The beach made famous by the raucous Spring Break escapades of a bygone era is continuing its upscale makeover.
On Fort Lauderdale Beach, Ireland’s Inn at 2220 N. Atlantic Blvd., is set to be razed and redeveloped into an elegant 171-unit condominium project called Auberge Beach Residences & Spa.
Miami-based The Related Group and Fortune International Group in a partnership with The Fairwinds Group of Fort Lauderdale unveiled plans Wednesday to build two towers on the 4.6-acre site in a venture they assert will elevate the beach to a new level of chic.
The average price per square foot: $1,000. That’s commonplace, even cheap, in Miami-Dade, but pushes the envelope in Fort Lauderdale.
“We’ll be the most expensive project in Fort Lauderdale,” said Jorge Pérez, chairman and CEO of Related, who quickly added the price will be a bargain, given the level of amenities.
Auberge Resorts Collection. based in Mill Valley, Calif., will manage the condo and oversee its amenities. The high-end boutique hospitality firm owns and runs resorts in California, Colorado, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Pérez has led the latest boom in condo development in Miami-Dade County, which is running out of oceanfront lots. So for him, the migration north is a natural.
“Fort Lauderdale has really not taken off like Miami, like it should,” said Pérez, who promises to fill the project with art, as he does with many of his developments. He said an exclusive project at the level Auberge is aiming for would fetch $3,000 a square foot in South Beach.
The condo, which will sit directly in front of the beach, will feature a host of amenities, including two restaurants, a spa and a fitness center available to the public.
“We wanted a brand that fit with the lifestyle of Fort Lauderdale,” said Andy Mitchell, president and CEO of the Fairwinds Group of Fort Lauderdale, a third-generation owner of the Ireland’s Inn who has been began working to redevelop the site since 2002. “This is going to be world class but not pretentious.”
Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune, said he is confident that the pool of Latin American and European buyers can be lured to the north. Among other spots, he said, many Latin American buyers have already purchased units in Related’s Hyde Resort and Residences in Hollywood Beach. “I certainly feel the Latin public is going to embrace Fort Lauderdale,” Defortuna said.
The old inn was damaged in Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and closed completely in 2007. It has been shuttered for years and owners have looked at redeveloping the site but plans never materialized amid the downturn.
In 2010, Related Group acquired a 50 percent stake in the site. Mitchell and his family and Fortune retain the other half.
Two glass-clad towers were designed by the architectural firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolf & Associates.
Prices for units will range from $1.5 million to $8 million, with an average price of $3 million
Units will range from 1,500 to 5,000 square feet with ocean views. A 22-story south tower will house 115 units. A 17-story north tower will have have a curved exterior and include 56 bigger units with expansive cascading terraces.
The developers expect to open a sales office in December at 2200 North Atlantic Blvd., and construction of the north tower is set to break ground in 2015. Related Realty will manage sales of units at Auberge in collaboration with Fortune Development sales.
The project will use the buyer deposit model that has fueled condo development in South Florida in the current cycle. Unit purchasers are required to put up 50 percent of the price in installments staggered through the development and construction process.
“That is our best protection against speculation,” said Carlos Rosso, Related’s president of condo development.