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Multifamily Projects May Create More Vibrant Fort Lauderdale
Daily Business Review   Eric Kalis  August 2013

Developer Asi Cymbal waited more than two years to get the go-ahead to build the Marina Lofts apartment complex south of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s New River.

Downtown residents, officials and stakeholders have waited much longer for the area to realize its potential as a 24-hour urban destination on par with its metropolitan neighbor to the south. That time may be coming.

Cymbal’s 856-unit Marina Lofts is one of numerous multifamily downtown developments under construction or in the pipeline. Proponents hope the increased critical mass from the new communities complement a large professional population and major public projects — like the Broward County Courthouse under construction and Broward Center for the Performing Arts improvements — to help create a vibrant inner city.

“Downtown is definitely becoming more dynamic,” Cymbal said. “We as a community need more options for everyone though.”

Cymbal and other residential developers believe the downtown market has a paucity of affordable and efficient apartments that are still considered high-end quality. Marina Lofts will have a heavy concentration of studio and one-bedroom units at the nearly 6-acre site at 400-420 SW Third Ave. and 424 SW Fourth Ave.

Such units would ideally attract students from nearby Broward College and Florida Atlantic University and young professionals who work downtown.

“The key to that is cutting back in size and keeping rents lower than what you would typically see as compared to a bigger-sized unit,” Cymbal said. “You don’t necessarily need to pay for all of that space.”

Marina Lofts also includes several restaurants, more than 200 boat slips on the New River and a Water Taxi stop. Cymbal’s company also plans to improve portions of the Riverwalk.