No Comments

Car-Free Lifestyles Create Commericlal Development Niches

A car-free lifestyle and commercial real estate development opportunities are closely intertwined, a Miami Association of Realtors commercial conference panel exploring Transit Oriented Development agreed.

“The real story in Florida is population growth,” said Aaron Stolear, associate vice president of 13th Floor Investments. “We are absorbing 1,000 people a day. We will soon be absorbing 10 million people in the next 20 to 30 years. But there is not enough land or space to grow in the urban core. Without a massive transit system, we won’t be able to sustain our growth.”

Eulois Cleckley, director & CEO of Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation & Public Works, agrees and wants to maximize development of the land around transit. He is an advocate of the Smart plan that includes six rapid transit corridors throughout Miami-Dade. 

“Access is important for jobs,” Mr. Cleckley said.

Transit Oriented Development is driven by a decision to enhance or build a web of transit to maximize the space around those transit locations. The panel at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables agreed that with the quick growth and packed urban core of Miami, people need the ability to live all over the county, but with access to transportation to the city. 

The conference brought together 270 realtors on Oct. 1 to discuss the future of real estate in South Florida. One of three panels, South Florida Explored: Transportation, Transit Oriented Development, examined the future of transportation in Miami. 

Moderator and principal of Infinity Commercial Real Estate John W. Dohm led the conversation with five transportation and real estate entrepreneurs and how a car-free lifestyle would excel in Miami.

Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline inter-city rail, made it clear that many people are transit averse.

“People don’t want to get on transits, they don’t understand it. There’s a lot of friction involved with getting people out of their car. We have to enable it in three ways. We need the actual infrastructure to exist. That will involve entities like Brightline and then businesses like Lyft or Uber, ebikes and scooters. So it is an ecosystem,” he said. 

Brightline is to reopen in November in South Florida and plans to offer a fleet of vehicles that are going to pick people up and take them to the transit station.

“We need to provide alternatives to the car. We cannot support any more congestion on our highways,” said Mr. Goddard, who stated that on I-95 the average speed is about 35 miles per hour and isn’t improving. “It’s one of the most dangerous in the country with about 50,000 accidents and 3,000 deaths a year. We need other ways to travel. There’s no one solution, but the community needs to support it.” 


“I-95 has an express bus and is very well-ridden. It is a national benchmark,” Jeremy Mullings, director of South Florida Commuter Services, said. “I represent one of those programs trying to get people to get out of their cars.”

He agreed with Mr. Goddard about transportation being an ecosystem. 

“In the late 2000s, we thought that millennials would get out of cars and ride the transit, but in 2015, when millennials became the dominant sector of the workforce, the transit started to plummet,” Mr. Mullings said. “I think the solution is going to be finding the sweet spot between government and a private sector. We don’t have it figured out yet.”


“When I was living in Brickell, I wouldn’t use my car for months at a time,” said Rafael Romero, senior vice president of retail advisory of Jones Lang LaSalle. “We have to find out where the consumer is comfortable for this car-free lifestyle. Where do they live, work and play? People love the ability not having to travel too far to reach their daily needs.” 

People are happy to be in walking distance of groceries, restaurants or the gym according to Mr. Romero. 

The panel agreed that the goal was to make the transit more appealing.

“Our legacy is to be a catalyst for change, living a car-free lifestyle,” Mr. Goddard said. “Are we giving you an opportunity to try it out?”


Source:  Miami Today

No Comments

Developers Are Excited As Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) Boost South Florida To Super Region Status

Today’s TOD real estate investor faces a bifurcated scenario when it comes to timing a project: Start at the inception of a TOD or take the wait-and-see approach. The former involves much coordination and understanding regarding a local government’s pre-existing ordinances and plans. On the other hand, the latter involves study and assessment of where a TOD-centric community is going in the way of economic and lifestyle demographics.

No matter which approach you might employ to develop real estate in the penumbra of a TOD, you must realize initially that moving people efficiently and economically stands at the forefront of priorities for local transportation agencies. Services and domiciles must, of course, offer amenities congruent to the demographics of the prevailing commuters.

When TODs started trending among local governments, agencies predominantly chose traditionally high-density neighborhoods where more traditional commuter options existed. These neighborhoods may accommodate a large university population, government administration centers, tech headquarters, or aircraft manufacturers.

Sometimes, new industries planning to relocate to a new neighborhood stay abreast of the local agencies’ TOD priorities and plans as it pertains to prospective real estate development. In these cases, your development or industry serves as one of the linchpins to a TOD’s success and vice versa. The project, resultantly, proves symbiotic for both the TOD and the developer. As a developer, you become vested from the very start, even though people movement is the main priority.

Recently, however, communities reliant on large arterials for mostly single-occupant transportation are breaking the stereotype for TODS. Take Orlando, Florida, for example. Here, as with many other auto-dominant communities and neighborhoods, space has become a high commodity—especially as it relates to parking and living domiciles.

High-density residences located near a modern transit hub, such as those serving high-speed rail, resolve many of the challenges sprawl can present to cities such as Orlando. Moreover, the changes in today’s urban lifestyle preferences—living, working, and playing within a relatively small radius—helps such communities stay vibrant.

In the case of downtown Orlando, many developers gained jump-starts via tax credits and similar incentives for playing a role in stemming sprawl, decreasing auto emissions, and revitalizing central neighborhoods that sometimes suffer abandonment by suburban or perimeter flight.

At Brownsville Transit Village, locating in the booming super region of South Florida, real estate developers teamed up with a not-for-profit organization’s initiative to include affordable housing for low-income families and the elderly in a community that fully serves all ages without the need of a car. Caribbean Village will soon follow with a strategically designed district that will also cater to low-income residents and the elderly.

The TOD outlook for Southern Florida’s horizon is bright as a handful of other transit-centered villages will either break ground or be completed within a year. Strategically incorporating mixed use real estate developments along each station, the region’s sole privately owned, operated, and maintained passenger rail system—Brightline—recently launched its express service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach along the FEC corridor. These beautifully laid out TODs are paving the way for South Florida residents to take advantage of the “live, work, and play” dream, as all real estate concepts are now connected and thriving along this high-end rail system.

Because of the varying types of TODs, a real estate developer should first define which model of the TOD trend best fits the complex or business involved. Realtors must also pay attention to nascent trends, as a recent survey by a major infrastructure consultancy firm shows that 70 percent of millennials are willing to pay more in rent or mortgage in order to commute to work without a car while finding entertainment and recreation within a walkable radius.

Today, the evolution of TODs remains actively in play in South Florida. As a result, a developer strong in versatility gains the competitive edge.


Source:  The Real Deal

© 2023 FIP Commercial. All rights reserved. | Site Designed by CRE-sources, Inc.