Broward County has attracted its own steady flock of cranes for residential construction after a slower recovery from the real estate crash than its Miami-Dade neighbor to the south.
Miami-based Related Group has led the charge into Broward. Related is now developing two-tower condominium Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale; preconstruction prices for units start at $1.5 million. Sales for the north tower’s 56 units began earlier this year and nearly all of them had been reserved by August. One buyer is former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.
“The north tower — they’ve converted to contracts,” said Michael Holland, senior vice president of Related Group, noting that his company and its partners wanted to sell 80 percent of the Fort Lauder-dale condo’s north tower before launching preconstruction sales for the south tower’s 115 units. Those sales are expected to begin in October.
Related is part of a trio of developers behind the Auberge, along with Fortune International Group and Fairwinds Group of Fort Lauderdale, whose investors originally owned the beachfront 4.6-acre site at 2200 North Atlantic Boulevard.
Edgardo Defortuna, Fortune International Group president, noted his firm’s caution about the absorption rate for new luxury units in Fort Lauderdale but said sales had been as good as or better than expected. “We are very impressed with the interest and the velocity at which the units move,” he said.
Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach-based real estate analyst, said South Florida construction costs have risen sharply and labor scarcities can be acute. But land availability and affordability remain catalysts for development in Broward, where prices tend to be lower than in Miami-Dade, he said. Though construction has become more expensive, putting up buildings in Broward “can be done at a lower cost than buildings to the south.”
Related and other developers have been active not only in Fort Lauderdale but also Holly-wood and Hallandale Beach.
In May, Related opened Beachwalk Resort, a 33-story, 300-unit condo-hotel in Hallandale Beach, a community that Holland said needed an upgrade of its hotel room inventory. Related spent $150 million to build Beachwalk and sold most of the units before construction started. The project includes 216 condo-hotel units, as well as 84 condo units whose owners can opt to put them in the hotel-room pool, Holland said.
Farther north, in Hollywood, Related’s Hyde Resort & Residences is under construction. All the units at the condo-hotel development at 4111 South Ocean Drive have been sold. The project, which has 367 condo-hotel units and 40 residential-only units, is expected to open next year. Hyde Resort & Residences is among several South Florida condo developments to have attracted debt financing from private equity group Blackstone, which loaned the Related-led partnership $102 million for the project.
On a nearby Hollywood site, 4000 South Ocean Drive, Related is developing a 40-story condominium and hotel called Hyde Beach House Hollywood. The tower will have 265 condo-hotel units as well as 77 units planned as year-round residences. Holland said buyers have reserved 65 percent of the units at prices ranging from $430,000 to $1 million. Building is expected to start next year and finish in 2018.
And at 6024 North Ocean Drive, developer John Passalacqua’s Seaside Village boutique condo project will feature 23 units on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Passalacqua reportedly paid $3 million for the site — the former location of iconic restaurant Martha’s —in a foreclosure auction.
Development could intensify farther north in Broward County in areas like the North Beach section of Fort Lauderdale Beach, where Related is planning the Auberge Beach Residence & Spa.
“It’s a building area,” said Robert Keesler, general manager of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, an oceanfront hotel just south of the Auberge site.
“When you look at the development going on,” Keesler said, “a whole new market is emerging … a much more upscale market than Fort Lauderdale has seen in the past.”
Apogee Beach, a 24-story condo in Hollywood, became one of South Florida’s first new residential high-rises in the current development cycle when Related broke ground in 2011. Related CEO Jorge Perez bought his 5,051-square-foot unit for $2.1 million. Apogee Beach sold all its units in 2013 for a total of $58.9 million, about $465 a square foot.