26th new condo building proposed for Bay Harbor Islands

Eight-story Akua project is slated to have 30 units on a 0.5-acre waterfront site

Dec.December 22, 2015 04:30 PM

Rendering of Akua and Peter Zalewski

As South Florida enters the fifth year of this current real estate cycle, developer optimism appears to still be growing in the town of Bay Harbor Islands, where more than two dozen new condo buildings have already been announced since 2011.

The latest condo building to be proposed for Bay Harbor Islands — a barrier-island municipality in Northeast Miami-Dade County with 6,000 residents — is the eight-story Akua project slated to be developed with 30 units on a 0.5-acre waterfront site in the 9700 block of West Bay Harbor Drive, according to government records.

Plans call for the new condo project to feature a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in net size from less than 1,000 square feet to nearly 2,000 square feet each, according to town of Bay Harbor Islands records. It is being developed by an entity called WBHD Development LLC.

With this newest project, Bay Harbor Islands now has at least 26 new condo buildings with more than 900 units announced for the town’s east island as of Monday, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure, my firm operates the website.)

Overall, South Florida developers have already completed 56 new condo buildings with more than 4,215 units east of I-95 in the tri-county South Florida region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. An additional 125 new condo buildings with more than 12,615 units are currently under construction in South Florida.

A combined 233 new condo buildings with more than 32,275 units — about 66 percent of the total tri-county pipeline — are currently in the planning or presale phase of development in South Florida.

In Bay Harbor Islands, only one new condo building — the Club At Bay Harbor — with 42 units has been completed to date during this cycle.

An additional nine buildings with more than 350 units are currently under construction in Bay Harbor Islands as of Monday.

The combination of units that are already completed and under construction represents about 43 percent of the total number of condos in the pipeline for Bay Harbor Islands during this cycle.

At least 16 more new condo buildings with nearly 515 units are currently in the planning and presale phase of development in Bay Harbor Islands, according to the data.  

Bay Harbor Islands — a slow-paced town made up of a pair of islands situated in Biscayne Bay between the city of North Miami to the west on the mainland and the affluent enclaves of Bal Harbour and Surfside to the east on the barrier island — is one of the most active preconstruction condo markets for new buildings in South Florida.

Bay Harbor Islands is said to be benefitting from the preconstruction marketing campaigns that promote the area as a cheaper alternative to the high-priced premiums reportedly being paid for new oceanfront condo projects in Bal Harbour and Surfside.

As a result, Bay Harbor Islands along with the neighboring markets of Surfside with more than 435 new units in the pipeline and Bal Harbour with 240 additional condos combined rank as the eighth most active preconstruction area east of I-95 in South Florida.

It is worth noting that at least 50 new condo buildings with nearly 2,000 units have been announced to the south in the barrier island city of Miami Beach. An additional 21 new condo buildings with more than 3,165 units have been announced to the north in Sunny Isles Beach.  

The unanswered question going forward is whether the Bay Harbor Islands preconstruction condo market can attract enough buyers to purchase all of the new units currently in the pipeline during this South Florida real estate cycle.

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.

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