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Grand Harbor once again on the move


After years of no growth following the real estate downturn, Grand Harbor is springing back to life with construction of more than 200 new homes – condominiums, courtyard homes, single-family homes and luxury waterfront properties, with prices ranging from about $400,000 to $2 million – in four new villages.

Christopher Cleary, developer’s agent and construction manager for GH Vero Beach Development, LLC, says all four communities will be built simultaneously. He expects infrastructure – roads, sewers, water lines and electric lines – to be complete in three of the communities within the next few months and a number of homes are already under construction.

Still in the planning and permitting phase is a fifth development called Spoonbill, a 413-acre behemoth that will encompass another four villages totaling 800 homes.

The bulk of the new building will be at or near the northern end of Indian River Boulevard with the Spoonbill development extending all the way to 63rd Street.  But Laguna Village – 23 luxury homes on the river – will be built within the confines of the existing Grand Harbor community.

Cleary says the decision to move ahead with the expansion was made last summer. In January, he selected Dale Sorensen Real Estate as the exclusive listing broker for all the new properties.

“Sorensen is the big dog,” Cleary said. “If you look at the way they go about their business with the branding and marketing and number of sales, we think it is a good partnership for us. Also, there is a wealth of experience there with Dale Sr. He came out of the history of John’s Island and for-sale housing in that era, so he is aware of what this takes.”

Sorensen’ onsite sales manager Stacey Morabito brings tremendous real estate experience to the project. Before selling her business and moving to Vero, she owned a brokerage in Fort Lauderdale with 200 agents, according to Sorensen managing partner Dale Sorensen Jr.  She says the new villages are off to a strong start, with numerous homes reserved since the first of the year.

The Falls II – a new phase of the existing, partially-built Falls community – lies between Indian River Boulevard and U.S. 1, across from the main entrance to Grand Harbor. Morabito says five of the 28 homesites are already reserved and she expects the development to sell out by the end of the year. Three design plans are offered: 2- and 3-bedroom courtyard, and 2-bedroom plus den, ranging from 2,900 to 3,600 square feet. The courtyard model’s views of pool and fountain upon entry are especially eye-popping. 

Cleary says he will be building inventory homes in all the communities, and there are furnished models and move-in ready homes in The Falls II, priced from $472,000. Reservations are being taken for the 37 Falls III homesites, which will complete the Falls enclave.

The Reserve – located north of 53rd Street along an extension of Indian River Boulevard – will consist of single-family estate homes, with four models offered. Furnished models will be complete by the end of the year and Morabito is taking reservations from interested buyers. 

With several reservations already booked, Osprey Village will be a 3-story, 56-condo project with garages below, located on a small lake east of Indian River Boulevard.  Construction is expected to get underway by the end of the year.

Morabito says Laguna Village will be “the most exciting” enclave in Grand Harbor, with 23 riverfront 2- and 3-story homes with elevators, double garages, rooftop decks and top-of-the-line customization. These homes start at $1.6 million, reservations are open and Laguna Village is already 25 percent sold out. Construction of furnished model homes will get underway in April and be complete by the end of the year.

A golf course and driving range redesign is part of the project, intended to better serve players who, with increasingly high-tech equipment, are hitting farther. The redesign will be done by internationally renowned golf course designer Ron Garl.

Grand Harbor opened in 1988. It was developed by Richard Schaub, who also developed Baytree and The Shores. At Grand Harbor, Schaub Communities built both golf courses and the neighborhoods of Harmony Island, Wood Duck Island and St. David’s, and parts of Newport Island before the project went into receivership.

Two other developers came and went before current owner Bayswater Development LLC took over and brought stability to the community in 2004.

Bayswater is the real estate and construction arm of Icahn Enterprises, LP, which is controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. He is credited with making continuous improvements in Grand Harbor, which is widely considered the premier mainland community in Vero Beach.

Amenities – which will be shared by residents in the new villages – include a picturesque, deep-water marina with 144 boat slips that can handle up to a 120-foot boat, two 18-hole championship golf courses, a big golf and social club house, dining venues, 10 Har-Tru tennis courts, a tennis pro shop and an oceanfront beach club on the island with a resort-style pool and indoor and outdoor dining. Other perks include two driving ranges, a concierge, a fitness center with on-site trainers, community pools and clubhouses in many neighborhoods and such abundant birdlife that the master-planned development has been designated an Audubon Sanctuary.

“As a Grand Harbor member, resident and Realtor, with more than 28 years in luxury sales, I am confident we have the best new projects in production, the best construction management team and a premiere location that will please the most discriminating buyer,” says Morabito.  “This, coupled with the Grand Harbor lifestyle is a sure winner.”

“We are so excited to be exclusively marketing the new projects at Grand Harbor,” says Dale Sorensen Jr. “The partnership between DSRE and Grand Harbor Development has gotten off to a quick start with sales that have exceeded the previous three years combined in The Falls alone. While these first two months have been spent organizing our marketing efforts, our expectations continue to be extremely high as we begin to roll out our comprehensive marketing plans for all of the projects.”

Cleary says, “We believe Vero has returned to some normalcy, therefore, we have elected to build. DRSE has a world of experience and has been selected to spearhead the resurgence and completion of Grand Harbor.”