The Mark at Cityscape

  • Sep

Ram Sells Newly Built Boca Apartments

September 30, 2015

via The Real Deal, by Sean Stewart-Muniz

Ram Realty Services, a development company based in Palm Beach Gardens, just closed on the $81.74 million sale of its newly built apartment community in downtown Boca Raton.

The community is called the Mark at Cityscape, at 11 Plaza Real South. It’s a 12-story apartment complex with 208 units, 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and an attached parking garage with 686 spaces.

Ram, which finished construction on the complex this month, sold the community to the Monogram Residential Trust, according to Palm Beach County records.

Monogram is a real estate investment trust based in Texas. It specializes in buying and operating multifamily companies and has a portfolio of 54 properties spread throughout 11 states, according to the REIT’s website.

The deal breaks down to $393,788 per unit and $426 per square foot. Both prices set state records for a multifamily rental sale, according to data from commercial brokerage CBRE, which represented Monogram for the sale.

Asking rents at the building are also some of the highest in Palm Beach County, averaging $2,320 per unit. At the time of the sale, Ram said the apartments were nearly 80 percent leased.

The Mark is part of a 4.5-acre development site in the heart of downtown Boca, which Ram has owned for the last nine years. It’s split into three parts: a roughly one-acre parcel where the Kolter Group is building a Hyatt-branded hotel, another one-acre parcel where the Palmetto Park office building sits, and the 2.3-acre site where Ram built the Mark apartments.

Ram first purchased the property for $42 million in 2006 on behalf of a private equity fund, Ram Realty Partners II. The company’s plans to redevelop the property were halted when the recession hit, but Ram re-launched its apartment project in 2013.

This year, the company re-platted the 4.5 acres into three sections and beginning selling them off. In March, Kolter paid $5.5 million for its one-acre parcel where the Hyatt Place Hotel will be built. And in September, Ram sold the office building for $25.7 million to Kireland Management LLC.

“This investment reflects the benefits of being patient and focusing only on high quality real estate. As a direct result of that focus and a conservative capitalization structure, we were able to hold the asset through a difficult economic environment and ultimately deliver a project that benefited our investors and the community,” Ram CEO Casey Cummings said in a statement. “While we have a high level of confidence in the long-term prospects for Boca Raton, we were fortunate to have received a compelling inquiry from a high quality institution like Monogram. We continue to look for other similar opportunities throughout South Florida.”

  • Sep

Developer Sells Office Portion of Boca Mixed-Use Site

September 24, 2015

Via The Real Deal, by Sean Stewart-Muniz

An office building that’s surrounded by new development in downtown Boca Raton was just sold for $25.7 million.

The building is a mid-rise structure with 73,918 square feet of interior space, according to Palm Beach County property records. It was built in 1997 and was most recently owned by developer Ram Realty Services, which paid $45 million to acquire both the building and the 4.5-acre parcel it occupied in 2006. At the time, most of the land at 120 East Palmetto Park Road was occupied by surface parking lots.

The parcel has since become a major redevelopment site for downtown Boca Raton. Ram has sold or developed much of the original surface parking, with only 1.1 acres remaining for the original office building.

Last week, Ram re-platted the offices to separate them from the other development sites. An LLC titled Kireland Palmetto Park filed a deed Tuesday to acquire the offices, also known as the Merrill Lynch building. The recorded price was $25.7 million. Corporate records show the company is managed by Alex Kurkin, a lawyer in Aventura.

Surrounding the building is a newly constructed apartment tower to the south, and a Hyatt-branded hotel that’s currently being developed to the west.

Ram wrapped up construction on a 12-story, mixed-use building dubbed the Mark at Cityscape earlier this year. It has 208 apartments and 18,052 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The project occupies 2.3 acres of the original parcel’s southern end. The developer also built an eight-story parking garage with 679 spaces to replace the surface parking it redeveloped. It services the apartments, retail and office portions of the project.

In March, Ram sold roughly one acre of the land to the Kolter Group, where the developer is currently building the 200-room Hyatt Place Hotel Boca Raton. The recorded price for that chunk was $5.5 million.

  • Apr

That village vibe: South Floridians embracing developments with residential, retail units

April 14, 2015

By Johnny Diaz via the Sun Sentinel

South Florida is feeling the village vibe.

The Manor at Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale, The Mark at CityScape in Boca Raton and other soon-to-come, residential-retail complexes are adding to a growing urban sprawl, as people look to move into the greater downtown areas and enjoy shops and restaurants just a short walk away from their doorsteps.

“We were seeing a suburban model for so many years. People are shifting back to the city center,” said Barbara Blake Boy, executive director of the Broward County Planning Council. “I think it’s an attraction to the amenities and what the downtowns have to offer.”

CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton, The Venture in Aventura and The Residences at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables all have led the way toward more of these mixed-use developments. Developers and analysts agree there is demand for complexes with businesses on the ground floor and residential units above.

The 12-story Via Mizner, which will have luxury residential rental units and shops, is under construction at the corner of Federal Highway and Camino Real.

And later this year, The Related Group, which developed The Manor at Flagler Village, is expected to break ground on West Palm Beach Marina Village. The mixed-use development would feature six towers of 1,059 units, 15,000-square feet of restaurants and 10,000 square feet of retail stores, according to the developer.

Agave Ponce LLC has proposed building a Mediterranean Village on the former Old Spanish Village site on Ponce Circle in Coral Gables.

Some South Florida architecture experts say these urban complexes stand out in style and function, contrasting with what’s traditionally been built in the region.

“What’s really important about these new buildings is their relationship to the city,” said David Rifkind, an associate architecture professor at Florida International University, in an email. “They engage the city, rather than wall themselves off from it.

“Many of these complexes include ground-level retail [shops and restaurants] that foster a lively street life, and create public spaces open to both residents and non-residents. That creates the kind of rich, vibrant community that we see in the Art Walks in FAT Village, and which are typically missing in developments.”

Jeffrey Huber, an assistant architecture professor at Florida Atlantic University, thinks the region is seeing more of these mixed-use developments “because the market, like municipalities, are rediscovering ‘walkable urbanism’ … Homebuyers are willing to spend more to be within a certain distance of urban retail development, and the market is merely reacting to this demand.”

At The Manor at Flagler Village, flags hang off street poles touting “Beach, Urban, Chic.” The development has a beachside resort-type feel but is blocks away from downtown Fort Lauderdale skyscrapers. It has a clubhouse, fitness center, and daytime music playing on the speakers above the pool (as well as underwater).

New residents Dennis and Amanda Weiss say they moved to South Florida from just outside Houston, Texas, seeking a warmer climate and a close proximity to the beach and downtown. They found The Manor online and liked “the amenities, the pool, the fitness center, the restaurants going up,” said Dennis Weiss, 25. “It’s like a luxury community.”

Open since last summer, the complex off Federal Highway and Northeast Fifth Terrace offers luxury studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, with monthly rent starting at $1,700.

There’s also a courtyard with towering bamboo trees and a fire pit, creating a Zen-like garden. Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery and the Mellow Mushroom pizza place are scheduled to open next month, developers say. A nail and hair salon and a craft beer bar also are in the plans.

“It creates a village for people, for pedestrians to walk around and shop and enjoy the nightlife as well,” said Arturo Peña, vice president and development manager at The Related Group.

“We definitely think it’s sprawl, it’s urbanism, people who want to be able to walk to the grocery store, walk to retail and not rely on their car,” added Peña, whose complex is 80 percent full. It sits next-door to another new complex, The Edge at Flagler Village, which has 331 units.

In Boca Raton, the 12-story Mark at CityScape is expected to officially open in May with 208 units and more than 18,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space on the ground level, according to the developer. Staying true to Boca Raton’s traditional Addison Mizner style of architecture, the white-hued complex features a Spanish red-tiled roof.

The development has allowed some residents to move into their studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units in March, with rents averaging $2,100 a month. Officials for the developer, Ram Realty Services, said they are negotiating leases with a yoga studio and restaurants for the ground floor.

Mixed-use developments are attracting a diverse mix of folks, said Hugo Pacanins, a managing director of residential development at Ram Realty Services.

“You have some younger professionals that work in Boca or close to Boca and they don’t want to live out west. And you have an older population, empty-nesters who don’t want to live in the big house in West Boca,” he said.

“A lot of people are downsizing from big homes and moving into downtown locations because they want to have the ability to walk to the restaurants or walk to Trader Joe’s … They are willing to sacrifice the space, the size of the unit, to live in a downtown location,” Pacanins added. “We are trying to create a destination.”

Johnny Diaz can be reached at or 954-356-4939.

  • 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