Vero Beach, Florida, saw another milestone in the local luxury-storage development trend last week when a third project was completed – in record time. The trend, which has taken shape over the past several years, currently is slated to bring to market a half-dozen projects totaling close to 200 units intended for wealthy buyers with car collections, luxury RVs, big boats and other toys.
“I can’t imagine a project going any faster than this has,” said Joe Foglia, partner and construction contractor at Fortified Storage, located in a commercial subdivision off Dixie Highway north of Oslo Road.
Foglia and his partners, Jodah Bittle and Bill Stoddard, engineers at Schulke, Bittle and Stoddard, bought the project land – 1.6 acres in the Olde South Commercial Park Subdivision – in March 2022, paying $487,900 for three lots, and immediately plunged into the planning and permitting process. The first concrete trucks rolled onto the site to pour foundations in late August.
Less than seven months later, the project was done in every detail – paving, fencing, landscaping, lighting and elegant-looking blue steel buildings. “We got our certificates of occupancy from the county on Wednesday,” Foglia said. That was exactly one year and one day after the partners closed on the land – an impressive timeline during a period when large luxury homes often take two years to build.
Foglia said progress was rapid because of the semi-finished lots they started with, the quality of the subcontractors, and the highly relevant expertise of the development team.
“We have a big advantage in terms of speed and budget, since we are engineers and builders,” Bittle said last year, prior to groundbreaking. The 22,500-square-foot project consists of three main buildings that contain a total of 15 units, and a small accessory building with restrooms for the use of unit owners.
All the units are 25 feet wide and 60 feet deep, large enough to garage the largest Class-A RV, a large, oceangoing boat or as many as eight classic cars – 14 cars if lifts are installed. They have 17-foot-high ceilings and 14-foot by 14-foot roll-up doors.
At 1,500 square feet, they are as large as a small three-bedroom, two-bath home and feel cavernous when you step inside, more like airplane hangars than garages.
The pre-plumbed units can be customized with epoxy floors, full bathrooms and mezzanine levels. Air conditioning and RV plug-ins are other options. The steel buildings are built to withstand 170-mile-an-hour winds, making them safe for possessions and people during a major storm.
And even though they are classified as industrial buildings they are strikingly attractive examples of classic modern architecture in bright blue and white, with finishes that Foglia said will have to be painted eventually, “but not in my lifetime.”
Foglia said that a majority of buyers so far have large RVs they want to store and that half of the buyers have come from the barrier island.
Three units are still available, priced from $299,000 to $323,900.
Two of the units are side-by-side in a two-unit building and can be purchased together if a buyer wants 3,000 square feet of open, unobstructed space for storage or customization.
The metal buildings were manufactured by Tampa-based Florida Prefab. More info is available atfortifiedstoragecenter.com.
Foglia said he and his partners have discussed building another luxury storage project “if they can find the right piece of land for another boutique development.”
Steve Thomas is a reporter with VeraNews.com
Photos by Joshua Kodis