aerial image of the orchid island homes
Orchid icon - decoration only

Orchid Island Building Boom Bringing New Generation of Members to the Club

Posted on: January 11, 2023
Read time: 6 minutes

Photo courtesy of Joshua Kodis

As featured in Vero News, written by Steve Thomas

Read Full Article

A building boom is underway at the Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club, where real estate prices are up 65 percent since before Covid and demand for homes has never been stronger.

Westmark, builder/developer of Palm Island Plantation, is the main player in the current Orchid building boom, with six new homes going up on one street near the front gate and three more underway elsewhere in the community.

Banov, a Vero Beach architectural and building firm, Croom Construction, and other companies also have homes under construction or in the planning and permitting stage.

The new homes, mostly valued between $1.6 million and $2.5 million, have all been sold, so they won’t bolster the island’s anemic inventory, but they are bringing new life and energy to the ocean-to-river development, which was built along the Atlantic shore and around an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course.

“When you drive around the community and see all the new construction and extensive renovations, you can feel a sense of vibrancy and excitement in the air,” said Orchid Island Realty broker Anne Torline.

“The club started in the early 1990s and you can get by for a couple of decades without major renovations, but we are getting to that point where the houses really need to be upgraded and so many of our members are doing that,” said Torline.

More than 20 percent of the homes and lots in Orchid have changed hands in the past several years and many renovations are being done by new owners fixing up dated homes to suit their modern lifestyles.

In other cases, some residents who might have sold and moved for a variety of reasons, but who “couldn’t find a place to go,” are taking the plunge and redoing their homes for the long haul.

It’s all part of what Club Manager Rob Tench describes as a natural shift and turnover that occurs when a community is 25 or 30 years old and original residents decide to downsize to assisted living or move closer to family members and a new generation of buyers arrives.

The extent of the turnover jumps out on the Property Appraiser website, which shows color-coded sales by year. Six of 11 direct riverfront homes and on Grove Place changed hands in the past three years, for instance, while 12 of 21 on Caribe Way have sold, and other streets have seen a similar infusion of new neighbors moving in from the Northeast, South Florida, the western U.S. and Canada.

Demand and sales at the club “exploded” during the pandemic, with annual sales tripling at the peak of the boom, according to Torline.

“We aren’t as well-known as some of the larger clubs on the island,” Torline added. “But we were discovered during the pandemic when so many people started looking for homes in Florida. Once they found us and came here and looked around, they couldn’t believe how beautiful it is and were eager to buy.”

Westmark Enterprises vice president Steve Owen told Vero Beach 32963 that buyers of his lot/home packages have been attracted “first and foremost by the quality of the community. They are buying a lifestyle, not just shelter. They’re looking for the great golf, tennis, beach club and everything else that is offered here. Once they see all that, it is just a matter of finding a home that fits their needs – which is where we come in.”

Owen was searching for buildable lots on the island back in 2020 – and is still actively looking today – because Palm Island Plantation, Westmark’s signature island community, is very nearly built out with just a lot or two left.

When he heard about the lots in Orchid, he went up and took a look and liked what he saw.

“It is a high-end community that is very well done. It was a perfect match for us in price and quality, and there are a lot of well-qualified people coming into Orchid to look for a home,” Owen said.

He put six lots on Island Place under contract in 2020 and proceeded to design the houses and get them approved by the club and the town of Orchid. Orchid Island Realty sold the home/lot packages.

“The lot/home packages went like that,” Torline said, snapping her fingers. “I think I sold four in one weekend.”

Property records show that Westmark closed on the lots in May 2021 and almost immediately resold them to buyers purchasing lot/home packages.

When Owen saw the hunger for Westmark’s product on Island Place, he snapped up three more lots on other streets in Orchid.

As they sold out, lot prices tripled or close to it, according to Torline.

“Before the pandemic, there were lots listed for under $100,000 and they didn’t sell,” she said. “The one we just put under contract was listed for $295,000.”

Westmark broke ground on its first home in Orchid in the summer of 2021 with the expectation it would take 12-14 months to complete, but pandemic supply chain issues pushed that timeframe back.

“Prior to Covid, we built homes in 10 to 12 months and we thought the extra two months would be sufficient to deal with shortages, but there are still things that are hard to get that have slowed us down,” Owen said. “We are thinking 14 to 16 months now, but it is hard to say for sure.”

Owen cited the metal boxes electric meters fit into as an example of a critical shortage. The boxes are a key component because interior finish work can’t be started until the homes are dried in and there is electricity to run the air conditioning.

“It is frustrating, having one little item like that hold us up,” Owen said.

Westmark offered its new home packages at a fixed price, which turned out to be a costly decision.

“We have always sold homes on a fixed-price basis,” Owen said. “And we sold these the same way. If we would have known what was coming, we would have done it on a cost-plus basis.”

“We’ve have eaten a lot of price increases but so have a lot of other people. There was no way to anticipate all the problems Covid was going to cause, but we will live through it. It’s still been a been a good project for us.”

Vero News featured orchid island homes
Photo courtesy of Joshua Kodis

Orchid Island Magazine

Receive Your Complimentary Magazine

Blog Form

BLOG
aerial of orchid island golf course overlooking ocean

See How a “Little Birdie” and Arnie Took This Vero Beach Oceanfront Golf Club to the Next Level

With its exceptional coastal scenery and endless sunshine, it’s no wonder Florida is home to many of the world’s top

READ MORE
aerial image of the orchid island homes

Orchid Island Building Boom Bringing New Generation of Members to the Club

Photo courtesy of Joshua Kodis As featured in Vero News, written by Steve Thomas Read Full Article A building boom

READ MORE
orchid island member walking her dogs on the beach

See How Members of This Premier Florida Club Embrace Their Unique Lifestyle

Nestled on a Florida barrier island between the pristine shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the wildlife-filled

READ MORE
couple walking on the florida beach at orchid island

Discover Why This Coastal Florida Gem is a Nature Lover’s Haven

From coconut palms and white-sand beaches to ancient oak hammocks and mangrove-lined estuaries, few places in Coastal Florida enjoy a

READ MORE
aerial skyline view of the ocean from orchid island

See How This Florida Private Club Community Embraces its Unique Oceanfront Location

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway along Florida’s Treasure Coast, few places in Florida enjoy a more

READ MORE
chef chris sozio of orchid island standing near the table

Step into the Kitchen with Orchid Island’s Acclaimed Executive Chef Chris Sozio

From refreshing tropical plates served poolside to gourmet farm-to-table favorites, residents at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club do not

READ MORE
tennis court at orchid island

See How Orchid Island is Bringing Hawaiian Flair to Its Expanding Racquet Sports Program

Named one of Florida’s Top 7 Tennis Communities by the Private Community Registry, Orchid Island’s racquet program is consistently recognized

READ MORE
doctor fredy delacruz at the clinic

Fellsmere Volunteer Medical Clinic Opens Twice Weekly at Operation Hope to Help Needy Adults

Photo courtesy of Sam Wolfe As featured in TC Palm, written by Janet Begley. Read Full Article A new, free

READ MORE
two people walking on the ocean in florida

Discover the Unique Waterfront Lifestyle of this Private Oceanfront Club in Florida

There are few places in Florida that enjoy a more magical setting than a barrier island nestled between the Ocean

READ MORE
Orchid Island private golf and beach club aerial

What Draws Private Golf Club Enthusiasts to Florida’s Treasure Coast?

The state of Florida is home to some of the world’s top private golf communities. Vibrant landscapes, beautiful scenery, and

READ MORE
orchid island turtle garden

See What Makes Club Living at Orchid Island so Interesting

From its secluded location to miles of natural beauty, Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club offers more to Orchid Island

READ MORE
orchid island tennis players

7 Top Tennis Communities in Florida

As featured in the Private Communities Registry Lifestyle Blog. There is no shortage of world-class tennis spots in Florida, and

READ MORE