Terrace Envy

The architecture of a boutique condo project in Fort Lauderdale Beach is an homage to outdoor living in South Florida.


Mike Seemuth

Published date: 

Oct. 1, 2017

The architectural design of private outdoor living space for condo owners has evolved well beyond boxy balconies. A full-size and furnishable terrace commonly is part of the floor plans available at new condo developments in South Florida.

The curvy design of an 11-story condo development called the Wave on Bayshore is something else, though. It takes the concept of a big terrace to new terrain.

Remarkably, the building’s 18-unit design includes a second-floor unit with 1,664 square feet of indoor space and a terrace spanning 3,664 square foot, more than double the indoor floor space.

Other units have smaller ratios of outdoor space to indoor space but all were designed with ample terraces, ranging upward from 842 square feet.

Credit a couple of New Yorkers with a residence in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

“It’s hard to get an apartment with the kind of terraces we’re providing,” says Rick Rosan, founder of Oak Tree Management, Ltd., a firm that has converted nearly a dozen residential rental buildings in Brooklyn to condos and cooperatives.

The site-development plan for the Wave on Bayshore won “very enthusiastic” approval from the city government, Rosan says. “It went over very well. It was pretty easy. You can’t say that for the building permitting process, which is a little Byzantine.”

Rosan is a former CEO of the Urban Land Institute who also served as a director of economic development for both Brooklyn and New York City. He is developing the Wave on Bayshore with finance guy Jere Lucey, who joined Oak Tree as a principal in 2004 and formerly worked for the capital markets group at investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

Both developers have had a residence in Fort Lauderdale Beach for more than a decade, and three years ago, they found a nearby piece of land to plant Oak Tree’s first condo construction project. It’s about a half-acre at 620 Bayshore Dr., across the street from the Intracoastal Waterway, which they bought for $2.3 million in 2014.

The undulating design of the Wave on Bayshore by architecture firm A.S. Bengochea features large, partially covered terraces “so you can have some furniture out there, and you can look up and see the sky,” Lucey says.

“We took into account how we have been living – and would like to live – in South Florida when designing the [Wave] project,” Lucey says. “Rick and I have an apartment in Fort Lauderdale where you have a partially covered terrace. There’s a great deal of utility to that because, if it’s raining, you can still be outside.”

South Florida condo developers face a less-than-sunny marketplace these days, especially during the off-season summer months when condo sales usually cool. Market research by Aventura-based real estate brokerage International Sales Group, LLC (ISG) shows that condo developers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties recorded preconstruction sales of only 212 units in the first three months of 2017, which was less than 1 percent of all units in the area’s condo construction pipeline.

Since Oak Tree Management started its condo project in 2014, the buyer universe has narrowed. “If there has been any surprise, it has been that there is less foreign interest and mostly domestic interest,” Lucey says. “We thought there would be an influx of European, Latin American or Asian interest. But what has really materialized more than anything has been domestic interest.”

Competing condo developments have materialized, too. The developers of the Wave believe that sticking to small-scale development is one way to reduce risk in the current condo market. But other condo developers also are pursuing the small-is-beautiful strategy in Fort Lauderdale Beach. Rival small-scale projects include 30 Thirty North Ocean, a 24-unit condo planned at 3030 N. Ocean Blvd., and Adagio, a 31-unit condo planned at 435 Bayshore Dr., just two blocks south of the Wave development site.

Rosan calls the Wave’s boutique competition manageable: “It’s a handful, and if you add up all the units, it’s not very many units. It’s not like trying to sell 300 units.”

With a construction loan from Orlando-based First Green Bank, the developers of the Wave on Bayshore may be closer to an opening date than some of their rivals. Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

“We think it’s pretty well-timed. Obviously right now, there’s a lull in the season,” Lucey says. “By the time we really start going vertical [with construction], we will probably see a lot more traffic with buyers.”