fort lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is booming with development.

It’s become a city of choice for savvy investors, both commercial and residential. Once known as the mecca for spring break and teenage beach movies — think Where The Boys Are with Connie Frances and Girl Happystarring Elvis Presley — Fort Lauderdale has grown up.

Historically, Fort Lauderdale had always been a secondary market to Miami. Then when prices kept rising in Miami, developers started looking for cheaper dirt and came here. We have a relaxed coastal environment, beautiful beachfront and a strong commerce center with 7.5 million of class A office space in our downtown, notes Jenni Morejon, Executive director, Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority (DDA)

We have significant luxury development both in residential and hospitality underway. The residential component has a high-level of amenities, service and finishes in beautiful ocean front locations. On the hospitality side, the Four Seasons is building a beautiful property and there was a $150 million renovation at the W Fort Lauderdale, Morejon adds.

To satisfy the increasing residential base, Morejon points to over 1,000 restaurant seats coming on line over the next several months on Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale’s dining, shopping and entertainment destination for tourists and residents alike.  Las Olos (Spanish for waves) Boulevard is our crown jewel connecting the beach and downtown core.

The privately-owned Brightline, an electric high-speed train, inaugurated service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in January. Morjon sees this as another game changer for Fort Lauderdale when the Brightline extends from Miami to West Palm Beach with a stop in Ft. Lauderdale.

Finding cheaper dirt in Fort Lauderdale is The Related Group, a major South Florida developer. The Related Group has developed luxury condominiums since 1979. Today the company is betting on Fort Lauderdale’s rapidly growing luxury branded residential condominium market.

The Related Group is developing  the two-tower Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, a luxury branded beachfront condominium part of the Auberge Resort Collection. Fronting the Atlantic, amenities include signature Auberge dining, World-Class Spa by Auberge, private elevators, wine room, cigar lounge and Fitness Center with views of the Atlantic. Currently Auberge’s North Tower is 90% sold and 75% of the South Tower sold. According to The Related Group, Auberge Beach Residences & Spa set a Fort Lauderdale’s sales record in 2017 for the highest condo sale at $9.5 million. Prices range from $1.5 million to $9.9 million.

This is a signature property and there is nothing like it right on the ocean sitting on five contiguous acres. Our sales show demand is there for the project and product. We didn’t know what to expect and went with a smaller tower first,  explains Patrick Campbell, Vice president at The Related Group.

The oceanfront W Residences Fort Lauderdale are also selling briskly. The 171 residences with prices starting in the $900,000’s is proving to be the right product for the market. With over 100 units sold to date, buyers are excited. Residents at the W will have access to all W Fort Lauderdale hotel amenities with resident signing privileges for convenience. In addition, they receive dining, room and spa discounts at W Fort Lauderdale. Owners also have the option to place their home in the W’s rental pool.

Who is buying in Fort Lauderdale? The Fort Lauderdale buyer is very different than Miami. About 75% of our buyers either have a tie to the area versus Miami where many buyers are investors or from South America, Campbell observes.  Eric Johnston of New Jersey chose the W Residences Fort Lauderdale for his fourth home, buying a two-bedroom two-bath unit in December. Miami did not have what I wanted. The location to the airport, the weather and the W product is what attracted me. I actually would have bought a larger unit if they had one.

Craig Studnicky, principal of International Sales Group, (ISG) has over 25 years of experience in the South Florida residential market. Fort Lauderdale has always been compared to Miami Beach, but now its value in terms of price per square foot is at an all-time high. From 1990 to 2010, the annual difference in price per square footage between these two destinations was roughly 25 percent. In May 2016, this difference jumped to 261 percent due to the slew of new inventory. This means that a buyer can get the same ocean views, amenities, finishes and services in Fort Lauderdale but at almost half the price.

Fort Lauderdale’s retail market is thriving with over 2.6 million square feet of commercial real estate either completed, under construction or approved since 2012.

According to Colliers International Fort Lauderdale Market Pulse Q1 2018|OverviewFort Lauderdale jumped to 6th place in the Top Ten U.S. Markets To Watch. This is the first time Fort Lauderdale even made into the Top Ten. Retail rents in downtown Fort Lauderdale have a 5-year growth prediction of 48% compared to 42% in Miami-Dade. Since 2013, Fort Lauderdale’s downtown retail rents have increased 51% to $35.75 per square foot compared to a 14% increase throughout Broward County (Fort Lauderdale is in Broward County.)

As a vacation destination and national cruise hub, total visitors through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport rose from 11.3% in 2016 to 32.5 million in 2017. In addition, JetBlue, Southwest and Emirates have launched new routes within the past year to and from Fort Lauderdale expanding the potential visitor market and as an added boost to area residents for business and leisure travel.

William Hardin, PhD, Professor of Finance and Real Estate and Director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at Florida International University in Miami explains market dynamics.  Fort Lauderdale offers relative value compared to Miami. There is good luxury product there now that appeals to the buyer wanting a different pace than Miami.


Source: Forbes

One of South Florida’s busiest business districts could soon become the latest South Florida area to undergo major redevelopment.

A group of companies in a public-private partnership, is hoping to make some major changes to Fort Lauderdale’s Cypress Creek neighborhood.

Under the banner Envision Uptown, the group is awaiting final approval to re-zone and revitalize the area and turn it into a hub for business, entertainment, dining and housing.

Investors hope the changes will attract more companies to the area.

CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez recently spoke to South Florida Business Journal real estate reporter Brian Bandell about the bold plans for Cypress Creek.

Source: CBS4 Miami News

As many expected, the Federal Reserve recently decided to raise interest rates to the range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, and the increases are likely to continue in 2018.

In March, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting announced its expectation for “further gradual increases” this year. Interest rates are extremely important in the evaluation and performance of any commercial real estate investment due to their impact on the present value of future cash flows. Higher rates make borrowing more expensive for owners, and tend to raise cap rates and reduce property values. However, higher rates also mean a stronger economy, which tends to be associated with a stronger real estate market.

So how will these increases affect commercial real estate investors? Alex Zylberglait, Marcus & Millichap’s senior managing director of investment, delves into how the increase in interest rates is impacting both foreign and domestic investment in U.S. real estate.

How will the rise in interest rates influence the commercial real estate market?

Zylberglait: The Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point and is expected to raise rates twice more this year. As a broker who handles investment sales targeting properties in the range of $1 million to $20 million, which is the most active segment of the CRE market in South Florida, I can say that I haven’t seen much of an impact in the commercial real estate market yet. But having said that, I do anticipate a delayed effect, with rates influencing the market in the next three to six months. What I am beginning to see are prospective buyers locking in rates for long-term financing.

On the other hand, I am seeing more properties hitting the market, as property owners seek to cash out before cap rates go up as a result of rising interest rates. For example, one of my clients who owns an office building in Miami has a mortgage that’s maturing and debt coming due. Due to rising interest rates coupled with a maturing mortgage, my client wants to unload the property now instead of selling in a higher interest rate environment. But rising interest rates is one of many factors positioned to impact the CRE market this year.

How will higher interest rates impact foreign vs. domestic investment?

Zylberglait: The impact of rising interest rates will most likely be less on foreign investment than on domestic investment. The foreigners who use financing pay a much lower interest rate in the U.S. than in their home country.

However, what we’re seeing is foreigners unloading their CRE assets. For the past seven years, foreign investors have steadily moved away from buying pre-construction condos and turned their attention to CRE properties in Miami. As the Fed raises interest rates coupled with the real estate cycle nearing an end, foreigners are now cashing out for different reasons. Based on where we are in the real estate cycle, foreign investors are selling to capitalize on the rapid appreciation that the South Florida market experienced in the last five years. They no longer expect a significant appreciation so many of them have no reason to hold on to their properties.

Can you give an example?

Zylberglait: One of my clients from Argentina, who has been buying commercial properties in South Florida for nearly a decade, is now selling a single-tenant building occupied by Starbucks in one of Miami’s hottest markets, Doral. He recently renegotiated a nice lease deal with Starbucks to maximize sales proceeds in order to invest in value-add opportunities in the region.

Another one of my clients, Metro Capital Partners, which invests capital from Colombia in Miami, is another example of this trend. Metro recently sold an office building in Miami-Dade County’s West Kendall submarket for $7.9 million, after acquiring it in a 2014 distress sale for $3.2 million. For the most part, these investors are selling to either buy more assets in South Florida or pay down debt on other properties. Foreign investors continue to see our region as a safe place to grow and protect their capital even as interest rates continue rise.

What impact will the rate increase have on the South Florida market?

Zylberglait: In this real estate cycle, a significant amount of assets in South Florida were priced aggressively, with 2015 being the peak. As the market stabilizes or levels off, a rise in interest rates will contribute to faster stabilization of prices, resulting in investors preparing for slower growth and appreciation.

However, some of my clients who are more yield driven are looking outside of South Florida to places like Orlando and Tampa. We are starting to see a migration of investors and developers northward. For example, Dezer, a well-known developer in South Florida, recently purchased a shopping mall in Orlando with plans to redevelop it into an entertainment complex.

Another example is Riviera Point Development Group, a South Florida developer that purchased 3.3 acres on 11551 International Drive, a few miles from Seaworld, where he plans to build a dual-branded hotel, La Quinta Inns and Suites, and Tryp by Wyndham. Riviera Point developed five office buildings in South Florida and a Radisson Red Hotel near Miami International Airport in this real estate cycle. When it came time to purchase more land, Riviera Point’s CEO Rodrigo Azpurua chose Orlando because of land values and appreciation, which can mitigate the impact of rising interest rates. But having said that, I may add that land values in Orlando today are not as advantageous as they were a year ago.

How will the CRE market respond as interest rates continue to rise?

Zylberglait: Everyone knew rising interest rates were coming and as a result, we haven’t seen much of a reaction in the market. There’s no panic. However, the value for Class B and C assets is softening and I expect to see a divergence between Class A, B and C assets.


Source: Commercial Property Executive

Palm Beach County is searching for solutions to help teachers, restaurant managers and nurses find affordable housing when high rents and home prices are the norms in South Florida.

Suzanne Cabrera, president of Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County, said she hears far too often from moderate-income workers affected by the housing crunch.

“It’s hurting businesses needing to recruit entry-level employees,” Cabrera said. “It’s as bad as ever. I dread getting my phone calls. I dread reading my emails. People need things we just don’t have. I am really worried about the effect it’s going to have long term if we don’t address it.”

The county launched an initiative in 2006 to require developers to set aside a certain percentage of new homes and apartments as price-capped “workforce housing.” In exchange, developers could build more homes than allowed by county development rules. To qualify for workforce housing, a family of four would need to make between $40,740 and $95,060. But that program hasn’t produced the number of affordably priced units county leaders envisioned. One reason is builders have elected to pay an $81,500 per home buyout fee instead of constructing the workforce housing.

Not one price-capped single-family home has been built under the program. In its 12-year history, the program has produced 871 priced-capped apartments and 121 townhomes. Developers have contributed about $3 million into an affordable housing fund that commissioners are considering using to provide up to $38,500 in down-payment assistance for people looking to buy those below-market townhomes.

Now, county commissioners are looking at adjustments to the program that a consulting firm says could spur the development of affordable housing. One proposal would raise the developer’s buyout fee for a workforce home to $120,000. Developers would be granted even more density for building workforce housing, potentially doubling the density of their projects. An exchange would be created that would allow builders to partner with affordable housing developers to satisfy the requirement.

Housing prices throughout South Florida are rising. In Palm Beach County, an average apartment rents for $1,370, and the median price of a single-family home is $345,000. In Broward County, an average apartment rents for $1,858, while the median sales price for a home is $335,000. Miami-Dade tenants pay an average of $1,618, and the median price for a home is $332,500.

Other communities are crafting plans to help lower-income workers afford housing. Miami-Dade recently unveiled a proposal to build affordable housing for teachers next to schools in high-rent neighborhoods.

Home prices under Palm Beach County’s workforce housing program can range from about $142,000 to $264,000. That price range gets adjusted through the years, based on the county’s median family income.

Rental rates for homes built under the workforce housing program are also capped. For example, monthly rental prices allowed for a two-bedroom apartment under the program could range from $972 to $2,268.

The county’s consultant — BAE Urban Economics — wants to adjust the program to provide a minimum 10 percent profit margin for builders, an effort to ensure that it would be lucrative enough for developers to actually construct priced-capped housing.

Industry groups aren’t totally on board with the plan. Skeet Jernigan, president of the Community and Economic Development Council, said it shouldn’t fall solely on builders to pay for affordable housing efforts when restaurants and hotels don’t pay a wage that allows people to afford housing.

“You are never going to solve workforce housing by expecting to finance it solely on the back of the builders who build housing in the community,”Jernigan said. “It has to be a countywide effort, and other segments of the economy must be involved or this process will totally, totally fail. It’s also possible the county’s efforts could carry unintended consequences. Additional costs — such as higher fees — will be passed on to the buyers of homes not in the county’s workforce program.”

“Allowing developers greater density could create disputes, too, with neighbors,” Commissioner Hal Valeche said. “Commissioners are reviewing the proposals and will likely decide in coming months on how to alter the program. If we do this properly, the builders can be profitable with both market rate and affordable units.”


Source: SunSentinel

golf course

The Carolina Club, an 18-hole championship golf course in Margate, has served as a qualifying site for the PGA Honda Classic and is known for its fast, well-manicured greens and contoured fairways.

But the semi-private club, built in 1971, isn’t making the cut. Miami-based developer 13th Floor Homes plans to acquire the 140-acre facility and completely transform it into a 350-unit residential community, with single family homes and townhouses. The proposed homes would cost about $300,000 to $400,000 each, meaning the developer stands to make more than $120 million in total sales. The current owner, J&D Golf Properties, would also stand to profit from the sale. It purchased the club in 2002 for $5.3 million.

The Carolina Club conversion is just one of several planned golf course redevelopments in South Florida, as golf operators weigh the rising expense of maintaining fairways and greens against the diminishing revenue. Couple that with the game’s waning popularity nationwide, and owning a golf course is now a risky proposition.

“Less people play golf, and those who do play are playing less rounds,” said Mike Nunziata, president of 13th Floor Homes. “Operators are having to cut rates to attract players. The industry is now in a place where the revenue just isn’t enough to cover the costs to maintain itself.”

His company has developed a niche business statewide for building residential communities on former golf courses. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the game experienced a rise in golf course construction — spiking in Florida — along with some residential communities nestled alongside. Nunziata said that development far exceeded demand.

Despite several closings, Florida still has the highest number of 18-hole golf courses in the country. And just in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, there are 177 18-hole equivalent golf course facilities, according to the National Golf Foundation. That’s down from 189 in 2007. But many others are barely hanging on, industry pros said.

“The golf courses were purely being built to sell the homes and support neighboring residential communities,” Nunziata said. “It was really more a real estate play and not so much a strategy that was centered around golf.”

In addition to his plans for Carolina Club, the developer is converting an 18-hole course in Delray Beach into Avalon Trails, a 521-unit residential community geared toward people 55 and older. Other projects in the works include a single-family home community over what are now two 18-hole golf courses in Tamarac.

In Hollywood, the Pulte Group is building 645 homes — including townhouses and single-family homes — at the former Hillcrest Golf & Country Club. The area covers 160 acres, and will rise over the 18- and 9-hole courses.

Atlanta-based Pulte is also developing 152 homes on nine of Woodmont Country Club’s 18 holes. It paid $10.2 million for the property in 2016.

But just as Tiger Woods appears to be on the comeback trail, the game itself has been evolving and companies are adapting to the next generation of fans and players.

Topgolf, a Texas-based entertainment and technology-themed firm, has been establishing a presence in major commercial centers around the world, including Miami. At least five Topgolf facilities have either opened or are being planned in Florida. The first opened in Miami Gardens in 2016.

Investors are also considering other uses for all that golf course land. Soccer superstar and entrepreneur David Beckham is considering transforming the Melreese Country Club in Miami into a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium. Beckham and his partners, Marcelo Claure, Jorge and Jose Mas, and Simon Fuller have put the price tag at $200 million.

For Topgolf, facilities are typically three-story entertainment complexes that feature a driving range, restaurant and bar. The golf balls are microchipped so statistics like distance and accuracy can be tracked and translated into points for games.

In some cases, they’re being built on existing courses, as in West Palm Beach. There, a Topgolf facility will rise on the 196-acre West Palm Beach municipal golf course. And while it could be seen as a competitor to 18-hole courses, Topgolf says it works closely with institutions like the Professional Golfers’ Association to help some courses stay open.

Topgolf spokesperson Morgan Schaaf said Florida is a natural place for Topgolf to expand, which the company is doing at a rapid rate. Topgolf is aiming to open seven to 10 locations a year, she said. It’s also going international, with facilities planned for Australia, Canada and Mexico within the next five years. Schaaf added that half its customers are golf novices because the company makes it more accessible than a traditional course.

Despite Topgolf’s popularity, a love for the course is still strong in Florida.

Developer Lennar had been under contract to build homes on the 212-acre Ocean Breeze Golf Club in Boca Raton, which shut down in 2016 after having lost money and members for years. But plans skidded into the rough amid opposition from Boca Teeca duffers who were left with no options.

Sunrise-based GL Homes had already acquired the nearby Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course for $65 million. It plans to replace the 27-hole, 194-acre course with a community of 500 homes.

Earlier this month, the city of Boca Raton and its Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District bought the 27-hole Ocean Breeze course for $24 million. The seller, Wells Fargo, seized the property through foreclosure. The renovated golf course, to be called the Boca Raton National Golf Club, is set to open in late 2019 or early 2020. It is expected to be a costly endeavor, up to $18 million to renovate and about $2.2 million per year to maintain.

“That kind of community effort appears to be an outlier,” said Brent Baker, Pulte’s Southeast Florida division president. “Only two kinds of golf courses will stay open in the future. The first is the one that requires membership fees, and the second is a public golf course that is subsidized by taxpayers, though even those — as seen with the Boca Raton municipal course — have great difficulty staying afloat. The math usually doesn’t add up. To keep a golf courses operating you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions of dollars a year.”


Source: The Real Deal