid-rise buildings into residential units.

The originator of developing parking-less condo towers from scratch in Greater Downtown Miami is Jorge Perez of the Related Group.

Perez’s first foray into developing new condo towers without parking in Greater Downtown Miami began with a series of projects branded under the name Loft Downtown during the last boom.

Ultimately, only two – the 24-story, 196-unit Loft Downtown and the 36-story, 496-unit Loft Downtown II – of the four parking-less towers were developed before the South Florida condo market crashed in 2007.

Residents of the two Loft Downtown towers that did get built do have the ability to park across the street in a Miami Parking Authority garage.

It is worth noting Centro is now being constructed on the site where the Related Group had originally planned to build the Loft Downtown IV tower. The original site of the Loft Downtown III project is now owned by Miami-Dade College.

During the latest real estate boom, the Related Group built another parking-less condo tower: the recently completed 28-story, 192-unit MyBrickell on the south bank of the Miami River.

To overcome the lack of parking, residents of the MyBrickell project are offered a valet service that parks their vehicles in existing spaces located in a neighboring Related Group project called 500 Brickell.

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The concept of building parking-less condo towers was formally initiated in Greater Downtown Miami under the Miami 21 zoning master plan adopted in October 2009. The master plan promotes creating more pedestrian-friendly areas that are reliant upon public transportation instead of automobiles.

For developers, the opportunity to build new condo towers without parking means significant savings of reportedly $15,000 to $20,000 per space. The savings can theoretically be passed on to prospective buyers as an incentive to purchase in parking-less towers.

Currently, some 74 condo units in parking-less towers are available for resale in Greater Downtown Miami at an average asking price of about $366 per square foot as of Thursday, according to data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

By comparison, more than 2,225 condos are available for resale in Greater Downtown Miami at an average asking price of nearly $490 per square foot.

The unanswered question going forward is whether residents in automobile-dependent South Florida will ultimately embrace parking-less condo towers enough to stimulate price appreciation to levels that can attract a strong pool of buyers.

Thought Of The Week: Miami International Real Estate Congress To Celebrate 20th Anniversary

For the 20th straight year, real estate professionals from around the world will descend upon Miami for a high-level convention called the Miami International Real Estate Congress to discuss the latest industry trends.

This three-day event organized by the Miami Association of Realtors is scheduled to run from Nov. 2 to 4 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The attendee list for this year’s event is expected to include delegations from various countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador.

The mission of the Miami International Real Estate Congress is to provide a venue for real estate professionals and service providers to learn from their colleagues and share ideas and network with experts from around the world.

The list of speakers confirmed for this year’s event ranges from National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun to the 2015 Miami Association of Realtors chairman John Dohm, real estate novelist Marianne Cusato and 2012 National Association of Realtors president Maurice “Moe” Veissi.

(For disclosure purposes, I am also scheduled to speak at the event.)

For more information on this event, please visit 2014MiamiCongress.com

Peter Zalewski is a real estate market consultant, non-practicing licensed real estate broker and columnist for The Real Deal who now answers reader questions about the South Florida real estate market in a new weekly Friday column. Questions and comments can be sent to southfloridanews@therealdeal.com. The TRD editors will choose which submissions will be addressed.