Codina Partners Part 2 - Downtown Doral Is Miami's Premier Town Center

October 11, 2018

EisnerAmper Real Estate Services Group Chair Ken Weissenberg discusses the Florida real estate market and Downtown Doral as a live-work town center with Codina Partners Executive Chairman Armando Codina and CEO Ana-Marie Codina Barlick.


Transcript

Armando Codina:Let me tell you this about Doral. People, particularly if you are out of the market, even people in Miami did not quite realize. It didn't take a lot of vision. So the runway ends and the Palmetto on Doral begins. We’re the closest thing to the airport, right? If you looked at where most of the jobs were created in Miami in the last 20 years, it is near that airport, west of the Doral area. If you say what is the largest concentrations of employees of employment in Dade County, most people would say Brickel or Downtown Doral. The airport west of Doral in particular, Doral is the headquarters to the two healthiest industries in Dade County. What are the two healthiest industries in the county? The cruise lines, NCL and Carnival, but more important because Carnival is like two blocks from us and they are the largest. The other industry that is very successful because Miami doesn't have a headquarters company like you see here, is the networks. Univision is there, Telemundo is there, the Federal Reserve is there, so I could go on and on. The Miami Herald moved out of downtown and moved to Doral, and it was an incubator for a lot of businesses. We felt that we were building a city, as you said, but we were building something for work where the game was going to be played. And the game was going to be played in- live, work, play, learn-have this tenant who owns a sporting goods store in our retail industry. Her kid goes to Downtown Doral elementary so she never leaves.

Ana-Marie Codina Barlick: She doesn’t use her car.

AC:So in Miami, that's unheard of.

KW: So it’s really creating a magnet for people.

AC: And I should tell you a lot more about the school because I mean she had the right vision on what we needed and how to do it, but we have over two thousand kids on a waiting list wanting to get into our school. Part of what we got out of giving the land and building it without any city money or really school board money, we got impact fee. But we get a preference. The people who live in there all have a preference on the admission. Maybe Ana can tell you more about the school..

AB:We have Downtown Doral charter elementary school which will be about a thousand students. We’re growing into fifth grade this year, and we’re actually so successful we’re breaking ground this week on an addition to increase the size of the school. It’s a K-through-five charter elementary school, which was a public-private partnership with Miami Dade County Public Schools. It’s the first that we know of where a private developer and a school district have partnered together to build a school from the ground up. So Dade County Public Schools manages it, and we modeled it after the most successful elementary school of Dade County which is Sunset Elementary. It’s a dual-language, dual-cultural curriculum. Our curriculum allows you to choose Spanish or Portuguese. We’re the first Portuguese program in Miami. We thought that the market was better served. Sunset Elementary has French, German and Spanish. We thought Portuguese was a much better option for Miami. It represents the community better. Spanish is still predominantly the largest program, so our students do about forty percent of their coursework in the foreign language, and about sixty percent in English. They study all subjects in both languages and we have agreements with the governments of Spain and Brazil, so they're actually following the official curriculum of those two countries. The vision is when we complete the middle high school, that if the student chooses to continue that tract, they will graduate with two high school diplomas, a U.S. high school diploma and either Spanish or a Brazilian diploma.

AC:Our teachers are on a one-year contract. We got merit pay. It’s about the kids. They go to school a little bit longer. It’s a more demanding curriculum. Tell them a little bit about the rating, the first and now.

AB:We are starting our third year of operation. Our first year we were rated A. The rating is based on a number of criteria. One of those is a standardized testing that is done by the state of Florida. This year we were in the top five of all the elementary schools either public or charter in Dade County within two years of operation.

KW: That's amazing.

AB:We’re in the top tenth of one percent in the state of Florida for schools were the majority of the students are English language learners. The majority of our students do not speak English as a primary language. Our English scores are just as high as our math scores even though our students are studying two languages. They’re keeping up with the rest of the state and it's an interesting thing we've learned having this dual-language curriculum. Three of the top five schools of Dade County have dual-language curriculums so there is a lot of talk about English as the primary language. Students who are learning two languages are outpacing, at least in Miami-Dade County.

About Kenneth Weissenberg

Kenneth Weissenberg CPA, Tax Partner in Real Estate Services, is experienced in tax saving strategies and negotiating sales and acquisitions. He represents owners of some of the most well-known real estate properties in New York City.

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