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New, high-priced West Palm Beach apartments test range for rents

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West Palm Beach landlords are testing the depth of demand for units with monthly rents in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.

A new generation of apartment buildings in downtown West Palm Beach is changing the city’s skyline and — with two-bedroom units asking more than $3,000 a month — reshaping expectations about how much tenants are willing to pay for rent.

More than 1,000 new apartments have come on the market, and 251 additional units are under construction. Landlords now are testing the depth of demand for premium units with monthly rents in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.

“We think they’re a little high,” said Dan Gallien, owner of Rent 1 Sale 1 Realty, a Royal Palm Beach-based brokerage that has represented numerous tenants in downtown West Palm Beach buildings. “Actually, a lot high.”

At Park-Line, the tower near the Brightline train station, fully 54 percent of the building’s 290 units have been leased, the landlord says. One-bedroom units go for $2,100, and some two-bedroom apartments are priced at as much as $3,258 a month.

That’s in line with the asking rents at other new buildings downtown. At Broadstone City Center, units rent for as much as $2,870 for a two-bedroom, 1,086-square-foot apartment.

At The Alexander, prime two-bedroom units with 1,693 square feet of space go for $3,995 a month. The building touts 12-foot ceilings and ocean views from some apartments.

Spending $40,000 a year on rent once seemed a financially foolish strategy. However, in a trend that has grabbed the attention of apartment developers, affluent Americans have cooled a bit on homeownership.

The U.S. homeownership rate was 64.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, well below the record high of 69.2 percent set in 2004. Many real estate experts say millennials will prove less likely to buy homes than their baby boomer parents, who believed that paying a landlord was akin to throwing away money.

“Renting is a good thing now,” Gallien says.

Even so, downtown West Palm Beach’s apartment boom strikes some developers as a bit too much of a good thing, at least for now. While 251 new rental units are under construction at the site of the former City Hall, four other apartment projects that have been approved remain on hold.

Billionaire developer Jeff Greene in 2017 won city approval to build 348 “micro unit” apartments downtown. However, fearing a glut of new apartments, Greene since said he has decided not to move forward with the project, known as Banyan Place. Greene also shelved Clematis Place, a project slated for 169 apartment units.

Also approved but not under construction are a second phase of Loftin Place and the 400 units planned for the Transit Village project.

In a building spree that is reshaping downtown, 1,069 new units have been completed, 251 units are under construction and 1,110 more have been proposed:

Bargain hunters in search of a tenant’s market might be disappointed, Gallien said. While home sellers consider a listing price a starting point for negotiations, multifamily leasing offices tend to stick to their published rental rates.

“Generally, you’re not negotiating a price with an apartment landlord,” Gallien said.

Even if apartment demand proves a bit soft for now, there are signs that downtown soon could have more workers eager to rent downtown apartments. Next door to Park-Line is the site of 360 Rosemary, a 300,000-square-foot office building scheduled for completion in 2021.

A few blocks away, Greene has broken ground on One West Palm, a development that will include 200,000 square feet of office space. Despite making a big bet on demand for downtown office space, Greene also has complained about what he considers West Palm Beach’s less-than-robust labor market.

“We don’t have that dynamic economy with high wages that other places have,” Greene said in December.

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West Palm man, 58, dies from injuries in motorized bike crash

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The wreck took place in May in Lake Park, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

LAKE PARK — A 58-year-old West Palm Beach man is dead after his motorized bicycle crashed with a car in Lake Park, throwing him to the ground, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

Steven Kinnersley sustained a head injury in the May 13 crash on Greenbriar Court, just east of 10th Street, the sheriff’s office said. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue took him to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, and he died from his injuries Thursday night at the Trustbridge care center in West Palm Beach.

Just before 9 a.m. May 13, Winner Duversot of Palm Beach Gardens was eastbound in a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder on Greenbriar Court, the sheriff’s office said in a report released Monday. It said Kinnersley rode through a stop sign, then missed the “no right turn” sign and traveled westbound, the wrong way, on Greenbriar.

Duversot’s front bumper crashed into Kinnersley, according to the report. As of Monday, there was no record either of charges or traffic tickets against him.

Reached by telephone Monday, Duversot, 19, said Kinnersley came out of nowhere. He said he was on his way home to get something for school when Kinnersley’s bike crashed into his car.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I was like, ‘Where did he come from?’ ”

Duversot said he did not sustain injuries and that his Nissan Pathfinder’s front mirror was cracked.

Attempts to reach Kinnersley’s family Monday were unsuccessful.

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Cottonwood Residential buys Luma West Palm apartments

Luma West Palm Apartments

South Florida developer Charles Scardina Jr. sold a new apartment complex to a Salt Lake City firm for nearly $67 million.

Scardina’s Luma at West Palm Beach LLC sold Luma West Palm Apartments at 7130 Okeechobee Boulevard to CC West Palm Beach LLC, which is tied to Cottonwood Residential.

The deal breaks down to about $273,000 per apartment. Luma was built on a 10.2-acre site west of the Florida Turnpike in 2018. Florida Community Bank provided the $35.6 million construction loan for the project.

Cottonwood Communities, a real estate investment trust, announced the deal was under contract in April. The development includes a heated pool with cabanas, fitness center, 5,500-square-foot clubroom, business center and dog park. The units range from one- to three-bedrooms averaging 1,122 square feet.

In August, Cottonwood launched a $750 million offering to invest in multifamily properties throughout the U.S., according to a release. As of February, it has raised $9.4 million in investor equity.

The REIT cited strong employment in West Palm Beach as part of its decision to acquire Luma. Major employers in the area include Florida Power & Light, the Scripps and Max Planck Research Institutes, and United Technologies.

Related Group’s chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez recently said he plans to use the Opportunity Zones tax break to build market-rate apartments in West Palm Beach.

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West Palm Beach: 5 Foreclosed Houses Near You

(Realtor)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL — Are you searching for a new home, but don’t want to break the bank? . A tour of the latest foreclosures in the West Palm Beach area might be your best bet!

Each week, we compile a list of five new foreclosures on the market near you — many of them surprisingly affordable for their size and location.

Below, you’ll find an address, photo, price and size for each property on our list — such as one in the Palm Beach area with 2 beds and 1 bath for $38,500, and another with 3 beds and 3 baths for $119,900.

Click on any address for more photos and details. Enjoy!

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Price: $119,900
Size: 2,200 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $38,500
Size: 1,277 sq. ft, 2 beds, and 1 bath

Price: $139,900
Size: 873 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 1 bath

Price: $171,600
Size: 999 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 1 bath

Price: $303,000
Size: 1,992 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 2 baths

Your search doesn’t have to end here! Keep scrolling for more listings. And there are even more foreclosures for you to check out in our real-estate section for the West Palm Beach area.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Palm Beach County scrambling to plan for thousands of illegal migrants

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —

Palm Beach County’s mayor, administrator and other officials held a closed meeting Friday afternoon to come up with a plan for an anticipated influx of thousands of illegal migrants.

"We will not be able to allow individuals to come into our community and be released and have no idea on the basic services that any human being should be afforded," said County Administrator Verdenia Baker.

Baker said all options for housing were still on the table, from schools to tent cities to unused buildings, but they needed to be long-term solutions.

She said no one has heard officially from the federal government that the expected 500 migrants per month are actually coming.

If they do arrive in two weeks, as Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said he was told by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in Miami, they will be transported to the Border Patrol facility in Riviera Beach, processed, given a notice to appear in court and then released.

The idea worries business owner Rob Damiano, who said the county is already struggling with a homeless problem.

"I believe everybody deserves to have a chance but my concern is: Who’s coming here? Are they criminals, part of MS-13? Are they drug addicts?" said Damiano.

Carpenter T.J. Survelis said he saw how badly a similar situation affected California.

"When I lived in San Diego, they would come over the border all the time. It crowds everything. There would be tent cities everywhere. You don’t want that. There’s no place to put them. Bringing them to Riviera Beach, it’s not like a good place to live," said Survelis.

Bradshaw said he was told the people who would be sent had requested Florida because of family connections.

Elcias Soto, who migrated here from Guatemala years ago agreed it is critical for a migrant to have family or friends waiting to help.

"When I came to America, it was hard," he said. "You have to have someone say, ‘Here, live with me. I’ll help you.’"

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West Palm Beach: Don’t Miss These 5 Open Houses

(Realtor)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL — If you’re searching for a new place, you’ve likely already combed through all the internet listings for your area. And while you may have learned roughly what these houses are like from the photographs, there’s just no comparison to witnessing the real thing.

Ready to see what’s out there? For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the five latest open houses scheduled in the West Palm Beach area. That way, you can get a feel for the current offerings without committing to a house blindly.

Below is an address, photo, price, home size and open-house time for each property on our list — including one with 3 beds and 5 baths for $1.9 million, and another with 4 beds and 3 baths for $327,500.

Looking for more photos and details? Just click on any address to learn more. Happy house hunting!

Price: $425,000
Size: 1,492 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Saturday, May 11th at 1:00 pm

Price: $410,000
Size: 2,734 sq. ft, 4 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Saturday, May 11th at 11:00 am

Price: $327,500
Size: 2,508 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Sunday, May 12th at 11:00 am

Price: $1,850,000
Size: 2,811 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 5 baths
Open house: Thursday, May 9th at 11:30 am

Price: $794,500
Size: 4,152 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 5 baths
Open house: Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 pm

Want more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or there’s always a full list of local open houses in our real-estate section for the West Palm Beach area.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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5 West Palm Beach Area Open Houses Worth A Look

(Realtor)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL — If you’re searching for a new place, odds are you’ve already combed through all the internet listings for your area. And while you’ve probably learned roughly what these houses are like from the photographs, there’s just no comparison to witnessing the real thing.

Ready to start hunting? To help you out, we’ve made a list of the five latest homes to hit the open-house circuit in the West Palm Beach area. That way, you can get a feel for the current offerings prior to committing to anything.

Below is an address, photo, price, home size and open-house time for each property on our list — including one with 3 beds and 2 baths for $489,000, and another with 3 beds and 3 baths for $289,000.

Click on any address for more photos and details. Happy house hunting!

Price: $450,000
Size: 1,395 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Sunday, May 5th at 1:00 pm

Price: $289,000
Size: 1,740 sq. ft, 3 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Saturday, May 4th at 12:00 pm

Price: $349,900
Size: 2,310 sq. ft.
Open house: Saturday, May 4th at 9:00 am

Price: $489,000
Size: 1,490 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths
Open house: Saturday, May 4th at 2:00 pm

Price: $388,500
Size: 2,693 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 3 baths
Open house: Sunday, May 5th at 1:00 pm

Want more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or you’ll always find a full list of nearby open houses in Patch’s real-estate section for the West Palm Beach area.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Palm Beach homes: Renovated house in Estate Section on the market for $16.9 million

Richard Kurtz bought his 1926-era Spanish-style home designed by noted society architect Howard Major 10 years ago. An investor in multi-family residential properties as well as founder and chief executive officer of the Kamson Corp., he has accumulated thousands of apartments in five Northeast states since the 1970s, and he’s adept at improving properties.

As such, he was well prepared to tackle the house at 235 Banyan Road in Palm Beach’s Estate Section.

“I renovated it in the last two years,” Richard Kurtz says. “I redid all the bathrooms — all new from A to Z. I took off the old kitchen, which was very small, and put one in three-and-a-half times larger.”

Because the house is a town landmark, the Landmarks Preservation Commission must grant permission if any exterior walls are altered.

“It took over a year to get permission, and it has turned out very beautifully,” Kurtz says.

Now, however, he’s ready to move into a home on the ocean that’s he’s also redone; but he feels bittersweet about leaving Banyan Road.

“It’s a charming, warm, lovely home,” he says. “I have mixed feelings about moving.”

But he has made up his mind to sell, and the seven-bedroom, eight-and-a-half-bath house — with 6,603 square feet of living space, inside and out — is being offered for sale. Broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate holds the listing and has the property priced at $16.9 million.

The house stands on a double lot on the north side of the street in the lake block, six streets south of the Everglades Golf Course. Because of the way Major positioned the house, Kurtz says, the property feels larger than it is.

“It looks like an acre, because the home is brilliantly laid out, utilizing every inch of the property,” he says.

The floor plan is laid out in an “L,” with the longest wing running parallel to the road. One enters the house from the motor court on the east side. West of the entry is an expansive foyer that Kurtz uses as a sunroom. Farther west are the living room and an office.

North of the foyer are the dining room, a study with a wet bar and accommodations for household staff. To the north of the staff quarters are the kitchen and family room.

Upstairs, the master suite is above the living areas. The suite comprises the master bedroom, a marble-appointed bathroom, a sitting area and a dressing area.

Over the dining room and study area are two guest-bedroom suites, and in the third-floor tower is a bedroom suite with views of the Intracoastal Waterway, one lot to the west.

On the north side of the courtyard is a detached three-car garage with a second-floor guest area that includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen/dining area and a living room.

The stucco home with tile roof has noteworthy features typical of its era — decorative tile; marble and wood floors; vaulted ceilings; French doors topped with fanlights; and a gracefully curved staircase with railings of wrought iron and brass. The house has high ceilings throughout and 16-inch-thick walls.

Other features include the carved-wood door surround in the sunroom, the pecky-cypress paneling in the living room and office, the tiled walls in the dining room, and the fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom.

The new kitchen and family room pick up the bright and open feeling of the original rooms.

“The kitchen — in walnut, white wood and chrome — is very unusual,” Kurtz says, noting that the marble countertops and the state-of-the-art appliances.

Windows and doors are fitted with impact-resistant glass. The house also has has an elevator, and most of the plumbing and electrical systems, as well as some parts of the roof, are new, Kurtz says.

The landscaping had been put in place by the previous owner, the late Dr. Wynne “Didi” S. Ballinger, an avid preservationist who founded the Horticulture Society of South Florida. She was the widow of the late Robert I. Ballinger Jr., for whom the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach named its annual historic-preservation award.

While Kurt redid the pool and its surrounding patio, he left the gardens as they were. “They are quite beautiful,” he says. “I have two terraces — north by the pool and the south terrace — and both are very beautiful and comfortable. I have two golden retrievers and they enjoy both of them every day.”

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Despite price cut to $12.9M, West Palm Beach mansion would set record

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The current price tag for the newly built estate would shatter the record price for a single-family home in West Palm Beach, which now stands at $5.02 million.

Even after a $600,000 price cut, a West Palm Beach mansion is on the market with a list price that would far surpass the city’s record sale.

The newly built estate at 2914 Washington Road went on the market in 2017 for $13.5 million, while it was still under construction. The mansion was completed in September, and in late March, the seller cut the price to $12.9 million.

If the house along the Intracoastal Waterway fetches anywhere near that amount, it will shatter the record price for a single-family home in West Palm Beach. The current high-water mark is $5.02 million, the sum paid in October for a house at 5615 S. Flagler Drive.

The 9,634-square-foot manse on Washington Road was developed by The Aquantis Group. It features six bedrooms, a two-story living room, a library, a wine vault, an elevator and, in something of a head scratcher, seven fireplaces.

The house is listed by Burt Minkoff and Ashley McIntosh of Douglas Elliman.

Palm Beach County’s luxury real estate market is sending mixed signals.

The condo market is shattering records. Last month, a full floor at The Bristol, the waterfront condo tower in West Palm Beach, sold for $42.6 million. That sale far eclipsed The Bristol’s previous high-water market of $17.6 million.

The Bristol’s total sales have reached $100 million. The 291-foot-tall tower boasts private elevators and other perks.

The VistaBlue condo on Singer Island in Riviera Beach also has sold well, attracting buyers such as billionaire Joe Mansueto, who founded Morningstar, Inc., and football coach Bret Bielema, who is currently a consultant with the New England Patriots.

However, many high-dollar mansions have been languishing. In one high-profile example, the Ziff estate in Manalapan has been for sale since 2015. It was first marketed off the multiple listing service, then went on the MLS for $195 million in early 2016. It’s now on the market for $137.5 million.

In Palm Beach, a never-lived in mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd. has been for sale since 2015. It went on the market for $84 million. It’s now priced at $59.9 million.

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Cartoonistry: West Palm Beach finally ‘looking down’ on Palm Beach?

By David Willson / Special to the Daily News

In 1981, Palm Beach real estate developer Robert Armour began construction of the Plaza condominium on the waterfront of downtown West Palm Beach. Armour had a strong conviction that the area had grown enough to warrant a luxury high-rise condominium that would attract big money buyers from the island.

The twin 32-story towers were an ambitious project that, at the time, was the largest real estate development in West Palm Beach history. Unfortunately, despite a slick marketing campaign with the slogan, “The only address in Florida that gives you a reason to look down on Palm Beach,” Armour’s convictions proved wrong.

Construction of the first tower was interrupted when the bank stopped funding due to poor sales. Armour had to secure additional investors before the bank would agree to proceed further. But sales continued to lag and shortly after the Plaza condominium was opened in October 1985, the bank foreclosed.

Along came Donald Trump and Lee Iacocca a few months later and scooped up the unsold units at auction. After restructuring some apartments and amenities, the newly rebranded Trump Plaza had it grand opening in November 1986. Trump planned to sell the more than 200 remaining units within a year and a half. That didn’t happen either.

While Armour had counted on Palm Beach buyers, Trump probably looked to attract wealthy New York transplants. Local real estate agents were complaining that the units were overpriced at $275,000 to $960,000, but Trump planned to further increase prices 15 to 20 percent.

In mid-1990, the condominium remained only 50 percent occupied when Trump’s entire real estate empire came under fire from creditors. In an agreement with the bank, more than 120 unsold condos were unloaded in two separate auctions for roughly half their original price.

A couple of years later, the Trump Plaza sign was removed from the building. But condo owners feared further devaluation of their property, so they voted to restore it. While Trump no longer had an interest in the property, he graciously offered to pay for the reinstallation. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to poke a little fun at the whole thing with my Feb. 13, 1994 Palm Beach Daily News editorial cartoon.

Truth is, the Trump Plaza turned out to be a great building and is doing quite nicely now. It was just a building that was ahead of its time. And that time has apparently arrived.

The Bristol, a 69-unit ultra-luxury condominium adjacent to the Royal Park Bridge, is reportedly almost sold out as it nears completion. Its average unit is 4,500 sq. ft. and runs roughly $10 million. Palm Beacher Sydell Miller recently purchased the entire unfinished 24th floor for $42.56 million. Another 25-story, 83-unit luxury condo, La Clara, has just been announced nearby at 1515 S. Flagler Drive. Its 1,500 to more than 3,000 sq. ft. units will start at $2 million. It was quite a different story than 40 years ago!

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