Source: Multi-Housing News
By: Timea Papp
George Merrick founded Coral Gables during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The city was incorporated in 1925 and became home to the University of Miami in the same year. One of South Florida’s oldest and most historic areas, Coral Gables was designed with Mediterranean influences and boasts some of the strictest zoning regulations in the region.
Nicknamed the “City Beautiful”, Coral Gables is one of Miami’s most sought-after destinations and home to The Astor Cos.’ newest luxury development dubbed Merrick Manor. Founder, President & CEO Henry Torres of the Coral Gables-based Astor Cos. spoke to Multi-Housing News about the 10-story project that features 227 residences and a vast array of amenities. Torres also discussed the appeal of Merrick Manor and how the community fits into the lush and opulent Coral Gables scenery.
How does the tax reform impact demand from Northeast buyers in tax-heavy states?
Torres: The tax reform has certainly intensified the existing demand from New Yorkers and other Northeasterners to relocate to South Florida and take advantage of the lack of a state income tax. Many of these buyers would have historically looked to buy seasonal or vacation residences to escape the winter months, but now they are searching for permanent homes to meet the residency requirements. That has a ripple effect beyond the residential market, as these would-be seasonal residents become full-time residents who are working, shopping, dining and enjoying their year-round entertainment down here.
What can you tell us about the type of retailers interested in coming to the area?
Torres: Here in Coral Gables—a suburb of Miami—we are seeing interest from chef-driven restaurant concepts that are established in other parts of South Florida and seek a new location. There is a flurry of interest from new boutique fashion shops, lifestyle wear, accessories, home design, family pet care and classical art. The city’s retail landscape is diversifying from the traditional bridal shops and boutiques.
Our luxury residential project includes nearly 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space. We are certainly benefiting from the maturation of the nearby Shops at Merrick Park, which has added the Landmark Theatre to strong anchors like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The Shops are now known for luxury thanks to brands like Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg and Lilly Pulitzer. There’s definitely an overlap between the interest we are getting and what the city is recruiting.