The latest news about Water Club North Palm Beach

Kolter moving forward with luxury condos in Palm Beach County

POSTED ON: NOVEMBER 03, 2014

The only coastal condo under construction in Palm Beach County sits along seven waterfront acres south of PGA Boulevard and next to a Catholic retreat house.

A decade ago, the Kolter Group paid $23.5 million for the pristine property overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in North Palm Beach. The plan was to build Domani, a 77-unit luxury condominium.

But then the housing market tanked. As sales and prices plunged, Kolter had little choice but to shelve the project.

The developer waited out the six-year downturn and the early stages of the recovery. Now it's relaunching the condo, this time as a 166-unit project called Water Club. Prices range from the $700,000s to $2.5 million.

Roughly 3,000 condo units are planned countywide in the next few years, but Water Club is the only project in development east of Interstate 95, according to the CraneSpotters.com database.

Bob Vail, president of Kolter's urban division, said last week that more than 50 buyers have signed contracts so far. Water Club is expected to be ready by the summer of 2016.

"We've had a fairly dramatic response — better than anticipated," Vail said.

Kolter sold out the 34-unit 4001 North Ocean condo in Gulf Stream shortly after it opened last summer. Prices there started at about $1.5 million. That was the first condo completed in Palm Beach County since 2007, CraneSpotters.com said.

During the housing boom, Kolter built One City Plaza and Two City Plaza, both in West Palm Beach. When the market turned, the developer was left with unsold units at Two City Plaza but stuck to a sales plan and eventually completed the project, said Peter Zalewski, an industry consultant who runs the condo database.

"They have their sea legs and got a glimpse of market demand," he said. "They understand that the strategy of being first to market in this go-round is most likely to be successful because if you're first in, you're first out. And the market can change on a dime."

The Kolter Group started in 1993 with the purchase of Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton. The firm moved operations from Toronto to West Palm Beach in 2004.

Kolter's urban division has $1.1 billion in sales proceeds and $800 million more in the pipeline, Vail said. The parent also builds single-family homes and hotels and sells lots to other builders.

Demand for Palm Beach County condos isn't as strong as in Broward and Miami-Dade counties because there are fewer foreign investors driving sales, Zalewski said. He added that Palm Beach County has a suburban feel that attracts more single-family homebuyers.

Still, Zalewski expects condo developers to look north as prices rise and land becomes scarce in Broward and Miami-Dade. He said the creation of All Aboard Florida will develop Palm Beach County's condo market because the high-speed train will allow people to more easily commute south to Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

"That's ultimately going to help Palm Beach County in the future," Zalewski said.

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