Developers: Broward is hot competitor to Miami-Dade

Rendering of Gale Boutique Hotel & Residences in Fort Lauderdale
Rendering of Gale Boutique Hotel & Residences in Fort Lauderdale

Three active developers in Broward County said the area is a hot spot for condo and retail projects and is competing well with Miami-Dade County for development dollars.

“We’ve never seen Broward more vibrant, so interesting …. Right now is the time to jump in,” said Harvey Hernandez, chairman and CEO of Miami-based Newgard Group, which is developing The Gale, a 12-story condo adjacent to a boutique hotel, on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Hernandez said his company soon will start converting condo-unit reservations at The Gale to purchase contracts: “We plan on going to contracts next week and breaking ground by the end of the year.”

Hernandez and other developers spoke Wednesday at a breakfast panel on residential real estate trends, hosted by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty and attended by 150 agents, at the Weston Country Club in Weston.

“What I have seen is that in the last few years is we finally got our act together here,” said developer Bradley Deckelbaum, who has lived almost his entire life in Broward. “We were the ugly step-sister of Miami.”

But now, he said, it is easier than ever for Broward residents to achieve personal, educational, financial and professional goals without relocating: “For the first time, you can live a full life cycle here.”


Joseph Kavana, Bradley Deckelbaum and Harvey Hernandez

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Deckelbaum owns Premier Developers, which is developing the Riva condominium, now under construction off Federal Highway just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Unit asking prices range from $400 to $600 per square foot.

Joseph Kavana of KGH International Development LLC, developer of 65-acre, master-planned community Metropica, including condos and 400,000 square feet of retail space plus multiple restaurants, said the western side of both Broward and Miami-Dade is ripe for retail development.

“It’s becoming the biggest retail magnet in both counties,” Kavana said, citing the planned American Dream Mall in northwest Miami-Dade County, which will be a 15-minute drive from Metropica’s location next door to Sawgrass Mills Mall and the BB&T Center arena in Sunrise.

Kavana said part of the potential of Metropica stems from its well connected location near I-595 and I-75: “We’re pretty much at the epicenter of South Florida.”

Another speaker at the event, Anthony Graziano, senior managing director, Integra Realty Resources, said price stability is one reason why developments in Broward are competing well with comparable projects in Miami-Dade.

“You haven’t had runaway prices” in Broward, he said, but “new product in downtown Miami is asking $650 to $700 per square foot.”

Graziano also said fears of residential overbuilding in South Florida are overblown: “The magnitude of what we’re building now is a fraction of what we did in 06,’07 and ’08 … I don’t think we’re anywhere close to a crash coming.”