A new downtown residential development on the south bank of the New River won’t have amenities and layouts dictated solely by COVID-19 – but lifestyle changes that became common during the pandemic are definitely present in Regatta at New River.
“I think the floor plans we have at Regatta reflect what we’re seeing right now,” says Patrick Campbell, executive vice president at the Related Group, which is developing the project. Two- and three-bedroom units offer “dens” that are really home offices. “People are working from home and they have that extra space that’s not the bedroom and not the living room.”
Campbell also estimates the pool deck at about one-and-a-half times larger than normal. There’s a large park/dog walk area, an expanded gym and a common work area with conference rooms. “If we can provide it in the building, that’s something everybody talks about,” Campbell says. “You really do have your office away from the office.”
Some of those trends – the expanded on-site gym, the large pool area and dog park – were already getting popular before the pandemic.
But Campbell says now, they’re definitely thinking even more about office workers who aren’t necessarily rushing back to the office.
They’re also thinking about a neighborhood that Related was one of the first big developers to arrive in. Related acquired property south of the river in the mid-2000s.
“We bought the property back then and we thought that pre-downturn it was the next logical area for development in Fort Lauderdale – move south as most parcels in the Las Olas corridor had been bought up,” Campbell says.
Related’s first development in the area, New River Yacht Club, proved successful.
“At the time there was nothing else going on (in that area) and we set all sorts of records for rental rates and lease-ups,” Campbell says.
The ebbs and flows of the intervening years made the Related team consider what they were going to do with the rest of the land they had and when they were going to do it. However, that wasn’t the land that’s now Regatta. That land later came on the market. The other parcel, the one Related had already purchased, will now be phase three of their south-of-the-river development. Campbell expects to see dirt turning on the 36-floor development in September or October with an eye towards completion 24 months from then. “We think it’s the best site, the one remaining,” he says.
They’re bullish on Regatta too, which recently stood at 75 percent leased. “We were a little concerned that the market was getting oversaturated,” Campbell says. But the huge influx of out-of-towners coupled with what seems to be a new, post-pandemic confidence in the market has boosted their morale.
When the next development gets fully revealed, Campbell says to expect even more of what they’ve done with Regatta. They’ve talked about how the Regatta co-working space has been so popular, so why not make it twice the size at the new development. Similar thinking is going on around areas like the pool deck and outdoor garden spaces. The new development will also feature more ground-floor retail, something Regatta doesn’t have as much of as its street-facing areas are mostly tucked up near the Andrews Avenue bridge. At Regatta, they did add several townhomes at ground level. Those went quickly.
“It’s a house attached to a building that has a ton of amenities,” Campbell says. “That’s how we’re able to activate the street.”
Much of it – from the home-office-friendly layout to the south-of-the-river locale – isn’t what might have been expected a few years ago in Fort Lauderdale. But Campbell reckons it’s here to stay, and that more people will make the trip across the river.
“We’re committed to that area,” he says. “We think it’s going to be a great neighborhood.”