In the Know: Going Gaga over Galleria; home sales surge; and what could Bezos' billions buy in Southwest Florida? A lot.
Even before the pandemic kicked in, we've been reporting how one segment that's not expected to see significant slowdown is the medical industry.
More buildings. More options. And now even more attention to health in the wake of coronavirus.
Choices are changing, like in the case of Dr. Lorna Stewart. She was opening a new family practice with associates this past week in the Galleria district that eats up a massive chunk of real estate at and around Airport-Pulling and Vanderbilt Beach roads.
Based on your fan mail, you've been noticing the activity there, and we'll talk a little bit more about that later in this column.
Stewart's gig centers on the emerging membership model that largely works outside the typical insurance or Medicare framework most of you have come to know and love or loathe all these years.
For the usual annual fee of $4,750 for one patient or $8,500 for a couple, you're essentially buying time and access that covers all your visits. If you're under 26, it's a lot less.
Besides longer appointments, among other amenities, Stewart says you receive the privilege of "24/7 access including my cell phone for after hours and weekends, as well as my personal email address."
Now, that's telemedicine, but clearly she doesn't know about some of you valetudinarians. Heck, you guys tell me about your ailments, and I'm no doctor, and I definitely don't play one on television. See if my prescription works: Eat three spare ribs, listen to bagpipe music, take a baby aspirin and don't call me in the morning.
Yeah, you'll receive better advice from someone who most recently managed Orlando Regional Medical Center's 16-bed Intermediate Critical Care Unit, where she treated medically complex critically ill patients.
Stewart is teaming with the Ms. Medicine network, founded in 2018, that already has "concierge" care in metro Washington D.C., Dayton, Ohio and the Lake Macatawa city of Holland, Mich., where they're all about tulips.
Her address is 9150 Galleria Court, which is just across from a fellow newbie: Edward Jones investments recently leased 1,080 square feet at 9180 Galleria Court, according to LandQwest, which was also involved in an additional nearby transaction.
In that one, Premier Plus Realty Inc. purchased a 3,600-square-foot office suite at 9015 Strada Stell Court, for $1.08 million from Possibillie LLC, which had acquired it in 2015 for $810,600.
“The timing was right in that the seller wanted to downsize due to new, remote working standards and simply didn’t need the excess office space,” said Eric Edwards, senior broker associate for LandQwest. The contract came together within about two weeks of the property going to market.
In the heart of the district, the sprawling Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt has been abuzz with five additions to its roster in the works or completed including the second anchored Nawty Hogg BBQ and Poke Mahi, a Hawaiian-themed chain of about a dozen outposts with a majority in New York City but extending west to Los Angeles and south to Coral Gables.
And the Shoppes is also part of the health and medical industry growth we've been seeing locally with the debut of OsteoStrong, which focuses on skeletal strengthening.
That puts the tally of businesses filling the 300,000-square foot plaza at 20 cuisine alternatives and 55 other merchants offering fashion, fitness and other services.
Certainly, a long way from where it had been a decade ago with 30% occupancy after the economy tanked.
Collier, Bonita, Lee sizzle in home sales
Official year-end figures are due out soon for regional real estate associations.
But their newest numbers, as well as my previous In the Know findings, suggest a strong 2020 despite the deadly arrival of COVID-19.
As I've reported, a lot of the buying has been fueled by residents in larger metros, such as New York City and Miami, wanting more elbow room in getting away from the tight spaces that became even more uncomfortable during the pandemic.
And the low mortgage rates certainly helped "even though housing prices are going up, and buyers are upgrading to more expensive homes," said Jeff Jones, broker at Keller Williams Realty.
The Naples Area Board of Realtors reported a 58.8% increase in closed sales in November, as compared to a year ago.
And folks keep coming. Showings are up 43%
The activity, draining the supply of homes, has been driving up the cost of abodes. The median close hit $382,250, up 16% from late 2019.
Houses slotted at more than $2 million are among those seeing the strongest spikes, with a 51.6 percent jump in November 2020 over the same period a year ago. That helped put Collier's year-to-date average close at $669,409, up from $594,065.
Lee County had its best November for single-family homes since 2016, according to the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association. The 1,364 closings represent a 36.3% uptick over a year ago. For the same period, it's 53.2% on the plus side for townhouses and condominiums.
Two communities in particular stood out. Pine Island saw a 200% spurt overall while Bonita Springs had about half that, said Jim Sanville, Royal Palm's communications and media specialist.
And they're going fast in Lee.
Single-family properties are listing and going under contract in 27 days compared to 67 days in November 2019, Sanville said. For multi-family, it's currently 46 days.
Bezos, Rodman and Matty Alou
Property appraiser Matt Simmons had a comment about last Monday's In the Know that looked at the year's biggest land deals, and of course, somehow digressed to former NBAer Dennis Rodman. And down further in today's ditty, he also has very interesting data that brings together the worlds of billionaire Jeff Bezos and Southwest Florida.
Great job, Phil. But with the opening tease I was hoping you'd round out the article with some Rodman stats.
Good point, Matty. That's a foul on me so let's get dribbling, with assists coming from Dallas Mavericks historian Patricia Bender, CBS and others:
Rodman, who according to Sports Reference LLC has seven nicknames that include El Loco, Psycho and yes, The Worm, ranks 23rd all time in rebounds (11,964), almost exactly half of No. 1's wonderful Wilt Chamberlain.
Dennis the Menace landed fifth in technical fouls with 212, falling short of the two top guys, a bit surprisingly Karl Malone (332) and, not as surprising role model, Sir Charles Barkley (329).
Total number of career games missed because of suspension due to headbutting, groin-kicking and other adventures? I counted at least 31 but checked in with Rodman to see if he can correct me. Demolition Man hasn't gotten back with me, no doubt celebrating his daughter being the second overall pick this past week in the National Women’s Soccer League draft. Congrats, Rodzilla.
So your turn, Mr. Simmons. And as a principal at Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons, it'd better be a doozy, in our back-and-forth clapping cheerleader version, of "We have stats. Yes, we do. We have stats. How about you?"
A Southwest Florida real estate fact. For 2020, total Lee County Just Values for assessment purposes is $119 billion. Average Just Value is 80 percent of market value, which means:
Total retail value: $148.8 billion.
Net worth of Jeff Bezos (as of Christmas): $185.2 billion. He could buy every property in Lee retail and still have $36.4 billion left.
Now that deserves a thumbs up. You're now among my favorite Mattys, alongside the late great Matty Alou, part of the unsung talented trio of brothers with Felipe and Jesus, who called this region home for some of his Springs playing Major League Baseball.
Lifetime batting average of .307 in 14 seasons, Matty had 231 hits in 1969, the most by a National Leaguer in the past 84 years.
Indeed, today's final stat.
Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (email@example.com) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. As we try to rapidly move on from those at the Capitol earlier this month under investigation for treasonous activities at a level not seen there in two centuries if ever, let's do remember the peaceful ways of Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday as we hopefully transition to new inclusive leadership this week. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.