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Fort Lauderdale Luxury Apartment Tower Could Set Florida Price Record

Monthly Rents at Icon Las Olas Average $4,400
October 8, 2018
A rendering of the rooftop lounge atop the ICON Las Olas apartments at 500 E. Las Olas Blvd.

A 45-story, ultra-luxury apartment tower is for sale in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and indications are that it could top the $225 million record for the highest price of any apartment building in Florida history.

The Related Group, a Miami-based developer, is taking bids on Icon Las Olas, a 272-unit building at 500 E. Las Olas Blvd. It sits on the city’s signature street, overlooking the New River with unobstructed views of the ocean.

The record price reflects demand for apartments in Miami that is spilling over to surrounding communities. The Miami region is unique geographically, with buildable land limited by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Everglades to the west.

The listing says Icon is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale, though developer Kolter Group is building a 46-story Hyatt Centric hotel and condominium tower down the street. Kolter said that project will be open in early 2020.

The 5-Star Icon property has an average asking rent of $4,404 and an occupancy rate of 86 percent, according to CoStar data.

Average unit sizes are 1,516 square feet, well above the market norm, Cushman & Wakefield said in its listing of the property. All units include floor-to-ceiling glass and high-end finishes. The building also offers three restaurants.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it breaks a record for price because of its location and views,” said L. Keith White, president of Reinhold P. Wolff Economic Research in Oakland Park, Florida. White tracks apartment trends in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The Avant at Pembroke Pines at 11801 Pembroke Road in Pembroke Pines, Florida, fetched the state record for a single-asset multifamily sale, when it sold in 2013 for $225 million, or about $148,000 per unit, according to CoStar data. CBRE Global Investors sold the 1,520-unit complex west of Fort Lauderdale to Prospect Capital Corp. in New York.

See CoStar COMPS #2775994.
In 2015, Related sold The Manor at Flagler Village, a 382-unit property at 525 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, for $148.9 million, or almost $390,000 per unit, public records show.

If Icon Las Olas were to sell in the $225 million range, the price per unit could top $800,000, a figure that may be hard to reach, said Jack McCabe, a housing analyst in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Carolyn Crisp for CoStar Group Inc.

The 45-story, 5-Star Icon Las Olas delivered to the Downtown Fort Lauderdale submarket of Broward County in 2017.

Still, he described Icon as a premier multifamily property in a choice location. While many analysts argue that multifamily real estate will remain strong in the near future, McCabe said Related’s willingness to sell now may be an indication that the investment market is topping out.

“When you start to see properties like this come on the market, it’s a good indication that the owners think if they wait any longer, they may not get as good a price,” McCabe said.

Through a publicist, Cushman & Wakefield brokers declined an interview request.

Related, headed by Jorge Perez, completed Icon Las Olas in 2017, nearly two decades after submitting plans for a project. The developer faced a series of legal battles with preservationists who expressed concern the building would overwhelm a historic home next door.

The city approved Related’s plans for a condominium on the site in 2005, the peak of the housing boom. But the land sat empty for a decade as the market tanked and preservationists filed more lawsuits. Construction ultimately started about three years ago.

Paul Owers, South Florida Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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