Thursday, May 7, 2009

If you could, would you live near Land Shark Stadium?

Imagine seeing an ad for a home for sale “near Land Shark Stadium”. You might not have to anymore.

Land Shark Stadium??? I heard about this and I thought about the hysterical sketch on the early (and funny) days of Saturday Night Live with Chevy Chase knocking on apartment doors and "eating" the residents who opened the door for his "Land Shark" costume. Then I saw this in print, and thought that maybe a reputable news operation had picked up a story from The Onion.

But, silly me. This could happen within hours of writing this. It seems that name is now the name of a beer. This could be the name of the same stadium the Miami Dolphins have played in for years. The stadium I still refer to as Joe Robbie Stadium, since that's how it was introduced and Joe Robbie was the Dolphins' owner who got it built.The same stadium that right now technically isn't named for the team that plays in it (Dolphin Stadium and NOT Dolphins Stadium). The former Underwear Stadium (whatever). The same facility that cuts off beer sales at half-time and had to implement a "family section" so that kids attending a pro football game would have a safe harbor. Let alone that it is not and has never been in Miami.

Next, I thought about how this stadium name will make property and home owners in the area feel. Will it present an added challenge to sell a home or commercial property near Land Shark Stadium?

Think about it. This publicity also begins less than a year after more shark attacks near Florida beaches. While it is hard to name a percentage, it is safe to say a portion of potential home buyers in the Miami – Ft. Lauderdale corridor come from the northern cities as second homes or homes to retire at. The Southeast Florida market has had its share of challenges in today’s real estate market as it is. I have recently spoken with several regional mortgage lenders who tell me they continue to stay away from advertising in and pursuing the Miami area.

Sports fans are the ones who will react in whatever way (humor, sarcasm, etc.) to Land Shark Stadium any minute now. I just don’t see it being a favorable reaction toward the area. Granted, this stadium is actually so isolated from civilization in South Florida it really won’t make that much of a difference, but unless people have actually been there, they don’t realize this. The local government will point out that they receive the tax portion of the millions of dollars paid for the stadium naming rights, and that it will add to the economy. While that may be true, I happen to think this name could take away from the local economy long term as it could negatively impact the local real estate market.

Meanwhile, there is something to be said for picking up a piece of an historical building as the highest bidder. But this is a highly unusual story. It seems that several items from the original Chicago Stock Exchange Building, including a cast and wrought iron elevator enclosure panel and leaded glass ceiling panels with values estimated to be in 5 figures. The Louis Sullivan designed building was completed in 1894.

What makes this unusual? The building was demolished in 1972 in Chicago, yet this auction takes place (on June 2) at The Rockefeller Center in New York City. The Associated Press story quotes an official of Christie’s as saying they could not reveal how the auction house got these items.
Seems to me there is a very interesting news or investigative story in the making. How do in tact parts of a building demolished 37 years earlier suddenly appear for auction? What happens to expensive parts of demolished buildings?

Speaking of demolished buildings, did you see the NBC News report on Tuesday about the demolition of a group of homes in Victorville, CA?

It seems that the city determined it was more economically feasible to bulldoze a group of homes that were not completed rather than spend the money to complete them. The video showed pile after pile of debris. Once everything is cleared (and at who’s expense?), the space could remain a series of empty lots for months if not years.

My first reaction is that city officials didn’t see the story about the Florida investor who purchased several unfinished homes for under half price, and spent a portion of his savings to finish construction, leaving him with a huge profit margin whether he rented or sold the brand new houses.

In other words, the Victorville demolition is another example of the lack of creative thinking about today’s real estate market. You can’t tell me that no one would have shown up if the city officials and others associated with the project held an auction. An investor or investment group could have done the same thing. But start from scratch on a series of vacant lots? It could take several years of waiting, and that is a lot of lost potential revenue for the city – and for those still employed in the real estate community.

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