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Boutique, mixed-use developments are the rage in downtown Naples. A floor or two of upscale condominiums above a ground floor of high-end retail and office space has long been common on Fifth Avenue South, but now this popular vertical combination of residential and commercial is quickly expanding elsewhere in the city.

One of the best examples is Parkview at Cambier, a new three-story development of four luxury condos completed this year at 675 Eighth St. S., across from Cambier Park. That corner of Eighth Street South and Seventh Avenue South is the former site of the Chapel Grill restaurant and the original location of First Baptist Church. 

The redevelopment project pulled out all the stops for upscale living. With about 6,700 square feet of total living space per unit, each ultra-exclusive residence features more than 3,900 square feet under air with outdoor living space, a three-car garage, a personal elevator and a private rooftop area with full kitchens, bars, spas and firepits. A common area includes a heated pool, tiki bar, putting green and pingpong and pool tables. The state-of-the-art smart homes feature coastal contemporary designs, custom cabinetry and millwork, retractable storm shutters and dedicated generators for each residence.

“I think it’s the nicest Naples has seen. Mine is unique in a lot of ways,” says developer Frank Meak. “I knew I had something very special. The people who bought it bought it in a blink and didn’t give it a moment’s thought. They said it was the nicest product they’ve seen in Naples.”

Still, Meak was astonished at the record sale price of $1,950 per square foot, meaning units sold for $7.5 million. The last unit is expected to fetch substantially more.

“Truthfully, it did surprise me a little bit,” Meak says. “But the market has gone crazy and the demand is huge.”

The two floors of residential are above the ground floor of private garages and two retail units, both operated by local clothing designer and tailor Dominic Lacquaniti: D.Lacquaniti Bespoke custom clothier fronting one side of the building and D.Lacquaniti Bespoke Shoes on the other.

“He’ll do extremely well there,” Meak says. “I had a lot of demand for the retail, but I was very fussy about who was getting the retail because I didn’t want high traffic.” And that’s another common thread of these new downtown projects: The privacy of the residential units is respected by signing commercial tenants with lower traffic.

That’s also the goal of Jonathan Kepple, a commercial real estate specialist with Diversified Real Estate Group in Naples. Kepple is curating commercial clients for Stella Naples, a redevelopment project by The Brookline Companies that will feature 10 luxury residences on two floors, above a small collection of shops and offices on the ground level, at 82 Ninth St. S. For nearly 75 years, that space of less than an acre on the corner of U.S. 41 and First Avenue South was the site of Sea Shell Motel. Vertical construction on Stella Naples started this spring for a projected opening in the first half of 2023.

“We are trying to cater toward the residents more because they are leading the charge for what’s going downstairs,” Kepple says, adding that high levels of interest have been shown for commercial units by high-end medical businesses, financial and wealth management offices, an upscale boutique and a small bakery/coffee shop.

Even with prices starting at more than $2 million, at least eight of the 10 two- and three-bedroom condos with private rooftop decks have already been purchased. Expect to see similar projects as more opportunities become available in the community, Kepple said. “I do see it as a trend moving forward,” he says. “They’ve seen the success with the sellout and the numbers.”

These boutique, mixed-use projects are a way to achieve scale and density, Kepple said. “People want quality; they want scale with high-level finishes and they’ll pay for it. It’s all about the value.”

Three or four more of these three-story urban projects are planned or near completion on the eastern side of Eighth Street South between Fifth Avenue South and Central Avenue in Old Naples. Last summer, Waterside Builders announced the completion and sellout of one of those projects, SoCe Flats, which has 18 residential units above 4,200 square feet of first-floor commercial units at 101 Eighth St. S. The chic new space—SoCe is short for South of Central—has attracted businesses such as House of Blondes salon and Face Foundrié facial bar. 

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