News and Notes

February 2020

How Expensive is Coral Gables Retail Space?

Retail space is growing ever more expensive, and rates are climbing. But according to a recent survey of urban areas in South Florida, Coral Gables is far from the costliest place to rent space for your brick-and-mortar operations on streets such as Miracle Mile (right). Yes, at an average asking rent of $38.16 per square foot, we are more expensive than places like Miami Lakes ($28.12) and Kendall ($34.56), but less costly than Coconut Grove ($65), Downtown Miami ($75), Miami Beach ($83.65) and Brickell ($118.93).

Bet You Didn’t Know this Coral Gables Secret

The American Airlines office on Ponce de Leon Boulevard has an old-fashioned ticket counter. There are only a couple in the country, and we have one – where you can walk in with a problem and they fix it.

Another Mid-Rise, For Cars

The Collection, the high-end auto dealership on Bird Road and U.S. 1, plans to build a massive eight-story building on the U.S. 1 corridor near Gables Station. Currently the space is a wedge-shaped lot for “pre-owned” cars. It will ultimately house some 850 cars in 500,000-square feet, the spacial equivalent of five standard WalMart stores.

Smart City

One of the most interesting national expos is the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where they display the latest smart technologies, like robots that carry your groceries or headsets that instantly translate languages for you. At last month’s show there was a new booth, this one manned by a delegation from Coral Gables.

Riding on its growing reputation as a smart city, the Gables was the only U.S. municipality to show up (another came from Japan). The city’s delegation of three was led by IT Director Raimundo Rodulfo, who said the team learned invaluable lessons – and made invaluable connections – toward furthering the use of technological innovations to improve city life.

And the Winning Hotelier Is…

If you have been wondering who will run the hotel that will be part of the massive mixed-use project on Ponce Circle called The Plaza, wonder no more. The 242-room hotel, set for completion in two years from now, will be Loews Coral Gables. The new $150 million hotel, a joint venture with developers Agave Holdings, will cater to business travelers and weekend vacationers. And yes, it will have a tower cupola in the Alhambra style.

Smart Kids

Congresswoman Donna Shalala, who represents Coral Gables, recently announced the winner of the fifth annual Congressional App Challenge, a yearly competition that encourages middle and high school students to learn to code and pursue careers in computer science and STEM fields. The winners were Jake Charron, Joshua Delgado, Kamal Kay-Ramos, and Jordan Schmidt. All are students at Gulliver Prep; Delgado and Kay-Ramos are both Gables residents. Together they won for an AED Locator app, which uses a person’s geolocation to find the nearest automated external defibrillator in more than 10,000 locations in Miami-Dade County. A virtual reality component is being developed in order to help people learn the nuances between AED devices.

You’ve Got to be Kidding

You remember George Zimmerman, the self-styled vigilante who was acquitted after he killed teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida? And you might have read that Zimmerman, in December, filed suit against the Martin Family, prosecutors and others involved in the case for $100 million for using false evidence. Now Joel Gilbert, director of the movie “The Trayvon Hoax,” is suing the Coral Gables Art Cinema and the city for $670,000 for not letting him show his conspiracy-theory documentary at the cinema. He claims breach of contract and violation of his right to free speech.

New Retail in Merrick Village

No, they are not in the Shops at Merrick Park. But in the ever expanding, multi-family universe known at Merrick Village (to the north and east of the Shops), new retailers are spreading their wings. At the 10-story Merrick Manor building at 301 Altara Ave., five new retailers have opened shop, mostly for the purpose of making residents look more attractive: Anaïs Nails & Spa; Body Details (hair and tattoo removal); Elegance Beauty Salon; Sweat 440 (cross training and fitness); and Trésor, a jeweler based in India.

Martha Stewart and Silvia

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about Martha Stewart’s shopping habits, including where she buys her clothes. Among other responses, she replied “My foolproof fashion fallback is satin or sequin trousers from Silvia Tcherassi. I found her in Cartagena, Colombia, and she has a shop in Coral Gables, Fla.” That would be over in the Shops at Merrick Park.