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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-American Land Housing Group Inc. is about to break ground on phase two of its 10-acre New River Village project, a 400-unit, 24-story rental apartment building.

With work about to begin on the $75 million phase-two project, the North Miami Beach, Fl-based developer of multifamily projects is now focusing attention on the design of phase three, a 260-unit, 18-story multifamily tower.

Work on phase two follows the success of phase one, a 240-unit mid-rise multifamily structure the North Miami Beach company sold last year for a reported $30 million to Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Limited Partnership.

The project, located between Southeast Third Avenue and Federal Highway, benefits from the integrated design of a planned urban development, Granvil Tracy, American Land president and chief executive officer, tells GlobeSt.com.

“There are some fundamental differences between our project and other multifamily projects Downtown,” Tracy says. “Unlike some of the other projects that are planned as stand-alone structures on small-acre sites, our planned urban development incorporates coordinated landscaping, lighting and signage.”

Bounded by 1,200 linear feet of riverfront, the project includes a heavily landscaped entryway that arrives at a large fountain. “The whole sense of arrival offers a sense of a suburban community rather than an urban community,” Tracy says.

Phase two offers prospective residents slightly larger units and more common area, with a larger lobby and a number of recreational amenities, Tracy says. It will contain some retail, including a 10,000-sf riverfront restaurant, a coffee house, dry cleaner, newsstand, deli and a bistro-type restaurant.

“From a service standpoint, we’re as close to a hotel operation as you can get,” Tracy says. “But there was a learning curve there. Our rental product is not all that different than what some other condo products offer.”

The success of the project is drawing largely from a trend that shows higher demand for urban-style living, Tracy adds.

“In a general sense, we’ve learned that people today are more inclined to live in the urban areas,” Tracy says. “We benefit from the experience we already have in the market. We know who the market is.”

Much of that experience came from focus groups the company convened with prospective customers during phase one.

“We’re being pretty scientific about the way we approach phase two,” Tracy says. “We have the benefit of talking with people who want to be Downtown in general, and our location specifically.”

The project is drawing a mix of tenants, from young executives to older empty nesters. “I have to admit that when I started down this road many years ago, I had a few nightmares,” Tracy says. “I was concerned if we built it, would anyone come.”

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