On January 29, Helen Weissman and I represented Brenner Real Estate Group as a co-sponsor of the “Get Down To Business with Real Estate Network” event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Broward County.
The event was held at the beautiful showroom of Alpine Jaguar at 6601 North Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. And no, you didn't need to be Jewish to attend. In the room were about 100 top brokers, developers, investors, bankers, and other allied professionals. Our guest speaker was Malcolm Butters of Butters Construction and Development, one of South Florida's most prolific developers of commercial real estate. Malcolm’s mom, to whom he credits much of his success, was also in attendance
It was a great chance to reconnect with some old friends, make a few new ones, and perhaps generate some new business for our firm. It is always interesting to hear from someone at the forefront of what's happening and what will happen in the South Florida commercial market.
I thought I'd pass some of those insights along to our readers. Malcolm is working on three major new projects; a 65,000 square-foot showroom for Clive Daniels Furniture at the corner of Boca Raton Blvd. and Glades Road. He's also working on developing a 4 acre office site in Boca Village off Yamato and Congress. His most ambitious new project will be the redevelopment of the Delray Country Club behind the Hilton Hotel at Hillsboro and I-95 into a new industrial park.
Butters indicates that development is becoming more and more challenging as land becomes more scarce and environmental issues continue to arise for the remaining sites. Some of the trends to watch are EB-5 money, which allows foreign investors the ability to enter the US if they invest in our markets. We are also seeing crowd funding beginning to impact smaller investments, but the major deals are all going to institutional investors who are paying extremely aggressive cap rates, driving away the more entrepreneurial players. For the smaller investors, ugly properties still generate nice returns and that is the best route for non-institutional players. In addition there is still opportunity in development as institutions don't necessarily have the skill set to create new opportunities. Coastal cities continue to do well across the country and urbanization is a trend that won't go away as the millennials tend to enjoy city amenities. Homeownership remains low, which bodes well for apartment investors despite the high volume of new construction. The office market remains a sleeper, as much of the new development funds go towards multifamily. New projects should do well. Despite the proliferation of new condo projects, particularly in Miami, this market should remain fairly stable as the new construction has been funded by cash deposits from unit buyers.
There was a lot more information in Malcolm's presentation, but what I thought was the most interesting and most pertinent to what we do at Brenner, was the next city over concept.
We all know that Miami has become a world city and its market is red-hot. Malcolm did warn that it has become so hot that some people may get hurt in the not too distant future. Looking at Broward and Palm Beach counties, he compares them to what is going on currently in Brooklyn and in Oakland, which have both benefited tremendously from spillover from the red-hot New York City and San Francisco markets.
As prices escalate in the primary markets, both investors and occupiers are increasingly looking to the next city over. Therefore, Malcolm believes, and we agree here at Brenner, that the Broward and Palm Beach County are a good place to be in 2015 and beyond. You can always turn to Brenner Real Estate Group for your office and industrial leasing, land development and investment needs in South Florida.