Developers and realtors echo the same sentiment: There’s little to no buildable land left in Naples for new condominiums. The building boom that kicked off in the 1970s with The Lutgert Companies’ high-rises in Park Shore and grew during the subsequent decades, spreading north and east from downtown, seems to have hit peak saturation. For developers, it’s time to get creative. Existing buildings have been demolished near downtown to create boutique properties with large indoor-outdoor floorplans that live like single-family homes and ultra-luxe amenities like private rooftop decks, resort pools and golf simulators. Development has also moved beyond Naples: Some of the region’s most anticipated towers are planned for Bonita Springs and Estero with design, perks and prices to rival Naples.
“For a couple of decades, development has been moving north. The county is built out, even east of I-75. Now things are moving back toward downtown,” developer Jerry Starkey says, noting how new buildings have sprung up in previously overlooked areas, like the Naples Design District, or taken over old building sites near coveted Fifth Avenue South. He and developer Fred Pezeshkan won a transformative urban development competition to obtain an unoccupied parcel near downtown, at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Davis Boulevard, to build Aura at Metropolitan Naples.
Starting at $1.9 million, the two-, three- and four-bedroom residences, spread across three 15-story towers, luring buyers with location and amenities. “One of Metropolitan’s most spectacular features is the rooftop infinity pool. You’re 160 feet in the air, overlooking Naples Bay and the Gulf,” Starkey says, adding that shuttles will run between Metropolitan, downtown and the beach. “We see this as an extension of Fifth Avenue South.”
Other design-forward developments are also coming to the downtown area. MHK Architecture & Planning is behind the architectural design of Stella Naples, slated for completion in 2023, with 10 condos on Ninth Street South. The units, starting around $2.5 million, feature design concierge services from LVD Spaces to help prospective residents choose high-end finishes like Ruffino Cabinetry, Cambria countertops, and marble chevron bathroom tile. Like Metropolitan, the rooftop is a major draw for the condos, which have private, Brazilian ipe lanais with fireplaces and retractable privacy screens.
Around the corner, an office center was razed to create The Mark on 8th, a 24-residence boutique condo. Interiors by Naples’ Charles Design Studio feature open floorplans, outfitted with Legno Bastone European oak flooring and walls of sliders that create a seamless flow between the living areas and outdoor terraces. In the central courtyard, residents can take a dip in the pool or snag a chaise lounge on the sun shelf, mingle around the grill and fire pit or brush up on their swing at the golf simulator.
Nearby, in the Naples Design District, The Ronto Group transformed the former Naples Daily News site into Eleven Eleven Central with a bevy of desirable amenities, like a 3,200-square-foot pool with beach entry and units on the ground for restaurants and shops, including Narrative Coffee Roasters, which recently claimed the space.
Parkview at Cambier in Old Naples is the most exclusive of the new downtown developments. Three of the four units sold pre-construction for $6.5 to nearly $8 million, and the final 3,900-square-foot residence was on the market for $9.5 million as of March. To command that price, developer Frank Meak and designer Suzanne Costa pulled out all the stops, including $110,000 appliance packages, custom millwork by Woodworkers Naples and smart home technology. Private elevators whisk guests between their three-car garage and massive rooftops. “Everybody has 1,200 square feet of private rooftop with a full kitchen, hot tub, living room and fire pit,” Meak says. “Standing on the roof, you’ll be looking at Cambier Park.”
That price tag is poised to be usurped by One Naples. Last year, Stock Development won approval to demolish a shopping plaza to build this 128-unit complex on 6 acres at Vanderbilt Beach Road and Gulf Shore Drive. Starting at $5.5 million, the smallest, three-bedroom Tower residences have more than 4,700 square feet of space, while the 10,000-square-foot Grand Penthouses count five bedrooms, six-and-a-half bathrooms and four terraces—with $30 million asking prices. Adding to the livable space are 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities, including a movie theater, golf simulator, kids’ club, fitness center and spa, and elevated curvilinear glass-edge pool (not to mention the onsite marina).
With only so much land to be claimed in Naples, buyers and developers are also scooping up property in Lee County. Omega Bonita Bay, the final tower at the Bonita Springs luxury development, debuts this fall. Of the 67 residences, less than 10 remain. Starting at $4.5 million, the condos live like standalone homes—but with more perks. In addition to the tower’s theater, massage and steam rooms, and resort-style pool, residents also have access to Bonita Bay’s five golf courses, marina, restaurants, state-of-the-art Technogym and beach club.
Adding to Lee’s condo cachet are The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay. London Bay Development Group purchased 500 acres of waterfront property along a mangrove-filled aquatic preserve to create a 224-condo village that connects residents with nature. “If it wasn’t an exceptional piece of land, we wouldn’t get The Ritz-Carlton to commit to partnering with us,” London Bay president and CEO Mark Wilson says. “It’s a new level of luxury for the area because of the location, size of the project and the sheer natural beauty of the land.” You’ll pay at least $2 million for a condo in one of the two 22-story towers, which feature cascading glass facades that reflect the surrounding water and sky.
Just as The Ritz-Carlton resorts are known for their amenities, the community won’t disappoint. Park your yacht at the 72-slip marina, or get out on the water with onsite paddleboarding, kayaking and sunset cruises. The new 18-hole championship Saltleaf Golf Preserve, bocce courts and a wellness center (with fitness classes, a yoga and Pilates studio, and a sauna) also promote an active lifestyle. Kids and teens can hang out in the adventure room and tech lounge while mom and dad retreat to the beauty salon, five-star restaurant, or wine and whiskey bar.
Acreage by the beach is nearly impossible to come by, but that’s what Grandview at Bay Beach on the southern tip of Fort Myers Beach promises. Construction’s underway at London Bay’s 11-story tower, overlooking Estero Bay and the Gulf. All 58 residences are equipped with the luxuries discerning clients expect, including private elevator entrances, Kohler and Bosch fixtures and appliances, natural stone counters, and expansive primary rooms with sitting areas. The social areas are perched on a higher floor to best capitalize on those water views.
Whether or not downtown Fort Myers can get in on the luxe high-rise action is yet to be seen. Developers hope “rising tides will raise all boats,” Denny Grimes, president and CEO of Denny Grimes & Team realty, says. “They’ve been attempting to get it off the ground, but the tower market downtown is not proven yet.” Prima Luce on the Waterfront plans to test those waters when it completes in 2024. With 220 residences and a more modest price tag (starting at $310,000 for an 837-square-foot studio), it hopes to lure residents with amenities like a zero-entry waterfront pool and location on the revitalized riverfront. As demand for urban living grows, downtown seems poised for the elevated living found throughout the region.