A Southwest Florida apartment developer has hit paydirt once again. Joe Bonora, a Cape Coral High School graduate and owner of Catalyst Asset Management, just sold the 318-unit West End at City Walk apartment complex near downtown Fort Myers for $81.2 million, property records show. There’s about 650,000 square feet of living space and a 527-spot, five-level parking garage built into the middle of the complex. Other amenities include a swimming pool, courtyards, a dog park, a workout room and even a virtual golf driving range on the fifth floor.
That’s a price of about $255,436 per unit for a complex located at 2250 McGregor Park Circle, between McGregor Boulevard and West First Street.
Bonora told Gulfshore Business he retained an undisclosed ownership stake in the City Walk project. That means the actual per-unit price ended up being even more than the public records show.
“I never take time to celebrate,” Bonora said. “I just move on to the next one.”
Apex One, a Houston-based development company made the purchase.
“We believe in Fort Myers and Southwest Florida,” said Tim Burns, chief investment officer for Apex. “There’s a lot of growth there. We think the city is proactive there to make it a great place and a better place.”
There’s still work left to be done at City Walk. There’s an outparcel at the corner of McGregor Boulevard and Virginia Avenue that will be developed into five townhomes.
“Those will be a for-sale, high-end product, 2,500 to 2,900 square feet,” Bonora said.
And there’s an outparcel at the corner of McGregor and Altamonte Avenue that will be developed, too.
“There will be ground-floor retail and additional residential units above,” Bonora said. “Right now, we’re planning on between 50 and 60 units.”
The sale price did not surprise Phil Fischler, founding broker at Fischler Property Co. in Fort Myers. Fischler’s company sold Bonora’s group the 7.8 acres for$7 million in February 2018. Fischler also worked as the listing agent for the outparcel at the corner of Virginia Avenue and McGregor Boulevard, slated to become townhomes.
“City Walk is in a premier location,” Fischler said. “City Walk is right downtown, a block from the water, next door to a Publix. It’s a highly desirable market.
“The appetite for these kinds of high-quality, well-located, new-construction properties is very high. Not just with domestic buyers, but also international buyers. Could City Walk help fund his next project? That could be the case.”
Bonora said it is the case. His next project will be the 321-unit Montage at Midtown apartment complex, to be built at 2101 Jackson St., not far from City of Palms Park in what’s known as the Midtown area of Fort Myers.
That project is in permitting phase. Bonora said he’s hoping it will break ground by the end of next year.
“I think it’s going to invigorate downtown and bring a lot of life and activity,” he said.
In September, Bonora’s Catalyst sold Grand Central Luxury Apartments, a 280-unit complex off U.S. 41, just behind the Krispy Kreme donut shop, for $48.4 million, a price of about $173,000 per unit.
Less than three months later, the per-unit price at City Walk rose by $82,436, a 47% increase compared to Grand Central. The price leap, Fischler said, can be explained by a lot of factors, most notably location, inflation, surging construction costs and an area real estate market that just keeps rising.