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How Comras Plans to Bring the Glitz Back to Miami

Jan. 7, 2016

When The Comras Co hunts for its next redevelopment deals, one of its focuses is on demographics: Who are the customers and what are they shopping for? The firms namesake, Michael Comras, will share his insights with our audience during Bisnow's South Florida 2016 Forecast event, Jan. 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, beginning at 7:30am.

Comras, part of a JV with Federal Realty and Grass River Property, picked up both CocoWalk in Coconut Grove and The Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami last year for a combined total of nearly $200M, in what will be two major redevelopment plays. Michael tells us when the partnership evaluated these opportunities, what interested them was the year-round demographics of both Coconut Grove and South Miami, and how the existing shopping facilities failed to cater to their needs. “The village of Coconut Grove today does not attract any of the people who live around there...the opportunities abound," he says.

In both instances, Michael says he's looking to remerchandise the malls with a more upscale mix of retailers. It's an effort to recapture the luster he says has been lost over the past two decades to the glitzy Miami and South Beach markets. In many ways, Michael likens these opportunities to what Federal did with its Bethesda Row (below) redevelopment in Maryland. The 533k SF urban lifestyle center was refurbished and tenanted with high-end lifestyle retailers that brought new life into the project, capitalizing on the surrounding demographics, with nearly 140,000 residents with an average household income of more than $170k/year within three miles.

As for his crystal ball, Michael says there's still plenty of capital in the South Florida market eyeing potential retail development and redevelopment. Although, he says given recent economic turmoil, many developers are “a little more cautious.” He expects that spreads will widen in 2016 on debt, especially for spec projects.

Michael is part of an all-star South Florida commercial real estate lineup you'll be able to hear from, including Fryd Properties' Jonathan Fryd, Premier Developers CEO Bradley Deckelbaum, Cervera Real Estate's Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, Metro 1 CEO Tony Cho and Related Group Chairman Jorge Perez.


By Jarred Schenke

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