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WPB’s building boom: Vacant city block will become luxe apartments

West Palm Beach has hit the big time, attracting the attention of the nation’s largest apartment developer, which plans to build a luxury, 322-unit rental complex in the heart of downtown.

Alliance Residential Company of Phoenix, Ariz., is seeking the city’s OK for the project, tentatively known as Broadstone at Clematis. The property takes up a city block, a rare building opportunity. “West Palm Beach is an untapped market. It’s time to bring new luxury rentals to that market,” said Michael J. Ging, Alliance managing director.

The 326,000-square-foot apartment building would rise eight stories, except along Dixie Highway on the east side, where it would rise seven. The land is in the heart of the downtown, between Datura Street to the north and Evernia Street to the south, amid the city’s entertainment, dining and soon, transportation destination.

The city block sits across Quadrille Boulevard from the planned All Aboard Florida train station and mixed-used project.

Ging said the company became interested in West Palm Beach because of its growing vibrancy.

“We love West Palm Beach,” said Ging, who works in Alliance’s Boca Raton office. “There are several new hotels announced, the All Aboard Florida stop is across from our site…and we are one block south of Clematis Street and a walk to the Publix” at CityPlace, he said.

Broadstone at Clematis will have a parking garage; interiors featuring granite counters and stainless steel appliances; a resort style pool; expanded fitness studio and even a yoga studio. Some apartments will face a center courtyard, with the pool on the ground floor.

Prices are expected to range from $1,375 a month for one bedroom studios up to $2,300 for the largest two bedroom, two bathroom units. If approved, the apartment building could be ready for occupancy by summer 2017.

Alliance is a major apartment developer and manager, with projects throughout across the country. It was named the largest apartment developer in 2014 and 2013 by the National Multifamily Housing Council.

In South Florida, the privately owned company built Broadstone in North Boca Village, a 384-unit apartment complex in Boca Raton, and Broadstone Cypress Hammocks, a 396-unit apartment complex in Coconut Creek.

Harvey Oyer, a West Palm Beach lawyer for Alliance, said the project abides by the zoning code, which allows for a buiding rising as high as 10 stories. An appearance before the city’s downtown action committee, which handles the approval of large downtown projects, is set for this summer.

Phillips Point sale

Phillips Point, West Palm Beach’s signature waterfront office complex, is expected to be sold this week for about $250 million, a record for the city landmark.

The 777 S. Flagler Drive center, at the foot of the Royal Park Bridge, last sold in 2007 for $200 million, smashing previous record sales prices.

The buyer is AEW, a Boston-based real estate asset management company. AEW owns One Clearlake Center on Australian Avenue, real estate sources said.

Phillips Point was built in 1985 and has an east tower and a west tower. It is about 90 percent leased. Owner Colonnade Properties of New York began shopping the property in February.

Phillips Point tenants include law firms Gunster, Greenberg Traurig and Akerman Senterfitt & Eidson; investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; and such companies as AMG and Reyes Holdings.

Rents are pricey. They start at $40 per square foot, with another $18 per square foot in taxes, insurance and maintenance. Parking costs extra, too.

Sources say the building attracted the attention of national institutional and investment buyers, further proof that the once-sleepy city of West Palm Beach is on the radar of some of the country’s biggest real estate players.

Greene’s $31 million deal

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene has completed a deal to purchase virtually all the land around Currie Park in West Palm Beach, giving him a solid monopoly on vacant property near the Northwood neighborhood.

Greene, a major Palm Beach County real estate investor, on May 15 paid $31 million for two properties owned in part or in whole by BBX Capital of Fort Lauderdale, according to a statement issued by BBX. The properties once were slated for condominiums: One was the former Palladio Terrace site, the other was the Gramercy Court condo site.

The purchase was a strategic move by Greene, who acknowledged earlier this month he was the buyer. Greene said he wanted to remake the neighborhood into one filled with multifamily dwellings and stores, even a Publix supermarket.

Greene now controls nearly all the land on the west side of Flagler Drive along the waterfront, from Kent Street on the northern boundary, south to where Flagler Drive curves around Currie Park.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.

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