By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read September 2020  — Retail real estate is influenced by the state of the economy, occupancy levels and consumer trends. This past year, digital shoppers spent an estimated $601.75 billion online, which is up 14.9% from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The popularity of e-commerce has led to hundreds of retail bankruptcies and an influx of vacant retail buildings. Developers like Walsh Properties and Terra Group have come up with clever ideas to use some of these obsolete establishments in South Florida.

The BrandsMart-anchored shopping center located in Davie is just one of the potential redevelopment projects in Broward County. Adache Group Architects are attached to the project, a 1.27-million-square-foot plot of land to be transformed into a mixed-use residential and commercial development, according to the Town of Davie’s planning report. Along with boasting 735 residential units, the blueprint calls for 23,00 square feet of commercial/retail space and 21,884 square feet of amenities, such as two outdoor pools, a clubhouse and a work area. On Sept. 8, the Town of Davie approved Walsh Properties’ rezoning application for the proposed project, which is anticipated to have a positive effect on surrounding property values. 

Although large chain retailers like JCPenny and Steinmart are faltering, having the perfect ratio of residential and commercial space could be the way forward. “I think you’ll see less retail development and more of a focus on entertainment and life experiences,” Dave Dickerson, president of Midwest business operations for Miller-Valentine Group, told Dayton Business Journal. “They will be a place where consumers go, not just to shop, but to have lunch and have more of an amusement experience.” 

For David Martin, real estate developer and CEO of Terra Group, his focus is on building strong fundamentals by diversifying South Florida’s economy away from its reliance on tourism. His firm currently has 8.9 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail development throughout Broward and Miami-Dade. 

Block 55 is just one of Terra Group’s ambitious projects. In partnership with Swerdlow Group, the two firms are proposing around 402 apartments, 54 affordable senior housing units and around 350,000 square feet of retail space anchored by a Target store, according to The Real Deal. 

Miami Beach and Coconut Grove will continue to attract an immense amount of investment. We believe in the political leadership and the zoning regulations that will promote sustainable development. We are finding that there is an increasing scarcity of land so this is creating more competition for properties and land. We are trying to focus and invest in the neighborhoods we believe in as well as creating assets that are really meeting the behavioral patterns related to people’s lifestyles. We are continuing to see mixed-use as a strong bet but we are sensitive to what is happening in retail today, as well as the implications of working from home. We are trying to design our residential buildings to adapt to the changes and differentiate ours from the other products available on the market,” Martin told Invest: Miami.