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Apartment Living is Alive and Growing in the City of Boca Raton ~ Growing at 30% Rate ๐ŸŒ ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒ ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒ ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒ ๐Ÿ˜Ž

December 28, 2013

Apartment Living is Alive and Growing in the City of Boca Raton, and Growing at 30% Rate. Boca Raton’s executive director of the Economic Development Board, mentions that todayโ€™s typical Young Upwardly Professional, today’s "Yuppy" wants an urban lifestyle, and todayโ€™s businesses want a young, college-educated workforce. Companies like Office Depot, GEO, 3C Interactive, Campus Management, Major Banks and Insurance Companies, Major Retailers benefit greatly by apartment growth in downtown markets and particularly for the City of Boca Raton, Florida.

What’s a Yuppy. Here’s the etymology for the term Yuppy: An acronym for "Young Urban Professional" or "Young Upwardly-mobile Professional." Yuppy a term that refers to young educated professionals in or entering the upper-middle-class or upper-class, who are in their 20’s and 30’s. This term first came into use in the early 1980’s during the Reagan Administration, the 40th President of the United States.

This Image is a progress-photo of RAM Development’s 208 Unit Apartment project under construction, showing 5 floors of eventual 12 story building.

The scenario that the economic consultants give, is the 25-year-old yuppy these days likes to get up, get on a bike, go to Starbucks for coffee, back on the bike, and head to their office; walk outside for lunch, get on a bike and go to a park or beach.

Some young college graduates today are not necessarily excited about purchasing a car because of the price of a Car, the Insurance, Maintenance, and the Gas. Since graduating students are quite used to college campus environments, Apartments located in business districts are very similar to a College graduate’s way of life. Having a number of friends living in NYC, Manhattan, that never owned a car, they walk to shop, to the grocery, jog, bicycle, or take a City Cab or the Subways everywhere. If they want to "take a drive" out of the City, they Rent a Car for the weekend.

This Image is a progress-photo of Camden Development’s 261 Unit Apartment project under construction, showing 7 floors of an eventual 8 story building.

City Leaders are excited about the potential for a dense, pedestrian downtown; however, not all residents share this vision; many have said there will be too many apartments and too much traffic. It seems that there are a few that are opposed to any great ideas. Personally we, firmly disagree. A vibrant, viable City requires an established and growing base of urban dwellers and services (such has restaurants and retailers) to symbiotically live with each other.

All five apartment developments are near US Highway 1 and four projects are within walking distance to Bocaโ€™s Mizner Park entertainment district. The majority of the Apartments units will be one-bedrooms, and some developments are also offering studios apartments as well. The 500sf to 1000sf Apartment is definitely where the Developers are focusing there attention today.

We have conducted another Apartment Rental Survey for the Boca Raton metropolitan area, in effort to quantify the Apartment Buildings that presently exist, the Condominium projects that have a significant number of "rentals" by the unit-owners, the new Buildings that being Constructed, and the Projects that have been presented to the City with favorable outcomes, where Development thereof is likely. Below are several graphics showing the Current Completed projects, Apartment Buildings that are being constructed, and Apartment projects that have been presented to one or more City Commission Meetings with favorable results.

The buildings may be taller, the occupants younger, and the amenities more cutting-edge than anything downtown Boca Raton has seen. And if the Developers’ and City Leadersโ€™ predictions come true, the new apartments being developed in Boca Ratonโ€™s downtown will be filled with many folks that are willing to walk to shop, dine, entertain, and perhaps to their place of employment.

One must think of Boca Raton as a relatively small city, as compared with more traditional urban areas like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta… Lets view Boca Raton as a segment of the overall South Florida metropolitan area, said Jay Curran, vice president of development for Archstoneโ€™s Florida division. Archstone is planning to build 378 apartments on Palmetto Park Road in 9 stories of apartments above 15,000 square feet of retail stores and restaurants (at street level) plus structured parking. The project includes 25 town homes that wrap the large structured garage facing Boca Raton Boulevard.

Marilyn and I are Apartment dwellers (having moved from a 3000sf single family house, now living at Boca Raton’s Royal Palm Place, a luxury 185 unit Building, in the heart of down town boca Raton, 101 Plaza Real South, one street East of Federal Highway, US 1, and one street South of Palmetto Park Road. And rest assured we are not Yuppies; think of us as Yuppy times 3.

Within several square miles, there are 14 Apartment or Rental projects that are Completed, Projects being Constructed, and Projects that are Eminent. In sum there are 2,486 Apartment dwelling units that Presently exist in the Boca Raton down town area; Add to this 469 Apartment units, two projects, that are under construction with completion mid-2014; there are Four additional Apartment projects housing 1,153 dwelling units, that are “to be built” where 558 units of these, will Commence Construction by June of 2014.

This image above is the street view of 101 Plaza Real South looking south, with Royal Palm Place apartment building is on the right side of the image

Therefore, a year from the writing of this Article, December, 2014 the Apartment count will have increased from today’s level of 2,487 units to a Total of 4,109 units in a year or two. This is a 165% increase in the number of Apartment units in a relatively short time-frame.

Businesses look for quality rental apartments in deciding where to locate, said land use attorney Charles Siemon, who has done extensive work with downtown Boca Raton developments, including Archstone and other apartment projects.

Boca Raton has thousands of employees that work in downtown Boca Raton but who live in Fort Lauderdale. There is a need to make the City of Boca Raton more attractive to businesses and young professionals.

Camden’s floor-plan web page, http://camdenbocaraton.com/floor-plans/

The Image was captured at 5pm, Thursday, December 26, 2014. Notice the developer placed a Palm Tree on the top-right of the parking garage signaling the “topping off” of this 8-story Apartment project. The Residential component of the project has 7-floors “poured” where the 8th floor steel column-tops are visible along the horizon of the setting sun.

While granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and wood cabinets set the standard, the upscale appointments will come in smaller packages with some studio apartments coming in at about 525 square feet at both the RAM and Camden apartments. Although thereโ€™s a significant supply of larger condos and apartments, Camden’s dwelling units are going to be much smaller, said Chad Weaver, Camdenโ€™s vice president of real estate investments for the southeast United States.

According to Camden, it will actually be delivering 522sf studio apartments. The apartments will range in size from about 522 square feet up to about 1,032 he said. Weaver believes demand will come from some people looking for a more comfortable living situation, such as moving out from their parentโ€™s home or living alone after having a roommate.

Youโ€™ve got the view of the Boca Raton Resort, the Intracoastal and the ocean, and to be in such great proximity to downtown and the beach is a great opportunity. Not only do you get all these great amenities but great access to quality jobs.

The close proximity to downtown, U.S. 1 and I-95 are the reasons they are expecting to attract young professionals, and why theyโ€™re likely to improve Boca Ratonโ€™s business prospects, said people involved in downtown planning.

This is not your grandparentโ€™s vacation rental. Indeed, the apartments, 1,197 of them downtown, will be small by the cityโ€™s suburban standards, and will be marketed to young professionals who donโ€™t necessarily see buying a house in their immediate futures.

Because two of the four major downtown apartment complexes include ground-floor retail stores and restaurants, ranging from 15,000sf to 20,000sf, these projects also have the potential to enliven the lackluster performance of some of the existing retail and restaurant tenants on Palmetto Park Road and in the down town area.

Rents among these new Apartment buildings range from $1,050 for a studio apartment to $3,500 for a three-bedroom with garage. Apartment owners and operators use a figure of Rent-Per-Square-per-Month to determine how their "Rentals" compare to the competition.

In conversations with several Apartment Developers, rents for the 4 new buildings will be in the $2.00 to $2.15 per sq.ft./month, a very strong rent indeed. However, recall that the bulk of the new apartment units will be one-bedroom consisting of 550sf to 750sf in size, two bedroom apartments are just under 1100sf, relatively small floor plans

For example, Marilyn and I live at Royal Palm Place, a modern, high quality, 185 unit Apartment Building, built in 2003. Our Rent is $2350 for a 1400sf dwelling uint. This equates to around $170/sf per month, the figure apartment developers, real estate professionals and Commercial Bankers use as one measuring tool for the economics of rental units.

Therefor, assuming similar construction standards, location, and competitive amenity packages, the Rent/SF/Month is a common factor in comparing "rentals" Apartments to each other. Many of the new Apartment projects that are being constructed or soon to be built, are projected to rent at over $210/sf/Month. This rental level is at the very high-end of the market-place.

Hugo Pacanins, vice president of Ram Residential is currently building a 208 unit Luxury Rental Apartment building located one block east of U.S. 1 and one block south of Palmetto Park Road. This building is immediately North of Palmetto Place, a 256 luxury Condominium project developed in 2003 by Bill Morris (Southcoast Partners, a prominent local developer) through a Joint Venture with affiliate of Deutsche Bank who owned the entire 9.4 acre site.

The image above is a view from the 8th floor balcony looking at the spectacular common area Pool, Patio and Clubhouse that is elevated 70 feet above street level, resting at Level 6, above the parking garage of Palmetto Place. This 256 luxury Condominium project was developed in 2003 by Bill Morris, Principal of Southcoast Partners, a prolific South Florida developer.

We are assuming the new wave of Apartment dwellers are going to be mainly single and professional couples that either work in downtown or work in nearby areas of Palm Beach County and want to live closer to downtown, closer to where the action is… RAM will position the apartments 500 feet East and South of the Palmetto-Federal Highway corner, the SEC, leaving the prime corner for a future Commercial Building.

Youโ€™ve got the view of the Boca Raton Resort, the Intracoastal and the ocean, and to be in such great proximity to downtown and the beach is a great opportunity. Not only do you get all these great amenities but great access to quality jobs.

The close proximity to downtown, U.S. 1 and I-95 are the reasons they are expecting to attract young professionals, and why theyโ€™re likely to improve Boca Ratonโ€™s business prospects, said people involved in downtown planning.

We see a combination of a younger population, but also some of the older population moving away from the suburban locations who children have grown, where the "empty-nesters" simply do not need 3,500sf single family home with the grounds and pool maintenance costs coupled to $750/month utility bills.

Via Mizner, adjacent to the Boca Raton Resort, may see tenants who choose to rent rather than buy a seasonal place, said Pete Odorico, vice president of Development for Penn-Florida, which is developing the project at Camino Real and US Hwy 1. โ€œItโ€™s the views next to the club and proximity to the club that makes a difference for us,โ€ he said. He expects phase one of the project to complement the entire project, which still includes a future phase of condos about 44,000 square feet of retail and a 118 room hotel.

North Bay Village, about five miles north, and includes 384 apartments in 19 buildings on 20 acres at the former Levitz Plaza. โ€œThis is more of a garden style, not a high-rise,โ€ said Michael Ging, managing director of Broadstone Developers, which is completed. โ€œWe have three-story townhomes with two-car garages, which appeals to families, and five-story buildings that appeal to the more mature demographic, mostly because it will look and feel like a condo. And then we have our traditional three-story garden-style buildings.โ€

The thing thatโ€™s going to set North Bay Village apart is its clubhouse. Itโ€™s the most luxurious clubhouse that we’ve seen. It’s a two-story, 10,000-square-foot building with a cyber cafe, fitness center, yoga studio, demo kitchen, and wine and cigar rooms. The four downtown complexes all sit on space a fraction the size of North Boca Villageโ€™s 20 acres. Located between Mizner and Delray Beachโ€™s Atlantic Avenue, North Boca Village expects to attract young professionals who might work north or south.

Unlike many of the condos that make up downtown Bocaโ€™s multifamily housing, developers donโ€™t see these rental apartments being abandoned in the summer. We think it will be very good for the community and add to the year-round population.

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