How COVID-19 is changing the design of a Florida condo because of buyers' desires

©Miami Herald

The Miami-based developer Fort Partners is altering the design of its Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. - Four Seasons Hotel and Private R/Four Seasons Hotel and Private R/TNS

MIAMI — The pandemic has changed condo buyers’ wish lists. The Four Seasons took note.

The Miami-based developer Fort Partners is altering the design of its Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, Louise Sunshine said, strategic adviser to Fort Partners. Several upgrades are in the works: high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters; UV lighting in elevators; a Tensui water filtration system; stronger WiFi connection in each unit; wardrobe-sized lockboxes for each unit’s deliveries; and Retina and face-recognition technology for access throughout the building and into each residence.

The 22-story tower will deliver 148 hotel rooms and 83 condo units at 525 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. The sales team sold 70% of residences since launching sales two years ago, Sunshine said. Twenty-five units remain with prices ranging from $2.685 million for a 1,458-square-foot one-bedroom, two-bathroom unit to the 22,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom rooftop penthouse for $35 million.

The development is anticipated to top off in November and be completed by late 2021.

“The pandemic caused us, the developers, to stop and rethink the design and make some valuable additions for the lifestyle of the residents. … We do not call it a response to the pandemic. We call it a new way of living,” Sunshine said.

The majority of buyers are from the Northeast, with a handful coming from Europe and a few from Mexico, Sunshine said. Most are either entrepreneurs or work in the financial sector.

“We are finding much greater demand for the larger units, which tells us that these are going to be primary homes. At the beginning, we were selling the smaller, furnished hotel units, which are normally used for vacation homes. The market has dramatically changed,” she said.

Sales of luxury condos — with a listing price over $1 million — wavered since the start of the year. While the number of luxury condo sales is up, most buyers are leaning toward single-family homes.

“We are definitely competing against single-family homes but the advantages is that people want services,” Sunshine said. “If people can have services with the safety, privacy and exclusivity and the services of the Four Seasons, then they choose it over the single-family homes.”

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©2020 Miami Herald

The Miami-based developer Fort Partners is altering the design of its Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. - Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS