The Jefferson Palm Beach apartment complex in West Palm Beach traded hands in June for $56 million, or $198,936 a unit, according to county property records.
The new owners are Dedicated West Palm Beach LP and GP Florida LLC.
The address of Dedicated West Palm Beach is listed as the address of Brass Enterprises, based in Toronto, Canada. Brass is a real estate investor in multifamily housing in both the U.S. and Canada.
The newly built rental community was completed a year ago. It consists of 281 units. Monthly rents now range from $1,547 for a one-bedroom unit to $2,041 to a three-bedroom unit.
The Jefferson Apartments are at 300 Courtney Lakes Circle, near the Palm Beach Outlets, off of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
The Jefferson’s sales price was a nice premium for the apartment’s developer, JAG-Star, an affiliate of Starwood Capital of Greenwich, Ct. JAG-Star bought the 11-acre parcel of land in 2012 for $4 million.
So Canadian developer Great Gulf is teaming with the owner of the former 1515 Tower land to build a new luxury tower along Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.
The property is at 1515 S. Flagler Drive, once home to the crumbly 1515 tower, and then briefly planned as the very large Modern condo.
Toronto-based Great Gulf just submitted plans to the city of West Palm Beach to build a different condo plan on the waterfront property.
So what does Great Gulf plan to build? Here are five things to know:
Less is more. Sure, Great Gulf could build the same mass as approved for the never-built Modern condo. But the company doesn’t want to. Great Gulf’s Christopher Wein thinks a condo would look and perform better if it could “breathe” and have better site lines for residents and nearby neighbors. So Wein said he “right-sized” the old Modern design. Great Gulf’s tower will be slimmer, about half the mass of the Modern’s design. This means condo units will be roughly 2,000 square feet, about half of the Modern’s size, and cost between $1 million to $3 million.
Visuals are everything. To sell the idea to the city, Great Gulf used a 3-D printer to create a model of its design and a model of the Modern condo design. The Great Gulf model ended up being slim enough fit into the Modern design, a visual that impressed city officials and made it easier to imagine the building when completed.
The condo may be thinner, but it still will be tall. Great Gulf expects to go up 27 stories for 84 units. This means the unnamed condo still would tower over the neighborhood just as the 1515 Tower did, before it was demolished in 2010 following damage from hurricanes.
Wein is really into aesthetics. He doesn’t like the notion of a building that’s “heavy on the skyline,” as he put it. He also doesn’t like a design that feels like it’s going to fall on you as you walk by. So he’s proud the plans features lots of landscaping and hefty setbacks, including along Flagler Drive. “Toward Flagler, it really steps down. We want (people) to get a sense of lush, beautiful landscaping,” Wein said. “We’re very big on landscaping.”
Once approved, expect the tower to go up quickly. Great Gulf is a fully-integrated company, which means it has its own in-house construction, design, sales and marketing team.
The luxury Azure condominium in Palm Beach Gardens, now under construction, will break ground on its second phase on Aug. 24.
But this second building will be a little different from the first building.
Developer Tom Frankel said residents moving from large homes with 7,000 square feet or more wanted more space, so he redesigned the second building to meet demand.
Plans were for the second building to have 67 units. But due to demand for big condos, the number of units was cut to 55, with each about 5,000 square feet in size.
The bigger-is-better trend surprised Frankel, who was worried that 2,700 square feet in the first building would be too large for some buyers.
But then a couple of buyers ended up combining units to create a 6,000 square foot unit. More would have done the same, but there weren’t enough condo units left, Frankel said.
The property is off of Donald Ross Road, near the Loggerhead Marina.
Buyers at Azure will be able to enjoy two swimming pools, a putting green and fitness center with steam rooms and saunas. The property spans 14 acres.
Of 55 units planned in the second, five-story building, 37 already are pre-sold, Frankel said.
The first building is nearly sold out, with 45 of 46 luxury units sold. Prices range from the $900,000s to $3 million. Construction on the first building is nearly complete, and Frankel said residents will be moving in by October.
Residents in this first building will be able to reside in units ranging from 2,600 to more than 5,000 square feet, with additional covered terraces overlooking the marina.
Buyers have been a mix of local residents moving in from nearby country club communities and buyers from the Northeast seeking second homes.
Frankel said condo sales in January were slow, due to the stock market’s roller coast performance.
But the stock market roared back and so have sales. The past few months more than made up for the sluggish 2016 sales start, Frankel said.
It’s sleek, mod and urban. It’s Moderne Boca, and it’s a luxury townhouse community opening soon in Boca Raton.
Does Boca Raton need another luxury housing option? Maybe.
Last week, the project’s developer held an open house at Lynn University for interested buyers. More than 100 people attended the presentation by West Palm Beach-based Kolter.
The 75 residences, priced from the $600,000s, feature a modern, multi-level design and even some private interior elevators.
Inside, the units are filled with natural light, which allows some units full views of the Pondhawk Natural Preserve next door.
The property is at the northeast corner of Military Trail and Spanish River Boulevard.
Kolter has tried for years to build the project, which previously was going to be a retail center. Before that, Kolter planned a different townhouse concept, which did not get off the ground due to the recession.
But it’s full steam ahead for Moderne Boca, now nearing partial completion.
Phase I, consisting of 30 units, will be available within weeks. Phase II, featuring the remaining 45 units, will be ready in 2017.
Boca Raton is known for its pervasive Mediterranean architecture. But perhaps the market is ready for something new.
But Bob Vail, president of Kolter Urban, said The Moderne has garnered interest because there’s been little contemporary design in the area.
This boutique wealth advisory and private banking firm was created by people who once led the nation’s biggest investment banks and companies.
They include Daniel Tully, the former chairman of Merrill Lynch(Tully, a resident of Hobe Sound, died in May at age 84); David Komansky, another former Merrill Lynch chairman; Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone; and former Time chairman Reginald Brack.
After retirement, the founders agreed they weren’t happy about the treatment they received on the other side of the table, as super-rich customers listening to their brokers pitch investments. They even created a video describing the complaints that led them to form Fieldpoint.
Their main beef was that they were tired of being advised to buy products created by the brokerage that was advising them. All felt this was a conflict of interest, and they thought there was a better way.
So in April 2008, as the financial crisis was about to hit, they created Fieldpoint Private in Connecticut. The company offers wealth management and strategy, family office, private banking and business banking services.
The office grew to a New York location in 2011.
Now Fieldpoint Private has opened an office in the Phillips Point office complex, at 777 S. Flagler Drive, in West Palm Beach.
But the company plans to move an office on Palm Beach as soon as it finds space, said Bob Matthews, Fieldpoint president and chief executive.
Joe McCool, formerly of Capital Group Private Client Services, has been tapped to lead the Palm Beach office.
Matthews said Fieldpoint doesn’t have established requirements for clients, but generally, their clients are what he called “deca-millionaires,” or people worth tens of millions of dollars.
For these clients, Fieldpoint has attracted a range of stars to its leadership roster. This includes William Kennedy, chief investment officer. Kennedy formerly was global director of research for Citi Global Capital Markets, Inc.
During this time of global uncertainty, what’s the word from Fieldpoint on investing?
“We’re in the late innings of this particular game,” Matthews said. “So batten down the hatches.”
Put another way, Fieldpoint Private is advising its customers to hedge against the inevitable coming downturn.
A Donald Trump-owned golf club will face a federal judge in a high-profile case set for August in Palm Beach County, setting the stage for a presidential nominee to possibly take the witness stand, less than three months before the Republican nominee battles Democrat Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
Late last month, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra set August 15 as the first possible day for trial in a case involving aggrieved members of the former Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Jupiter. In a lawsuit, club members say Trump breached their contract and refused to return their money when Trump bought the club for $5 million in 2012.
It’s the second high-profile federal case involving Trump or one of his companies, though not as closely watched as the legal wrangling over Trump University. Still, this case, too, will once again shine a light on Trump’s business practices.
The upcoming trial also presents another potential pitfall for the outspoken candidate, who recently publicly attacked a different federal judge.
For months, Trump has said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was unfairly ruling against him in a case alleging fraud at now-defunct Trump University because the judge is of Mexican descent.
Critics, including members of his own Republican Party, have derided Trump’s comments as racist, prompting Trump on Wednesday to say his comments had been “misconstrued.”
Luckily for Trump, that trial is set for Nov. 28 in California, after the Nov. 8 election.
But the case involving Trump National is on track to be heard this summer, just as the campaigns heat up for the final push to the election.
Three former Ritz club members filed a federal lawsuit against Trump National in 2013, saying a Trump entity wrongly canceled their memberships when it bought the club and refused to return their deposits within 30 days, as required.
Membership deposits ranged from $41,000 to $117,000, according to court records.
It’s likely Trump and possibly his son, Eric, who head’s Trump’s golf operations, will be called as a witness to testify in the breach of contract case.
“The timing is incredible,” said Boca Raton lawyer Howard DuBosar. “There will be national coverage.”
West Palm Beach lawyer Gregory Coleman had a more colorful description of the upcoming trial: “A circus.”
Trump lawyer Herman Russomano III said there’s not yet a witness list, and he wouldn’t comment on whether Trump could be a witness. A lawyer for the former Ritz club members didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
Russomano said an Aug. 5 hearing will determine exactly what date the trial will be held.
Donald Trump sent a Dec. 17, 2013, letter to club members that is a key piece of evidence in the case. In that letter, Trump said Ritz members could “opt in” to his new club, in exchange for agreeing their memberships were nonrefundable.
If members weren’t interested in opting in, and they remained on a club resignation list, Trump said he didn’t want them anyway.
“You’re probably not going to be a very good club member…you’re out,” Trump wrote in the letter. “As the owner of the club, I do not want them to utilize the club nor do I want their dues.”
Marra has yet to rule on a request by Trump to throw out the lawsuit. So the case will go to trial if Marra doesn’t grant Trump’s entire request to toss the complaint, said Russomano, of Miami.
The setting of a trial date follows several Trump defeats in the case, including a failed attempt to stop the case from being certified as a class action lawsuit.
But could Trump try another tactic to derail the lawsuit?
For months, Trump has been on a crusade to discredit Curiel in the Trump U. case. A lawsuit accuses Trump of defrauding students of $35,000 each with promises of real estate education they either didn’t receive or found useless. Trump has denied the claims.
And he’s taken the unusual step of blasting Curiel, saying that because he’s “Mexican” (he’s not; he was born in Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico), Curiel had a conflict in hearing Trump’s case. Trump referenced his promise to “build a wall” between the U.S. and Mexico as a reason for Curiel’s alleged conflict.
Marra will not have to face the same Mexican-related scrutiny when the Trump Golf case goes to trial.
But Marra, an Italian-American, is a devout Catholic. And the Catholic Church’s leader, Pope Francis, has been the subject of Trump’s insults, too.
In February, Trump ripped the Pope as a “very political person” for a planned visit to the U.S. border close to Mexico.
Pope Francis responded by saying Trump “is not Christian” for his pledges to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump fired back, calling Francis’ comments “disgraceful.”
Even if Trump tries to attack Marra because of his Catholicism, he’s unlikely to rattle the well-respected jurist, local attorneys say.
“Judge Marra is one of the fairest, most knowledgeable judges on the federal court bench. He is not going to be swayed by any of this chaos. That’s not his style,” said Coleman, former president of the Florida Bar.
Russomano said the legal team and Trump have “no concern” about Marra’s Catholic background being a factor in his rulings or the trial.
Trump’s lawyer in the case before Curiel has said Trump will not seek to ask the judge to recuse himself from the case.
But by attacking the judge publicly, and exhorting his followings to do the same, Trump has set up a situation where the judge may consider excusing himself from the case, a move known as sua sponte, or “of his own accord,” local lawyers said.
“On the one hand, I was thinking a judge might want to consider whether they should sua sponte to eliminate any appearance of bias,” DuBosar said.
“On the other hand, it would set a horrible precedent,” DuBosar added. “It would be easy to get rid of a judge just by making a public statement about them.”
This sort of “judge shopping” would undermine the integrity of the judicial system, DuBosar added.
Indeed, West Palm Beach attorney Gerald Richman said judges of varying backgrounds and religions are able to rule on a range of issues. Examples include Supreme Court rulings on abortion, a procedure that violates Catholic Church teachings. Several Supreme Court justices are Catholic.
Despite public outcries over perceived biases, immunity from public opinion is the very reason that federal judges are given lifetime appointments, as opposed to state judges, who are elected.
“It protects them from public outcry and influence. It’s exactly how our constitution is set up,” Richman said.
While there are standards for seeking the recusal of a state court judge, getting a federal judge recused from a case is a virtual impossibility, Coleman said.
“Because they’re there for life, they don’t have to face the public. All they have to do is their job,” Coleman said.
In any event, Trump would be foolish to seek to dump Marra as a judge during the upcoming Trump golf club trial, Coleman said.
“He’s not a judge you want to recuse anyway because he calls balls and strikes. If the law supports his ruling, that’s his ruling,” Coleman said.
Former Palm Beach society lawyer Arnold Paul Prosperi, whose five-year prison sentence for fraud was commuted to three years of house arrest by college pal and former President Bill Clinton, passed away March 5, according to an obituary published May 7 in the Palm Beach Daily News.
Prosperi was a well known figure on Palm Beach who supported various charities, especially the arts. He was a past president of the Norton Museum of Art.
In 1997, Prosperi was convicted of fraud, filing false tax returns and forging securities to hide his multimillion-dollar swindle of a client.
Prospieri was a friend of Clinton when they attended college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., during the 1960s. In 1995, Prosperi organized a campaign fundraiser for Clinton on Palm Beach.
In January 2001, Clinton commuted Prosperi’s prison sentence, reducing the sentence to house arrest. Clinton commuted or pardoned 175 other people,as one of his last acts as president.
The pardons caused a national furor at a time. A Clinton spokeswoman said then that Clinton’s rationale generally was to grant pardon requests for first-time offenders, the old or ill.
At the time of the pardon, Prosperi was described as suffering from myasthenia gravis, an illness that cases extreme muscle weakness.