Size may not matter when it comes to investing in South Florida commercial real estate

For several years now, many Americans have had a love affair with the small things in life. Families and millennials embraced smaller homes and micro-units as a means of living affordably in the wake of the Great Recession, of embracing efficient and sustainable ideas, and of simply owning something. Whatever the reason, micro-living represents a popular shift in the collective mindset.

It was only a matter of time before some entrepreneurs and CRE developers, investors, and business owners also embraced the Lilliputian life. In cities across the country, small and awkward spaces – once seen as empty in a bigger-is-better world – are literally getting a new lease on a profitable life.

The reasons why less is more

The small space CRE movement is a natural byproduct of cities across the country creating high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods – very much like the building boom along Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard. The results are that space is at a premium, parking is limited, businesses must rely heavily on foot traffic, and residents require a variety of convenient services.

For the owner/investor, that spells opportunity. A BISNOW article on the tiny boom mentions the CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls, in which two waitresses made a deal to convert an old supply room behind their dinner into a small cupcake business with a sidewalk window. That may be fiction, but many entrepreneurs are using similar tactics – and many of the new multipurpose ventures are giving small a big name.

Looking at space differently

Clearly, not every small space will double as a gourmet cupcake shop, but looking to repurpose unused, underused, or vacant small spaces requires a degree of similar creativity. You have to understand what local consumers need, reach out to the right entrepreneurs, and think outside of the box (store, if you will).

A current tenant may want to try a new venture on a smaller scale, while a new business might be eager to get a foothold in a high-rent area without the astronomical overhead of a dedicated space. It could also mean bringing several small boutiques together under a single roof in a micro-mall located in the shell of a brick-and-mortar space or, as in Miami’s Upper Buena Vista, under the canopy of some magnificent trees.

Big brands are also going small

At the same time, larger brand names – Nordstrom and IKEA, to name two – are expanding into smaller spaces to meet the changing demands in the retail market. Normally located in malls, box stores, and any location that requires a car to get there, these big-things-in-small-packages venues allow these national retailers to reach the new urban dweller.

These smaller locations provide more limited merchandise as well as an opportunity for customers to interact with store personnel, ask questions, and then place an online order to be picked up at the same location.

Going small in a big way

At the end of the day, efficiency, convenience, and ROI are necessary to make tiny CRE a big success. Those three values are also at the heart of Morris Southeast Group as our professional team works to make big CRE goals come true.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at


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