A new type of rental community has arrived in Southwest Florida.
Odyssey by Soltura welcomed its first tenants in July. The 129-unit community off Forum Boulevard in Fort Myers is already 25% leased.
Danville Leadbetter and Arron Simon’s company, Soltura Development Group, purchased about 12 acres for $650,000 in February 2021. The odd-shaped piece of property, long and narrow, worked out perfectly for the concept of building detached apartment units.
“It’s one of those things that’s in between,” Leadbetter said. “The city of Fort Myers was great. We sat down with them very early. You really do have to sit down with the staff, with the players, and make sure they understand what it is.
“Rather than doing one big building with all the units, we’re kind of deconstructing that building, putting those units on the ground, putting four walls around them.”
Like a luxury apartment complex, Odyssey has a fitness center, a dog park and a pool. Unlike a typical apartment complex, every unit has its own four walls and a backyard.
The concept is new to the region but not nationally, Leadbetter said, as some of these types of products have been available in California for the past decade or so.
“It sort of started after the downturn and distressed properties started to dry up,” he said. “There was still a huge investor appetite for rental communities.”
The monthly rents are competitive with those of other luxury, traditional apartment complexes. A 750-square-foot one-bedroom starts at $1,994 per month, a 1,031-square-foot two bedroom/two bath leases for $2,594 and a 1,245-square-foot three bedroom/two bath is $3,199 per month. There are 40 one-bedroom units, 57 two-bedrooms and 32 three-bedrooms.
In May, Leadbetter’s company bought another 11.71 acres, sandwiched between Interstate 75 and Champion Ring Road for $3 million. That land near Forum Boulevard will become Phase 2 of the project and will be called Altair by Soltura, which will have 160 units, some of which will be two stories.
A third location in Fort Myers near Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard and Schoolhouse Road is being cleared and planned for a third project of the same concept.
“This was a great piece to start on,” Leadbetter said of Odyssey. “As you pointed out, it’s kind of linear. It’s just a long rectangle. It allows us to figure out the space between the units.”
Leadbetter said he never expected to be a pioneer of a new type of apartment living in Southwest Florida.
Others are on the way. Marquesa Capital Partners just broke ground on the Villas of Gulf Coast, a 140-unit rental community that should welcome its first tenants about a year from now off Alico Road.
“It feels great,” Leadbetter said of being the pioneer of the concept. “When we first walked into this, I was astonished that this isn’t already in Florida. We had this little window, where the apartment guys were doing apartments, and the homebuilders were getting into the rental space, but they were just renting their own product. It was fun to be able to change that. For us, there’s wasn’t a lot of competition. It’s coming now. But we started this concept. We’ve been very consistent.” d