The Real Deal Miami

New 33-story condo tower proposed for downtown Fort Lauderdale

URBN @ Flagler Village is 39th new condo for downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach this cycle
Rendering of URBN @ Flagler Village condo tower with Peter Zalewski

Rendering of URBN @ Flagler Village condo tower and Peter Zalewski

As the Miami-Dade County preconstruction market increasingly shows signs of leveling off, a Miami Gardens developer is proposing a new 33-story condo tower in the Flagler Village neighborhood of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The developer — a Florida corporation called Third Avenue Development LLC with Itay Avital — has proposed building the 217-unit URBN @ Flagler Village condo tower on a site in the 400 block of Third Avenue just northwest of the intersection of Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway, according to records from the city of Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Division Of Corporations.

The URBN @ Flagler Village project is the 39th new condo building with nearly 2,750 units combined to be announced for the downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market since this current real estate cycle began in 2011, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure, my firm operates the website.)

The downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach area is the third most active market east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region behind only the areas of Greater Downtown Miami with nearly 20,200 units and Hollywood/Hallandale Beach with nearly 4,850 units.

A large chunk of the new condos announced for downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market are tied to a plan that is scheduled to be heard at today’s Development Review Committee meeting, to add seven new towers with 1,250 units on the vacant land surrounding the existing Galleria Mall in the 2300 block of Sunrise Boulevard.

The preconstruction condo activity has intensified in the downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach area in the last year as buyers and developers increasing look north away from Miami-Dade to the less active markets in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Nearly a year ago, developers had only announced 12 new condo towers with less than 600 units in the downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market as of April 15, 2014, according to CraneSpotters.com.

The strengthening U.S. dollar exchange rate against most foreign currencies combined with growing concerns about the prospects of overbuilding in Miami-Dade have been cited as factors for the shift to the north.

Plans for the URBN @ Flagler Village project call for the proposed 482,000-square foot tower that includes a 3,200-square-foot restaurant to be developed on a 30,625-square-foot site that is located across the street to the north of the Strada 315 condo tower built during the last South Florida real estate cycle, according to government records.

Presale prices and a launch date for the URBN @ Flagler Village project are unclear at this time.

What is clear is that the Strada 315 — a 21-story condo tower with 117 units located at 315 Northeast 3rd Avenue — ultimately took nine months to sell out, for a combined $34.3 million, for an average price of less than $250 per square foot, according to an analysis of Broward County records.

It is worth noting that the sellout price of the Strada 315 was adversely affected by a September 2008 bulk deal for 67 units that sold for a combined $14 million, for an average price of $172 per square foot, according to government records.

Prior to the bulk deal, buyers purchased 50 units at an average price of $355 per square foot, for a combined $20.3 million, according to government records.

As of Monday, seven condo units in the Strada 315 are currently on the resale market at an average asking price of about $276 per square foot, according to data from the Southeast Florida MLXchange.

In 2014, buyers purchased nine units listed on the MLXchange in the Strada 315 at an average resale price of $268 per square foot, according to the data.

The unanswered question going forward is whether the renter-dominated Flagler Village neighborhood of downtown Fort Lauderdale can support a successful new condo project at a time when financing can still be a challenge.

Peter Zalewski is a real estate columnist for The Real Deal who founded Condo Vultures LLC, a consultancy and publishing company, as well as Condo Vultures Realty LLC and CVR Realty brokerages and the Condo Ratings Agency, an analytics firm. The Condo Ratings Agency operates CraneSpotters.com, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.