Luxury apartments, multi-family communities on the flip side of affordable housing, are rising in popularity in Southwest Florida to meet high-end demand. But what exactly does luxury mean today when it comes to apartment living?
“For me, when you look at what defines something as luxury, it’s a variety of things,” says Keith Gelder, president of Naples-based Stock Development’s Luxury Apartment Living division. “The most recognizable things are the clubhouse and the amenities, the unit finishes, high-visibility, high-touch elements.”
For example, Stock is upgrading all of its kitchens with quartz countertops and high-end stainless steel appliance packages. “We excel in services quite significantly,” says Gelder. “We have built some of the largest swimming pools. We try to stay at the forefront in terms of services”.
Stock’s Allura luxury apartment complex under construction on Livingston Road at Veterans Memorial Boulevard in North Naples will feature a bowling alley and golf simulator. Stock properties also accentuate outdoor living with amenities like golf courses, grilling stations and outdoor bar areas, Gelder said.
“We are introducing dog spas (with pet washes and groomers), which is something you see in new projects,” he says. “We try to be pet friendly with dog parks at all properties.”
Luxury is part of Stock’s brand and image, Gelder said. “It’s part of our brand identity. It is part of our slogan. That’s why we use it.”
Naples-based Barron Collier Companies (BCC) has been involved in joint venture development partnerships including luxury multi-family projects like Murano at Three Oaks in Fort Myers. BCC partnered with CC Residential to build Addison Place, a multi-family development on the northwest corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard in North Naples. On the southeast corner of that same intersection, The Pearl Founders Square apartments are under construction as part of BCC’s Founders Square development.
Branding apartments as luxury housing is a way for developers to step up in a competitive market, Barron Collier Companies CEO Blake Gable said.
“From an apartment standpoint, there are a lot of people trying to stand out,” says Gable. “It’s one of those things where you’re trying to let the market know that the amenities are going to be great and the apartments are going to be well-appointed.”
Of course, luxury amenities usually translate to luxury rentals. Pearl’s rental prices range from $2,474 per month for a 684-square-foot studio one-bedroom apartment to $4,244 per month for a 1,535-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.
The Pearl’s floor plans offer high-end features and elegant finishes such as 10-foot ceilings, wood-finish floors, large walk-in closets, and gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, and custom shaker cabinets with wine racks. The 400-unit community also features two resort-style pools with cabanas, a two-story state-of-the-art fitness center, golf simulator lounge, gourmet coffee bar, movie theater and cyber lounge.
Proximity to restaurants and shops also makes a difference, and is considered a convenience. Some apartments are built alongside an adjacent commercial project, such as Stock Development’s Corsa at Estero Crossing and Citria at Fruitville Commons. “It really makes a difference,” says Claudine Leger-Wetzel, vice president of sales and marketing for Stock Development.
“I think when we say luxury, it’s very much about the social component of living in a rental apartment,” says Leger-Wetzel, noting that Stock was the first to offer outdoor tiki bars. “We created this component of outdoor living where people can gather, eat and socialize.”
At Corsa, under construction on Corkscrew Road in Estero, the two-story clubhouse has nearly 17,000 square feet under the air, Leger-Wetzel said. Amenities include full-size bowling alleys, a golf simulator/movie theater with sports lounge, a recreation deck with a covered deck, green spaces with walking trails, an indoor pet spa, electric car charging stations, and a almost 88,000 gallon resort. style pool with a spacious terrace.
“As a business model for Stock, it makes perfect sense to us. We have three projects in the works and are anticipating more,” she says.
Since homebuilder Stock jumped into the luxury apartment market in 2014 with the Spectra development in south Fort Myers, the company has completed more than 1,200 units in Southwest Florida. They all have a high occupancy rate, Gelder said.
“We’re seeing more apartment construction than ever before,” he says. “The demand is there. All developers are looking for high-end products, trying to capture that same market. We have another 2,000 units in preparation for delivery in the next two years.”