Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.—Ground has been broken on a 331-unit mid-rise apartment development in downtown Ft. Lauderdale’s Flagler Village. The Morgan Group, the Houston-based developer of the community, acquired the site in December 2012. The project will be complete in time for first move-ins in summer, 2014.
“One of the benefits that offsets the risk of developing early-cycle projects is the opportunity to keep hard costs low, while good contractors and suppliers are willing to work for less,” Morgan’s Southeast Region Development Vice President Richard A. Buck tells MHN. “As sale prices for similar projects continued to put up strong valuations, this helped us attract quality equity to the venture.”
The new development, to be called The Pearl at Flagler Village, will be a seven-story structure costing approximately $70 million. Flagler Village is a diverse new downtown community of homes, retail and service businesses. In the block where The Morgan Group is building, Flagler Village is home to two of the most popular and successful developments built in the last cycle, Buck notes.
“The benefits of their location are clear, even though both of those projects were built within the interior of the block,” he says. “Our site is adjacent to these two examples, but ours fronts Federal Highway, with a great deal of drive-by traffic.”
The project marks the return of The Morgan Group to south Florida, and is the company’s first Broward County development. The company was very active in south Florida until the late 1990s, has remained active in Jacksonville and Orlando, and is seeking to build its presence in the south Florida region again. To that end, it has recently established a Ft. Lauderdale office.
“We knew we wanted to get into this submarket before other developers saw the value that we see in Flagler Village,” Buck says. “The area is ripe for new residential units and amenities that are designed specifically with urban professionals in mind.”
Buck observes that whether building The Pearl at Flagler Village or any other development, the real estate business is about solving problems at every phase.
“The fact that a problem or challenge presents itself shouldn’t surprise us,” he says. “Real estate development is as complex as it is simple. The way I resolve problems is to hire the right consultants and contractors in hopes of preventing most of the challenges from finding me. So far I think we’re ahead of the game.”
At a time when renting makes increasing sense to many people, he and his colleagues at The Morgan Group are excited about building “really cool places folks can call home,” Buck says. “We can do that almost anywhere. But when you have the opportunity to do what we do best, in a community that has national exposure like Ft. Lauderdale, you have added a lasting mark.”