New Lake Worth condos would be first in U.S. for Canadian developer

Are you looking for The One?

It’s coming.

Yes, “it.”

The One isn’t a person. It’s the name of a 14-unit, four-story condo that’s scheduled to be built at South Palmway and Lake Avenue, a stone’s throw from The Gulfstream Hotel, by SunDream Investment of West Palm Beach .

Having new investment is always good news for city officials.

READ: Why Lake Worth’s Utilities director is leaving

“For a private developer to not only purchase one vacant parcel in downtown and obtain approvals for a four-story condo but to also buy a second vacant parcel (117 Lake Ave.) and obtain approval for another four-story condo means the city has demonstrated it’s a good investment,” said William Waters, the city’s director of community sustainability. “We’re willing to work with responsible developers.”

The job is the first development project in the United States for the 4-year-old company, said Jeff Mercier, a SunDream co-owner.

While SunDream is relatively new, Mercier said his family has been in the real estate development business for more than 50 years in Canada, mostly Montreal and Quebec City.

SunDream has bought and rented out commercial properties in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach, Mercier said.

While scouting sites for The One, Mercier said his company was looking for a city close to the beach with a vibrant downtown.

“We think Lake Worth has it all,” Mercier said.

SunDream also looked at sites in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach.

“Delray is oversaturated,” said Lori Principe, SunDream’s co-owner. “We were looking for an area that had a lot of investment opportunity and the ability to grow.”

The planned condo, on almost a half-acre at 1 S. Palmway, will feature eight two-bedroom units and six one-bedroom units the developer said will have such modern touches as quartz counter tops, custom Italian cabinets and porcelain tile floors.

Square footage ranges from 1,187 to 1,688 square feet, with prices set for now at $365,000 for the one-bedrooms and $469,000 for the two-bedrooms.

There will also be more than 3,000 square feet of commercial retail space on the first floor.

“We don’t know what kind of businesses yet,” Mercier said. “But it won’t be businesses that stay open late.”

Construction is planned to start in late spring and should take from eight to 10 months, Mercier said.

SunDream declined to reveal the price tag to build the condos. The company paid $750,000 in March for the South Palmway site, county records show.

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Kennedy Homes recently completed Lucente, a 23-townhome community on J Street, with the company expressing interest in developing other projects, Waters said.

“They have not identified which locations and type of housing product,” Waters added.

The last condos to be built in the area where The One is going up, according to Waters, are Lake Avenue Lofts, completed in 2005 and The Lucerne, finished around 2006.

Principe said SunDream knew very little about Lake Worth before deciding to invest there. So she and Mercier walked the streets and talked to city officials to get a crash course.

“We took everything into consideration,” Principe said. “But we’re not the first developer to come here. If you look at the design district in Miami and walk along that area of those luxury shops, it’s not the most safe area, but if you have a vision and you build something with confidence, that follows through and can make the area better.”

The planned restoration of the Gulfstream — now in doubt since Hudson Holdings put the site up for sale — had no impact on SunDream choosing the South Palmway site.

“We heard about the project and it would be great for the city, but it has nothing to do with our project,” Mercier said.

In the future — Mercier wouldn’t say when — the company also plans to build an 11-unit condo with 841 square feet of retail space on Lake Avenue.

“It will happen,” Mercier said.

As for naming the South Palmway condos The One, the main reason was the address — 1 S. Palmway.

But there was another reason.

“Having The One in capitals and in bold makes a statement we’re not afraid to do something different in Lake Worth,” Principe said. “The chic design will be a great addition to what is already a charming city.”

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