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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Doral & Airport West

The biggest office and industrial space in Miami is here... in Airport West. And there's plenty of reasons for that.

Downtown Miami gets its reputation for jewelry and international banking. So where are the real businesses that sustains Miami's international economy? It is here, in Airport West, between the free trade zone and a massive airport that carries one of the world's largest amount of international cargo.

Airport West, home of industries that earns wages for Miami's working class and also the home of corporate offices that rather not wallow in the fortunes of Coral Gables or Brickell, has long been undermined as a lucrative area to invest, but are the times changing?

This thread is to see what's going on in Airport West -- all the construction, and to see pictures of the area. This may be a suburban downtown that prospered in the middle of ever-urban Miami, with its proximity to the Palmetto and Dolphin (which probably has better traffic than I-95). It's location to facilities and in the metropolitan area should make this area one of the most attractive areas to build offices.

What future do you see for Airport West?

(Note: From what I've heard, Airport West includes some areas south of the Airport as well, along Dolphin, and west of the Airport, including Doral, but I could be wrong. I'm not exactly sure where the boundaries really begin and end.)

133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Doral: a city is born: the Doral/airport west area has long been Miami-Dade's center for international commerce, with a vast industrial and commercial infrastructure serving Miami International Airport. Now it is becoming a residential enclave, as the newest city to be incorporated in the county
South Florida CEO, Feb, 2004 by Johanna Marmon, Barbara Perkins
(pardon this for being a year old)

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A recent sign of the times in the City of Doral came when Century HomeBuilders sold 20 acres of land inside its sprawling Islands at Doral residential development to the Miami-Dade County School Board for a 2,000-student high school. The $1.5 million price tag was a steal--Century CEO Sergio Pino says the land is easily worth $700,000 an acre--but the developer says it was an altogether necessary move in a fledgling city that's attracting young families in droves.


"We took a hit there but it's definitely okay," says Pino, whose residential-development company last year posted its best annual numbers in history, closing on some 1,300 homes, most of them in Doral. "Now the people I sell my homes to will see a school." When complete in the next couple of years, the public high school will become the first in the City of Doral, not to mention "a prime example of how the development community is meeting its social responsibilities to the communities in which they build," says Pino.


Islands at Doral is the largest residential development in the newly minted City of Doral, incorporated just last June from the swatch of Miami-Dade County land collectively known as Airport West--and sometimes just Doral. The other large developer of homes in the area is mega-builder Lennar, which also has its corporate headquarters in Doral; both firms credit still-low interest rates as one key reason for their brisk business in home sales.

While rates have stimulated home buying everywhere, developers in Doral have been doing a booming business because the city has become Miami-Dade's latest--and among its last--residential frontiers, offering attractive compounds in an otherwise bustling hub of international business. Fully 30 percent of Doral is now residential, says Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, an attorney who works in the city. That is a major shift for the thriving commercial center, rife with industrial and office space.

For years, Doral and the surrounding Airport West area has served as the industrial heart of the international trade community, with vast warehouse complexes serving the shipping needs of nearby Miami International Airport (MIA). More recently, it has grown into the largest office submarket in Miami-Dade County, surpassing those of downtown Miami and Coral Gables. But what has spurred the creation of the City of Doral has been an explosion of residential development, and the arrival of young families in search of lower prices and more space.


At the International Mall on 107th Avenue, for example, La Ideal Baby Store is thriving. On weekends, there is a steady stream of traffic in the store, with parents searching for cradles, baby furniture, strollers and clothes for their toddlers. "Saturdays and Sundays are big days for us now," says store manager Herbert Santana. "There are a lot of people living around here now."


That is apparent in other places in the mall, at the oversized (120-seat) San Marco Italian restaurant, or at the thriving La Carreta restaurant, which started out in Little Havana; its Doral outlet, with its palm trees and stucco arches, looks like it came straight out of the set of Casablanca. On weekends, families with children frequent the eatery, and throughout the mall are other stores serving that demographic--Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Toys 'R' Us.


"I was renting in Coral Gables but I bought a home in Doral," says new resident Dina Allende, who owns a PR firm in the area. "Doral is very family oriented--my sister and her kids live here--and there are lots of new schools and new restaurants. Archie's Pizza from Coral Gables just opened here. I'm thrilled."


Nowhere is the sudden sense of community more apparent than at Pino's Isles at Doral. At 500 acres, Islands will have a total of 3,000 single family homes, condominiums and town homes by 2007. So far, says Pino, Century has sold 1,100 of the residences, with 1,900 left in company coffers. But the roll-out is purposely calculated; the development, which is selling in phases, has to utilize a lottery to fairly deal with demand. "We've got a list of about 1,000 families registered to buy at Islands," says Pino.

What attracts them is both price and green space. Outside the gates there are swampy fields of maleleuca trees and power lines. Inside walls of earth that surround the development there are huge lakes, clusters of homes, baseball diamonds, a soccer field, a clubhouse, water falls and a pool. Kids are playing on grassy fields, while adults jog the landscaped paths that curve through the development. It's about as far away as you can get from the feeling of the commercial hustle that has long marked Doral/Airport West, but not unlike the feeling of the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, which gave the area its name when its developers, too, decided to create an oasis of green in western Miami-Dade County.

>> The Rise of Industrial

While Century and Lennar are the two largest residential developers in Doral, the city itself is primarily a business center. For decades, Doral/Airport West largely consisted of empty, agrarian tracts, cattle fields and factory sites. Because land was cheap, it became home to industrial buildings of all sorts, from storage facilities to processing plants to wholesale outlets.

In the late 1980s, the Codina Group--soon to be followed by the Easton Group--began pioneering a new concept in upscale industrial complexes. The first major project out of the ground was the massive, $500 million Beacon Centre, which mixed warehouse space with office and retail space, dressing up the combination with elegant landscaping.

"It was innovative and revolutionary," says Hank Klein, vice chairman of the Codina Group. "Most of the industrial projects that had been done until that time were not as well-planned as Beacon Centre. Beacon Centre was truly a well-thought-out, master-planned, multi-use project. It had not just industrial, but office and retail space. We essentially set the market, as far as rate, and as far as quality and type of product we were delivering."

Since then, the area has become blanketed with warehouse complexes; an aerial photo of Airport West reveals that virtually all major tracts of land in the area have been developed, with the single exception of what is known today as the Lemon land, a 182-acre cow field southwest of the intersection of NW 107th Avenue and NW 41st Street. It is protected from development, in perpetuity, by the will of Charles B. Lemon, and today is occupied by a herd of cattle. Surrounding those cows are outlets for Taco Bell, Eckerds, Chevron, Tire Plus, Panna Express and Dominos Pizza, among others.

Not far from the Lemon tract stands the Miami Free Zone, one of the first office/industrial complexes to rise in the area. Its function was--and still is--to act as a clearing house, processing station and storage facility for international companies which bring goods into Miami for re-distribution to markets in Latin America. By moving directly from the airport to the Free Zone and then back out via the airport, the products avoid tariffs for entering the US.

"We have 75 different tenants and they are leading, worldwide, companies that are in the duty free environment," says Jorge San Miguel, president of the Miami Free Zone. "They are moving things like textiles, alcohol and tobacco." San Miguel, who grew up in Miami, says he is stunned by the changes which have taken place. "When I was a young boy, this was the only thing out here--it's been here since 1977--and it was all fields." Far from being put off by the evolution, however, says San Miguel, "Our clients like being in an environment that has all the amenities. What we've seen in Doral is incredible growth in hotels and dining and support services, like the coffee shops and the cleaners across the street. It makes it a very pleasant place to be."


The kinds of businesses which those amenities serve are a mix of importers, exporters and international service firms. "Doral has become the second business center [of Miami-Dade]," says Anne Becker, executive vice president of the 600-member Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, which keeps its offices at the Free Zone. "Everybody wants to be close to Doral if they're in importing and exporting. Any bank on Brickell also has an office here in Doral. Business is booming and the price of land has gone up two-fold in just the past few years."


Housing the growth of Doral's international commercial base has been millions of square feet of industrial space--46 million square feet, to be precise, according to Cushman & Wakefield--comprising more than a quarter of all industrial space in Miami-Dade and making it the largest industrial market in the county.

Continued from page 1.

The two biggest commercial developers in Doral/Airport West, the Easton Group and the Codina Group, both seized on the upswing of US trade with Latin America in the 1980s, beginning a building program that saw a half dozen massive "Beacon" projects by Codina and the immense (1.7-million-square-foot) International Corporate Park by Easton. The clients in their parks read like a who's who of international commerce and trade, from DHL, Crowley American Transport and Sony to Hewlett Packard, FedEx and Lucent Technologies.

While the Codina Group has largely sold its projects to various investors, including the Weeks real estate REIT, the Easton Group retained control of virtually all of its property until recently. Late in 2003, Easton sold off most of his flagship International Corporate Park to Pennsylvania-based Keystone Property Trust. The price tag for the industrial park: $114.4 million, including some $67 million in debt.

"The right opportunity happened to come along for us," says Easton, who also says that his company will continue to manage the 13-building campus, which is about 97 percent leased. Easton also predicts a better 2004 for the industrial market in the Doral/Airport West area, which has overall seen an above-average vacancy rate since the economies of Latin America began to slip in 2001. Those economies are predicted to rebound this year, triggering a jump in the trade activity that Doral/Airport West depends on. "I think it's mostly business as usual, but I think the market is going to begin to firm up," Easton says. "I don't see any rental increases, and I do think that occupancy will be better."

It already looks that way: Cushman & Wakefield's fourth quarter 2003 statistics show that the overall vacancy rate for industrial space in Airport West stands at 13 percent, a half point down from the second quarter. Cushman's report says that although year-to-date absorption in the submarket remains negative, healthy leasing activity of 2,911,675 square feet for the year, and no new construction completions, has led to a decrease in direct available space. Demand, the report also says, is creeping upward, meaning rents might also inch higher, though Easton says he's seeing rents average about $6.50 a square foot. "It depends on what time frame you're looking at," he says. "It was as high as $7.50 at one point. The commercial market is definitely here to stay, and I think it will be stable."

Despite the sale to Keystone, Easton says his company still retains control of about 2.4 million square feet of space in Doral. At International Corporate Park, the Easton Group will hang on to an 82,000-square-foot warehouse-condo project that is scheduled to come online in the first quarter of 2004, as well as about 30 acres of still-vacant land and a 10-acre shopping center the company is developing in conjunction with Miami-based Courtelis Company. Indeed, while demand for industrial space slackened in the face of falling trade volume at MIA, demand for retail has been constant.

"We've just opened our first stores there, which are a Pier 1 and a Party City," says Rod Castan, director of leasing for Courtelis, which built the Falls mall in South Miami-Dade. In all, says Castan, the "community" shopping center is about 96 percent leased. "It's a response to the strength of the market and the growing residential base there. Big-box users [such as Office Depot] like to position themselves in regional locations like Doral." In general, Castan says, the retail segment of Miami-Dade's real estate market has remained strong.

"Retail wasn't overbuilt," says Castan. "It's a daily need ... people have to shop regardless of whatever economic conditions are affecting everything else."

>> A Turn in the Office Market

One of the more remarkable shifts in the economic dynamics of Miami-Dade County since the late 1990s has been the westward shift of office space from the downtown and Brickell markets. While some has moved to Coral Gables, most of the new construction has been in the Airport West area, including the Blue Lagoon district on the southern perimeter of MIA, now home to corporate headquarters for such firms as Burger King, Visa International and Discovery Latin America. More than 1 million square feet of new building came on line between 2000 and 2003, creating--at 14 million square feet--the county's largest office submarket.

Unfortunately, by the time most of that space came on line, Latin America was in a tailspin, and Airport West quickly became a poster-child for overbuilding. Almost one quarter of the space was vacant by the end of 2002, according to figures from Codina Realty Services. The good news is that, for a number of reasons, that space is filling up rapidly; as of year-end 2003, direct vacancy for the area had fallen to 14.7 percent, according to Codina Realty.

"The biggest factor has been the whole economic picture," says Richard Bamonte, a well-known veteran in the local real estate industry who serves as a senior associate of CB Richard Ellis's Asset Services Division. "Our rates [in Airport/West] represent a value alternative that, in the economic period we've had over the last few years, has become more and more important." Realtors familiar with the area note that Class A space is going for about $20 to $21 per square foot, well below both the $31 to $32 per square foot for Class A space on Brickell and Miami Beach, and the $27 to $28 per square foot for similar space in Coral Gables and downtown Miami.

The other important factor is that no new product has come on line in the past year, and none is scheduled to come on line this year. "As long as there is no new office development, the existing ones have the opportunity to catch up in terms of occupancies as the economy improves," says Tony Puente, CB Richard Ellis vice president heading up leasing at the Airport Corporate Center. "For someone to bring on a new building, they need to get 23 dollars to 25 dollars per square foot. They'd need that for a [good] return on investment." With that being the case, predictions call for an even lower vacancy rate in 2004.

"Things are looking better," says Eric Groffman of Jones Lang LaSalle, who leases the JP Morgan-owned Doral Center corporate park, a complex with 30 Class A and B office buildings with a vacancy rate of about 20 percent. "The indicators are all there that the cycle is turning. What was once weak is now going to become strong." Groffman says Jones Lang LaSalle ended up doing about 100,000 square feet of net new absorption in 2003 - with tenants leasing space ranging in size from 750 square feet up to 40,000 square feet.

"There are just all kinds of deals in the market," Groffman says. "We've seen a spike in tenants [needing] between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet and a nice handful of 25,000-square-foot tenants." Rents in Doral Center's Class A buildings, says Groffman, run from about $19 to $20 per square feet, and average about $18 for Class B. Overall, says Groffman, Doral/Airport West is extremely well-positioned to accommodate the anticipated spike in demand that should result from better domestic economic conditions and a stronger Latin America. "It's the only market down here where a big user will still have options," he says. Indeed, says Cushman & Wakefield's report, the Doral/Airport West submarket is "one of the best opportunities in the county for tenants seeking value."

While no new major projects are on the horizon, at least one veteran builder is looking at an opportunity to build for smaller, local users. The Codina Group (which closed the biggest real estate transaction of 2003 with the commencement of Beacon Lakes, an industrial park just outside Doral city limits) plans to go ahead with a new office-condo project. Called Beacon at Doral, Codina should have about 50 percent to 60 percent of the space sold by the time it starts construction at the end of the first quarter of 2004. "We're going to serve more of the local market," says Forrest Robinson, vice president of Codina Group. "The units will range in size from 1,000 [square feet] to about 3,000 [square feet]." Robinson says the project will total about six buildings on 13 acres--or about 200,000 square feet of total leasable space--when build-out is complete in three years.

>> And Finally, A Place to Stay

Doral's presence as a center for multinational companies--and companies which rely heavily on MIA to move goods in and out of the country--would seem to make it an ideal place for business travelers. For years the corporate convention market has been served by the Doral Golf Resort and Spa (renowned as a bastion of upscale luxury) which is located within the city. In March, for example, the Doral will host the annual Inc. 500 Conference, with 700 guests expected.


More recently, the area has seen numerous hotels pop up in response to demand from business travelers. Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of the Cardel Hospitality Group, says his firm moved into the area five years ago, and has since built three hotels in Doral, including a Staybridge Suites and a Hampton Inn. "We interviewed a lot of different people, like GMs [general managers] of hotels, asking where they would build if they were going to build a hotel. Then I went to the county, and they said most construction was taking place in Doral." Unlike most hotels in tourism-friendly Miami-Dade county, Rodriguez says his highest demand is during weekdays, with low demand on weekends.


The InterContinental West Miami--which also has what is considered one of the best restaurants in the area--does serve leisure as well as business travelers, says marketing director Xavier Lividini. "We get, interestingly enough, pre-and post-cruise guests," he says. "And they're mostly cruises out of Port Everglades." Occupancy by business travelers has also been brisk, Lividini says--so much so that the hotel will undergo an expansion this year (starting at the end of January and taking about a year to complete) that will add 117 rooms and another 10,000 square feet of meeting space in the form of a new ballroom. "We're going to then expect, on weekends, larger weddings and social functions," says Lividini, who says the hotel maintains a healthy 80 percent annual occupancy. The expansion itself means that the hotel will add about 100 employees to its payroll. "People are beginning to realize that Doral is slowly coming into its own," he says.



Absolutely, agrees Carlos Hernandez, senior vice president and area executive for Colonial Bank, which has had a branch in Doral since 1999. "Doral has been a market obviously experiencing a lot of growth," he says. "It also has a large international client base, which is something that Colonial didn't really have before we moved into the city. If you want to capture the international market then you just have to have an office in Doral."


Hernandez, who helped open the Doral branch for the Alabama-based bank, says that serving international customers does present some cursory challenges. "When you deal with the domestic customer, looking for a loan, all the paperwork is generally easy," he says. "When you have an international customer, it's more tough because you don't have credit reports that you can pull ... you just need to do more legwork."


With a large number of Latin Americans moving into the area--Sergio Pino says that about 60 percent of the buyers inside Islands at Doral are Venezuelan--that sort of extra "legwork" may become more common. But it will certainly not be the area's biggest challenge. That, simply put, is how to handle the volume of vehicular traffic that has become a trademark of the shipping firm-rich area.


Traffic is already heavy throughout Doral/Airport West, especially on the main arteries used by the trucks which shuttle between MIA and surrounding commercial and industrial parks. Whether the residential communities will add to the congestion in the long run, or alleviate it by allowing workers to live closer to their jobs, the immediate result will be more cars.

"Yes, traffic is bad," Pino says, "but we want to push FDOT [Florida Department of Transportation] to open another exit off the Turnpike. It's not in the five-year plan, but five years from now, we're going to have 5,000 more families."

Just how the city plans on dealing with such an influx remains to be seen. Today, however, Doral is entering the honeymoon phase of its incorporation: full of high hopes, ready to make its new marriage with Miami-Dade County work.


In the meantime, those who live and work in Doral don't seem to be fazed. "Everyone talks about the traffic. But this is Miami--it will be crowded where ever you go," says Rebecca Francis, president of the Doral-based Clarity Advertising and Design firm. "It's very convenient here. I live in Pembroke Pines but it only takes me 20 minutes to get to work. I really enjoy Doral. And in the last two years since we've moved here we've been blessed--business has grown. We believe in the next five to ten years it will get even busier."


Twenty years ago Doral (outlined in red) and the surrounding Airport West area was little more than a series of vacant lots and cow fields. Then development arrived, in three distinct waves: industrial warehousing, followed by office, followed by residential. Today, it is the county's largest warehouse and office submarket, and the fastest growing market for new single family homes.





1. The Beacon Tradeport (including Dolphin Mall)

2. Beacon Industrial Park

3. Miami Free Zone

4. International Corporate Park

5. Beacon at 97th Avenue

6. America's Gateway Park

7. Beacon Centre

8. Miami International Commerce Center

9. Miami International Business Park

10. Airport Business Center

11. Air & Port International Park

12. Westport Office/Industrial Park

13. The "Finger Lake" Parks

14. Expressway Industrial Park

15. Transal Park

16. Miami West Business Park

17. Pepsi Plant

18. The Doral Center

19. Airport Corporate Center

20. Mall of the Americas

21. Miami International Mall


Doral is such a new city, and such a rapidly evolving one, that the statistics can hardly keep pace. While the population breakdowns as of the 2000 Census still roughly mirror the demographics of today (the Hispanic population may have reached 65 percent, rather than the 63 percent shown), the last available numbers for land use are definitely outdated. In the chart below right, industrial has probably grown by a few points, while residential development has consumed large amounts of the "vacant" land shown in gray. What the numbers do accurately reflect is a city with an unusually high percentage of industrial property.



Doral: The Basics

Total Population: 24,431
Commercial Tax Base: $3.08 billion
Residential Tax Base: $2.24 billion
Total Tax Base: $5.32 billion

Source: Doral Area Incorporation Report (based on 2000 US Census Data

Population by Race

Hispanic 63%
Other -
Black 9%
White, Non-Hispanic 23%

Source: Doral Area Incorporation Report (based on 2000 US densus Data)

Note: Table made from pie graph.

Land Use (%)

Institutional 46%
Residential -
Commercial/Office -
Industrial/Utlities 37%
Agricultural -
Vacant/Expressways -
Parks/Recreation/Inland Waters -

Source: Doral Area Incorporation Report (based on data from 1998)

Note: Table made from pie graph.

Airport West Industrial Market Snapshot

Total Inventory Overall YTD YTD
Buildings (sq. ft.) Vacancy Leasing Direct
Rate Activity Absorption
(sq. ft.) (sq. ft.)

Total 834 46,052,739 13.0% 2,911,675 -470,794


Under Manufacturing Warehouse/ Office/
Construction Distribution Flex
(sq. ft.)

Total 243,126 $6.08 $6.88 $11.17

Source: Cushman & Wakefield Marketbeat Snapshot

Airport West Office Market Snapshot

Total Inventory Direct Direct Sublease Overall
Buildings (sq. ft.) Vacant Vacancy Vacant Vacancy
Space Rate Space Rate
(sq. ft.) (sq.ft.)

Class A 33 4,880,142 1,005,311 20.6% 83,053 22.3%

Class B 96 6,215,564 848,414 13.6% 100,002 15.3%

Class C 53 2,624,039 165,357 6.3% - 6.3%

Total 182 13,719,745 2,019,082 14.7% 183,055 16.1%

Year-To-Date Under Rental
Net Absorption Construction Rate
(sq. ft.) (sq. ft.)

Class A 7,854 0 $24.14

Class B (94,517) 0 $18.88

Class C (24,940) 0 $16.42

Total (111,603) 0 $19.81

Source: Research Department, Codina Realty Services, Inc., ONCOR

Baptist Health South Florida has gone from mostly providing urgent care for workers to offering outpatient services for families. And with a new doctors building going up, all Doral needs now is a full-blown hospital.

Baptist Health South Florida first entered the Doral/Airport West submarket about 12 years ago, with an urgent care clinic located in Beacon Centre. "It is just on the outskirts of Doral proper," says Patricia Rosello, CEO of Baptist Outpatient Services. With the opening this past April of the hospital system's Baptist Medical Plaza at Doral, Rosello says things have come full circle. "The intent was to provide health care to the growing residential base - as well as for the people who drive into the city during business hours. It's about supporting a sprawling new city."

Rosello says Baptist is providing urgent care, seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; an adjoining diagnostic center offers mammography, bone-density scans and digital radiology. "We're going to be installing an MRI there in the next four to six months," she says, while the second floor of the facility on NW 41st Street will be leased, to private physicians. "We also plan on opening an educational center there, so residents in the area can access information about health care, and attend community lectures about various health topics."

Rosello, whose division at Baptist handles outpatient operations for the entire system, says the fabric of the area's patients has changed over the years. "When we first opened in Beacon, we were more of a worker's comp type of center," she says. "We didn't do diagnostics out there--the demographic was different from a residential area. Now, Doral has a broad residential population, a good component of which is younger families. But you've still got that nice mix with the business infrastructure."

Rosello doesn't anticipate Baptist will be opening a full-blown hospital in Doral, at least not any time soon. "I know there's been conversations about the need for a hospital, but it's a lengthy process that includes demonstrating that need before you can submit an application [to the state] to build it. If, however, the area continues to grow, some time in the next 10 years it will need that infrastructure."


In the meantime, area doctors will have new digs. Tapping into a need for a medical office building in Doral, Pan American Companies has partnered with Kenneth Weston & Associates, Inc. to launch the city's first condominium medical/professional office building, The Pavilion at Doral.

"The response has been fabulous, with groundbreaking planned for summer, 2004," says Carlos Lopez Cantera, president of Pan American Companies, the developer of the project. The state-of-the-art, 75,000 square-foot Class A office building is being built five blocks east of the Doral Golf and Spa Resort. As of press time, the building had already pre-contracted for 60 percent of its space.

--Johanna Marmon



Carlos Albizu University, now on a 19-acre campus in Doral, reflects the area's growing Hispanic population with its own student body.

When Carlos Albizu University opened its first campus outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1980, the school's namesake founder headed straight for Miami-Dade County and its burgeoning multiethnic population. "Even then, Carlos recognized the influx of Hispanics into the United States, and he knew that he had to serve this society," says Teresa Albizu, Carlos's granddaughter and vice president of the Miami (read: Doral) campus. More than 20 years later, the school--which was originally founded in 1966--is ranked third in the US for granting doctoral-level degrees to Hispanics.

This is one reason that heavily Hispanic Doral was a natural fit for the school, which moved to the area in 1988 from former digs in Little Havana. Doral's growth has in a sense complimented CAU, says Teresa. "We recognized early on the international [resident] growth that would happen in the area," she says. "We also knew there were a lot of corporate headquarters in the area, and we thought that would help us secure growth as well." CAU is currently housed on a 19-acre campus on NW 99th Avenue; it moved there from a smaller campus in January 2000. "We were searching for a permanent facility because we were leasing before," says Teresa. The school now encompasses 240,000 square feet of buildings.


The year 2000 was also the year the university's board of trustees voted to broaden CAU's educational offerings, which until then were only graduate degrees in psychology. "We were recognizing the changing demographics and the difficulties that minorities were facing in completing their higher education," says Teresa. "So the board decided to add a bachelor's in elementary education, a master's in exceptional students' education [special education], as well as a bachelor's in business administration." In its education programs, CAU trains its students to teach in multicultural classrooms, since traditional teaching programs are largely geared toward Anglos.

"We see a real need for that down here," says Teresa. "We've found that different ethnic populations learn through different modalities. We're asking how our teachers become more aware of these modalities." CAU's demographics are, themselves, a mirror of those of Doral: 63 percent of its student body is Hispanic, compared to 65 percent of local residents.

--Johanna Marmon


With a $75 million upgrade and a new wellness center, Doral Golf Resort and Spa is constantly re-inventing itself. But golf may still be what it's best known for.

The year was 1962 when New York hotelier Alfred Kaskel fused part of his first name along with that of his wife Doris and minted the Doral Hotel and Country Club on 2,400 acres of swampland west of Miami. The name Doral was to become synonymous with golf.


Today, the 692-room sprawling complex with five championship golf courses encompassing 18 miles of fairways, 100 acres of lakes and over 450 sand traps, is known as the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. The resort, complete with five restaurants, a tennis center, luxury health spa and water park is owned by KSL Recreation Corporation. This past year it just completed a $75 million makeover, says director of marketing Carol Murphy--including the addition of a Chopra Center, a new "wellness" area in the spa.

Wellness aside, Doral is still home to one of the oldest continuing events held on the PGA Tour. Played on it's famed Blue Monster course--with an 18th hole ranked by Golf Magazine as "One of the Top Ten Holes in the World"--the championship at Doral is the first contest on the PGA's Florida Swing tour.

When the now prestigious tournament started out, it offered the richest purse on the tour at $50,000. Past event champions have included Jack Nicklaus, Ray Floyd, Greg Norman and last year Scott Hoch. Now owned and operated by the South Florida Golf Foundation, over the years the tournament's title sponsors have included Eastern Airlines, Ryder and Genuity. Tom Neville, executive director for the foundation, says in the second of what they hope to be many more to come, this year's title sponsor is Ford. And with a purse of $5 million, this year's Ford Championship at Doral will be held in the first week of March. "The guys love to play at Doral," says Neville, "and they love staying there."

In all, 95 percent of the PGA's events are run as nonprofits, says Neville. According to him corporate sponsorships for last year's Doral event enabled the foundation to put $700,000 into the reserves of local charities. If all goes well, this year it could be more.

--Barbara Perkins

COPYRIGHT 2004 Americas Publishing Group
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

6,670 Posts
Due to its overbuilding Doral has the worst traffic in South Florida, with the highest number of cars/sq ft of road. Sooooo many huge sprawled office parks. I've always viewed the area as a case study of how not to build.

133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Let's not forget, that despite its overbuilding, many people still want to live in Doral. It's a new city going through phases, very much like Pinecrest. And I'm sure eventually they'll have a town center or something of the likes (maybe not a town center exactly considering they're too close to two major malls.)

133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sao Paulo Business Center inaugura su sede en Doral
Por Zoila Hidalgo

El gobernador de Sao Paulo, Brazil, Geraldo Alkmir, realizó recientemente la ceremonia de inauguración de Sao Paulo Business Center (SPBC) en Miami Free Zone en Doral.

Este nuevo centro de negocios internacionales, proveerá apoyo comercial a todos las compañías de importación y exportación establecidas en Estados Unidos que mantengan relaciones comerciales con la ciudad de Sao Paulo en Brazil.

Este centro de negocios tendrá como finalidad expandir las operaciones comerciales entre Sao Paulo y este país; al implementar estos lazos comerciales se espera desarrollar nuevos negocios bilaterales, lo cual será beneficioso para la economía y el crecimiento del comercio exterior en ambos países.

Más de 100 personas asistieron a este importante evento. Entre las personalidades oficiales que asistieron a la ceremonia estuvieron presentes Gerald Alckmin, Gobernador de Sao Paulo; Roberto Abdenur, Embajador de Brazil en los Estados Unidos; Javier Souto, Comisionado de Miami-Dade County; Juan Carlos Bermudez, Alcalde de Doral; Carlos Barbieri, Presidente de Brazilian Business Bureau y Gary Goldfarb, Vice-Presidente Ejecutivo de Miami Free Zone.

SPBC es un proyecto que fue desarrollado por el gobernador de la ciudad de Sao Paulo, en conjunto con entidades privadas como CELEX (Center for Logistics and Export) y Oxford Group, una compañía americana de consultoría en negocios internacionales.

“Sao Paulo Business Center, facilitará y fortalecerá aún más las relaciones comerciales existentes entre estos dos países, y el sur de la Florida es considerado un mercado clave para su desarrollo y crecimiento,” dijo Alckming.

Por su parte el embajador de Brazil, Abenur, añadió, “Estoy satisfecho de que Sao Paulo Business Center sea una realidad, este nuevo centro de negocios en los Estados Unidos es un logro importante para nosotros, como nexo comercial con Brazil. Estoy seguro de que los esfuerzos del Gobernador Alckmin y el Brazilian Business Bureau; al crear esta nueva empresa, probará ser exitosa y beneficiosa para los Estados Unidos y Sao Paulo.”

Más del 25% de las exportaciones de Brazil se originan en Sao Paulo, en el año 2004 se importaron $20 billones de dólares en bienes, de los cuales $7 billones fueron importados desde Sao Paulo. Entre los productos que se importaron de Brazil, figuran artículos de alta tecnología, reactores nucleares, aviones, vehículos y maquinarias; equipos electrónicos entre otros.

Los Estados Unidos exportó $11 billones a Brazil en el 2004, de estos $6 billones fueron destinados a Sao Paulo. Para los Estados Unidos, esta ciudad como mercado representa el 30% de sus exportaciones a ese país.

Las instalaciones de este nuevo centro de operaciones comerciales, tiene modernas oficinas y salones de conferencias; donde se ofrecen servicios legales, asistencia en negocios internacionales, gerencia de negocios, mercadeo internacional, ventas, y distribución; el centro tiene además áreas para exhibición de productos. Por lo tanto esta nueva sede provee a las compañías de exportación, un ambiente de negocios profesional y una completa asistencia administrativa y tecnológica para sus transacciones comerciales internacionales en cada una de las fases de sus proyectos.

A nivel local, se espera que Sao Paulo Business Center, genere de 100 a 150 nuevos empleos, los cuales básicamente están relacionados en el área de la importación y exportación.

Los directivos de la sede escogieron el área de Doral por estar ubicado cerca de Miami Free Zone, y donde funciona actualmente el centro; y por su proximidad al Aeropuerto Internacional de Miami y al Puerto Marítimo de Miami.

La misión fundamental de SPBC es establecer relaciones comerciales entre Sao Paulo y el Sur de Florida específicamente, y en general entre Brazil y Estados Unidos; además brindar apoyo a las compañías de Sao Paulo, que deseen establecer o expandir sus operaciones en Estados Unidos. También impulsar a Sao Paulo como un mercado potencial, donde compañías norteamericanas puedan invertir o establecer nuevas empresas.

Sao Paulo Business Center, esta ubicado en Miami Free Zone, en el 2305 NW 107 Avenida en Doral.

133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Brazil will open center at Miami Free Zone

Brazil will open center at Miami Free Zone

By Claudio Mendonça
The Brazilian government this month will open a distribution center at the Miami Free Zone with plans to attract 40 businesses in one year to the Doral site.
Starting May 16, Brazilian firms will be able to use the facility's showroom, warehouse and office space as a point of entry to the US. The country's public-private organization Agencia de Promoçao e Exportaçoes do Brasil, or APEX, will manage the 10,000-square-foot facility.
Forty companies representing sectors such as technology, furniture, granite and apparel are involved in the project, said APEX President Juan Quiros.
He said Brazil hopes to use the Doral site to coordinate business statewide, eventually attracting 300 companies in the next three years.
"APEX has the potential to generate $7 million in South Florida payroll," said Gary Goldfarb, vice president of the Miami Free Zone in Doral. He said the 40 businesses will employ an average five people.
Mr. Goldfarb said $1 billion in business flows through the free zone annually. With the arrival of the Brazilian agency, Mr. Goldfarb said, he expects that number to double.
APEX is spending $250,000 to $300,000 on the three-year lease and initially will employ eight staffers.
Atlanta, San Francisco and Houston competed for the Brazilian trade office, the first the country is opening worldwide.
State officials, through Enterprise Florida, and Miami-Dade County's International Trade Consortium each granted $12,500 to attract APEX.
"We want to show that Brazil is a lot more than coffee, soccer and Carnival," said Mr. Quiros, a University of Miami alumnus. "Today, our country manufactures airplanes and is a major producer of software technology."

133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Developers want community feeling - built by design

From Miami Herald:


Developers want community feeling - built by design

Doral is set for a spate of new construction that bids to remake the city, including the county's biggest example of old-style residential development.


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For decades, when a Florida residential developer came across 200 acres of land, the plan was obvious: build a gated subdivision of cookie-cutter, single-family homes.

Now, some builders are embracing throwback neighborhoods with parks and shops -- a movement that is planned for Doral, a western Miami-Dade city that even the mayor says is a ''hodgepodge'' of industrial parks, offices, homes and a world-famous golf course.

Developer Sergio Pino, who has made millions creating gated subdivisions, wants to build a mix of 2,700 condominiums, townhomes and single-family houses along with shops, restaurants, two schools, parks and even a church. His Grand Bay project would be the largest such ''traditional neighborhood development'' in Miami-Dade County.

''It is the return to old America we read about,'' said Ronald A. Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell in Coral Gables, who is not involved in Pino's project. ``We are beginning to sell the two C's: community and convenience.''

The New Urbanist movement, which began in the 1980s, has sought to turn the clock back on post-World War II, suburban, single-use development that brought gated communities, the office park and strip mall. In critics' view, it put a premium on the automobile, fueled traffic woes and created isolated, sterile living.

New Urbanism, in contrast, seeks to bring back mixed-use development with an established town center, a premium on pedestrian traffic and public transit, and where people work, live and play in closer proximity.

''This is about making places that are transit and pedestrian friendly and reducing vehicle use,'' said Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture and a New Urbanist pioneer. ``It is not a fad; it is here for the long haul.''

Doral, which incorporated in 2003, is one of the last frontiers of western Miami-Dade residential development. It's long known for being home to corporate giants such as Carnival Cruise Lines and the famed Doral Golf Resort & Spa.

Now, it's a boomtown.

Developer Armando Codina has 120 acres under contract on which he plans to build a mixed-use Doral city center called Beacon Town Centre, which may include Doral's new city hall. Developer Shoma Homes has bought the 54-acre former headquarters of Ryder System, on which it plans to build its own traditional neighborhood development designed by architect Bernard Zyscovich. Developer Pedro Martin and the Mas family have joined together to build two residential projects.

Doral's potential is not hard to grasp. The city has become an enormously popular destination for Venezuelan home buyers who have taken to calling the city ''Venelandia,'' Pino said. And the city's population of 30,000 swells each day with about 100,000 employees who drive into the city to work at large employers such as Ryder and the U.S. Southern Command.

''In the past there was a lot of abuse,'' Pino said of past development. ``Looking back 20 years, the zoning was very liberal and I think some builders got away with murder. That is the price we are paying today with traffic and other things.''

He hopes his new development, designed by leading New Urbanist architect Erick Valle of Coral Gables, will turn people who work in Doral into residents and help it become a self-sustaining city.

But Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez isn't completely sold on the traditional neighborhood development plan.

''Ideally, I would prefer [Grand Bay] to be single-family homes,'' Bermudez said. ``We are not against the TND concept. But our traffic problems go beyond creating TNDs all over the place.''

Doral is a city with largely disconnected developments. Unplanned suburban sprawl is variously dotted with corporate office parks, industrial warehouses, gated residential subdivisions and the golf resort. Its thoroughfares are often snarled with traffic.

Currently, city planners are putting together a comprehensive zoning plan, which leaders plan to unveil May 18.

''We are the only city that incorporated in Miami-Dade without one baseball field, one soccer field or one basketball court for kids,'' Bermudez said. ``We are trying to bring some balance to this hodgepodge city we have been given.''

Since Pino won approval for the project in December from the Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Grand Bay has been caught in the middle of a jurisdictional fight between the city of Doral and the county. Doral has appealed the county's approval of the project.

Pino said a settlement with the city is in the works. He hopes to break ground in January.

The project could boost the New Urbanist movement in Miami-Dade, where leading international proponents live -- such as Plater-Zyberk; her partner, Andres Duany; and Valle -- but where New Urbanist ideas have not been fully embraced.

In 1999, for instance, the Miami-Dade County Commission rejected a proposed traditional neighborhood development in West Kendall called Salamanca.

''There are a lot less headaches to do a gated community,'' Valle said. ``But now with land so scarce the TND is more attractive.''

The University of Miami is planning a New Urbanist town village near Miami Metrozoo and another is being built on the site of Naranja Lakes, among several projects. Well-known New Urbanist projects include Celebration near Orlando and Seaside in the Florida Panhandle.

Pino's Grand Bay, set to go up between Northwest 102nd and 107th avenues and Northwest 90th and 74th streets, follows a similar model. More than 20 percent of the property is set aside for green space or lakes.

''I regret that I didn't think of doing a TND before,'' Pino said. ``Every national home builder has contacted me to [buy] Grand Bay. But now it is so much in my heart, I would not be the same person if I sell it. It will be something so different from anything built before. It is kind of a matter of pride.''
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