By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine – The Luxury Issue
It’s difficult to drive anywhere in South Florida without seeing a luxury apartment community. Whether it’s a high-rise tower in downtown Fort Lauderdale, a beachfront oasis in Miami Beach or a mixed-use development in one of the western communities, luxury apartments have become a mainstay of new development here.
Several demographic groups are driving the trend. There are the affluent empty-nesters who no longer want the responsibilities of homeownership or the high costs associated with country-club memberships, the young professionals who can afford to buy a home but opt for a carefree tenant’s lifestyle instead and the college graduates, who might have incomes high enough to purchase a home but who are saddled with student debt and can’t put together the requisite down payment.
“When it comes to apartment buildings, the Class A buildings that appeal to upscale tenants have strong demand and strong fundamentals,” said Brad Hunter, a housing-industry consultant with Hunter Housing Economics in West Palm Beach. “Developers are figuring out ways to put tenants’ minds at ease about the concerns of multifamily living. They’re adopting strict cleaning regimens and increasing the number of balconies and outdoor social areas because people want open space.”
Indeed, luxury apartments in South Florida have proliferated. Developers are incentivized to build rentals not just because of the demand but also due to the lack of adequate supply here. Plus, in many cases, apartment projects – which developers often build, lease up and then sell – can be more profitable than building condominiums on the same land. According to RENTCafe, an apartment-listing website, in 2000, there were 1,900 Class A and A+ apartments completed in South Florida. In the first 10 months of 2020, 5,000 units were delivered.
Asking rents are aggressive. In fact, in many cases it’s more affordable to own a home in South Florida than to rent one. According to apartment site Zumper, the apartment markets in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale were among the 10 most expensive in the nation in December 2020. In Miami, for example, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $2,280, a 3.6 percent increase year-over-year. In Fort Lauderdale, a two-bedroom unit cost $2,200, up 1.9 percent year-over-year. Compare those prices to the national median for a two-bedroom, which was $1,487.
Of course, if you’re paying high rents, you expect to have high-quality amenities. Tenants today are more likely to own pets, work from home and use ride-sharing services than in the past. So, they expect to have pet amenities, an on-site business center or co-working space and a dedicated area for their Uber pickups. Swimming pools, fitness centers and on-site pet services are features that not only are expected, but ones for which tenants are willing to pay higher rent.
Here are just a few of the new luxury apartments in South Florida. These communities demonstrate the type of units and amenities tenants are demanding today.
The Residences at Uptown Boca
9560 Glades Road
Part of the 38-acre Uptown Boca mixed-use development west of Boca Raton, The Residences at Uptown Boca includes 456 luxury apartments that are walkable to dining, entertainment and shopping venues. The one- through four-bedroom units range from 718 to 1,737 square feet and include features such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, porcelain tile wood plank-style flooring and large walk-in closets. Community amenities include an indoor/outdoor fitness center, pool, business center with private conference rooms, resident theater and entertaining lounge, kids’ gaming and activity area, rideshare pick-up lounge, three dog parks and a soccer field. Rents start at $2,400 for two- and three-bedroom units; rents for one and four bedrooms were not available at press time.
410 SE 16th Ct.
Recently opened, this 243-unit contemporary apartment community emphasizes outdoor spaces – increasingly in demand by tenants both for fresh air and leisure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Units in the eight-story building range from one to three bedrooms and include stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, walk-in closets and keyless entry. Amenities include a resort-inspired pool, poolside cabanas, a summer kitchen with gas grills, outdoor lounge areas, a business center, pet grooming salon and refrigerated lockers for grocery deliveries. Rents range from $1,925 for a one-bedroom to $4,335 for three bedrooms.
Modera Flagler Village
555 NE Eighth St.
Now under development in the vibrant Flagler Village neighborhood, the 24-story Modera Flagler Village has 350 apartments, including studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 627 to 1,484 square feet. Penthouse layouts are also available. Apartment interiors include stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, walk-in closets and keyless entry. Community amenities include a rooftop deck with pool, a game room, coffee bar, dog run, business center and club-quality fitness studio. Residents also have access to digital package lockers and dedicated bike storage. Completion is expected in the fall of 2021.
Novo Las Olas
220 SE Second St.
Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Novo Las Olas is part of The Main Las Olas, a 1.4-million-square-foot, mixed-use development that includes a 357,000-square-foot office tower. The studio and one- to three-bedroom units range from 600 to 1,400 square feet and include premium finishes, such as quartz countertops, wood plank-style flooring, stainless steel appliances and private balconies or terraces. Amenities include a resort-style pool area with fire pit, cabanas and gaming areas, an outdoor entertainment area with grills, a pizza oven and areas for gathering, a state-of-the-art fitness center, co-working lounge, a dog park and a GreenWise Market on the ground floor. Rents range from $1,800 to over $4,000.
PHOTO: Modera Flagler Village