Felipe Vergara noticed something missing from the renaissance in downtown Delray Beach. Most of the new construction is shops, offices and apartments — not Downtown Delray condos.
So Vergara sees a prime opportunity in launching 111 First Delray, a 70-unit condominium at 111 SE 1st Ave., a block south of Atlantic Avenue. Prices will range from the $400,000s to the $800,000s.
His firm, SOFA Partners, expects to begin presales in August or September, with construction to follow when at least half of the units are under contract.
“The combinaton of how popular Delray has gotten and the lack of supply makes us very confident that we can presell the units very efficiently,” Vergara said.
He said the only other condos proposed in downtown Delray Beach are 82 units at the mixed-use Atlantic Crossing and 48 units at The Metropolitan. But he expects 111 First Delray to start sales before either of those projects.
“There is a limited opportunity for people who want to own of these new Downtown Delray condos and be so close to Atlantic Avenue,” said Richard Jones, a Delray Beach architect who is designing 111 First Delray and The Metropolitan.
An area covering two blocks south of Atlantic Avenue from Federal Highway to Swinton Avenue is known as the SOFA district. Jones, who coined the name, said the formerly rundown side streets now are being transformed into a “hip, new urban neighborhood.”
Aside from The Metropolitan and Vergara’s 111 First Delray, The Related Group of Miami is building two luxury apartment complexes in the SOFA district.
“It’s very exciting in terms of downtown redevelopment because Atlantic Avenue is full, so we’re really trying to get the growth north and south into the SOFA district,” said Marjorie Ferrer, executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority.
The five-story 111 First Delray building will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with an average size of about 1,000 square feet. Amenities include summer kitchens, private balconies, a fitness center and pool deck.
Residents also will be able to control the temperature, music and other features of their homes from their smartphones or tablet computers, Vergara said.
His partners in the condo development are two Colombian entities, along with George Ligeti of the Boca Raton-based Greenfield Group and Paul Kilgallon of Mainstreet Capital Partners in Fort Lauderdale. Nestler-Poletto, Sotheby’s International Realty will be in charge of sales.