Chip Abele, partners win approval for waterfront Fort Lauderdale condo project

Ocean Harbor will be a 20-story, 36-unit Arquitectonica-designed development on the Intracoastal Waterway

Chip Abele Wins Approval for Fort Lauderdale Condo Project
GCF Development CEO Charles “Chip” Abele along with a rendering of the planned 20-story Ocean Harbor development in Fort Lauderdale (Getty, GCF Development)

GCF Development and its partners won Fort Lauderdale approval to build Ocean Harbor, a 20-story, 36-unit condominium along the Intracoastal Waterway.

The planned project, at 3013 and 3019 Harbor Drive, was approved by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission on Tuesday. GCF is developing Ocean Harbor together with Vertical Developments, led by Fernando de Nunez, and WellDuo, led by Eduardo Pelaez Romer. The three companies are equal partners in the project.

Pre-construction prices for the condos probably will start in the $3 million range and top out above $15 million, Charles “Chip” Abele, CEO of Hollywood-based GCF, told The Real Deal. All of Ocean Harbor’s condos will have at least three bedrooms.

The 240-foot height of Ocean Harbor is double the city’s standard 120-foot maximum east of the Intracoastal Waterway. GCF had applied for a conditional use permit to build the condominium 240 feet tall. The Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board reviewed the conditional use and site plan for Ocean Harbor and voted 6-3 on Dec. 20 to approve the development. In February, the city’s Development Review Committee conducted its own review of the Ocean Harbor project.

At the Tuesday commission meeting, Fort Lauderdale commissioner Warren Sturman made a motion to “call up” the Ocean Harbor project and schedule a de novo hearing so the full commission could review the board’s approval of the project. But Struman’s motion failed because no other commissioner seconded it.

“As we understand it, we’re fully approved — site plan, building plan, everything else — and we’re ready to move it forward,” Abele told TRD. “By the summer, if not before, we could be processing permits to start construction.”

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Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, Ocean Harbor will take 18 to 24 months to construct, and pre-construction sales will start in a few months.

“We’ll be in the market [with pre-construction sales] before summer,” Abele said.

The developers plan to demolish two low-rise structures on the development site, which the company acquired for $11.6 million last year. GCF paid $8 million for a three-story residential property at 3019 Harbor Drive and a total of $3.6 million for all 10 units in a three-story building at 3013 Harbor Drive, according to Broward County property records.

Ocean Harbor may face some competition in the local condo market. The development site on Harbor Drive is located just south of Bahia Mar, where developers Jimmy and Kenny Tate, together with Sergio Rok and Related Group, plan to replace the property’s existing hotel and build as many as 350 condos.

Farther north on Fort Lauderdale’s barrier island, Key Biscayne-based Latitude Group is developing The Terraces, a 10-story, 22-unit boutique condo. The half-acre development site at 527 Orton Avenue is about a mile south of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and about a mile north of the Las Olas Marina.