Homebuilder Bruce Toll: I Want To Build In Palm Beach, But Jeff Greene Buys All The Good Sites
Bruce Toll, the 75-year-old co-founder of luxury homebuilding company Toll Brothers, is currently focused on his projects in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but he spends four and a half months each year in Palm Beach. He would like to do a project here, he said.
“I’m looking in Palm Beach, but the problem is, Jeff Greene buys most of [the good sites],” he told Bisnow.
Greene, the billionaire developer who this year ran for governor of Florida and is currently working on a two-tower project called One West Palm, will be a panelist, along with Toll and other real estate experts, at Bisnow's Palm Beach County State of the Market event Dec. 4.
Toll said he and Greene know each other from having been members at the Palm Beach Country Club and Mar-a-Lago. He knows President Donald Trump, too, he said.
“I totally disagree about his immigration stance,” Toll said. “We need more people here, not less, as workers. It used to take me six months to build something. Now it takes a year, due to lack of help.”
He said the problem is especially acute in the Southwest.
Judy Schumacher, partner and owner of Scumacher Cos., a general contractor, will also speak at the Dec. 4 event. She said that she is thankful she hasn’t experienced the worker shortage and price spikes that have plagued much of the country, thanks largely to a solid construction workforce along the Treasure Coast and relationships she has cultivated for years.
“Honestly, a lot has to do with payment and repeat business,” she said. She always pays in less than 30 days, sometimes 15, she said. “It depends on the turnaround time, the client and billing agreement, but we’re liquid enough to keep [subcontractors] very current, so they aren’t floating money.”
Currently, Schumacher said, her company is working on high-end hair salons, medical offices and small pharmacies.
Douglas Elliman’s Florida CEO Jay Phillip Parker, who oversaw $3.6B in transactions closed by 1,000 agents last year, said he’s focused on selling new projects 3550 Ocean in Palm Beach and Akoya in West Boca. Manalapan and Delray are also in high demand with luxury buyers, he said.
Talks of a condo glut don’t bother him. While South Florida condo sales overall have slowed from several years ago, he said, that is because the number of foreign investors eager to get money out of their country and into relatively safe U.S. real estate has dwindled.
“Flight capital today is not what it was — and that’s contributed toward a healthier market,” Parker said.
While thousands of new units have hit the market, the new product has significant upgrades in architecture and engineering, so people want it, he added. He's seeing an influx of buyers from the Northeast.
“There’s a lot of buzz and opportunity in the Palm Beach County market,” which has much less congestion than Miami but still offers a Florida lifestyle, Parker said.
With the enhanced sales velocity, he said, comes the opportunity to raise pricing.
“There’s a lot of money coming into the market, for lot of different reasons,” he said.
Hear more from these panelists and many others at Palm Beach State of the Market Dec. 4. Click here for more information.