(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-The Broward County Supervisor of Elections has committed to a 72,000-square-foot build-to-suit complex at the $1.6 billion Riverbend Transit Oriented Development. Developer Coral Springs-based Amera-Barron will construct the $22.8 million project beginning in summer 2009 for a summer 2010 delivery.

The deal marks the next phase of the six-million-square-foot, mixed-use Riverbend TOD development, which is set to eventually include over three million square feet of office, 800,000 square feet of retail, 1,200 residential units and 500 hotel rooms. The project is located on 100 acres at the western quadrants of the Interstate 95/Broward Boulevard interchange.

Charlie Ladd, a principal of Amera-Barron, says every building adds a critical mass to the TOD site, which is adjacent to Downtown Fort Lauderdale. He tells GlobeSt.com that another 12 to 15 acres of site infrastructure will commence with the groundbreaking of the new Supervisor of Elections headquarters, for which Stiles Corp. is the general contractor and Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates Inc. is the architect.

Financing for the next phase of development has not yet been closed, but Ladd says the company is not worried because they have a nine-month window before construction will begin. After completion, the County will purchase the building and consolidate operations of the Supervisor of Elections office into a 30,000-square-foot, two-story office building and a 42,000- square-foot administrative center with 100 dedicated parking spaces.

“This is an affirmation by the County of the regional nature of this site,” says Ladd. “The close-in proximity to Downtown and Riverbend’s future multi-modal hub will put the SOE complex within easy reach of employees and visitors from throughout Broward County.” The developer says a Tri-Rail station is in place, along with a proposed east-west light rail route and an internal trolley system

Amera-Barron recently completed its first 67,000-square-foot office building at the site, which is currently 25% leased. Anchor tenant Strayer University currently occupies 17,000 square feet of that space.

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