Commercial development in Allapattah is emerging from Wynwood’s shadow

McKenzie Construction
McKenzie Construction

When McKenzie Construction executives needed to find a new home for the boutique firm, their search ended in Allapattah, where the company gutted, designed and redeveloped a 25,000-square-foot building into a massive headquarters with a showroom facing Northwest 17th Avenue.

Ronald Kohn and Benji Power

Ronald Kohn and Benji Power

“We realized Allapattah has everything we needed,” McKenzie chief operating officer Benji Power recalled during a luncheon hosted by the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida in the neighborhood on Friday. “It’s a good place for our employees and it will become a more pleasant place for our clients to visit.”

Power was among the featured speakers at the Allapattah Market Report presentation, held at the McKenzie building at 2247 Northwest 17th Avenue. Ronald Kohn, president of Kohn Commercial Real Estate, told the audience Allapattah is a burgeoning neighborhood hiding in plain sight.

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“When we moved into this neighborhood, no one had heard of Allapattah and didn’t know where it was,” Kohn said. “Yet half the county drives by us on Interstate 95. It is an interesting area that has a lot going on.”

In recent months, commercial real estate interest in Allapattah has taken off. In early March, a company tied to the Rubell family purchased a 50,225-square-foot building at 1101 Northwest 23rd Street for $8.35 million. The property previously traded for $3.125 million in 2012. The same month, developer Michael Simkins picked up the McKenzie Construction warehouse for $3.58 million from Alex Karakhanian. Two years ago, Karakhanian paid $1.14 million for the site.

In 2013, an unimproved warehouse in Wynwood would go for $50-per-square-foot, Kohn said. Today, the price has leapfrogged to $120-per-square-foot, he added.

Allapattah is also unique because the neighborhood has a diverse array of commercial activity, from produce warehouses that sell to local restaurants and markets to a discount retail corridor along Northwest 20th street and industrial warehouses along the Miami River, Kohn said.

“These economic drivers are not going away,” he said. “They are growing.”

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