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Greater Fort Lauderdale is in the midst of a development boom.

With Virgin Trains opening up the South Florida corridor, high-profile celebrity projects underway and dozens of cranes dotting the region’s skyline, Greater Fort Lauderdale has captured the national spotlight.

The latest jobs data clearly showed the strength of the Broward County region with a 2.8% unemployment rate in April 2019. The jobless rate was 0.5 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 3.3%. Non-agricultural employment increased by 16,400 jobs (+1.9%) over the year, with an employment of 867,000 in the Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach MSA (Broward County).

The Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach Metro Division had the highest annual job growth compared to all the metro areas in the state in other services (+2,200 jobs) in April 2019.

The industries gaining in jobs over the year were: Professional and Business services (+5,400 jobs); Education and Health Services (+5,200 jobs); ; Financial Activities (+1,300 jobs); Construction (+1,200 jobs); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+800 jobs); Manufacturing (+600 jobs); and Leisure and Hospitality (+300 jobs). The industry that lost jobs over the year was Government (-600 jobs).  The information industry was unchanged over the year.

GlobeSt.com recently turned to Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, to discuss the factors that have been driving job growth in the region and Broward County’s rapid transformation from beach town to boomtown.

GlobeSt.com: What does the launch of Brightline (now Virgin Trains) mean for Greater Fort Lauderdale and how has it impacted real estate development?

Swindell: There’s no question that Virgin Trains is a game-changer for our region. The high-speed real has unlocked Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach by connecting a combined population of more than 6 million, giving the 200+ Broward-based corporate headquarters access to a deeper talent pool than ever before.

Late last year, the Alliance conducted an analysis of the activity that has occurred along Brightline’s route since the train was announced and found that millions in corporate investment have already been made within a one-mile radius of the Fort Lauderdale station. Much more is on the way now that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission and the Broward County Commission recently voted to move forward with the development of a joint governmental campus, co-locating city and county Halls in one facility. The new government building will be located across the tracks from the train terminal on a site currently occupied by the Main Bus Terminal on Broward Boulevard.

The marquee project in the area is Traina and BH3’s FAT City (Flagler Arts and Technology) which is estimated to encompass 1.4 million square feet of mixed-use space that will foster Broward’s growing urban community of artists, technology businesses and young professionals.

This new level of mobility and the development it has spawned has been a major selling point in retaining and attracting the skilled, high-paying jobs that are propelling our economy forward.

GlobeSt.com: What other new projects are rising in the area?

Swindell: The bulk of new development in the region is taking shape in downtown Fort Lauderdale where the population has grown by 30% as new apartments and condos rise.  There’s PMG Group’s redevelopment of Las Olas Riverfront, a mixed-use project that will consist of “social living” rental communities that combine residences with coworking space as well as a public plaza featuring restaurants and nightlife. Also set for completion by end of 2019 is Skanska’s $49.3-million renovation and revitalization of Las Olas Boulevard. Once complete, Fort Lauderdale’s most popular thoroughfare will have a brand new 670-space parking lot, a beachfront park, a new canopy, public spaces and interactive water features that will enhance the pedestrian experience. Stiles Corporation’s The Main Las Olas, a 25-story office building and 27-story residential tower, will span an entire city block bordering East Las Olas Boulevard and Southeast Third Avenue.

More growth is on the way, with approximately 6.2 million square feet of multifamily, office, retail and hotel construction either under development or in the pipeline within Broward’s urban core.

GlobeSt.com: What does the exposure from globally recognized names like Richard Branson and David Beckham mean for the Broward brand?

Swindell: Richard Branson turned heads when he launched the first-ever adults-only cruise line from a Plantation-based headquarters in early 2018 and then doubled down on the region by investing heavily in Brightline, which is being rebranded to Virgin Trains. Soccer legend David Beckham put Broward back on the soccer map when he joined forces with the City of Fort Lauderdale to transform Lockhart Stadium into an 18,000 seat, state-of-art arena for his MLS team.

And let’s not forget about the wave of positive publicity generated from South Florida being shortlisted for Amazon’s HQ2. These are all indicators of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s status as a thriving business and lifestyle destination finally being recognized on the international stage.

GlobeSt.com: How are advancements in infrastructure driving new talent to Greater Fort Lauderdale and supporting job growth?

Swindell: As an economic development organization, we look at the big picture. Recent innovations and investment in infrastructure have been a major step forward in creating the type of walkable, mixed-use environments that put our region on a path for long-term growth and success.

This urbanization of Broward County is helping us attract the type of young, skilled talent that draws the attention of global brands and moves the needle where it matters most: jobs. The Greater Fort Lauderdale area added more than 14,000 jobs year-over year in 2018 and continues to be a leader in the state in terms of job creation. With Broward County projected to gain 900,00 new residents by 2030, the region isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

 

Source: GlobeSt.

West Palm Beach

Developer Jeff Greene is moving forward with a four-building, 352-apartment complex that looks across Clear Lake reservoir toward the West Palm Beach skyline. But wait — that’s not all.

Greene, who owns probably more West Palm Beach property than anyone, and who long has drawn city criticism for holding off on construction, says he has pushed the launch button not just on Clear Lake Estates but on several projects in and around the city.

Among them:

– One West Palm, a two-tower, hotel/office/apartment complex downtown at 550 Quadrille Blvd., whose groundbreaking was last month, is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2021.

– A Westgate neighborhood apartment complex, off Congress Avenue north of Belvedere Road, is in the permit process.

– An industrial project off Jog Road, south of Okeechobee Boulevard, is a few weeks from construction.

– He hopes to start a refrigerated distribution center for McArthur Dairy off Florida Mango Road in 30 days. That would allow McArthur to move from its current location on Flamingo Road, where the developer plans to expand his Greene School and build indoor tennis courts.

– A residential complex overlooking Currie Park, with the city’s tallest towers, could be under construction in 12 to 18 months, depending on permitting and the city’s ability to more forward renovating the park.

Housing Affordability A Growing Challenge

The city commission gave initial approval Monday to site plan changes to will allow Clear Lake Estates to rise on the 11-acre site of the scuttled Sail Boat Club project, just across the water from downtown. A vote on final approval is expected as soon as May 20.

Greene said in an interview that another nearby apartment complex he built four years ago, Cameron Estates, is so fully leased it indicates the market is ripe for the Clear Lake project. He’s getting rough construction cost estimates now and would start building as soon as possible, with city approvals. As planned, the project is short 106 parking spaces of the 721 required, so in exchange for a waiver on that requirement, Greene has offered to contribute to transit alternatives.

He would build a waterfront walking and bike trail on the property’s lakefront, and a publicly accessible path linking that trail to Executive Center Drive, or pay the city $158,000 to do the work, by the end of 2020. That work would create a non-vehicular connection between the Palm Beach Outlets, Okeechobee Boulevard and downtown. The developer also agreed to install a PalmTran bus shelter on Executive Center Drive.

At Monday’s city commission meeting, commissioner Cory Neering asked planning officials whether they would require Greene to include workforce housing in the project. Housing affordability has been a growing challenge as the city works to attract companies and their employees downtown. Neering was told the city could broach that issue with the developer over the two weeks before the final approval vote.

But Greene told The Palm Beach Post the site, which he bought in 2015 for $17 million, was too expensive to offer subsidized, below-market rents.

“This building, with the cost of construction and rents will just barely make it” financially, Greene said. “It only works for someone like me, who builds it for what it’s worth when its done. The rents just aren’t high enough and construction costs have gone up so much. The problem is, I can build it if I just make a return on investment, make cash flow, like owning a bond. But if I had to sell it to make a profit, there’s not enough there,” In short, he concluded, “if you try to have any kind of reduced rents, it would probably kill the project.”

No Tenants Yet For One West Palm

One West Palm, its foundation finally under construction, also faces challenges. The project, which Greene announced several years ago and got city approval for two years ago, has yet to line up a tenant for its 209,000 square feet of Class A office space.

Meanwhile, The Related Cos. is coming out of the ground with a competing downtown office tower, 360 Rosemary, to be completed about the same time, next to Rosemary Square (the renamed CityPlace development).

And the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency this week approved a letter of intent for developer Charles Cohen to build an office tower as big as 490,000 square feet, on the ‘tent site’ at the corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and Dixie Highway. Greene, who owns the former Opera Place lot just north of the tent site, where he could develop as much as 1 million square feet, said that despite the current shortage of Class A space, he doubts there are enough tenants out there now to fill three or more buildings.

All the construction comes at a time of sustained growth in the city, which counts $3 billion of substantive projects in its development pipeline and has been challenged for solutions to the traffic that inevitably will generate. These include highrise residences off N Flager Drive in the North End, a sprawling Anchor Site mixed-use development and Currie Park redevelopment on opposite ends of Northwood Road, the renovation of the 1930’s-era Sunset Lounge in the Historic Northwest, a rebuilt golf course and tennis center in the south end, a Drive Shack indoor golf entertainment center and Mitsubishi dealership near the airport, condo towers on S Flagler Drive, and a possible doubling in size of the county convention center, just to name a handful.

Of course, not all proposed projects get built. Greene has tabled a number, himself. His Opera place site has remained vacant for years. He dropped a micro-apartment building a block from Clematis Street and tabled a residential project on Clematis, after commissioning drawings by the same high-profile firm that designed One West Palm, Miami’s Arquitectonica. For the 20 acres he owns around the Currie Park waterfront, he has hired an even higher-profile firm, the Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron, designers of the Beijing Olympics’ Bird’s Nest stadium, but that’s another site he’s been talking about for a long time that remains vacant land.

Despite complaints from city officials or neighbors of his vacant sites, the Palm Beach billionaire gets construction cost estimates, does the math and only moves forward when the numbers add up to a profit, particularly since he’s generally not using other people’s money but his own.

At One West Palm, he waited on the market, held off while the city politicked zoning changes that benefited a competitor and he took time off for a run for governor. Now he’s done the numbers again and they add up to a worst-case scenario in which he makes only a little money, and best-case in which he makes a lot, he said. So, the cranes are in place.

Meanwhile, seeing occupancy stabilize at Cameron Estates at a healthy 95-97 percent, the numbers told him that despite construction costs trending high amid the building boom, Clear Lake Estates stood a good chance at success.

 

Source: Palm Beach Daily News

The city government of Dania Beach started soliciting proposals from developers to build a new city hall and a commercial complex.

Dania Beach city hall project site (PHOTO CREDIT: Colliers International | Sun-Sentinel)

The development would unfold at 100 West Dania Beach Boulevard, a 6.42-acre site where the existing city hall is located. May 30 is the deadline for developers to submit proposals to redevelop the site, which has been appraised at $12.31 million. The city wants a developer to clear the site by demolishing the existing 29,000-square-foot city hall and relocating a fire station and two historic buildings to other locations in the city.

Dania Beach formally issued a request for proposals on March 15, three days after city commissioners approved the planned project. According to the city’s request for proposals, the 6.42-acre site is big enough for about 1.4 million square feet of new building space and more than 950 residential units.

Existing parking capacity at the Dania Beach site could be expanded from 440 spaces to 660 spaces by adding two floors, according to Colliers International South Florida, which is advising the city government on the project.

“A 1.25-acre site next to the existing city hall property is privately owned and has a $3.5 million asking price,” Bradley Arendt, a broker with Colliers, told the Sun-Sentinel. “So a developer who acquired the privately-owned site and won the bidding to build a new city hall could assemble 7.5 acres for potential development.”

 

Source: The Real Deal

As industry experts cast predictions of how various smart city sectors will evolve in the new year, one sector is offering a blurry outlook for 2019: real estate.

While commercial activity has been on the rise, particularly from expanding technology firms, shifts in e-commerce, affordable housing and residential demographics have also spurred many questions for how the urban real estate landscape will transform.

The Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has analyzed this real estate forecast and compiled insights in its 40th annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. While 2018 promised to be a year of tech adoption and activity among Generation Z buyers, 2019’s biggest trends will likely include cybersecurity risk management and prioritizing resilience.

“Think of this year’s trends as circles in a Venn diagram,” the report reads. “Trends will overlap, indicating that they interact, and over time those interactions (sometimes involving more than just two circles) foster new conditions that can alter either the features of the trend, its relative strength, and even its duration. We aren’t in coloring-book world anymore.”

Hot Markets To Watch

Each year, the Emerging Trends survey — which reflects the views of more than 2,300 individuals, including property owners, real estate investors, homebuilders and developers — highlights areas that rank high for investor interest.

The report authors wrote, “Growth appears to be in vogue for 2019,” noting that survey respondents favored markets with growth potential over traditional “gateway” markets.

Dallas/Fort Worth took the crown as the top market for overall real estate prospects, up from the No. 5 spot in 2018.

The top 20 list includes:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • New York/Brooklyn
  • Raleigh/Durham, NC
  • Orlando, FL
  • Nashville, TN
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston
  • Denver
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
  • Atlanta
  • Miami
  • Salt Lake City
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange County, CA
  • Seattle
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Washington, DC
  • Indianapolis
  • San Antonio

Seattle — which ranked No. 1 in the 2018 report — came in at No. 16 for 2019, which the authors suggested may be to the blame of the media for its coverage of the city’s real estate market. The authors also noted the list is so vastly different from last year’s list due to the impacts of 2018 tax laws. Overall, however, it is noted there is not a market in the survey that is ranked poorly based on respondent answers.

“The bottom line is that opportunities are available in all markets,” the report reads.

Experiential Retail

The surge of the e-commerce industry has turned retail on its head in recent years, transforming brick-and-mortar stores and shopping plazas into vacant canvases for new development possibilities. The rise of experiential retail will likely shake-up real estate opportunities in 2019, as developers look to “creative solutions” to take advantage of the evolving retail industry — such as combining retail and non-retail offerings into mixed-use properties.

“Over time, cities and suburbs may have the new opportunity to support — through zoning or master-plan amendments — needed development on sites previously dedicated only to retail,” the report reads. “In any given community, new uses may include housing, schools, or any activity for which land availability had been limited. These new uses will, in turn, create new demand for retail goods and services.”

Retail properties, specifically in cities, will also likely see more technology implementation in 2019 to collect consumer data and optimize the shopping experience. The report notes that this trend will become lucrative for the real estate market, suggesting that monetizing data collection of a retail building “might someday generate more income than traditional leases.”

Cybersecurity Risk Management

Cybersecurity scored 3.14 out of 5 on an “importance of issues” scale in the 2018 report. For 2019, cybersecurity is now described as an “industry disruptor” by the report authors, scoring 3.44 out of 5 on the importance scale.

“The increased flow of data and growing use of mobile devices to control facilities are raising awareness about the need for more sophisticated cybersecurity,” the report reads.

The authors list cybersecurity risk management as an issue to watch in 2019, noting that the popularity of internet of things (IoT) technology infiltrating building components has made the overall real estate industry more vulnerable to attacks. An interviewee of the survey noted the need for real estate leaders to establish “industry norms and best practices” to defend against cyberattacks and evaluate the efficiencies and vulnerabilities of such technologies.

Building Resilience

As is the trend for any smart city-related sector, building resilience into the framework of the real estate industry is crucial for long-term sustainability — especially as changes in climate have brought unprecedented destruction to a number of U.S. markets.

The report estimates natural disasters in 2017 — including Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma — cost an estimated $306 billion in the U.S. These and impending natural disasters have put a heightened focus on resilience in real estate.

Two particular factors — an increase in risk and the potential for decreased property values — are driving much of the focus on resilience. Nearly 25% of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF)’s Property Index value is in cities among the 10% most exposed to sea-level rise, according to the report. Such flood risk has caused property values to decrease in some areas, particularly in flood-vulnerable regions on the East Coast; properties in such regions of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia had lost $14.1 billion in value between 2005 and 2017, according to the report.

The report authors suggest embracing resilient design (both of real estate properties and surrounding infrastructure) to enhance protection of at-risk markets. Such investments in resilience are said to not only benefit properties in the long run, but make them far more attractive to investors.

“Investing in resilience may also become an effective part of a community engagement strategy and help limit local opposition to a project,” the report reads.

 

Source: SmartCitiesDIVE

Boynton Beach officials will consider plans for the mixed-use Ocean One project along Federal Highway/U.S. 1.

Click on the photo for a SFBJ slideshow of the Ocean One project

Ocean One Boynton LLC, an affiliate of Washington, D.C.-based Washington Real Estate Partners, wants to rezone the 3.63-acre site at 114 N. Federal Highway to allow 358 apartments, 12,075 square feet of commercial/retail, a 120-room hotel and 439 parking spaces. The property runs along the highway from Boynton Beach Boulevard to Ocean Avenue. It is not along the water, but it’s a quick drive across the bridge to the beach.

The City Commission will hold the first vote on Ocean One on March 21 and, should it pass, then a final vote on April 4. Attorney Bonnie Miskel, who represents the developer in the application, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The vote would cover the rezoning and the site plan for the first phase, which would be developed on 1.93 acres of the site. The first phase calls for an 8-story building with 231 apartments in 218,935 square feet and 6,175 square feet of retail, including a health club, and a 7-story parking garage with 359 spaces.

The building would feature a public plaza, an interior courtyard with a pool, summer kitchen, grilling stations and a fountain wall. It would also have a clubhouse. The apartments in the first phase would break down to 152 with one bedroom, and 79 with two bedrooms. Units would range from 560 to 1,600 square feet.

Cohen, Freedman, Encinosa & Associates is the architect of Ocean One. The developer hopes to acquire 0.47 acre of the development site from the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. Ocean One Boynton acquired the rest of the site for $9 million in 2005.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Washington Real Estate Partners Chairman F. Davis Camalier is seeking an incentive deal with the CRA to provide millions in property tax rebates for the project.

 

Source: SFBJ