Related building 45-story luxury condo tower on Las Olas

This real-estate feature from the South Florida Sun Sentinel highlights the latest plans for new construction as demand rises for more housing, offices and stores across the region. You can submit questions through this form or by emailing, if you’re wondering about “what’s being built there?” in your community. Here’s one of the latest projects.

A 45-story luxury condo tower by Related Group is on the drawing board for Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. in a bet that well-heeled professionals from out-of-state still want to call downtown home.

The new tower would be located at 521 E. Las Olas Blvd., directly across the street from Related’s Icon Las Olas luxury rental tower that opened in 2017. A third Related project, a luxury rental tower to the north, is now under construction.

Dubbed “Las Olas Condominiums,” the proposed condo tower would offer 192 residential units, 364 parking spaces in a garage and a restaurant on the ground floor, the company says. The building site is west of the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel between Southeast Sixth Avenue and Truist Place at Las Olas Square.

The project is scheduled for a presentation Tuesday before the Fort Lauderdale Development Review Committee. But workers were seen on site Monday along with piles of building materials.

In a telephone interview Monday, Nick Perez, senior vice president at Related, said the neighborhood is “ripe for a condominium.”

“If you look at the submarket in downtown Fort Lauderdale, there is no other condominium being planned,” he said. And residents of the new high rise would have unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Perez offered no details about prices, the restaurant type or interior design.

But the company’s application to the city declares it will contain exterior features not present in any of the other new projects around town. And restaurant patrons sitting outside would have a view of the city park being built above the tunnel, Perez said.

A rendering shows the proposed 45-story, 192-unit condo tower by Related Group, which is seeking the City of Fort Lauderdale's permission to build at 521-529 Las Olas Blvd., slightly to the west of the Henry Kinney Tunnel.  Related's existing Icon Las Olas rental tower is shown at left across the street from the condo building.  At right is a Related luxury rental tower currently under construction.  (Rendering by Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates Architects PA)

“The building’s design complements Fort Lauderdale’s nautical history while differentiating itself from buildings in the surrounding area,” land use attorney Andrew Schein wrote in the project’s application to the city. “Instead of staggered balconies that only project on portions of the building, the building includes full wraparound balconies with rounded edges that flow in a wave-like appearance. Glass is featured prominently on the facades, departing from the vertical stucco elements seen on buildings in the surrounding area.”

The ground floor, Schein added, would contain a “pedestrian arcade/outdoor seating area” starting south of the driveway entrance into the building and continuing through to a “grand entrance way” at the southeast corner.

The site occupies a corner lot at Southeast Sixth Avenue and Las Olas. Once home to a flower shop, Related acquired the land and the shop building within the last year. It is now used by contractors.

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Perez acknowledged there are economic and financial challenges facing builders around the country in the form of rising inflation and shortages in construction materials.

“Obviously that’s at the top of everyone’s mind,” he said. “The good thing about being located here is we are still having positive migration due to the quality of life and a tax-friendly state. I don’t think that migration is going to stop.”

A rendering shows the street-level view at the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and Southeast Sixth Avenue of a proposed 45-story, 192-unit condo tower by Related Group, which is seeking the City of Fort Lauderdale's permission to build at 521-529 Las Olas Blvd.  The project is slightly to the west of the Henry Kinney Tunnel.  The tower would have a restaurant with a view of a city park being built above the tunnel.  (Rendering by Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates Architects PA)

The migration trend is born out by the nearly full rental occupancy at Icon Las Olas, which at 45 stories is also one the city’s tallest buildings and with some of the city’s priciest rents. It opened in 2017.

“Icon Las Olas is probably the best performing rental in Fort Lauderdale,” Perez said. “We have been consistently above 95% occupied.”

Just to the north of Las Olas Condominiums project site, Related is building another luxury rental tower with construction well underway. But Perez said there not be any connectivity between the condo tower and the rental tower, which borders Southeast Sixth Avenue and Southeast Second Street.

Craig Studnicky, co-founder and CEO of International Sales Group and RelatedISG, said Related Group’s “timing is right.”

“There is a lot of conversation out there that real estate prices are likely to start to devalue,” he said. “But that’s not happening in South Florida. Related knows this.”

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