La Clara, an 83-unit condominium at WPB, is sold at 50%

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Out-of-state buyers, hedge fund executives snatch million dollar units

La Clara Condominium in West Palm Beach opened in March 2019, at a time when the biggest draw of the waterfront project was living in a new luxury condominium with views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Palm Beach and the ocean.

But today, with the project emerging from the ground on the site of the former 1515 Tower condo, the 25-story La Clara is attracting more than the usual collection of big-home buyers in Palm Beach or elsewhere in the county, or people seeking warmer climates in the Northeast and Canada.

Residents of northeastern and Midwestern cities are also buying from La Clara, as they look to relocate to Florida due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Chris Leavitt, executive director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Palm Beach.

Following: List of new apartments and houses arriving in county as demand increases due to pandemic movements

It’s a trend that’s taking place in homes and condominiums in South Florida and Palm Beach County, as buyers buy new properties as fast as developers can build them.

Sales of La Clara’s over $ 1 million units tell the story. In a recent 10 day period, Leavitt and his team signed 10 contracts in condominium 1515 S. Flagler Drive.

“It’s almost a case a day,” Leavitt said. “Some people fly for parties and some buy (remotely) through FaceTime.”

“The market and sales have exceeded our expectations,” added Niall Collins, residential president of Great Gulf, the developer of the project based in Canada.

Leavitt said some of the buyers are wanted hedge fund executives moving offices in Palm Beach County and wanting to get housing now – even though La Clara won’t be completed for two years.

Collins said completion of the boutique, an 83-unit condominium, is slated for spring 2023.

Hedge fund offices are being built in existing office space or will be built in new office towers under construction, including 360 Rosemary next to Rosemary Square and One West Palm just north of the courthouse.

Other buyers are considering the planned One Flagler Tower – near South Flagler Drive and Okeechobee Boulevard and next to the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Leavitt said. The 25-story tower is expected to begin construction this summer.

Following: West Palm Offers $ 1.8 Million to Bring Prospect of ‘Transformational’ Business to Downtown

“They are looking to the future, and we are about to step into a full-fledged city,” Leavitt said. “It’s the tip of the iceberg.”

The latest sales mean the 83-unit La Clara is being sold halfway with the expectation that the remaining 40 or so units will be sold this season, Leavitt said.

Prices range from $ 1.6 million to $ 5 million for standard units, but penthouses sell for more. The top-floor penthouse, still unsold, costs $ 17 million. Four more two-story penthouses just below the top sell for around $ 9 million, with two already sold, Leavitt said.

Leavitt said sales increased when the project started to emerge in the fall.

The 25-story La Clara features a modern and contemporary design by architect Siamak Hariri. The style of La Clara, which means “clear” in Spanish, aims to bring as much light as possible into the units.

Each unit has a large private deck for an added indoor-outdoor feel. The building’s amenities include an outdoor swimming pool with cabanas and outdoor dining area, indoor fitness center, entertainment room, living room, private dining room and kitchen. A concierge will also be on site for residents.

Following: Rosemary Square builder buying office complex at Phillips Point in West Palm Beach

Every building has a story, and Site 1515 is exceptionally explosive.

For many years, the property housed the 1515 Tower condo, built in the 1970s. After the 1515 Tower condo was badly damaged in the 2004 hurricanes, investor group Trinity Development purchased the property with intend to build The Modern.

The Modern had fewer floors than the 30-story building of 1515, but the mass was three times that. Neighbors clashed with scale and mace, but Trinity won over city officials and obtained various waivers in the event of a setback.

When the time came for Trinity to demolish Condo 1515, it turned into a social event. On February 14, 2010, in a carefully planned implosion, the skyscraper was reduced to a rubble heap in less than 10 seconds.

After the demolition of the tower in 1515, Trinity’s luck also imploded.

The property slipped into foreclosure when the First Commonwealth Bank of Pennsylvania sued Trinity for allegedly failing to repay a $ 36 million loan. In December 2011, the property was quietly sold for $ 5.5 million at Terrace Mountain in Austin, Texas.

Frank Trabold of Terrace Mountain considered building apartments on the site, but the city rejected the plan because he wanted to build 187 units and the code only allowed 84 residences.

Terrace Mountain ended up partnering with Great Gulf on the La Clara project.


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