Alexander Lofts

  • Jul

West Palm Apartments formerly known as Isis get new name, again

July 13, 2015

West Palm apartments formerly known as Isis get new name, again

By Alexandra Clough – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Perhaps the third time will be the charm.

Kolter once again has renamed a residential building planned for downtown West Palm Beach.

First, the property at 333 Fern Street was known as Isis Downtown, a name derived from the Egyptian goddess.

But Isis was was disposed of after the murderous terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria started rampaging its way across the Middle East last summer.”We quit spending money the minute the ISIS thing happened. We knew we had a very unique problem,” said Bob Vail, president of Kolter Urban in West Palm Beach.

Then the project became 3 Thirty Three Downtown, the site’s address. The name was safe, if boring, and didn’t convey much information about the project, other than its location.

Now, the apartment property will be known as The Alexander, a nod to its neighboring property, Alexander Lofts. The Lofts is an 85 unit-project that’s already 50 percent leased, even though the property was just finished.

Meanwhile, The Alexander is planned to be 210 apartments in a modern-style building. It will also provide garage parking for Alexander Lofts, a former office building converted into loft-style apartments by Ram of Palm Beach Gardens.

The Alexander is a joint venture with Ram, and since the buildings share amenities, it made sense to take the name and “brand the whole project,” said Hugo Pacanins, managing director/multifamily for Ram Realty Services.

The 16-story building will break ground in August, with completion set for the summer of 2017.

Units range from 825 square feet to 1,700 square feet.

When completed, the property will be the largest new high-rise apartment coming out of the ground in West Palm Beach, Pacanins said.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.

  • Jun

Downtown lofts could spark new art scene

June 8, 2015

By Brian Entin via WPTV

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – There is plenty of new construction in Downtown West Palm Beach, but is ‘old’ becoming the new ‘cool’ downtown?

One of the oldest buildings in the downtown area is revamped into loft style living.

Alexander Lofts was once the Southern Bell building built in 1926.

It will soon open as downtown’s first historic, loft style development.

“The building had such great character and it was an opportunity for us to use design and art to create value in an existing building,” Jennifer Stull-Wise with RAM Real Estate said.

The loft style apartments have open layouts with huge windows in the historic space.

A spray painted mural is getting a lot of attention on the side of the historic building.

“I think it is absolutely beautiful. The first time I got to West Palm, that is what I noticed walking down the street,” downtown resident Ariel Harbour-Laxton said.

Downtown realtors say development is on the rise and West Palm Beach is on the verge of a boom.

“There is just a demand for the city in general. People want to be here. You look at availability in the buildings and new product is always in demand,” realtor Brent Enck said.

A number of other artsy locations are popping up along Fern street, including a coffee shop and art gallery.

“People love vintage and they love modernizing vintage. That will draw in a nice younger crowd,” Harbour-Laxton said.

The developer of the lofts is also building a park next to the building that will feature a sculpture garden.

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  • Apr

New Apartments offer lofty living in West Palm Beach

April 9, 2015

By Alexandra Clough – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

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What once was a historic telephone building now is home to an airy loft apartment building, the first of several new apartment projects set to
open in downtown West Palm Beach.

Final touches are being made to Alexander Lofts, an 85-unit converted loft building at 326 Fern Street set for occupancy in May. The historic property, previously known as The Meridian, was built in 1926 for Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph as a regional office headquarters. Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram purchased the building and an adjacent property for $5.25 million in 2012.

Ram converted the Meridian building into apartments and renamed the six-story property Alexander Lofts, after telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell. In tribute to the property’s origins, a mural on the east-facing exterior wall is a a colorful surrealist portrait of Bell. The mural was completed last year by Los Angeles artist Tristan Eaton, who used 600 cans of acrylic spray paint over 15 days to create the artwork.

When Ram bought the property three years ago, Ram chairman Peter Cummings said the goal was to create apartments “very different from new construction.”

It appears he succeeded.

The converted loft apartments feature adaptable open space. This means there no interior bedroom doors, just walls. (Bathrooms do have doors, however.)

Soaring ceilings, some as high as 15 feet, neutral color palates and industrial features, such as exposed ductwork, blend the historic elements of the building with modern finishes, such as glass-and-marble backsplash in the kitchen.

The property consists of studios, one and two-bedroom apartments. Rental rates still are being finalized.

But Hugo Pacanins, managing director of multifamily for Ram Realty Services, said monthly rents will start at $1,350. The building is pet friendly and has Wi- Fi throughout.

Reminders of the 1926 building’s historic roots are everywhere. Some units have original, 10-foot transom windows. Exposed brick decorates the lobby. Even the lobby’s modern ceiling light fixtures, large orbs lit in white and yellow, resemble the telephone assembly of rotary phones.

Pacanins said the goal was to create apartment space that was bright and neutral, to allow the apartments to be a “canvas” for tenants.

Back in 2012, Cummings said the cost of the Alexander Lofts redo could equal the purchase price.

In fact, Pacanins said, the conversion was about double the $5.5 million purchase price. Construction challenges, including piping, electrical and even exterior pavement issues were among the reasons for the added expenses, which sometimes take place with historic properties, Pacanins said.

In any event, Ram finally is at the finish line with the lofts. Plans are to start leasing in about two weeks, Pacanins said.

More WPB apartments
Farther north in downtown, the first apartment complex that is all brand-new construction is moving along well. The first residents are expected to be in Loftin Place by October, according to the developer. Loftin Place is between North Dixie Highway and North Olive Avenue, with Sixth Street on the south and Eucalyptus Street bordering the north side of the property. The first phase is in progress, with 259 planned studios, one- and twobedroom apartments, said Nader Salour, a principal with Cypress Realty in Jupiter. Leasing for the first completed units in this phase will start in May or June. When the property’s second phase is completed, Loftin Place will consist of 463 units.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law.

  • Dec

South Florida rents rise faster than much of US

December 4, 2014

via Sun Sentinel Paul Owers

Apartment rents in South Florida are rising at a faster rate than many of the nation’s largest metro areas.

Palm Beach County rents grew 5.3 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, according to MPF Research in Carrollton, Texas. That ranks ninth among the 50 largest metros.

Broward County saw a 4.4 percent increase year to year, ranking 13th nationwide.

Oakland, Calif., led the country with growth of 9.1 percent. Denver and San Jose, Calif., tied for second at 9 percent. The national average is 3.7 percent.

The housing bust fueled a resurgence in the apartment sector, with former homeowners turning to rentals in large numbers. A lack of existing supply quickly led to a landlord’s market that still remains in place.

While the ongoing housing recovery will slow demand for rentals, millennials and others who prefer to remain mobile will keep the apartment market robust, said Jay Parsons, director of analytics & forecasts with MPF.

“It’s certainly not going to knock it off a cliff,” he said Wednesday.

Palm Beach County’s average rent at the end of the third quarter was $1,281 a month, according to MPF. Broward’s average rent was $1,301.

To satisfy demand, developers are building thousands of apartments across Palm Beach and Broward counties. Many of them are luxury units, which are contributing to the region’s steady rent growth.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Real Estate is close to completing two downtown projects: Alexander Lofts in West Palm Beach and The Mark at Cityscape in Boca Raton. Both are expected to open early next year.

The 85-unit Alexander Lofts will occupy a former Southern Bell headquarters at Fern Street and South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. The studio, one- and two-bedroom units are priced from $1,200 to $1,750 a month.

The 208-unit Mark project is at the southeast corner of Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road. The studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units range from $1,400 to about $3,000 a month. Four penthouses will fetch more than $5,000 a month.

“We feel like there’s a lot of pent-up demand for apartments in the downtown,” said Hugo Pacanins, Ram’s managing director of multifamily development. “People are interested in a more urban lifestyle, and there really wasn’t anything [new] to offer them.”

In Broward, the Stiles real estate firm broke ground this year on a 254-unit apartment building at 215 SE 8th Ave., a block north of Las Olas Boulevard. Meanwhile, The Related Group of Florida recently completed the 249-unit New River Yacht Club in downtown Fort Lauderdale, with rents ranging from $1,600 to more than $4,500 a month.

Miami-based Related also said it will start construction this month or next on Icon Las Olas. The long-delayed project was expected to be condos, but Related plans to make it high-end rentals, at least for now.

“We’re seeing the market respond with a willingness to pay very, very strong rent for a quality product,” said Joseph Thomas, a vice president for the Marcus & Millichap firm in Fort Lauderdale., 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers