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Fort Lauderdale Gives Green Light To Marina Lofts Project
Daily Business Review   Eric Kalis  August 2013

Developer Asi Cymbal had to wait until 3 a.m. Wednesday to get the go-ahead from Fort Lauderdale city commissioners to build a large apartment project in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

City commissioners voted 4-0 to approve Cymbal’s Marina Lofts development planned for a nearly 6-acre site across the New River from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The developer agreed to reduce the number of units at Marina Lofts from a proposed 960 to 856 during the six-hour meeting. A parking study also must be conducted after the first two phases of the project are completed.

In a 3-1 vote, commissioners also approved moving a Florida champion rain tree that had been protected by the city for 26 years to a different location on the Marina Lofts site south of the river.

Project approval was first reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Cymbal’s Downtown Fort Lauderdale Waterfront 18 LLC paid $11.5 million for the site at 400-420 SW Third Ave. and 424 SW Fourth Ave. in December 2011 as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy auction by an affiliate of Aventura-based Cabi Developers LLC.

Designed by architect Bjarke Ingles, the three-phase project includes three towers with enclosed parking garages totaling at least 1,270 spaces. The tallest is 30 stories. Two eye-catching towers look like a single tower ripped in the middle unevenly from top to bottom.

Cymbal’s company plans to improve portions of the Riverwalk and relocate the dock for the Water Taxi operation.

Combined with the nearly 250-unit New River Yacht Club under construction nearby, Marina Lofts could be a catalyst for growth in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“Marina Lofts is about Fort Lauderdale realizing its full potential: iconic architecture, affordable luxury housing, respecting our marine industry, preserving our historic uses, being a model for eco-friendly development and creating generous public spaces in our urban core,” Cymbal said Thursday in a statement.

“We are grateful to the City Commission for making this historic decision to move Fort Lauderdale forward in a meaningful and positive way,” he said. “The last 20 months in the entitlement process have been long and arduous.”