At Play In The Hotspot

Miami Business, September 1999

While Airport West has been dominated by a handful of major developers, smaller players haven’t shied away.  Consider venture-some Paul Douglas.  He spent two years and five years, respectively, with real estate companies owned by well-known developers Ed Easton and Armando Codina.  Then he decided two years ago to strike out on his own, forming Douglas Development Group Inc.  Now he is pushing the build-out of a 36-acre industrial park at 58th Street and Northwest 97th Avenue called Doral Commerce Park.

Construction of the first of four planned industrial buildings at Doral Commerce Park was expected to start in September.  Backed by bank lender First Union, Douglas Development plans to invest a total of $32 million in the planned four-building, 625,000 square-foot project.  With the blessing of First Union, all four buildings are expected to get construction funding before they’re leased.

Douglas says the financing of his speculative project was made easier by the fact that local industrial space is being absorbed at such a rapid rate.  But he also says strong demand for local industrial property has pushed up land prices.  In an effort to negotiate an affordable purchase price, Douglas says he bargained long and hard with the seller of the site of the 36-acre Doral Commerce Park.

“We worked with the seller of the property for over a year,” Douglas says.  “Land is at a premium.  It’s getting increasingly difficult to buy.”

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