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The shoreline offers stunning vistas but be sure to factor in the complexity and extra costs of owning such properties


If you’re looking to acquire commercial real estate (CRE) on a Florida waterfront, you’re not the only one. Such property is in high demand here in the Sunshine State. It can be both picturesque and lucrative. That’s particularly true with regard to the restaurant and hospitality industry, where placing a commercial establishment on the shoreline can lead to a big return on investment.

But there are sometimes pitfalls and difficulties along the way, despite the overall desirability of such properties. A business owner or investor should consider these before moving ahead in this highly competitive realm.



Various waterfronts

First, it’s important to note that not all waterfront property is on the ocean. Florida also has an abundance of lakes, rivers, streams, canals, wetlands and ponds. Oceanfront property isn’t all the same, either. You can break it down into categories of bayfront, harborfront, beachfront, island property and several others.

Given all these categories of Florida waterfront property, it may appear to be in abundant supply. But finding one for commercial use can be a challenge. There’s high demand and only so much to go around.




There are also risks associated with waterfront properties, the most obvious being flooding – always a serious concern. This can be especially dangerous during and after powerful storms strike the coast. Severe weather can accelerate the existing problem of erosion and bring damaging winds that threaten the integrity of a commercial property.

Other potential problems include groundwater contamination by salt water, algal blooms, fish kills and various issues of water quality – all considerations a prospective buyer should note before moving forward.

Of course, anything worth having entails a certain degree of risk. Many investors and business owners will find that the benefits of having property on the waterfront more than outweighs these considerations.




Owning a commercial property on one of Florida’s waterfronts also means additional insurance costs. Flood insurance is an absolute must for such properties. It’s also necessary to insure against wind damage. Some commercial real estate is covered by environmental liability insurance, protecting owners against lawsuits that result from any unintentional pollution coming from the property.



Issues involved in new construction

A number of investors and business owners opt for new construction on the waterfront. Zoning requirements are among the many considerations here. A commercial parcel may be subject to height restrictions (so as not to obstruct the view), space limits to facilitate public waterfront use and setbacks that prevent erosion and interference with navigation. Being on the water also subjects the owner to a litany of environmental regulations.



Knowledge is critical

All of these issues mean that it’s vital to factor complexity into the process of any waterfront acquisitions. Working with a commercial real estate advisor with deep understanding and a network of connections can be an enormous help. Advisors with SVN Commercial Advisory Group have a history of working through the sometimes-arduous process of buying and selling waterfront CRE in Florida. Their expertise can provide you with the edge you need for a successful transaction.