Developers invest in Crystal Lagoons amenities to draw top-notch tenants
As the competition for highly coveted tenants and patrons heats up, developers take the amenities arms race to new extremes, and Crystal Lagoons® is part of the growing trend.
The ROI of mega amenities is being tested to its fullest by Crystal Lagoons, a multinational company that licenses technology which allows developers to build and maintain crystalline lagoons of unlimited sizes and create a beach lifestyle just about anywhere.
Crystal Lagoons entered the U.S. market in 2014. It has offices in Miami and Dallas, and is active in six states where it has negotiated 23 deals, with three lagoons in operation and two more set to begin construction, according to Kevin Morgan, the company’s Executive Vice President.
Morgan says the company’s lagoons are different from large public swimming pools by virtue of technology that uses 100 times fewer chemicals by “dosing,” or disinfecting, the water “only when necessary.” The lagoons also don’t require elaborate filtration systems—and therefore use 50 times less energy than a traditional swimming pool—by deploying ultrasound that sends particulates and sediment to the bottom, for easier removal and cleaning. Crystal Lagoons provides remote technical oversight of water quality via in-lagoon sensors. “We can make changes with a few keystrokes,” says Morgan. Construction takes nine months to a year to complete.
After ESJ Capital spent $60 million to acquire Jungle Island, an 18-acre zoo in Miami, it came to Crystal Lagoons looking for ways to improve the zoo’s attendance. What Crystal Lagoons envisions, says Morgan, is installing a two-acre lagoon with surrounding redevelopment that, if it works, might increase the zoo’s annual traffic to more than one million visitors, from its current level of 275,000, within a few years.
Crystal Lagoons first license in the U.S. was for a 7.5-acre lagoon within the 900-acre Epperson master-planned community in Wesley Chapel, Fla., whose plans include single- and multifamily homes and commercial buildings.
To assess this amenity’s ROI, Metrostudy conducted research over a seven-month period before the lagoon’s installation was completed last fall. The study found that Epperson’s four models were selling at a pace that was double the sales of the same models featured at three other master-planned communities. The Epperson models’ selling prices were more than 20% higher once the lagoon’s construction started.
Metro Development Group, Epperson’s developer, is convinced: it has signed licenses to include lagoons of between five and 15 acres at eight other communities in Central Florida. The firm also created its own “MetroLagoons by Crystal Lagoons” brand.
Roughly 80% of Crystal Lagoons current projects are part of mixed-use developments like Epperson and Beachwalk, a 1,000-acre master-planned community in St. Johns, Fla., with about 800 single-family and townhouse lots. Beachwalk includes a 14-acre lagoon with 37 million gallons of water, which will be accessible exclusively to residents. Planned commercial development includes retail, restaurants, a fitness center, 12,000-sf clubhouse, miniature golf, and a splash pool for pets. Future development could also include a high school on 70 acres, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal.
Are they worth the expense?
Large-scale amenities, especially indoor-outdoor spaces, are essential in commercial real estate projects, in part to appeal to millennial occupants, but there are other areas to explore. Crystal Lagoons next growth idea is even more ambitious: injecting new life into struggling shopping centers. The idea is to replace failing or bankrupt mall anchors with two- to four-acre lagoons, which would give the developers the opportunity to add food and beverage venues, hotels, even multifamily developments. Nothing’s been signed yet, but Morgan is hopeful. “This would be part of the reinvention of retailing,” he says.
As the competition for highly coveted tenants and patrons heats up, developers take the amenities arms race to new extremes, and Crystal Lagoons is part of the growing trend.
Crystal Lagoons is an international innovation company, founded by scientist Fernando Fischmann, which has developed a patent-protected technology that allows the construction and maintenance of unlimited-size crystalline water lagoons at very low costs.