May 3, 2016
New York City-based TIAA-CREF paid $114.4 million for a newly built apartment complex in Flagler Village, an emerging Fort Lauderdale neighborhood catching eyes with its budding arts scene and attractive multifamily market.
The public employee retirement fund purchased the Edge at Flagler Village from Pearl Flagler Village LLC, linked to Houston-based Morgan Group Inc., in a deal that broke down to $345,604 per apartment.
The Edge was completed last year at 475 N. Federal Highway, adjacent to The Fresh Market and five blocks north of Broward Boulevard.
“We focus on submarkets that have strong fundamentals,” said Evan Schlecker, a Miami-based regional vice president with the Morgan Group. “Downtown Fort Lauderdale falls into this bucket, which paid off with this recent sale.”
Morgan Group, which focuses on high-end multifamily development, construction and property management, purchased the 3.3 acres of land for $11.5 million in December 2012, according to Broward County records.
The 331-unit apartment complex features a coffee bar, fitness center, pool and parking garage, among other amenities. Apartments come with 9- to 11-foot ceilings, walk-in closets and views of Fort Lauderdale’s downtown skyline and beach.
Flagler Village’s residential population is set to double in the next three years, said Jaime Sturgis, a Fort Lauderdale-based sales director with Metro 1.
About 40 projects have been completed, are under construction or hang in the pipeline. “That kind of paints the picture of what’s going on here,” he said.
Morgan is exiting the market as it gets busier. The sale comes on the heels of Morgan Group’s purchase of a 3-acre site in the neighborhood, where the developer is planning to build another apartment project. Morgan paid about $16.5 million for several parcels between Northeast Third and Fourth avenues on April 11.
In January, Dev Motwani, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Merrimac Ventures, paid $1.9 million for four parcels near 315 NW First Ave. The developer plans to construct an 18-story, 195-room hotel, aptly named the Flagler Village Hotel.
Motwani said it’s a “bit risky” to develop a hotel “so far into the neighborhood, but we’re hopeful that when these two transit options open up and are operating, it’ll create a lot of activity for our site.”
The developer was referring to All Aboard Florida, whose Brightline train will have a station near his site, and the proposed Wave Streetcar, which would pass by the hotel and operate similarly to San Francisco’s trolley system.
“It’s probably the last area in downtown Fort Lauderdale where there are still big chunks of redevelopment opportunities,” said Brian Kopelowitz, a partner with Kopelowitz Ostrow.
The community carries a young “artsy buzz” fueled by monthly art walks and galleries that have set up shop in warehouses, the Fort Lauderdale attorney said.
Doug Jones, who has operated Sixth Star Entertainment for 14 years in Flagler Village, welcomes the development. The more people, the more action, he said. Jones now lives there, too.
“I live across the street from my office and my warehouse,” Jones said, describing the area as a “mini Wynwood.”
“It’s reminiscent in some regards to Wynwood in its infancy,” Sturgis said. Much like the once-dilapidated Miami neighborhood, Flagler Village is welcoming its own adaptive-reuse projects and experiencing an emergence of art, culture and entertainment.