Hugh Rowe couldn’t believe his luck finding a new apartment in Boca. Driving down Federal Highway, he passed 101 Via Mizner at the corner of Camino Real.

Next door was the construction site for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, his former stomping grounds in Miami, New York and D.C.

He considered it karma. “I pulled right in and they showed me around. I didn’t want to look at anything else,” he said.

That was nine months ago. Now 93 percent of 366 apartments are leased; two remain on the Tower Suites and Penthouse levels, said Melissa Myers, senior director of marketing for Penn-Florida Companies. The Residences Mandarin Oriental are condos on sale, going up on the other side of the hotel.

Rowe just moved upstairs to a penthouse studio in 101, with what he calls his “panoramic view.” He can even see the ocean.

The move meant even more perks than he had before. “Residents on these upper floors enjoy premium benefits, such as valet parking, car wash services and exclusive event invitations,” Myers added.

Rowe was already a regular at 101's Cyber Cafe he calls “our internal Starbucks.”

“I can get a covered cabana at the pool,” he said. He uses a pool deck grill and goes to events arranged by lifestyle director Jenniffer Paulino. He gave her a big hug as she walked through the lobby.

“She did ice cream and donut days. We have a trivia night. It’s really a community with camaraderie,” said Rowe.

“My main goal is to build a sense of community among the residents and staff,” Paulino said via email.

“We offer weekly group fitness classes, including yoga, Aquafit, and mat Pilates. We have happy hours on and off property, holiday parties and barbecues.”

A monthly calendar of events is shared and posted in the building. “We have a beautiful private space on the penthouse floor, the Sunset Lounge. Residents can book this for a minimal fee,” Paulino said. She’s helping plan a wedding reception there now.

If Rowe sounds like a resident testimonial, he has nothing on Patti Goldfarb and her husband. They have lived at 101 for two and a half years, practically since it opened.

“This is our first rental in over 25 years,” she said via email. They raised their family in Parkland before downsizing to a condo, then moving to their apartment.

The Goldfarbs like 101 Rays of Fun summer music series poolside on Sundays. “Jenniffer always introduces people she feels we might have a connection with. We have become friendly with quite a few couples,” she said. She plays mah jong with “ladies in the building.”

Two other residents exemplified the tenant mix. Graphic design and marketing student Cristina Friebe lived on the Lynn University campus. She moved to 101 in May.

“I looked around and no other building had the amenities,” she said. “The gym is open until 10 p.m. I use the barbecue a lot. There’s a game room with a pool table. The club room has a big kitchen, so I can invite my friends and I don’t have to use my apartment.

“Everyone is friendly,” she added. “My neighbor keeps a bucket of candy outside her door.”

Friebe's classes are 10 minutes away.

“I had a commute. Now I'm 5 minutes from my job,” said Rowe.

They both leave their car home on weekends. He walks. She uses the building’s bicycles.

Glenn Fuller said he likes the downtown location and the vibe. He once lived in a New York hi-rise.

“Within walking distance to good restaurants, entertainment, the beach and conveniences like Publix and Trader Joe's,” Fuller noted. “I like to be able to walk in the evening and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Yes, it’s similar to the walkability of living in NYC.”

By Marci Shatzma from Boca Voice

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