A developer won site plan approval for a mid-rise riverfront condo project in downtown Fort Lauderdale after trimming its height and number of units.
The Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted 4-1 last week for a revised site plan for 808 Southeast 4th Residences, a 12-story condo with 67 units.
The developer, Boca Raton-based Roberts Equities LLC, won preliminary approval in October from the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board for a 13-story condo with 77 units.
Still, Roberts Equities proposed the revised 12-story site plan last Tuesday to city commissioners, who had voted Nov. 2 to review the 13-story design approved by the board in a de novo hearing.
“I am happy to see it’s a condo,” said Vice Mayor Heather Moraitis. In recent years, she said, too many multifamily residential developments in Fort Lauderdale have drawn renters instead of owners. “That’s not a good trend for the future.”
But Mayor Dean Trantalis, who cast the only vote against the revised site plan for 808 Southeast 4th Residences, said that even the downsized development was too big to blend with its surroundings along the New River.
“This is a monster building compared to what else is on the street,” he said. “This project clearly oversteps the boundaries of what belongs on this particular street.”
Roberts Equities plans to start pre-construction sales of condo units in the first quarter of 2022 and finish construction of the development in 18 months, said Randy Tulepan, the firm’s executive vice president of the Southeast U.S. He declined to provide pricing for the condos.
The owner of the development site, SE Fourth LLC, is managed by the New York City-based Kevin Roberts Trust, according to state records. Roberts Equities is the investment arm of the trust.
SE Fourth LLC acquired the site in 2016 for nearly $6.1 million from a company managed by William Massey of Fort Lauderdale, which bought the property in 2003 for $2.2 million, according to property records.
The 0.57-acre development site at 808 Southeast 4th Avenue is on the north bank of the New River, south of Las Olas Boulevard and east of Federal Highway.
“This is a big building for the site,” said commissioner Steven Glassman. “But on the flip side, it’s fitting the zoning that’s in place. It’s actually meeting the criteria, and that’s the rub for me.”
The existing property on the development site is a two-story, 35-unit residential building built in 1957, long before the high-rise transformation of the downtown skyline.
“This piece of property is not in a sleepy little neighborhood,” Stephanie Toothaker, an attorney for the developer, said at the commission meeting. “We’re on Las Olas, essentially. We’re one block off Las Olas.”