May 05–When developers first announced plans last year for the Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, they figured the luxury waterfront condominium in Fort Lauderdale had a chance to open in 2017, though 2018 seemed far more likely.
But 2017 now is the expected delivery date, the result of a better-than-anticipated early sales push for the 171 units ranging from $1.8 million to $8 million.
“We thought it would take longer to sell,” said Carlos Rosso, head of the condo division for The Related Group, which is building Auberge with Fortune International Group and the Fairwinds Group.
The firms say they have 90 percent of the units reserved and 10 contracts signed. A formal groundbreaking and the start of construction are planned this summer, about six months ahead of schedule.
Auberge is being built at 2200 N. Ocean Blvd. on the site of the former Ireland’s Inn. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has committed to buying a unit in the project.
The initial success at Auberge spotlights the maturation of Broward’s luxury condo market, analysts say.
Related Chairman Jorge Perez and other developers are looking north into Broward as concern grows about overbuilding in Miami-Dade County.
South Florida real estate agent Beverly Rothstein says plenty of well-to-do condo buyers are willing to spend big money for units in Broward because there’s a “difference in the vibe” compared with Miami-Dade.
Earlier this year, Perez insisted that Fort Lauderdale is ready for million-dollar condos that have been more common in Miami-Dade.
“The city has come a long way from the college crowds and the T-shirt shops,” he said.
Developers are hoping to convince buyers that Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach offer similar perks as Miami for a fraction of the cost. Buyers in Broward can save more than 40 percent on the price of some units, according to Peter Zalewski, principal of the CondoVultures.com consulting firm.
Down payments of 35 percent to 50 percent used to scare away Broward buyers, but not so much anymore, Zalewski said.
“If it wasn’t for the large deposits, the Broward condo market would have [exploded] long before now,” he said.
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