12-story Gale condo breaks ground in Fort Lauderdale

Residences Fort Lauderdale Beach broke ground this week, with 70 percent of the 129 condominiums under contract, developer Harvey Hernandez said.

The 12-story project at 401 Bayshore Drive, a block from the ocean, will have a mix of foreign and domestic buyers, Hernandez said. “People see the value compared to Miami, and they love that,” he said.

The Gale has one-, two- and three-bedroom units from 800 to 2,100 square feet, with prices ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million. Hernandez expects the project to be complete in about 18 months. Amenities include two pools, club rooms, a movie theater, spa and fitness center.

The condo is going up next to the former Escape Hotel that’s being renovated and rebranded as Gale. The 96-room hotel is due to open four to six months after the condo is completed, Hernandez said.

Peter Zalewski, principal of the Condo Vultures consulting firm, said the condo is in prime position to attract buyers from Miami.

Condos cost at least a third more per square foot in Miami compared with Fort Lauderdale, Zalewski said. He added that investors are leery of a growing glut in Miami, home to nearly three-quarters of the more than 49,000 units recently built or in the pipeline, according to Condo Vultures.

Hoping to attract more primary residents, many condo developers in South Florida limit how often buyers can rent their units. But Gale does not have those restrictions.

“What Harvey’s doing is effectively alerting investors that this is a place you need to seriously consider,” Zalewski said.