Kaplan plans mixed-use multifamily project in Wilton Manors 

Site is now home to The Alchemist Café, La Mexicana Taco Bar and Voo La Voo Cafe

Kaplan Residential’s Morris Kaplan with rendering of Generation Wilton Manors project
Kaplan Residential’s Morris Kaplan with rendering of Generation Wilton Manors project(Kaplan Residential, MSA Architects, Getty)

Kaplan Residential proposes a mixed-use project with 190 apartments in Wilton Manors, marking the firm’s first major development in South Florida. 

The Bay Harbor Islands-based developer plans a six-story building, a 315-space garage and a dog park on the northeast corner of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks and Northeast 24th Street, according to Kaplan’s filings to the city, and real estate database Vizzda. 

The project would have 10,000 square feet of commercial and restaurant space mostly on the ground floor of the apartment building, and also in a separate two-story building. The property, at 1209, 1225 and 1401 Northeast 24th Street, as well as at 2430 and 2449 Northeast 13th Avenue, is home to restaurants The Alchemist Café, La Mexicana Taco Bar and Voo La Voo Cafe. Many of the existing tenants have expressed interest in reopening at the new project, said Morris Kaplan, company president. 

Dubbed Generation Wilton Manors, the development will consist of 15 studios, 80 one-bedroom units, 77 two-bedrooms and 18 three-bedrooms, according to Vizzda. 

  

On Monday, the Wilton Manors Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the project to the city commission. The developer expects to go to commissioners for a preliminary vote in June and a final decision later in the summer, Kaplan said. 

Generation Wilton Manors also will need Broward County’s blessing over such items as stormwater management and tree removal. The project won’t go through the county approval process, which will be administrative, until it’s OK’d by the city commission. 

Kaplan Residential first set its sights on Wilton Manors about seven years ago. 

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“We have kind of kept an eye on Wilton Manors.… When I had been introduced to this site, the uniqueness of what was there really caught my eye with the restaurants they had there and the authenticity,” Kaplan said. “It was like a bohemian feeling.”

The development site also is home to a memorial with murals of the Parkland school shooting victims depicted on a wall. But because of “the way it was painted and set up,” Kaplan Residential won’t be able to preserve it, Kaplan said. The firm will try to transfer elements of the memorial through screenshots or other digital formats to a new memorial wall.

The development firm has assembled most of the five lots for the development site, Kaplan said. Records show the firm paid $4.8 million for some of the properties, although this doesn’t reflect the full amount, as some of the deals have yet to be recorded. 

If the project is fully entitled, construction is expected to start mid-2024, Kaplan said. Completion is slated for 2026. 

Kaplan Residential, originally founded in 1952 in New Jersey, has so far mostly developed in Georgia and the Carolinas. It moved its headquarters to Bay Harbor Islands in 2004, Kaplan said. Its other Florida projects include Generation Venice and Generation Englewood on the state’s Gulf Coast. 

Wilton Manors, north of Fort Lauderdale, has been mostly devoid of the real estate development flurry that took hold of South Florida in recent years. It is largely known for its sizable LGBTQ+ population and businesses catering to the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 2020, Carrfour Supportive Housing and The Pride Center completed the four-story, 48-unit  The Residences at Equality Park at 2040 North Dixie Highway. The project is considered the state’s first LGBTQ+ senior housing building.