Developer hopes area will rival Palm Beach
Luxury homes define the lifestyle of Palm Beach. But land prices are high and waterfront homes are scarce, with some costing $30 million or more for new construction.
Now comes a developer who proposes an alternative: a new waterfront mansion that’s move-in ready and half the price — on the other side of the bridge.
Developer Steve Bendat is putting the finishing touches on a new spec home on the Intracoastal Waterway at 2914 Washington Road in West Palm Beach. The asking price is $13.5 million.
The astonishing price tag is about three times what even the toniest homes have sold for in this once-sleepy enclave, south of Okeechobee Boulevard and east of Dixie Highway. The homes in and around the El Cid and Prospect Park neighborhoods feature a number of real estate gems. During the past four years, these neighborhoods have seen an increase in the number of buyers who are paying big money to buy and improve historic homes, or demolish nonhistoric properties to build something new.
Bendat, of the Aquantis Group, is optimistic his six-bedroom, 9½-bathroom luxury home on Washington Road will stand up to even the most upscale Palm Beach properties.
“We have better quality features and better views” than homes similarly priced on the island, Bendat said. “We can compete on any level with any luxury estate on Palm Beach.”
He’s particularly hoping to attract the attention of hedge fund and private equity executives opening offices in West Palm Beach, an increasingly popular refuge for firms fleeing high-tax states in the Northeast.
The Washington Road mansion buyer “could be a guy from New York or Boston,” Bendat said. “It’s someone who likes a boat and wants to buy a lifestyle.”
Building ultra-luxury residences in West Palm Beach isn’t so far-fetched, some real estate agents say. In fact, it could be the next trend.
The construction of the Bristol, the most expensive condominium ever built in Palm Beach County, has kicked off an increasing interest in the city by people who could afford Palm Beach but, for various reasons, are choosing West Palm Beach instead.
This includes a number of Palm Beach residents, including philanthropist Sydell Miller, who bought an entire floor for a rumored $40 million at the 1112 S. Flagler Drive condominium. Other units in the Bristol average about $10 million each, and brokers say about half of the West Palm Beach tower’s sales are from Palm Beach residents.
“The reality is these two communities are going to merge and blend. You’ll see it more and more. This is the beginning,” said Burt Minkoff, a sales associate with the Corcoran Group in Palm Beach.
It’s certainly what Bendat hoped for when he paid $2.8 million for the 2914 Washington Road property in 2015. He demolished the house on it, then spent two years and
Fite Group associate Leslie Holvey sensed
the area’s potential and convinced Bendat to go on a minishopping spree and snap up five
homes either on or facing the