Lux­ury rental tower for se­niors com­ing to Fort Laud­erdale

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - By Brit­tany Wallman

lux­ury apart­ment tower for se­niors was ap­proved for the south­ern end of Fort Laud­erdale’s down­town Tues­day night, with­out op­po­si­tion.

The project, “629 Res­i­dences,” will of­fer high-end ren­tals just yards away from a pro­posed af­ford­able hous­ing tower with rents one-tenth the price.

De­vel­oper Dev Mot­wani said he’ll mar­ket his 34-story high­rise’s 246 apart­ments to se­niors, though it won’t be of­fi­cially ager­e­stricted. Rents will range from

$1,800 to $4,000. Devel­op­ment down­town can be a con­tro­ver­sial mat­ter. But no one spoke Tues­day night against the 629.

City com­mis­sion­ers said they could find no le­gal rea­son to stop the tower from be­ing ap­proved at staff level, with­out a pub­lic hear­ing.

The tower will rise mid-block be­tween South­east 6th and 7th streets, span­ning from South­east

4th to 5th av­enues, at 629 SE 5th Av­enue.

A bit to the tower’s north is the county’s court­house park­ing garage. A jog to the south is the site of the con­tro­ver­sial, pro­posed AIDS Health­care Foun­da­tion tower, at 700 SE 4th Ave. That pro­posal puts 680 mi­cro-units in a 15-story build­ing, and aims to pro­vide af­ford­able rents start­ing as low as $400. It faces strong op­po­si­tion in the com­mu­nity and on the City Com­mis­sion.

Mot­wani said he’s tak­ing no po­si­tion on the neigh­bor­ing project, but is “bullish” about devel­op­ment on the down­town’s south side.

Com­mis­sioner Ben Sorensen said he wanted to make sure there was pub­lic dis­cus­sion of Mot­wani’s pro­posal, and he brought it up Tues­day for a po­ten­tial vote. If com­mis­sion­ers could find that city staff mis­ap­plied devel­op­ment rules, they could have voted to set a pub­lic hear­ing, City At­tor­ney Alain Boileau ad­vised. But af­ter dis­cussing it, no one on the com­mis­sion pro­posed set­ting a hear­ing. That means the project is de facto ap­proved.

Com­mis­sion­ers fol­lowed a sim­i­lar process last year to ul­tiA

mately vote 3-2 against the staff-ap­proved Alex­anTar­pon River tower, a

21-story, 181-unit project at

501 S. Fed­eral High­way. The de­vel­oper is su­ing.

Sorensen said he wanted to en­sure 629 Res­i­dences at least was pub­licly dis­cussed.

“I wanted to just en­sure ev­ery­one had a chance to talk through this a lit­tle bit,’ he said.

Mayor Dean Tran­talis said he was con­cerned about the build­ing width. He quizzed Mot­wani’s lawyer-lob­by­ist, Robert Lochrie, about shade trees and traf­fic.

The tower would add

1,118 more cars each day to the roads, in­clud­ing 68 at morn­ing rush hour and 86 at even­ing rush hour, a traf­fic con­sul­tant pre­dicted.

“Mayor, there will be more traf­fic with devel­op­ment,” Lochrie said. “I do con­cede that.”

Lochrie said the project has wider side­walks than the rules dic­tate, and fol­lows

ev­ery­thing else laid out in Fort Laud­erdale’s Down­town Mas­ter Plan, ex­cept on one mi­nor point.

“These are the re­quire­ments that are be­fore us,” Lochrie said. “They’re re­quire­ments that this project meets.”

Sors­ensen asked city Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Di­rec­tor An­thony Fa­jardo if the project failed to meet Fort Laud­erdale’s di­rec­tives.

“I don’t be­lieve so, no,” Fa­jardo an­swered. “We’ve gone through it.”

The tower en­trance will be off South­east 5th Av­enue.

The city has enough wa­ter to serve the tower, but it would strain sewage pumps by in­creas­ing their run times about an hour a day. Two sewer projects down­town that are ex­pected to be com­plete in

2020 would ac­com­mo­date the de­mands of the project, the city said.

City staff gave pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval to 629 Res­i­dences on March 12.

Com­mis­sion­ers Tues­day also:

■ GAS STA­TION: Pro­vided

a re­zon­ing and other nec­es­sary ap­provals to al­low Town Devel­op­ment Co. to build a Cum­ber­land Farms con­ve­nience store and and gas sta­tion at 333 E. Sun­rise Blvd.

■ HIGH-RISE: Agreed to give up an al­ley to help en­able devel­op­ment of Modera 555, a pro­posed

24-story, 350-unit res­i­den­tial tower on down­town’s north end in Fla­gler Vil­lage. The prop­erty is north of North­east 8th Street, and east of North­east 5th Av­enue. The project is still work­ing its way through ap­provals and could be called up for a pub­lic hear­ing by the City Com­mis­sion.

■ FLA­GLER VIL­LAGE CAFE: Ap­proved a plat for M.A.S. Cafe, a va­cant lot on the north­west cor­ner of NE 6th Street and NE 4th Av­enue, at 333 NE 6th St., where a stand­alone cof­fee shop is planned.


De­vel­oper Dev Mot­wani pro­poses a 34-story tower with 249 res­i­den­tial units and 1,300 square feet of re­tail space, at 629 SE Fifth Ave. in Fort Laud­erdale.

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