Breaking Ground with Brian Bandell: 5 takeaways on Boca Raton development from experts
South Florida Business Journal
Published on 05.14.2018
It takes the perfect blend of colorful history, superb location, iconic architecture and an elite, sophisticated citizenry to create an international destination – a place where every moment is a celebration. This is the essence of Via Mizner, an exclusive, landmark address in the heart of a beloved community, perfectly crafted for world-class lifestyles.
As one of a select few locations worldwide with a residential property bearing the Mandarin Oriental name, The Residences is truly a signature address. Upon arriving at the private entrance lobby, the cascading water element and grand staircase only hint at the striking design and details that abound throughout. Incomparable sophistication is imbued into each of the ninety-two, light-filled homes that celebrate the Boca Raton lifestyle with absolute comfort and complete security.
For over fifty years, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s reputation for impeccable service, distinctive designs and renowned, holistic spas has been key to its rapid expansion across the globe. Today, the company operates or has under development fourty-seven hotels worldwide, with eight Residences at Mandarin Oriental attached to its properties, and a further six in the planning stages . A dedication to the highest levels of customer satisfaction year after year has garnered Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group a most enviable ranking as a recognized leader in worldwide luxury hospitality.
Boca Raton is a prime example of the imbalance between supply and demand in South Florida. Many people want to live there, but there aren’t many homes available, and those that are tend to be quite expensive.
The Business Journal held a “Breaking Ground with Brian Bandell” real estate panel hosted by Penn-Florida at the Mandarin Oriental Sales Gallery in Boca Raton on May 10. The panelists discussed trends in the city as it experiences another wave of development. The event was presented by Cambria and sponsored by Whoop Wireless.
Here are 5 takeaways from the panel:
Many people work in Boca, not nearly as many live there
Boca Raton is one of the largest employment centers in South Florida, and that can be both good and bad.
The city has many high-paying jobs and high-profile corporate headquarters, such as Office Depot, ADT and Geo Group. The problem is that about 90 percent of the workforce commutes to the city, Bianco said. That causes heavy traffic.
“With all the traffic in the morning, there are people who would love to live here and have a shorter commute,” Bianco said.
Many people would like to live in Boca Raton for its proximity to the workplace, quality schools and universities, and restaurants, Weed said. As a resident of downtown who walks to work, he said living there is convenient.
Bianco said Boca Raton is too expensive for many workers to live, and part of the problem is there aren’t enough homes being developed. This has also made it harder to fill office space, as companies want to be located near where workers can afford homes, he said.
Returning to downtown
People are rediscovering downtown living across South Florida and Boca Raton is no exception. Downtown Boca Raton has a well-established climate for the arts, dining and luxury shopping.
Diaz said many of his condo buyers are moving from country clubs in west Boca Raton or condos near the beach into downtown because they want to live a more active lifestyle.
Weed said all of the buyers at the Mandarin Oriental are from Boca Raton. Many are downsizing from houses after their children moved out and prefer living downtown, he said.
That also goes for seniors. Both Penn-Florida and Group P6 plan to build assisted living facilities in downtown Boca Raton in 375 Royal Palm and the Concierge, respectively. Weed said many people, as they age, want to stay near family and they’re still young enough to be active in a downtown environment.
“The idea that the seniors must live out west in a country club is changing,” Diaz said. “Having seniors makes a downtown more diverse.”
Mixed-use rezoning has been effective
After Boca Raton rezoned the Park at Broken Sound, formerly the Arvida Park of Commerce, to allow for mixed-use with residential, that attracted many developers.
Danburg co-developed the Allure Boca Raton apartments there with Tate Capital. He initially thought the tenants would be mostly young workers, but there are plenty of older renters too. The average household income for his renters is $200,000, Danburg said.
Crocker Partners eventually plans to build retail and residential around the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, which it recently acquired with other partners, Bianco said. Its first order of business will be creating a STEM lab on the property in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon, he said.
Right now, much of the land around the BRIC and other parts of the Park at Broken Sound are surface parking lots.
“We can’t have these large dead areas in our city,” Bianco said.
Penn-Florida plans to create a new mixed-use destination in Boca Raton with its 80-acre University Village project just north of Florida Atlantic University. The project would have 829 apartments and assisted living units, an 183-room hotel, 70,000 square feet of office space and 130,000 square feet of retail.
Weed said he plans to break ground on University Village in seven to eight months. It was designed with a main street and an urban feel. People can go downstairs from their apartments to shops and restaurants, and there will be a pickup area for ride-sharing, he said.
Bianco was hoping the city would approve a 300-acre area around the Town Center mall as a new mixed-use district with another 2,500 residential units. That plan hasn’t been approved and Crocker Partners has threatened to sue the city for $137 million in damages.
Bianco said the new homes would actually reduce traffic because there would be fewer long-range commuters.
Office space taking longer to bounce back
The vacancy rate for office space in north and west Boca Raton remains in the double digits, and above the Palm Beach County average.
The unemployment rate is very low, but companies are housing more employees per square foot of office space, Danburg said. Plus, advanced technology means companies can eliminate some workers, such as personal assistants, he said.
Danburg would like to see the city do more to attract new businesses to the area.
Weed said Penn-Florida is designing the new offices at University Village for modern-day companies, with smart technology features and space suitable for co-working.
Boca residents love their restaurants
The retail vacancy rate in Boca Raton is among the lowest in South Florida, and the local appetite is a big reason why.
Bianco said that the restaurant sales in the area between Glades Plaza and J. Alexander’s alone surpass the restaurant sales for the entire city of Delray Beach.
“Nobody in Boca Raton cooks,” Bianco said. “They buy expensive food in the grocery market, then they go out and eat.”
Danburg said retail and restaurants do well in Boca Raton because people have higher incomes and they have more leisure time.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Policy for achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising, marketing and sales program which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. The sketches, renderings, pictures, photos, and designs depicted or described herein are conceptual in nature and are not to scale, are based upon preliminary development plans, may depict options, upgrades, features or views not available in all model types and are subject to change without notice in the manner provided in the applicable purchase agreement. No guarantees or representations whatsoever are made that any features, amenities or other facilities will be provided or, if provided, will be of the same type, size, location or nature as depicted or described herein. Any view from a unit or from other portions of the property may in the future be limited or eliminated by future development or forces of nature.Nearby golf courses, open spaces and other areas are not owned or operated by the Developer and there is no guarantee they will be operated or maintained for any particular purpose or in any particular manner. Many of the facilities within the project will not be located within the Residences. Certain facilities or services described herein will be provided by the hotel or club operators or others and may be subject to additional charges. Membership in the Club will be mandatory for unit owners and will require payment of additional dues, fees and costs. A substantial number of Club memberships will be available to non-residents. Business establishments may be sold to third parties, may be used for different purposes, and may change or discontinue operation at any time.
An offering is made only by the prospectus for the condominium and no statement should be relied upon if not made in the prospectus or in the applicable purchase agreement. Douglas Elliman is the Developer’s exclusive broker for this project. No solicitation, offer or sale of a unit in the Residences will be made in NY, NJ, or in any other jurisdiction in which such activity would be unlawful.Via Mizner Owner III, LLC (“Developer”) is a newly-formed entity, which is the sole offeror of the units being offered for sale as The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Boca Raton (“Residences”). Penn-Florida Capital Corp. and the other “Penn-Florida Companies” are affiliated with the Developer but are not the developer of the Residences. All statements and any representations herein shall be deemed to have been made solely by Developer. An affiliate of the Developer is developing the adjacent proposed Mandarin Oriental, Boca Raton hotel (“Hotel”) and the rental programs, if any, offered to unit owners in the Residences. Neither Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group nor any of its affiliates, nor their respective Officers, Directors, Agents or Employees (collectively, “MOHG”), are in any way owners, offerors, promoters, issuers or underwriters of, or responsible or liable for, or are making any representations or warranties with respect to, the Developer, construction of the Residences, any offering for sale of the real property constituting the Residences, or any increase or return on related investment. MOHG has not assumed and has no liability or responsibility for any financial statements, projections or other financial information contained in any sales and marketing materials, prospectus or similar written or oral statements relating to the Residences. Developer has the sole right and responsibility for the manner and means by which the Residences are sold, and for all representations in relation to the Residences. Developer has obtained rights to use the “Mandarin Oriental” name and trademarks (“MOHG Marks”) in connection with the Residences and the Hotel subject to the terms and conditions of non-exclusive license agreements which may be terminated at any time upon certain occurrences. The right to use the MOHG Marks in connection with the Residences is thus not guaranteed and no such right is included in the Residence being acquired by any purchaser. If any of the relevant agreements are terminated, or Mandarin Oriental ceases to manage the Hotel or Residences for any reason, use of the MOHG Marks in connection with the Hotel and Residences may be terminated at MOHG’s discretion.
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Boca Raton (The Residences) are not developed, sponsored, owned, offered or sold by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group or any affiliate thereof (MOHG), and MOHG makes no representation, warranty or guaranty of any kind regarding The Residences. The developers and owners of The Residences use the Mandarin Oriental name and trademarks subject to the terms of revocable licenses from MOHG which may expire or be terminated.
Photographs and artwork are lifestyle photographs and conceptual artist renderings.