Carlos Cachon
Carlos Cachon

Less Land Means Smaller New Developments

By Alexandra Clough

In Jupiter, an 8.5-acre single-family lot will be a 20-home development, an opportunity being considered across Fla. as most buildable land moves farther out.

JUPITER, Fla. – A new housing community is being built in Jupiter on a small parcel just east of Interstate 95, as developers continue to seek out any plot of land for homes.

Symphony at Jupiter features just 20 homes on land that formerly had a single-family house on it, said Craig Heger, a real estate agent with Echo Fine Properties, which is marketing the project. A partnership that includes residential and retail developer 21st Century Property Group of Jupiter bought the 8.5-acre property recently after a prior sale fell through.

Now a boutique housing community will rise on prime, in-town land, meeting the demand for buyers willing to pay a premium to live close to shops, restaurants, and the beach, Heger said. Symphony at Jupiter is at 6270 Roebuck Road.

With sales just launched, at least five of the 20 homes already are pre-sold. Prices range from $2 million to $2.5 million for the homes, which feature modern and contemporary architecture.

The home prices depend on the cost of the lot, the size of the home plus any add-ons, such as a pool, a gas line, or a summer kitchen. The homes, ranging in size from 3,000 square feet to 4,300 square feet and featuring four to six bedrooms, are in demand from families wanting to live in Jupiter and its well-regarded private and public schools, Heger said.

Construction at Symphony is slated to begin in a couple of months, with homes expected to be ready for occupancy by mid-2023.

With housing demand strong but land-scarce, builders either are venturing far west to build new homes or seeking lots along the coast that can accommodate small developments. In fact, any small plot of land is being eyed for housing because developers know that in-town projects are sought-after by buyers.

“People will pay more to live close to a city center,” said Ken Johnson, a real estate economist with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Craig and Alison Heurich moved to Palm Beach County from Annapolis, Md., nearly two years ago, seeking sunshine, year-round outdoor activities, and respite from the coronavirus pandemic. Both work remotely, which made a move to Florida possible, Craig Heurich said.

Heurich said he and his wife weren’t interested in living in new western communities that lacked established shops, stores and other amenities. Instead, they decided to buy a home at Symphony because the community is close to restaurants, golf and the beach. They also liked the modern architecture of the homes.

“The real estate market here is super crazy, but we saw a sign for these cool, modern-looking houses, which we like,” Heurich said.

So-called “in-fill” communities such as Symphony can spring from unused golf courses, rezoned commercial plots or large homesites that are subdivided into smaller parcels. For instance, late last year, an empty lot on U.S.1 in Juno Beach was proposed for a mixed-use project featuring 95 condominiums.

But even though demand for housing is great, when it comes to gaining municipal approval for such projects, it’s not always a slam dunk. Mattamy Homes recently tried and failed to gain county approval to build 282 housing units on the shuttered golf course at Sherbrooke Golf & Country Club near Lake Worth Beach.

Jeff Lichtenstein, president of Echo Fine Properties, said he expects to see more “creative uses” of land for transformation into homes.

“I think there will be more creative types of development like this,” said Lichtenstein, who mused that even a boat storage area in his community could be turned into a couple of houses. “Everything could be housing.”

© Copyright 2022 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.

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