Boca Raton developer plans new Fort Lauderdale Beach condo

Rendering of Oceana Fort Lauderdale and Peter Zalewski
Rendering of Oceana Fort Lauderdale and Peter Zalewski

A Boca Raton development group is proposing a new condo tower on a Fort Lauderdale Beach site that was acquired earlier this summer — for a big price tag — from a competing builder who had originally planned to build his own project on the vacant waterfront property.

The newly announced 23-unit Oceana Fort Lauderdale project is slated to be developed in the 300 block of North Birch Road on a site that fronts the Intracoastal Waterway on the barrier island in Fort Lauderdale, according to a recently launched presale website and marketing banners posted on the property.

Less than three months ago in May, a Florida corporation called 321 Birch LLC led by Jeffrey and Samuel Sobel purchased the 0.6-acre condo development site for $10 million from an Aventura-based entity called Grand Birch LLC with veteran developer Michael Bedzow, public records show.

Some three years earlier, Bedzow had originally purchased the land for less than $2.5 million in a “short sale” in May 2012, before shifting his attention to obtaining the necessary Fort Lauderdale governmental approval to build what was envisioned to be an 11-story condo project with 22 units called the Privage.

It is unclear what the presale prices will start at in the new Oceana Fort Lauderdale — which does not appear to be related to the pair of Oceana named projects developed in Miami-Dade County by Argentina’s Consultatio — as a representative for the Sobels was not available for comment before publication.

What is known is that the Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach area is one of the most active preconstruction condo markets east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach since this cycle began in 2011.

Developers have announced 45 new condo buildings — including the Oceana Fort Lauderdale — with at least 3,400 units in a market that stretches from Oakland Park Boulevard south to State Road 84, and the Atlantic Ocean west to Northwest 7th/Southwest 4th Aavenues as of Monday, according to the preconstruction condo projects website (For disclosure, my firm operates the website.)

By comparison, developers a year earlier had announced 15 new condo buildings with less than 800 units combined in the Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market as of the first week of August in 2014.

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To date, developers in the Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market have completed two projects — the Adagio on the Bay and the Cymbrinas Cay — for a combined 20 units,and are constructing nine other condo buildings with nearly 275 units in the area as of Monday, according to the data.

An additional 34 new condo buildings with more than 3,100 units are currently in the presale or planning phase of development in the area.

With the burst of activity, the Downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Beach area now ranks as the third most active South Florida preconstruction market behind only Greater Downtown Miami’s more than 20,000 new units and the Hollywood/Hallandale Beach area with nearly 3,550 condos announced.

A year ago, the Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Beach market ranked as the ninth more active market, ahead of North Bay Village.

Overall, South Florida developers have now completed 36 new condo buildings with nearly 3,250 units located east of I-95. The new South Florida condos completed to date represent more than 7 percent of the more than 43,500 units announced for the tri-county region during this cycle.

At least 106 new condo buildings with nearly 10,800 units — about 25 percent of the overall South Florida total — are currently under construction.

An additional 220 new condo buildings with more than 29,500 units — nearly 68 percent of the overall total announced this cycle — are currently in the planning or presale phase of development in South Florida, according to the data.

The unanswered question going forward is whether the developer of the newly announced Oceana Fort Lauderdale project ultimately purchased the development site at an appropriate enough price to be successful.

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, a preconstruction condo projects website, in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors.