A mid-rise, luxury apartment building in the tiny city of West Miami sold for $57.4 million Wednesday, marking a new hotspot of rising rents and booming property values in Miami-Dade County real estate.
The sales price equates to $278,000 per unit, a record for an area of mostly single-family homes that hasn’t seen new multi-family construction in decades, said Robert Suris, principal of developer Estate Investments Group. The seven-story project at 2101 Ludlam Rd., Miami, is called Soleste West Gables and opened last August. It offers 206 one-, two- and three-bedroom units that rent between $1,600 and $2,800 a month, as well as amenities including a pool, cabanas, gym and entertainment room.
The buyer is Waterton, a Chicago-based real estate investment and property management firm.
“Soleste West Gables presented us an opportunity to acquire a Class-A new construction community at an attractive basis in a centrally located submarket poised to experience meaningful growth,” Waterton said in a statement. “The property’s location in West Miami offers convenient access to several of the area’s largest employment centers, shopping and entertainment districts, and key transportation nodes making it an ideal option for today’s renter.”
West Miami — where Marco Rubio lives and once served on the city council — takes up less than one-square mile west of Coral Gables between Southwest 57th and 67th avenues. Its population of roughly 7,000 is 90 percent Hispanic, according to U.S. Census figures.
The city is growing fast: Property values in West Miami surged to $368 million in 2016, up 15 percent from 2015, according to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser. That was the third-highest rate of growth in the county after North Miami Beach and North Bay Village. By one measure, West Miami also saw the most new construction in Miami-Dade: Its $28 million worth of new building equaled 9 percent of its tax roll from the previous year, the highest share of any city.
Rents are also going up faster than anywhere else in the county. In the West Miami/Doral sub-market, rents rose 13.3 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016 to an average of $1,681 a month, according to brokerage Marcus & Millichap.
Suris said cheap land prices, a central location and the local government’s willingness to work with builders make the city a good fit for more development. He sees West Miami as a natural extension of Coral Gables. Real estate website Zillow pegs West Miami’s median home value at $317,000, compared to $442,800 in South Miami and $722,900 in the Gables.
“We saw all of this and we said this neighborhood has been bypassed,” said Suris, whose firm partnered with Fortune Capital Partners and Mattoni Group on the project. “826 and 836 are minutes away, so you can get to the five or six biggest job centers in Dade County,” including Miami International Airport, the health district, downtown Miami, Dadeland, Doral and the industrial area near Hialeah.
Many of the tenants are young professionals and families, Suris said. Their average household income is about $80,000, compared to a city-wide figure of $54,800.
West Miami Mayor Eduardo Muhiña says the new development is benefiting the city without displacing current residents.
“These developments have assisted with infrastructure improvements in our aged water system, resulting in a leak reduction and increased pressure to the properties abutting the developments,” Muhiña wrote in an email. “Also impact fees are already funding new projects that are in the pipeline that include replacement of park equipment, police vehicles, the soon-to-be remodeling of the baseball field and a new wellness center already approved in concept.”
The Soleste West Gables development team is working on four other luxury apartment buildings in West Miami: A 196-unit project that opened in June; a 221-unit project scheduled to open later this summer; a 329-unit project set to break ground in mid-2017; and a 290-unit project that will break ground by the end of 2017.
BY NICHOLAS NEHAMAS