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Hialeah Flea Market Sells As 'Alternative Retail Play'

Michael T. Fay, principal and managing director of Avison Young, Miami

While many South Florida developers focus on luxury properties and brand-new developments, Gramercy Property Trust last week invested in something different: The Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market.

The trust bought three land parcels from Bodwin Ltd. and SeaBase Florida Corp. for $80M. The properties, which include a 43.77-acre flea market and a 28.33-acre auto auction site, last sold separately between 1984 and 1991 for a total of $11.3M.

Avison Young’s Michael T. Fay represented both the buyers and sellers. Two of the three parcels front Gratigny Parkway in Opa-locka.

“The interesting retail climate and trends of today created the perfect timing [for the deal]," Fay said. “In addition, considering the flea market’s location with Amazon’s 800K SF distribution center opening minutes away and premier visibility from a major highway and roadways, the future is bright.” 

The flea market, at 12691 and 12705 NW 42nd Ave., has been open for 37 years and is open seven days a week, including Christmas Day. Though it has seen its share of challenges, like mixed customer reviews and a raid last year for alleged food stamp fraud, it remains popular for killer deals and great people-watching, with more than 500 vendors and a reported 10,000 visitors each week. It is the largest employer facility in Opa-Locka, and 90% of its vendors have kept shops there for 20 years.

The flea market will be renovated and have a new operator: RER Outdoor Marketplace LLC, owned by Fay and his investment partners, who include Rodney Barreto and Brian May. They signed a 12-year lease with three five-year options. The operators believe they can improve both the customer experience and vendor profitability. Immediate improvements include bathroom renovations, new paint and updated parking facilities.

“This deal is an alternative retail play, given the shifting trends of consumers today,” Barreto said. “The Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market property’s sheer size and location offer tremendous value-add potential, and we look forward to infusing new capital and making significant improvements to this Miami-Dade staple shopping destination.”

The company website is already trumpeting the new management and a much improved future: "BIGGER/CLEANER/SAFER/FULLER/BETTER."