The owner of the Galleria Fort Lauderdale mall has dusted off a formerly contentious proposal to redevelop the property, this time with a different plan that won’t require a rezoning.
New York-based Keystone-Florida Property Holding proposes at least 1,900 multifamily units on parts of the 42-acre Galleria Fort Lauderdale at 2414 East Sunrise Boulevard, according to Stephanie Toothaker, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents the owner.
Roughly 600,000 square feet of existing retail buildings — mostly vacant big box space emptied when Saks, Lord & Taylor and others closed — would be demolished to make way for the new development. The buildings won’t exceed 150 feet and would taper down in areas close to nearby residential neighborhoods.
The remainder of the mall would get a facelift, turning it into a “lifestyle” center with shopping and dining, Toothaker said. The vision includes the creation of an event lawn for yoga classes and other outdoor activities.
Keystone-Florida submitted to the city a development agreement application, a tool allowed under state law for large-scale projects that would require multiple development phases, Toothaker said. The proposal is in the preliminary stages and still needs a lot of approvals, although it is allowed under the existing zoning.
By contrast, in 2016, Keystone-Florida sought a change in development regulations to allow the construction of new condo buildings, with some topping 20 stories. This drew the ire of homeowners who lived near Galleria, who opposed the proposed height. That plan was not approved.
Galleria’s owner and its representatives are meeting with nearby property owners and businesses to allow them to review the new proposal, Toothaker said.
Keystone-Florida is led by President William O’Connor, Vice President Joel Bayer, and directors James Grossman Jr., Melissa Quackenbush and Charles Spiller, according to state corporate records.
The renewed and tweaked proposal comes as developers have ramped up plans to breathe new life in South Florida malls, with many opting for multifamily redevelopment. The robust rental market is fueled by high demand and skyrocketing rents.
Last October, Houston-based developer Morgan Group won a land use change from the city of Pompano Beach to build 356 apartments on the site of a former Macy’s store and parking lot at the Pompano Citi Centre on the southwest corner of Copans Road and Federal Highway.
The pandemic-induced retail market slump that led to some tenant closures could have exacerbated this trend, although the redevelopment activity pre-dates Covid.
Art Falcone’s Encore Capital Management, based in Boca Raton, bought the Fashion Mall at
321 North University Drive in Plantation in 2015, with plans for the mixed-use Plantation Walk. Much of the project is completed, including two apartment buildings, a Sheraton Suites hotel and an office building.
Coconut Grove-based Terra is redeveloping the Central Shopping Plaza at 3825 Northwest 7th Street in Miami’s Flagami neighborhood, including a revamp of some of the stores and construction of more than 1,000 apartments.