UPDATED, April 18, 12:50 p.m.: Miami-based Clara Homes won approval for the 28-unit first phase of a luxury apartment project planned in Bay Harbor Islands.
Construction of the six-story, 28-unit Clara Bay Harbor building will start by August, Clara Homes founder James Curnin told The Real Deal. It will be the first of three planned buildings with a total of 150 apartments.
The first phase is expected to open in the summer of 2023 on a development site at 10281 West Bay Harbor Drive, within walking distance of popular Bal Harbour Shops and the beach.
Curnin paid $6.5 million in October to acquire the 0.35-acre site of the first building, and he plans to build the second and third phases of Clara Bay Harbor on two other sites near the intersection of West Bay Harbor Drive and 103rd Street in Bay Harbor Islands.
The Bay Harbor Design and Review Board approved the site plan for the first building at its meeting last week.
It is designed with five residential floors atop a ground-floor lobby and parking garage with 56 spaces. A rooftop recreational area includes a swimming pool, exercise area, and sundeck.
“There has not been a new, professionally managed luxury rental built in Miami Beach or Bay Harbor in the past decade-plus,” said Curnin, a native of New York who bought a waterfront teardown on Miami Beach’s La Gorce Island for $7.5 million in November.
“We are planning a New York-style, professionally managed rental building that’s all about luxury,” he said. “So, it will have a doorman, a valet – anything you would find in an amazing condominium down here.”
Monthly rent per square foot at Clara Bay Harbor probably will range from at least $5 to $7. “I think it’s going to be slightly higher,” Curnin said. “I underwrote the deal at slightly under $5 a foot.”
A rent of $5 per square foot would equate to at least $6,500 a month for an apartment spanning 1,300 square feet, the smallest among the Clara Bay Harbor floor plans, which would range up to 3,000 square feet.
The 28-unit, phase-one design of Clara Bay Harbor has two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans.
Curnin expects Clara Bay Harbor tenants to include families relocating to South Florida and renting while they shop for a permanent home, as well as South Floridians who sell their homes and opt for the convenience of renting.
“They’re not intended for the single guy who just graduated college and just moved here,” he said. “These are intended for families. These are people who can buy [a home], or were planning on buying, and they make a lot of money.”
The trend toward higher mortgage interest rates may benefit the Clara Bay Harbor development by putting more affluent people in the rental housing market, he added.
“Historically, multifamily rentals have done better in higher-interest-rate environments, and condos have done worse,” Curnin said.
Curnin started his own company after working for Jack Parker Corp., a real estate development business in New York that his great-grandfather started.