By Dan Moffett
What may be the quietest real estate boom in Florida is soon to start shaking South Palm Beach to its economic core.
The developers of the much-anticipated 3550 South Ocean condo project have begun selling luxury units on the property once occupied by the ramshackle Palm Beach Hawaiian Inn, a forlorn icon that stood long beyond its useful years until demolition last year.
“This is opening my eyes up to a whole new realm in South Palm Beach,” Mayor Bonnie Fischer said after touring the project’s sales office in Manalapan’s Plaza del Mar. “This is totally amazing. It’s wonderful to see something exciting in the town after things being dead and the property vacant for so long.”
It will take only several dozen new residents to usher South Palm into its whole new realm — enough to occupy the 30 units in the six-story 3550 building.
By the town’s standards, the math is, as Fischer suggests, totally amazing: Pre-construction prices will start at $2.3 million for 2,500-square-foot units and likely climb over $5 million for 3,400-square-foot penthouse digs, topping out at around $1,700 per square foot.
Consider that the median market price for condos in the town is about $260,000, according to tax records. Not only will 3550 South Ocean become the priciest building in town, it could account for as much as 30 percent of the town’s total taxable value — some windfall for a built-out, five-eighths-mile-long condo enclave that is just now getting over the real estate collapse of nine years ago.
“The increased tax revenue is something we can really use,” said Fischer, who has pushed plans to repair the town’s eroding beach and its aging Town Hall. “I had some reservations about the project earlier, but after seeing what they’re doing, I think this is gorgeous and the people in charge are very interested in getting the town and residents involved in what they’re doing.”
New York-based developer DGG, which joined forces this year with investor Gary Cohen of Boca Raton’s Paragon Acquisition Group, is intent on putting some Palm Beach style in South Palm Beach.
The building features a saw-tooth design that gives each unit an ocean view through floor-to-ceiling windows. The project has formed a partnership with Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa to allow memberships for owners.
Douglas Elliman of Palm Beach is in charge of sales. The project’s groundbreaking is scheduled for early next year and completion for 2018.