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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL–With close to half of the units already sold, construction has begun on the $135 million Las Olas River House luxury condominium in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The 280-unit high-rise, which combines two 42-story structures and one 34-story structure, will be the city’s tallest building. It is situated between the banks of the New River and Las Olas Boulevard, and offers views of both the river and the ocean.

The development marks the first entry into South Florida’s luxury condominium market by New York-based Omni Development Co., headed by chairman and CEO Richard Zipes, and publicly-traded Tarragon Realty Investors, Inc., headed by president and CEO William S. Friedman.

Suffolk Construction Company Inc., a Boston-based commercial builder and construction management company, is the general contractor. Suffolk has completed more than $7 billion in construction of quality residential and commercial facilities throughout the U.S. during the last 17 years.

“Fort Lauderdale has never seen anything like this,” said Zipes in a prepared statement. “We have had such a strong response from the home buying public for the kind of sophisticated Manhattan lifestyle Las Olas River House will bring to Fort Lauderdale, that we decided to begin construction immediately. Since we opened our sales center in late April, we have sold 40% of the project, including a $1.7 million condominium in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington. The demand has been extraordinary.”

Residents will enjoy a five-star amenities package such as concierge and valet parking services; a 60,000 sf landscaped pool deck with private cabanas and putting green: private dining rooms; a riverside café and sundries shop; and a four-story, 30,000-sf glass-walled fitness center and spa overlooking the New River.

Las Olas River House residences range in size from 1,260 sf to more than 7,000 sf, with prices from the $400s to $1.8 million, and penthouse units in the $4 million range.

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