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Shopping centers stay strong in South Florida. One county has a 92.9% occupancy rate

Rebecca San Juan
·2 mins read

Density is helping sustain occupancy rates in Miami-Dade County’s shopping centers, making it the healthiest market in South Florida.

Miami-Dade has a 92.9% occupancy rate among its shopping centers, according to a third-quarter report by Boca Raton-based 11th St. Capital. Palm Beach has an 88.8% occupancy rate, and Broward has an 88.6% occupancy rate. Joshua Ladle, the CEO and founder of the real estate investment and management firm, visited all 1,720 shopping centers.

“The significant dense population in Miami-Dade is one of the main drivers to its success in terms of occupancy. Where there are concentrated amounts of people, retailers like to be there. More people coming to their stores means more dollars in their cash registers. Driving the nearly 700 centers in Miami-Dade County, it’s clear that there are still a lot of people shopping in all those stores, which is keeping the company lights on,” Ladle said by email.

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Government aid and landlord assistance are keeping plazas afloat in all three counties, Ladle said by email.

Still, restaurant and store closures are inevitable and will impact commercial real estate, he said by email. “More vacant space will come onto the market and will need to be backfilled. As always, premium, well-located space will be the quickest to be picked up by those tenants that are still expanding while the more challenging areas will struggle to fill the increased vacancy.”

Some new restaurants and retailers moving into recently vacant storefronts may help counteract the anticipated closings. Miami-Dade has 500,000 square feet of “Coming Soon” space while Broward has had a million during the third quarter, Ladle said by email.

“I believe that occupancy rates will still trend downward in Q1 2021, but only slightly because of all the ‘Coming Soon’ space,” he said. “Good case in point, Broward County, from Q1 2020 to Q3 2020 only fell from 89.1% to 88.6%, despite those 6 months being right in the thick of the pandemic.”