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YOU ARE HERE:  HOME > Miami > News

June 7, 2007

RISE & SHINE

AFTER BRINGING THE HEAT TO SOUTH BEACH, ICON LOOKS TO SIZZLE IN FORT LAUDERDALE

 

By JENNIFER CEASER

 

When Icon South Beach opened for sales in 2004, the excitement was palpable - at one point, 30 to 40 of the 290 units were selling each month, and one broker eventually had a waiting list of 200 for resale units. The building's sleek Philippe Starck interiors screamed South Beach chic, while its relatively gentle pricing (some one-bedrooms originally sold for $350,000) appealed to buyers in Miami's smoking-hot South of Fifth (SoFi) market.

Those who bought in have been rewarded. Today, one-bedroom resales are priced from $599,000 to $735,000.

The Related Group of Florida, which developed Icon and a handful of other SoFi projects, is now generating similar buzz with another Icon - Icon Las Olas, in Fort Lauderdale. The 272-unit, 42-story building, which won't be ready for occupancy until 2010, is already 50 percent sold.

And while there might not be a feeding frenzy around Icon Las Olas the way there was in South Beach, that isn't so surprising.

"The personas of the cities are different; the dynamic of the marketplace is different," says Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, chairperson of Related Cervera, which handles sales and marketing for the Icon buildings.

"We're selling seven to 10 units a month," she adds. "There's a steady absorption rate in Fort Lauderdale of three to four units a month overall, and we're doubling that."

"Icon has South Beach, Miami Brickell, Fort Lauderdale and even Panama [projects]," says Mark Zilbert of Zilbert Realty, which has some of the resale listings for Icon South Beach. "It has become a very strong brand."

And while the building boom in Fort Lauderdale is nothing like what South Beach has seen, Icon does have some luxurious neighbors on the rise.

Other new projects include the W Hotel & Residences slated to open early next year, with 171 one- and two-bedroom hotel-condo units priced from $975,000 to more than $1.9 million (the project is 75 to 80 percent sold); Trump Las Olas (which recently amended its project to offer only fractional ownership); and the St. Regis Spa and Residences, which has sold all but two of its 28 condo units (which went from $1.8 million to $17 million) and all but seven of its hotel-condo units (priced from $1 million to $2.75 million).

At Icon, units average $600 per square foot; 870-square-foot one-bedroom, 11/2-bath apartments go for $567,900 to $627,900, and there are also two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom units. A four-bedroom, 41/2-bath, 3,368-square-foot apartment is priced around $2 million.

"We've got the best location - right on Las Olas Boulevard - and the best value," says Icon Las Olas sales manager Bill Hahne. "We're also the tallest, with protected views all the way to the ocean."

All units have balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows. Building amenities include a spa, infinity pool, 24-hour concierge and valet, a wine cellar with lockers and an auto-detailing service.

The building's understated style - with an "organic design" by David Rockwell that is "quiet in its elegance," according to Cervera Lamadrid - appeals to the kind of buyer who might choose Fort Lauderdale over Miami, which is "intrinsically international while Fort Lauderdale is not," she says. "In South Beach, a typical vacation-home owner spends short periods of time there. In Fort Lauderdale, the second-home buyer stays for several months."

But don't get the impression that Fort Lauderdale only appeals to old, stodgy, boring Americans. While it's not quite fair to compare the energy of SoFi to the tranquility of Las Olas Boulevard, the tree-lined stretch boasts hundreds of galleries, antique shops, upscale boutiques and outdoor cafes. And Icon buyers will be able to take a short water-taxi ride to the celebrated Broward Center of the Performing Arts, to the art and science museums and to the marina and beach 11/2 miles east. The proximity to these attractions has helped draw a diverse group of buyers.

"Our buyers are all different - from all age groups, young and old, and from 15 different countries," Hahne says.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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