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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Riverwalk Group has scored a quiet but important victory in its plan to build an estimated $50 million mixed-use office project in the heart of Downtown.

The Boca Raton-based developer received city authorization to include a private vehicle drive in its plans to build 330,000 sf of office and retail space on a one-acre site at 100 Las Olas Blvd. on the New River.

Prior to the approval, the Boca Raton group faced the unwanted prospect of using a common vehicle access point with the neighboring 42-story, $100 million luxury condominium project that Albany, NY-based Omni Development Co. Inc. is constructing on an adjoining development site.

“One of the things we were missing was direct access to the property,” William E. Morris, one of Riverwalk’s three principal managers, tells GlobeSt.com. “We would have been faced with going through the condominium project, through common garage ramping. That was not very desirable. This new curb cut allows us to have direct access up to our garage and into our building.”

Along with Morris, Toronto, Canada-based investors Tony Passander and Alan L. Sayer operate Riverwalk Group through Riverwalk Managers, a Boca Raton-based parent company. Morris also is director of Boca Raton-based Southcoast Partners Inc. and Southcoast Realty Services Inc.

The Fort Lauderdale consulting firm Hughes Hall Inc., and its principal officer Molly Hughes, represent the development group. Even with an amended plat, Riverwalk officials still have a wait before pulling construction permits.

“We’ll probably be the next office building built in Fort Lauderdale,” Morris says. “There is no more land left on Las Olas for this type of class A office building. Our hope is we’ll be able to get started with our project sometime over the next year or so.”

The wait is mostly attributable to the leasing success taking place at Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas Centre, a 23-story, 411,000-sf office building that Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corp. is constructing in the 400 block of East Las Olas Boulevard.

“It’s only a matter of time before we get started, because this is a very good location, and Downtown is going through what can only be described as a renaissance,” Morris says.

“We’re waiting for a major tenant to come along, and we’ve been talking with some prospects. This is nothing new. It’s just the sensible approach to starting a project. You have to have preleasing in place.”

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