City Approves ‘Transformative’ Project At Las Olas Riverfront

Written by on 01.24.17 in Done Deals, Land, MultiFamily, Office, Retail - No comments

A developer is moving forward with plans to turn the failed Las Olas Riverfront into what Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler calls a “transformative project” for the downtown.

Property Markets Group intends to build 1,200 apartments and 40,000 square feet of shops and restaurants on nearly 2.5 acres west of Andrews Avenue overlooking the New River.

The firm announced its proposal in September, and city commissioners unanimously approved it Wednesday night, shortly after PMG completed a $29 million deal for the site.

“The first phase will include 650 apartments and most of the retail and will take about three years to build,” said Ryan Shear, principal at PMG. “Demolition is expected to begin in April, with construction likely by this fall. I used to go to the Riverfront when I was younger, and we want to bring it back to its former glory. We want to make it a spot again.”

Las Olas Riverfront was built in 1998 with $3 million from taxpayers. After early success, the 254,000-square-foot retail complex fell into disrepair and foreclosure and has largely been vacant during the past decade.

“The development will will eliminate the “dead zone” along the riverfront and reduce crime in the area. It will bring a lot of energy, excitement and beauty to our downtown,” Seiler said.

“I feel that the developer has his heart in the right place,” Vice Mayor Dean Trantalis said.

“The apartment buildings will be 42 and 38 stories. Property Markets originally asked to build 46- and 42-story towers but reduced the size to alleviate height concerns,” Shear said. “The mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments will range from 500 to 900 square feet. The majority of the units will rent for less than $2,000 a month.”

Shear hopes the apartments will attract young professionals who will become regular customers of the nearby shops and restaurants.

“The complex will be designed to bring people into social spaces and not stay home as much,” Shear said.

Property Markets Group, with offices in New York and Miami, bought the land from developer Dev Motwani, who once had planned his own renovation of Las Olas Riverfront. Motwani continues to own more than an acre along the riverfront for a possible future development and also has a stake in PMG‘s new retail project. Motwani said he’s considering a hotel with condominiums on his site.

“Offices are an option as well,” Motwani said. “We’re not in a rush to do something. We want to see where the market goes.”

 

Source: SunSentinel

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