Fort Lauderdale’s mayor thinks downtown area architecture is too boxy, and his desire for better design may lead to tweaks in the look of high-rise developments, starting with one in the city’s Flagler Village area.
City officials in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday encouraged a redesign of Flagler Creative, a 30-story rental apartment development with 316 units including 100 co-living units in the Flagler Village area just north of downtown.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told city staff in a meeting Monday that the downtown area needs “more interesting design, not boxy looking buildings,” said Jim Hensel, a principal planner of the city and a member of its Development Review Committee.
“The plan [for Flagler Creative], as presented now, is challenging for us” Hensel said, speaking Tuesday at a Development Review Committee meeting during the examination of the Flagler Creative project.
A redesign of Flagler Creative also should integrate the building’s tower, podium and parking garage and create more public gathering space, said Linda Mia Franco, another member of the Design Review Committee.
Noah Bachow, the developer of Flagler Creative, told The Real Deal after the meeting that he expects to complete the city-guided redesign process and start the two-year construction phase of the project by the end of 2020. The plan for Flagler Creative does not hinge on a request for rezoning or a zoning variance, he said.
Designed by Miami-based Cube 3, LLC, Flagler Creative would rise at 818 Northeast Fourth Avenue, a 1.34-acre site now occupied by a small industrial building that would be demolished.
Bachow, manager of Miami-based Bachow Ventures LLC, said he put the property under contract about three months ago. He declined to disclose the contractual price he would pay the owner, Searstown Warehouse LLC, a Fort Lauderdale-based company led by Mary L. Scott, Patrick S. Scott and Shelby G. Smith III.
The development site in the northeast corner of Flagler Village is in an area known as FATVillage, a mural-filled former warehouse district with art galleries, artist studios and other types of commercial properties. “It’s right on Fourth Avenue, which is where they have the ArtWalk,” Bachow said, referring to a recurring event that attracts crowds to galleries and studios.
The project’s co-living units would each have a shared kitchen and living area and three private bedroom-and-bathroom units. The mixed-use building would have ground-level retail space. Amenities include a library, game room, gym, amphitheater, swimming pool and cabanas and co-working space.
Monthly rent for conventional apartments at Flagler Creative is likely to range from $1,700 for studios to $3,500 for three-bedrooms, Bachow said. “For the co-living, it will be a significant discount to studios but includes utilities and furniture in the units.”
Despite competition from multiple apartment developments in the Flagler Village area, Flagler Creative would be an affordable alternative to nearby rental properties, especially for co-living tenants, Bachow said. “Co-living operators have really found a niche … There’s pent-up demand whenever they open one of these buildings,” he said.