High-rise condos sell like hot cakes on the Florida Gulf Coast, but on the southside of Lafayette? It was a gamble from the get-go, to be sure. And then came the 2014 dramatic drop in oil prices. And then came the August 2016 flooding.
In the end, Glenn Stewart’s ambitious Parc Tower condo project on Camellia Boulevard was not to be — at least for now.
Van Eaton & Romero Realtor Debbie Horaist, who has worked on the project since 2014, tells ABiz all deposits on the units in the proposed 11-story project have been returned, as Parc Tower was unable to hit the pre-sale goal of 50 percent by Nov. 30 so that financing could be secured for construction to commence.
Marketed as “Lafayette’s first residential high-rise development,” the 75-unit Parc Tower was set to be constructed on a 19-acre site adjacent to developer Stewart’s Parc Lafayette shopping center. Units were priced from about $350,000 to $870,000, and while there was significant interest, a number of those looking to downsize in exchange for other amenities were fearful they would not be able to sell their existing homes — and with good reason. While Lafayette’s residential real estate market has shown remarkable resilience in the face of falling oil prices, homes in the $800,000-plus range are staring down a 90-month supply, Horaist says.
The development was selling a new kind of luxury lifestyle with amenities that included a spacious lobby, concierge service, manned security guard entrance, a fitness center, library room, executive boardroom, theater and music rooms, a banquet room, and a pool and patio with outdoor grill area on the garage rooftop. Residents would have private terraces, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, top-of-the-line appliances and an on-site coffee shop. Take a virtual tour of the project here.
“I was hoping it would be something that Lafayette would be ready for,” says Horaist, who brought experience marketing 10 high-rise condo projects during her 13 years selling real estate for developer Tom Becnel in Destin, Fla. Horaist had every reason to be hopeful. “We launched the project to the real estate community in May 2015, and within 90 days we had 66 percent reserved, which is phenomenal,” she says. “That was a real strong indicator.”
For various reasons, most related to economic uncertainty and others to homeowners distracted by repairing their own flooded homes, a number of those early commitments fell through. “Too many things happened that [the contracts] did not go hard,” Horaist says. “People were unsure when the oil industry would rebound.”
Horaist, who says she has no regrets that she devoted the past 2.5 years to the project, is definitely staying in Lafayette, now selling more traditional residential real estate for Van Eaton & Romero. “I’m not sorry that I got involved,” says the longtime Realtor, who returned home in 2013 after 15 years in Florida, a move unrelated to her work with Parc Tower. “I came back to be closer to my family,” she says. “I’d wanted to come back for several years.”
Horaist stresses that the residential market remains strong and is optimistic the local economy could make the kind of turnaround that would resurrect the project. If that happens, she’ll be right back at it, convincing Lafayette that it is indeed ready for a high-rise condominium development on Camellia Boulevard.