The Fort Myers real estate community is buzzing with anticipation due to the upcoming auction of 125 condos at the Oasis high-rise development. Forty of the condos will be sold on an absolute basis with no minimum price. The Oasis owners have brought in the big guns from Washington, DC…..McWilliams | Ballard to market this property. McWilliams | Ballard is known in the Mid-Atlantic region for manufacturing a buzz for developers as they bring new product to market.
The history of the Oasis is one of bad timing, a stubborn developer, a suspect location and a product not in tune with the Fort Myers market. While the concept of bringing South Beach to Fort Myers is intriguing, we are town more closely aligned with conservative values brought here by throngs of retiring mid-westeners. Downtown Fort Myers feels more like a mid-western city such as Toledo, Des Moines or Grand Rapids rather than a high-glitz place like South Beach.
Oasis came on-line late in the game, as the market was busting in Fort Myers. While prices were tumbling around them, Jorge Perez and the team at Related stubbornly refused to drop prices to battle it out with the other high-rise projects for the remaining buyers still in the market. The unfortunate result of this strategy was almost no sales in the Oasis twin towers.
While the views across the Caloosahatchee River from Oasis units are stunning, the location of the Oasis project has proven problematic for prospective buyers. Oasis sits furthest to the east on SR 80 of any of the six major Fort Myers high-rise projects. This location weighs in with a WalkScore of 32/100, classified as “Car-Dependent.” Competing high-rise development, High Point Place, which is located furthest to the west of Oasis weighs in with a WalkScore of 95/100 and is classified as a “Walker’s Paradise.” Outside the front door of High Point Place, residents can find a Publix grocery store, Starbucks and the First Watch Restaurant. While there are new sidewalks along First Street near the Oasis, this location does not lend itself to an urban car-free existence. This significant difference in walkability has proven to be a major draw for High Point Place vs. the Oasis location with our clients.
Valuing the Competition
Over the past 12 months 88 condos have sold in the five downtown high-rise projects that compete with the Oasis. The four projects east of Downtown along First Street have all sold on a $/SF basis in a very tight range between $96 SF – $104 SF. High Point Place with its superior location and upscale finishes has commanded selling valuations of $153 SF.
Valuing the Oasis
As there have been no sales at the Oasis in the past year, there are no comps to draw from in pegging a value for these units. While the finishes at the Oasis are the best of the competition, the location is the least desirable with the lowest WalkScore rating. Much of the pre-auction hype from the Oasis marketing organization has suggested values closer to High Point Place than First Street adjacent projects like St. Tropez and Riviera. I believe that the best comp development for the Oasis is St. Tropez which sold on average over the past 12 months for $104 SF. While Oasis is definitely more upscale with better finishes, St. Tropez has a slightly more desirable westward location and significantly less risk associated with the ongoing viability of the condo association. For my valuation analysis, I am discounting the target price for Oasis units by 10% to cover the buyers premium that will be assessed to your bid price at the auction.
If you are planning on bidding at the November 20th 2010 Oasis auction, the above buyers premium adjusted comps would be the ceiling that I would advise a client to bid. If you would like low-pressure information-rich Realtor representation at the auction or to look at other high-rise options, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to find good value in this market. Please drop us a note if we can be of service.