Condo Building and Purchasing Up in Palm Beach County

Source: Condo Investments

Palm Beach County is about to be hit by a new wave of condo projects, despite the economic downturn.  It seems foreclosures are increasing the demand for condo and rental housing.

Kolter Group LLC is dusting off plans for a North Palm Beach condominium that was commenced during the housing boom and shelved when the boom went bust.

The move comes as Related Group recently unveiled plans for a 506-unit, two-tower condo in West Palm Beach’s north end. The property formerly was known as Icon, planned during the real estate run-up as a luxury tower with only 150 units.

Kolter vice president Bob Vail said the company will relaunch the North Palm Beach condo, known as Domani (Italian for “tomorrow”) in the fall of 2012. Look for more units, lower prices and smaller square footage per unit.

Also look for a different, fresher name that doesn’t evoke the excesses of the recent real estate bubble.

In 2004, Kolter paid $23.5 million for seven acres overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in North Palm Beach, about a half-mile south of PGA Boulevard on the east side of U.S. 1. The property formerly was owned by an order of Passionists priests.

Kolter’s goal at the time: a luxury waterfront community, with condo prices ranging from $3 million to $8 million. About 15 of the 77 unbuilt condo units were pre-sold, with plans to open in 2006.

But the project screeched to a halt in January 2007, a casualty of a residential condo market deemed “dead” by a Kolter executive, who pledged Domani would resume when the market improved.

That time is soon, but not tomorrow.

Kolter considered bringing Domani back this fall but decided the market hasn’t recovered enough yet. So plans are to launch in 2012, with completion set for 2014, “three years from today,” Vail said.

Here’s the thinking:

“There’s not going to be new product in over five years,” Vail said. “And we’ll have new features,” in line with the trends taking place in construction now.

In addition, with sales continuing in Kolter’s Two City Plaza condo in West Palm Beach, Vail says the feeling is that “real buyers are back in the market. People are back thinking about the quality of the unit, and not just how cheaply can I buy it.”

Cheap isn’t in, but neither is excessive luxury.

Kolter is downscaling the size of the units, and more than doubling the number of them planned, to bring the total to 168. Prices are lower, too, with units costing from $600,000 to $1.5 million.

Source: Sun Sentinel

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