FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-New River Development Partners are optimistic about the results of an administrative development review earlier this week with city officials over the company’s proposal to construct Esplanade, a $30-million, 16-story luxury condominium building.

Officials with the Plantation, FL-based developer have refiled an application for development review following a policy decision by Broward County officials that halted development of 139 luxury multifamily units on a 1.2-acre downtown site just off the New River.

“We’re on the most prominent piece of land Downtown, facing the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science,” Paul Rosen, who is co-managing with Fabio Appugliesi, tells

Just within days of opening its sales center last week, the company quickly secured deposits on 44 reservations at Esplanade.

The refiled development application follows the county’s decision in April to adopt restrictive changes for its Downtown Regional Activity Center, which limited residential development in the area to a maximum of 5,100 units.

In that decision, the county is allocating the distribution of those development units on a first-come, first-serve basis. That brought a halt to the New River Development project, even though the city already had approved the plans.

“We had a site plan that was approved and then revoked,” Rosen says. “To our thinking, that was done incorrectly.” He tells, “We are in litigation on that issue. We feel very strongly that we’ll be successful in that litigation. Even if litigation fails, we’re applying again through normal channels.”

Prior to the county’s action, Rosen originally proposed a construction start date sometime in October. In response to the county’s action, the city is recommending an amendment to its Comprehensive Land Use plan to increase the number of allowed total residential units in the regional activity center.

That recommendation, though, requires approval from the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

“If the proposed amendment is ultimately found to be consistent with state law and (is) recertified by the Broward County Planning Council, it is expected that units will again become available in the Downtown Regional Activity Center sometime in December 2001 or January 2002,” according to city records.

This proposed comes at a time of significant consumer demand, in Rosen’s view. “Downtown Fort Lauderdale is going through a renaissance, with an estimated two million sf of new office space being built or proposed,” Rosen says. “We think most of our buyers are going to be young professional people who want to live, work and play all in the same area.”

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