3 more downtown towers approved in Fort Lauderdale

Mixed-use project would add nearly 800 apartments, 300 hotel rooms

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter, Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Fort Lauderdale project that would add three high-rise towers to a downtown already booming with construction will move forward after attempt to force a City Commission vote failed Tuesday.

The Riverparc Square site is near the Broward County Courthouse at Southwest Sixth Street and Andrews Avenue. The project is billed as a 1,000-unit residential and commercial complex.

The first tower would be one of the city's tallest buildings, at 43 stories. A second building would clock in at 42 stories while the third and final tower would stand 36 stories tall. The entire complex would add nearly 800 rental apartments and 300 hotel rooms to the city. 

Developers promise it will provide those who work nearby with a place to live, eat and shop. Earlier this month it looked as if Riverparc Square was a done deal until District 2 City Commissioner 2 Steven Glassman insisted that the project be approved by the City Commission.

"I think when projects come to a neighborhood. They need to be welcomed by a neighborhood because they are gonna have an impact on the neighborhood," Glassman said.

He said that, while the city isn’t required to get public input on private projects, he pushed for this large project to have public input because it will affect infrastructure that everyone uses.

"We must change our code to ensure that projects of significant impact see the light of day at the Commission level with public input. Only requiring staff approval will not suffice," Glassman said.

Many officials have grown concerned that increased development in recent years is putting too much strain on Fort Lauderdale's already taxed water-sewer system.

Last month, city commissioners rejected a plan for another residential 21-story tower about a half mile from the Riverparc Square site over concerns about traffic and parking. The developers of the Alexan-Tarpon River tower have sued the city to revive the project.

"What good does it do if you continue to grow if you don't have clean water, can't flush a toilet, if you have traffic concerns?" he said.

The area is already quite busy, with courthouse traffic and nearby county government and federal buildings. 

And with several other high-end projects already underway in Fort Lauderdale, there is the question of who will be able to afford to live there.

Glassman wants those questions to be answered out in the open.     

"We are behind the eight ball when it comes to affordable housing," Glassman said. "Why out of 700-and-something rental units, why are  there no affordable housing units?"

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