In recent years Miami has seen a wave of glitzy new condominiums by star architects that target an increasingly international set of investors. Projects like Zaha Hadid’s One Museum Mile and Norman Foster’s Faena House have made headlines with record-breaking prices – penthouses upwards of US$60 million – international sales and sleek features like glass-enclosed rooftop pools that set new standards for luxury living in south Florida. Now, with limited beachfront land remaining in Miami, some developers are looking to Fort Lauderdale as the next destination for upscale residential development.

Located 36 kilometers north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale has long been known as a premier boating destination, attracting visitors from around the world to its nearly 500 kilometers of waterways and renowned marinas. With convenient access from major U.S. and international cities, the destination is also a growing market for global trade, and its sandy beaches, scenic waterways and a year-round tropical climate also make it an attractive option for waterfront living.

One new project that caters to a discerning international crowd is the Auberge Beach Residences & Spa. The project launched sales in December 2014 and according to Edgardo Defortuna, founder and CEO of Fortune International Group who is developing the project with The Related Group and The Fairwings Group the project is set to be a game-changer for luxury living in Fort Lauderdale. “We see {the project} as the first in a new wave of luxury developments that will entice more affluent buyers to this beautiful stretch of South Florida coast,” he says.

The project is located on a 42-acre site that formerly housed the Ireland’s Inn Beach Resort and to date it is the area’s only on-the-sand luxury residential offering.

The developers selected architecture firm Nichols, Brosch, Wurst, Wolf & Associates to design two buildings that will house 171 residences. The architects designed the light-filled glass towers to maximize ocean views and created a resort-like ambience with the use of soft, organic forms and an understated aesthetic. The residential interiors come courtesy of Meyer Davis, a New York-based design firm, and will create a ‘beach-chic’ vice with a blend of rich textures and organic materials.

The apartments range in size from 1,500sf to 5,000sf and offer sweeping ocean views and expansive terraces. The 22-storey south tower will house 115 units, while the 17-story north tower will comprise 56 larger residences. The building’s curved façade features cascading terraces and some of the larger units come with private pools.

Prices range from US$1.5 to US$8 million and developers are targeting international buyers, although so far sales have been strongest locally. “We are in the early stages of the sales process and the local buyer has been waiting for the project to come out for a number of years,” Defortuna says. “However we’re planning on outreach to our foreign network in the near  future and I’m confident that the project will have great acceptance and appeal to that market.”

Buyers in South Florida have become increasingly discerning when it comes to luxury products on the market, says Defortuna, and they expect a significant attention to detail, well-appointed amenities and services such as spas, food and beverage and concierge. To oversee the lifestyle elements at Auberge Beach Residences, developers appointed Auberge Resorts Collection, which has a portfolio of resorts in the United States, mainly California, as well as Mexico, Fiji and Anguilla.

Lifestyle amenities and facilities will include a range of beachfront public spaces, an indoor-outdoor lounge and restaurant, swimming pools and gardens. The signature restaurant will be an American bistro concept with a raw bar and a wine program – a hallmark of Auberge Resorts whose roots run deep in Napa Valley. Dining and lounging will take place poolside or on spacious decks. There will also be a spa with indoor-outdoor treatment rooms and a fitness center.

“We have created a seamless integration between the amenities, the public spaces, the pool deck and the beach that it doesn’t compare to anything in Fort Lauderdale,” Defortuna says.

A beach setting means investors will also enjoy convenient access to the area’s many waterways and marinas. “There are several wonderful marinas, and Fort Lauderdale hosts the biggest in-water boat show in the world,” Defortuna says. “We’re working on some cooperation and alliances to satisfy the boating needs of our customers.”

With limited oceanfront sites remaining in Miami Defortuna is confident that Fort Lauderdale will continue to develop. But, he says, the location of his project is second to none. “It will be very, very difficult to find a comparable site in Fort Lauderdale because of the unique condition of being right on the sand and adjacent to a single family neighborhood which allows our project spectacular and unobstructed views.”