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Three sky-high towers on horizon for Fort Lauderdale - with a yacht valet
South Florida Sun-Sentinel   Susannah Bryan  November 26, 2022

FORT LAUDERDALE — One day soon enough, two towers dubbed Raintree Riverwalk Residences will rise on the south bank of the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The developer behind that project has ambitious plans for the lot next door: Nautica Residences and Hotel, a sky-high three-tower project that would bring Asi Cymbal’s total investment in the neighborhood to $1 billion.

Cymbal’s Nautica project calls for a 50-story tower with 241 luxury condos; a 39-story tower with 454 high-end rentals; a 32-story hotel with 155 rooms; a 90-slip marina; plus a ballroom, spa, restaurant and café. The project’s address is 400 SW Third Avenue, just east of the Raintree project. If all goes well, it would break ground in 2024 and be done by the end of 2026.

“This is part of the district we’re creating in downtown Fort Lauderdale that honors the city’s place as the boating capital of the world,” Cymbal said. “It will connect the Riverwalk on the south side of the river. This really befits and honors the Venice of America.”

On Tuesday, Cymbal’s team will share details on the Nautica project during a 10 a.m. meeting before Fort Lauderdale’s Development Review Committee. The meeting will be held at the Urban Design and Planning conference room at 700 NW 19th Ave.

The aptly-named Nautica project will have a yacht club with private membership and a little extra something most condos don’t have: A yacht valet.

“This will be the first yacht valet in a branded condo district,” Cymbal said. “You press a button on your phone and you get your 61-foot luxury yacht waiting for you on the water, completely catered and ready to go.”

How long will the wait be?

“The goal is under 3 minutes,” Cymbal said. “No one has anything like that in the state – or the world, for that matter. Not to our knowledge.”

Despite all the VIP features, the project is already on the radar of folks at the nearby Esplanade on the River condo.

Nautica’s towers are slated to rise in a transitional zone with a height cap of 30 stories, said Dave Harris, president of the Esplanade condo association.

In an email to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Harris said the area has infrastructure deficiencies that further complicate the idea of adding tall towers in and around residential neighborhoods.

Melinda Bowker, president of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Civic Association, declined comment, saying the association’s board has not yet taken a position on the project.

“It does sound like a massive project but I have not seen details,” she said.

The $500 million Nautica project will require approval from Fort Lauderdale’s Planning and Zoning Board.

Cymbal expects the project to go before the planning board sometime after June 2023.

Any member of the commission, however, will be able to call up the project for a commission vote.

Usually that responsibility falls to the district commissioner.

Commissioner-elect Warren Sturman declined to comment, citing the fact that he won’t be sworn in as the new District 4 commissioner until Dec. 6.

Cymbal’s $500 million Raintree tower project won final approval in March after he promised to save a century-old raintree and make the prized tree a centerpiece of the project. He plans to break ground in summer 2023.

The project initially sparked a fierce public outcry over the beloved raintree, with fans demanding the majestic tree be saved.

Cymbal promised to do all he can to preserve the raintree, the largest of its kind in the continental U.S.

The tree, with a sprawling 130-foot-wide canopy, is being moved closer to the New River. If it dies within five years of being moved, Cymbal will have to pay the city $1 million.

The Rivertree towers, with a total of 677 luxury apartments, will be built in the 400 block of Southwest Fourth Avenue. Restaurants, bars and boutique shops will line the ground floor.

The project’s East Tower will have 29 floors and the West Tower will have 28. One tower will open in spring 2024 and the other in winter 2024.