On Wednesday August 16th, we will be announcing a milestone on our project. More to come.
Tampa, FL 33602
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On Wednesday August 16th, we will be announcing a milestone on our project. More to come.
This is pretty cool video done by the Economist magazine on how ride sharing and other similar transportation options is going to be changing society and the associated economy.
Source: The wheels of change | Espresso
An interesting story that ran in today’s Tampa Bay Times. It is impacting the whole multifamily housing industry, including us.
Click here to read it.
We will continue to work through it.
Garcia saw right through the mess.
“It was solid concrete block,” he said. “You’ve gotta look at the bones. If it has good bones, you can do a lot with it.”
Garcia and his partners in Urban Core Holdings LLC closed on that property in December 2014. Today, it’s 100 percent occupied with a significant waiting list, and a popular housing choice for University of Tampa students.
With that project complete, Urban Core Holdings is turning its attention to another real estate transformation: The redevelopment of an old office building at 220 E. Madison St. in downtown Tampa into 120 micro apartments, between 300 and 400 square feet each. If the group’s vision is fully realized, the building won’t have any parking, and the majority of residents won’t own a car. (A waiver from the city, which is subject to city council approval, is required to convert the building to apartments without parking spaces.)
Urban Core Holdings is under contract to acquire the office building. A purchase price hasn’t been disclosed, but construction costs are estimated at $7 million.
Despite Tampa’s progress with urban revitalization over the last few years — thousands of residential units have been built in the city center, and retailers and restaurants are beginning to follow — Urban Core Holdings’ project is a pioneering one. Micro apartments are typically built in extremely dense urban areas with well-connected transit systems and dozens of shops and eateries within walking distance. Tampa is still a car-dependent city with limited shopping and dining options in the urban core.
But Garcia — a Harbour Island resident who adamantly “hates” driving and car ownership — and other urban advocates argue that the city won’t ever shed its car dependency without projects like his.
The micro apartments, Garcia and his partners believe, will fill a niche in downtown Tampa. The thousands of units built in the urban core and Channel district in recent years are luxury apartments, out of reach for many young professionals who want to live downtown. The apartments in 220 Madison will rent for around $800 per month. The smallest studios in the Channel district’s newest buildings start around $1,500 per month.
“I probably get four multifamily deals thrown at me on a daily basis,” Garcia said, “and you look at them and it’s all, ‘We think you can increase the rent by 15 percent.’ It’s this marginal thing, and I’ve seen the prices and everything is ridiculous. We really want to do major value-add.”
The conversion of 220 E. Madison into apartments has the potential to be a “major value-add” project. The office space in it is currently 90 percent vacant, and turning the building into residential units would generate more rent and add to downtown’s growing residential base.
Urban Core Holdings has received deposits on more than 80 of the units since it began taking reservations on April 17. The reservations require only a $50 deposit, but they demonstrate to potential lenders that there’s real interest in renting an apartment the size of a hotel room, Garcia said.
The CVS on the ground floor of the 12-story building will remain. There will be office space on the second floor and a third-floor common area. The remaining floors will be apartments.
With the building’s proximity to the Tampa Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Garcia already felt that he was sitting on a potential goldmine. In late April, though, during a due diligence tour of the building, his confidence in the redevelopment increased substantially.
He was touring the building with a windows specialist who wanted to see a corner of the building Garcia himself hadn’t seen yet on the 11th floor.
“We go into this office and lo and behold, they open the doors and you see these amazing views of Curtis Hixon,” he said.
That sort of surprise is one reason Garcia said he prefers repositioning old properties to building ground-up developments.
“The view? It’s built,” he said. “What do I gotta do — put a window on it? I’m not going from scratch.”
Garcia has understood the profitability and personal satisfaction of fixing up derelict properties for most of his adult life. As a teenager, he watched his mother, a residential real estate agent, flipping houses in West Tampa and Town ‘n’ Country in the 1980s.
“I was literally going to houses that my mom would go in, and I’d be gagging,” Garcia said, “and my mom would just be walking around, looking at the them.”
Those dilapidated houses sparked Garcia’s interest in real estate, and he majored in civil engineering at the University of South Florida. He served in the U.S. Navy and holds a master’s of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina.
His resume is dotted with ventures in technology and real estate. After the housing crash, he spent a few years flipping single-family homes and building out a software company that ultimately fizzled. As the single-family market became less profitable, he turned his attention to multifamily.
When he saw the West River Flats, he knew he was looking at a gem: A solidly built apartment building a mile from the University of Tampa. He and his partners paid $3.5 million for it and closed days before the Tampa Housing Authority announced it would be relocating residents out of the nearby North Boulevard Homes to make way for a major redevelopment in West Tampa.
“We paid $26,000 a unit for concrete block,” Garcia said. “They were selling stuff in Suitcase City by USF for more than that.”
The group put $2 million into the property, modernizing units and working to improve the security. The property manager lives on site, as does a Tampa police officer. UT students can rent fully furnished, three-bedrooms for $1,800 a month all-in — $600 a month for three roommates.
That’s the kind of transformation he thinks is possible in the heart of downtown with the pioneering micro apartments.
“What’s most satisfying is to take something already built — to take something that’s existing and unlock the value, I find that super interesting,” Garcia said. “From a risk perspective, I find it a lot less risky than going ground up.”
Ashley Gurbal Kritzer is senior reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
1 year ago · admin · Comments Off on Tiny apartments could be coming to downtown Tampa. | WTSP.com
Tiny houses are becoming a hot trend as many people are choosing to downsize and get rid of all their extra ‘stuff.’ A local developer wants to bring that trend to downtown Tampa in the form of micro-apartments. The apartments would be 300-400 square feet. Lots of big windows. They’d have all the necessary appliances. Even a murphy bed that folds up into the wall during the day to save space. There would also be a large common area for times when you wanted to hang out with friends. The rent is about 800 dollars a month. It’s being marketed to young professionals who work downtown and decide to live here too. They could really save some money if they don’t have a car, which would be key because parking is the biggest issue for this project. The plan calls for renovating the building at 220 Madison in downtown Tampa. The first floor would stay retail, but the upper floors would become the micro apartments, with a common area and balcony on the third floor. However, the city has a rule that there has to be at least one parking spot per bedroom, and with no existing parking garage here and no plans to build one, the developer is in a bit of a pinch. Omar Garcia is manager of Urban Core Holdings LLC. “The intent of this project, micro apartments in urban markets is really to make it so people do not want or have any need to own a vehicle and that may be a requirement we would like to offer up or negotiate in lieu of the parking requirement.” I went straight to Tampa’s Administrator of Economic Opportunity, Bob Mcdonaugh, to see if they would consider changing the rules to make these apartments a reality. “What we do is we look at the past history of the building, when it was permitted and exactly what parking rights it had and you know we’re trying to be creative and figure out a way to make this thing work, because I think it is a great idea.” This is still early in the process, the developer currently has a contract to purchase the building. However, this is generating so much interest, that he’s taking online reservations starting today for people who might be interested in living in these micro apartments without a car. If all goes as planned, the apartments would be ready to rent in 8-12 months. Here’s a link to their website. And Road Warrior Hilary Zalla says there are options if you don’t have a car. All the cyclist/pedestrian advocates she talked to in Tampa say the city is still too car-centric and there is still a long way to go until we’re a bicycle/pedestrian friendly city. With that said, there is a lot of progress happening and the tiny apartment project is a great example of that lifestyle change. The developer of the project is pushing to have Zipcar right out front of the building. It’s $7/month, you reserve a car, and have a designated parking space. Of course, we can’t forget about Uber and Lyft, too. There will also be a bike rack right out front. If you didn’t know, Tampa is adding more complete streets downtown. These are roads with separated bike and car lanes. They’re working on roads like Bayshore Boulevard and MacDill Avenue. Finally, we can’t forget about the Downtowner shuttle, trolley, and the bus system.”
Builders Bet Tiny Apartments Will Lure Renters Will 300-square-foot apartments fly in Pittsburgh and Kansas City?
Urban Micro Apartments May Offer Millennials Path Towards Wealth Creation
According to The Institute of College Access and Success report on student debt, the average student borrower has over $30,000 in student loan debt, or about $300 per month. The sinister characteristic about this debt is that it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. That means that these borrowers will have this debt hanging over their lives for a significant time. Now couple that with the cost of owning a car, which according to AAA’s 2015 car ownership cost study is $725 per month and you start out the month with over $1,000 in the hole, and that’s after tax money. If you throw on rent, food, healthcare and other expenses, its no wonder that the average young person cannot save any money.
Micro apartments in urban areas may offer an escape from this long term debt problem.
First, micro apartment in urban areas allow its residents to live closer to the urban core where the salaries are higher on average than the suburban areas. Another factor is given that they do not have to spend time commuting to and from work, they can spend more time at work. This additional work time can be in the form of longer hours, a part time job or even freelancing.
Second, because they are in the urban core, urban micro apartment residents skip car ownership, essentially putting that $725 back in their pockets.
Finally, the inherent lower cost of smaller spaced apartments means that they are also saving on rent.
In summary, these three elements can lead to Millennials to save money and put them on a stronger financial footing to later invest in the purchase of their own home or starting a business, both excellent paths toward a better future.