Luxury Taking the Lead in Ft. Lauderdale

The development team of Auberge Beach Residences and Spa spoke to Multi-Housing News about their new luxury project scheduled for completion in the following months.
Edgardo Defortuna, president & CEO of Fortune International Group
Edgardo Defortuna, president & CEO of Fortune International Group

The Fort Lauderdale condo market has gained momentum in the past years, as companies looking to branch out in areas other than Miami have discovered a prime marketplace for luxury development in the city. The Related Group, Fortune International Group and The Fairwinds Group have teamed up to develop the 171-unit Auberge Beach Residences and Spa, a two-tower waterfront property slated for delivery this summer.

Edgardo Defortuna, president & CEO of Fortune International Group, Patrick Campbell, vice president of The Related Group, and Andy Mitchell, president & CEO of The Fairwinds Group, spoke to Multi-Housing News about their luxury project, located on the site of the former Ireland’s Inn, as well as the Fort Lauderdale condo market and current resident requirements.

What is the main difference between the Miami and the Fort Lauderdale luxury condo markets?

Defortuna: The major difference between the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets is the buyer profile. Miami deals more with the foreign client that is purchasing as an investment or second home. The Fort Lauderdale client is a mostly domestic purchaser with primary market buyers from New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Chicago and Virginia. When comparing the two markets, it’s clear that Fort Lauderdale buyers can get the same lifestyle in respect to direct ocean views, amenities, finishes and services as in Miami, at almost half the price.

What are some of the key factors contributing to the rising condo market in Fort Lauderdale?

Defortuna: In assessing the Fort Lauderdale marketplace, we spent significant time talking with local residents to determine the missing links in providing product for the luxury market. We took into consideration all projects being built in a 50-mile radius. These focus groups helped us understand what was needed, especially when it came to designing requirements and amenities offered.

We also addressed the different buyers accordingly. From the empty nester who is scaling down to the “snowbirds” or the single buyer, all residents have unique characteristics and residential needs to be met.

Fort Lauderdale has evolved over the past five years with the opening of many new restaurants and the revitalization of the Las Olas corridor with new leading design buildings like Icon (Las Olas Apartments). Important factors also impacting the city’s growth and popularity include the expansion of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, the expansion of Port Everglades and new transportation methods such as the Brightline fast speed train that now links Palm Beach and Miami, precluding the need to spend long hours on congested freeways.

Which is the main demographic drawn to Auberge Beach Residences and Spa?

Patrick Campbell, vice president of The Related Group
Patrick Campbell, vice president of The Related Group

Campbell: The main draw is the lifestyle component for a good percentage of the Auberge Beach buyers. The vast majority of buyers could live anywhere and are very successful professionally. They are looking forward to the amenities and casual sophistication of Auberge. They are familiar with the brand, the Fort Lauderdale area and see this as a natural and authentic next step.

Buyers want to finish and live the second half of their lives in a nurturing environment with neighbors who have similar interests. From car collections to golf adventures, to health and wellness, to community connectivity, Auberge fits the bill in the fast-moving world. Buyers see this as a way to create memories with loved ones and make new friends in a space designed to enhance the residential component of their lifestyle.

What are the reasons behind the record-breaking sales at Auberge Beach Residences and Spa?

Campbell: Auberge communicates a unique lifestyle that offers resort-style amenities without the transient guest aspect in a natural and authentic way that fits a real need in the Fort Lauderdale marketplace. This is a thoughtfully designed building that caters to those interested in downsizing their residence size while upgrading their quality of life.

Homes at Auberge are unique in both appearance and functionality. Take, for example, the plunge pools located in the North Tower on expansive decks that in some cases exceed 2,600 square feet of outside living space or the curvilinear design that does not shade the beach, maximizing sunshine. The property also sets the tone of luxury from the moment guests and residents arrive with the infusion of world-class art, highlighted by the Botero, a waterfall and a glass porte-cochère.

Can you tell us more about the distinct design of the project and what led to this type of structure?

Andy Mitchell, president & CEO of The Fairwinds Group
Andy Mitchell, president & CEO of The Fairwinds Group

Mitchell: We dedicated a lot of time to achieve the design found in this project. Hundreds of meetings were held with the community and over eight different concepts were considered before we made the final decision on how to bring the vision to life. We worked closely with architectural firm Nichols, Brosch, Wurst, Wolfe & Associates to create a residential destination with a sense of place unique to the Fort Lauderdale community.

For interiors, we selected design firm Meyer Davis. They envisioned a space that perfectly fits the natural landscape of Fort Lauderdale. Overall, the Auberge family and Ireland Inn’s history were perfectly matched to create this unique location that has a rich history and delivers on our objectives and buyer expectations.

Images courtesy of The Related Group, Fortune International Group and The Fairwinds Group