FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The proliferation of high-rise buildings with high-design architecture and resort-style amenities in South Florida has been heading north. While in Miami-Dade County foreign buyers dominate the condo-flipping mania, Broward County offers more stability.
Fort Lauderdale’s skyline is changing, but at a slower pace than Miami’s. Patrick Campbell, a vice president at the Related Group, said the majority of the buyers in Fort Lauderdale are end users from South Florida who are transitioning into the next stage of their lives.
“We see that the demographic is largely empty nesters, professionals and second-home buyers with ties to the community,” Campbell said.
Fort Lauderdale’s residential real estate inventory is growing in both the Las Olas and beachfront areas. Despite the rising real estate prices, the city’s luxury units remain a bargain compared to those in Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Sunrise and downtown Miami.
Campbell said the Auberge Beach Residences and Spa is $1,300 per square foot versus $3,000 per square foot in Miami Beach. The 171-unit oceanfront two-tower project is breaking records in Broward County. In April, the developers announced a penthouse in the South Tower sold for $8.9 million.
Ron Drew, of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, attributes the rising condo market to the growing job market. Drew said that from June 2014 to March 2017, there were 77,600 jobs added in Broward County. And more jobs are coming.
Companies including Magic Leap in Plantation, Hotwire Communications in Fort Lauderdale and Ecolab in Miramar have announced expansions in the last two years. And Fort Lauderdale Las Olas will soon have a supply of condos for young professionals who are not ready to buy real estate, but are ready for luxury living.
The Related Group will complete Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building this summer. The 45-story Icon Las Olas will stand higher than the 42-story Las Olas River House, built in 2004. Liz Caldwell, an agent for Premier Estate Properties, said there is a demand for the units.
In partnership with Rabina Properties and Perella Weinberg Partners, the Icon Las Olas will have 272 units for rent from $2,500 to $7,000 a month, starting in June. Residents will have access to a spa, concierge, a wine room, a movie room, a gym and two pools.
“Why buy when you can rent? It’s all about the millennials,” Caldwell said. “They want the experience of living in downtown without the permanence and they don’t mind living from paycheck to paycheck.”
The Icon Las Olas is just the beginning. There are more high-rise buildings lining along the Tarpon River. The other projects are The 42-story Residences of Las Olas, the 25-story 4 West Las Olas, the 45-story 100 Las Olas and the 45-story Las Olas Riverfront Tower 1 and 28-story Tower 2.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance projects 7.7 percent population growth by 2021. Jessica Savage, of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Conventions and Visitor Bureau, said to cater to the growing population the city also has developed a more dynamic dining and restaurant scene that is attracting well-known chefs, such as Geoffrey Zakarian.
Aside from the new restaurants, there are also new brewpubs, coffee shops and ale houses that have “popped up over the past few years,” Savage said.
The growth is not limited to the condo market. The hospitality industry is also getting an upgrade with the Hyde Resorts and Residences, Ocean Resort Residences at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, the Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale and the W Fort Lauderdale.
“The destination is attracting a more affluent demographic and developing a cooler vibe,” Savage said.