A new Southeast 17th Street development is part of a trend towards rental that keeps up with the condos on comfort and style.

Renting an apartment in Fort Lauderdale didn’t always look like this.

Broadstone Harbor Beach sits on SE 17th Street, right in the middle of everything that area has to offer. Beach and downtown are quick drives in either direction, and one of the city’s liveliest areas for shopping and dining is walkable from the front door.

In terms of residences, the waterfront complex’s offer is diverse – from studio apartments checking in at less than 600 square feet to luxury two-bedroom, two-bath ones at more than double that size. All offer a similar open-plan design – kitchens spilling out into areas designed for entertaining.

And they’re all apartments.

That makes Broadstone Harbor Beach part of a growing trend towards newer apartments that aim to keep up with and maybe surpass condos.

Michael Ging, managing director of Alliance Residential, the company behind the project, says the rental market has changed.

“If you look at condos versus rentals, most of the apartments that were built [in the past] were not really on the same level as condominium communities that were in the same locations. Because of that you didn’t really attract a lot of the higher-end demographic. When you see the higher quality of the product we’re building as an industry, [they] are in many ways superior.”

In fact, he believes that quality has led to something people in the industry didn’t necessarily expect.

“It has attracted that older demographic,” Ging says.

“When we started designing it, the millennial renter was one aspect of the market we thought we’d attract.” But after leasing units for about a year, he says, “we’re actually attracting an older demographic.”

A development that was seen as appealing to 30something professionals has drawn interest from people in their 40s and 50s, as well as some who are older.

“That’s one of the things we’ve seen this whole cycle – the baby boomers and retiring baby boomers have been a very big driver for our projects … we’ve got a very diverse population on site.”

Alliance isn’t exactly new to the rental market.

“We have been the largest apartment builder in the nation for three of the last four years,” Ging says. “We opened an office down here about 10 years ago.

“The downtown areas, from Brickell to West Palm … we’ve always been focused on.”

For about half the time Alliance has been in the area, it has been working on Broadstone Harbor Beach.

“We started working on this project about five years ago,” Ging says. “The location was so unique with its proximity to the beach … to the airport, to the downtown area.”

Five hundred feet of waterfront? That worked too. “The water views are phenomenal,” Ging says. “The location, we love.”

But if the water just outside the door is appealing, the skyline not far away also matters. Broadstone Harbor Beach may be an urban development with uniquely Fort Lauderdale features, but it is an urban development.

“Most of the development this cycle in Florida and throughout the nation has been focused on the urban city centers more than it has been historically,” Ging says. So many of the major developers have been getting away from the suburbs and going to places they hadn’t been active before.

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