Is Sweetwater, FL, Becoming a Retail Hub?

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The City of Sweetwater occupies approximately 532 acres of land in western Miami-Dade County. The area known as Sweetwater was founded during the Florida land boom of the 1920s when the Miami-Pittsburg Land Company purchased the acreage and laid out the original plat of “Sweetwater Groves.”


In 2020, Sweetwater annexed two square miles just to its north, which included Miami’s Dolphin Mall – at the time, the third most visited destination in Florida after Disney World in Orlando and Sawgrass Mills Mall in the Fort Lauderdale area. Today, Sweetwater has evolved into a small city with many shopping centers and thriving businesses. The median home sold price in Sweetwater was $365,000 in September 2023, up 4.3% from last year, and the median price per square foot was $321.


Market Overview

Sweetwater, Florida, is on the cusp of a retail renaissance. As a part of the thriving South Florida retail market, the city is poised to emerge as a vibrant retail hub. Let's delve into the factors driving this transformation:


Trends and Demographics

Sweetwater's retail landscape is a reflection of evolving trends in consumer behavior and preferences. Understanding the changing demographics and the diverse target audience in the area is crucial. The city's strategic location and its proximity to key institutions, such as Florida International University (FIU), create a unique demographic mix. Sweetwater's retail scene is adapting to cater to the needs and preferences of both its residents and the student community.


Local and National Retailer Insights

Sweetwater's journey to becoming a retail hub involves a diverse range of retailers. Local businesses are thriving alongside national brands. Verada, a boutique real estate firm specializing in commercial retail space, has played a pivotal role in representing Adam America at Terrazul, a 22-story student housing development. Within months of taking on this representation, Verada achieved the remarkable feat of attracting multiple offers for the entire 15,000 square feet of retail space at 700 SW 7th Terrace. This accomplishment exemplifies Sweetwater's appeal to retailers and investors alike.


Development Strategies

The transformation of Sweetwater into a retail hub is driven by strategic development initiatives. Notable among these is Upland Park, a visionary project that spans multiple phases:


  • Phase 1: Building L, a 15-story mixed-use building, brings a fusion of 384 multi-family dwelling units and approximately 50,000 square feet of grocery and retail space. This phase is a testament to Sweetwater's commitment to integrating residential and retail experiences.
  • Phase 2: Building M, a 12-story hotel, introduces a new dimension to Sweetwater's hospitality sector. With 126 rooms, it enhances the city's appeal as a destination for travelers.


  • Phase 3: This phase includes Buildings N, O, and P, collectively contributing to Sweetwater's thriving retail environment. Building N features life science facilities and office spaces, while Building O offers additional residential options. Building P, a 4-story retail space with over 20,000 square feet, further enriches the city's retail landscape.


The retail space within these phases is integral to Sweetwater's vision of becoming a retail hub. The strategic combination of residential and retail elements is poised to redefine the city's identity.


FIU's Impact:

Sweetwater's retail evolution is further catalyzed by its close proximity to Florida International University (FIU). While the details mentioned earlier pertained to a different project involving Toll Brothers Inc., it's worth noting that FIU's expansion in Sweetwater is set to change the retail landscape even more. The construction of a new student housing complex aims to accommodate over 1,000 students, complete with attractive amenities. Significantly, this development incorporates over 5,000 square feet of retail stores and restaurants. This initiative is a clear indication of the rising demand for retail in Sweetwater, underlining its potential as a thriving retail hub.

Future Outlook

Sweetwater's retail evolution is not an isolated trend but part of a broader transformation in South Florida. The city's location, demographics, and development initiatives set the stage for a promising future. As population growth, economic indicators, and emerging trends continue to shape the region, Sweetwater is on track to establish itself as a thriving retail destination.


In conclusion, Sweetwater, FL, is embracing its destiny as a retail hub with open arms. The city's unique blend of demographics, development strategies, and strategic initiatives like Upland Park position it for success. As the retail scene continues to evolve, Sweetwater's journey is a testament to the city's resilience and potential in the South Florida retail market.