Creative CRE Brokers Turn Lemons Into Lemonade

lemonadeBrenner Real Estate Group received final site plan approval from the City of Pompano Beach for the development of Atlantic Tower, a proposed 8-story, 145-unit luxury apartment building.

The market rate rental project will be built at the corner of North Federal Highway and NE 4th Street.

“It’s really going to happen,” said Reese Stigliano, Senior Vice President of Brenner Real Estate Group, who, along with Scott Brenner, leads the team of consultants through the 18-month long entitlement process.

The picture looked bleak back in October 2014. The owners of the Everest University building at 225 North Federal Highway were just told the parent company of the tenant, Corinthian College, was declaring bankruptcy due to high student loan default rate of their students.  Corinthian had occupied the entire 50,000 square foot building. Facing the prospect of a totally empty building, Reese and Scott went back to square one and took inventory of the existing situation. They had a soon-to-be-empty building with an overabundance of parking, which including a four-story parking garage and several surface parking lots that were built to accommodate the heavy parking requirement of the school.

ATLANTIC TOWER wood trellis-1

ATLANTIC TOWER-3Scott, with his development expertise and Reese, with his background in land sales, planning and zoning, reviewed the existing Pompano Beach zoning code and determined that the B-3 commercial zoning allowed mixed-use development, which includes office, retail and residential. With the apartment market red hot, it didn’t take long to realize that obtaining the approval and entitlements for a residential apartment building utilizing the existing parking garage would create a major windfall for the owners.

“The process was arduous,” said Reese. “We put together an A-list team of attorneys, architects and land planners including Dennis Mele, one of the top land-use attorneys in South Florida and Juan Caycedo, principal with RLC Architects.”  

The steps included presentations to the City Commission for an allocation of residential Flex Units in a commercial zoning, Development Review Committee, Community Redevelopment Authority, Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and finally the Architectural Appearance Committee.

“It took time, patience and money, but we were able to take a ¾ acre parking lot with a value of $500,000 and turn it into a site now worth $5 million,” explained Reese.  “I call that, turning lemons into lemonade.” 

Or as Jimmy Buffet says, “If life gives you limes, make Margaritas!”