The Real Deal Miami

Sergio Pino goes micro at Midtown Doral

Developer is including smaller and more affordable units now that Venezuelan market has dried up

Rendering of Midtown Doral and Sergio Pino

Sergio Pino is going “super micro” at Midtown Doral.

In a bid to attract local buyers, the Miami developer is including smaller units in phase two of his mixed-use Doral development. Condos starting at 545 square feet and $229,000 will be included in the project, Pino told The Real Deal.

At Midtown Doral, more than 90 percent of buyers so far have been Venezuelan. Now, due to political and economic instability, the developer is modifying his plans. In addition to no longer buying new units, Venezuelans are also having trouble closing the units that they bought. “That market is dead,” Pino said.

In cities like Hong Kong, micro units can be as small as 130 square feet, but in South Florida they’re typically bigger. While the concept has generated some buzz in the region, few developers have moved forward on their plans to build micro. Earlier this year, billionaire developer Jeff Greene secured approvals for a project with rental apartments sized between 300 square feet and 549 square feet. New York-based Property Markets Group will include a 36-story tower with 600 micro rental units as part of its redevelopment of the Las Olas Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale. And in Miami, Moishe Mana has also proposed micro apartments for a site he owns in downtown Miami.

“The research we’ve done tells us people are willing to live in smaller places if they can afford it,” Pino said, adding that there are about 45 units – larger and more luxurious – that the developer hasn’t been able to sell from phase one. “Today’s market cannot afford that luxury.”

So far, retail and restaurant tenants at Midtown Doral include Capriccio-Authentic Italian Eatery, Maroosh-Mediterranean Restaurant, Delirio Fresh Co., Yogurt for You, the Blow Bar Salon, the Spot Barber Shop and Venetian Nails. The shops are 80 percent leased at $40 per square foot and up.

Pino’s Century Homebuilders will launch sales for the second phase during the second quarter of next year. Phase two, a more than $200 million investment, will include 518 condos, a hotel, 170,000 square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail space. The developer is in talks with lenders for construction financing.

The next phase will break ground mid-2018 and be completed by the end of 2019. Once all three phases of the project are completed, there will be more than 1,500 condo units.

Pino expects other developers will also shrink their condo plans to attract more local buyers, especially in Doral. In addition to Midtown Doral, new projects this cycle include the Related Group and Shoma Homes’ CityPlace Doral, Codina Partners’ Downtown Doral and developments by Lennar Corp.