Little Havana: Miami’s Emerging Neighborhoods

Posted by & filed under Commercial, Historic Preservation, Single Family, Urbanism.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking a bike tour of Little Havana with Jose Fernandez, owner of El Barrio Workshop.  Jose began investing in apartments on South Beach in the late 1980’s and over the last ten years or so he  has invested in several properties in Little Havana.  He’s extremely bullish on Little Havana and I can see why.

Location and Transit

Located within walking and biking distance of downtown Miami and Brickell this densely populated neighborhood has access to major bus lines that run regular routes along Flagler, 7th and 8th Street.  Many of these bus routes also connect directly to the Metrorail  and Metromover just a short distance away.

Housing Stock and Mix of Uses

Little Havana has a diverse housing stock that dates as far back as the 1920’s. During the building boom of 1925 many small-rise and mid-rise center corridor apartment buildings  where built and still exist; although most have fallen into disrepair. Within the mostly residential neighborhood there are pockets of commercially zoned districts, so residents have access to retail stores within walking distance.

Historic Preservation in Little Havana?

Although there is an assorted housing stock that should be preserved, historic structures in Little Havana currently do not enjoy any protection. Both Jose Fernandez and myself would like to see that change. Jose was involved with the Historic Preservation movement on South Beach in the late 80’s and early 90’s and he believes many of the building in Little Havana need the same type of protection that has been bestowed upon the buildings on Miami Beach. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like historic preservation is a priority for the city of Miami. All we need to do is look east to South Beach to see the tremendous value historic preservation can add to a city.  South Beach wouldn’t be South Beach if it weren’t for the strict historic preservation standards that were adopted in the the late 80′s and early’s 90′s. It’s time for the city of Miami to step-up.

Investing in Little Havana

Currently there are 53 residential properties listed in Little Havana according to StreetEasy. Prices range from to $26,900 to $475,000. According to Jose Fernandez multifamily apartments can still be picked up for 7-8% cap rate. There are still deals to be had in this emerging Miami neighborhood.

 

bungalow2

Little Havana Bungalow.
Source: Little Havana Guide

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1925ish apartment building with center courtyard.

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1925ish twin apartment buildings.

Single family home

 

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Little Havana; a "tolerated" fruit stand in the neighborhood.  Hopefully the taxman won't crackdown.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Little Havana; a “tolerated” fruit stand in the neighborhood. Hopefully the taxman won’t crackdown on them.

Recently renovated apartment building. Circa 1925

Recently renovated apartment building. Circa 1925

The Tower Hotel was recently purchased by the Barlington Group. The also purchased the two adjacent properites.  Word has it they will rehab the building and run it as a hotel.

The Tower Hotel was recently purchased by the Barlington Group. They also purchased the two adjacent properites. Word has it they will rehab the building and return it to it’s glory days as a hotel.

 

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Great old gas station. Sadly zoning won’t allow for commercial use of the property.The property has been zoned residential (T3).

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