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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Construction has started on the first phase of the Riverbend Corporate Park project, which includes 325,000 sf of class A office space. The project, which will be built over the next eight to 10 years, is expected to cost more than $500 million, with a first phase project cost of $120 million, developer George Rahael tells GlobeSt.com.

The first phase will be constructed on 18 acres bounded by Broward Boulevard and the New River, between NW 25th Avenue and NW 22nd Avenue. The buildings will be sited around a 20-plus acre lake with a night-lit fountain and pathways.

The project developer is Coral Springs-based Amera Corp., whose principals are Rahael and Charles Ladd. “Riverbend is positioned where east meets west and north meets south–at the nexus of the Interstate 95/595 infrastructure and major transportation assets including the international airport and Port Everglades,” Ladd says. “We anticipate it will become a magnet for major national and regional companies.”

The Riverbend project will include up to two million sf of class A office space with complementary retail services on 75 acres. The first phase will be constructed in six two- to four-story buildings. Rahael says leasing efforts for the space have started, but no leases have been signed. “We’re talking with four or five users but do not have any leases signed,” he says.

Target rents were not released, but the average asking rents for class A office space in Fort Lauderdale are $15.27 per sf, according to a Q3 CB Richard Ellis market report for Broward County.

Architects on the project are Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates Inc. and the general contractor is Orlando-based J. Raymond & Associates. In future phases, which may encompass 20 acres, additional office buildings and possibly a hotel are being considered. On the southwest side of the interchange, Riverbend’s 50 acres are in planning to accommodate mixed-use development, including residential, retail and corporate offices.

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