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Ft. Lauderdale manager recommends Marina Lofts
The Real Deal   Emily Schmall  August 2013

The developer of Marina Lofts in Fort Lauderdale, the mixed-use starchitect project that has drawn criticism for the proposed relocation of an African rain tree, won the city manager’s recommendation for approval, according to a city commission memo.

The design, by the firm of renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, calls for 960 residential units in three towers, 1,270 parking spaces in attached garages and the relocation of the 80-foot-tall tree to a newly created park, and will be taken up for a vote Aug. 20 by the city commission.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale has floundered since the recession hit, with stalled projects aggravating, according to the memo.

“There was a substantial amount of high-end residential housing developed in the downtown prior to the recession; however, a critical mass of housing catering to diverse income levels has not yet been established,” City Manager Lee Feldman wrote to commissioners.

Together with three already approved residential developments Marina Lofts could achieve the critical mass necessary to support a bustling marketplace along the New River, Feldman said.

Developer Asi Cymbal has pledged a $1 million bond in case the tree dies. The city staff recommend in the memo that the bond guarantee the tree’s survival for five years after its relocation and the planning of additional bike lanes.