A sea of green and blue flooded the Fort Lauderdale City Commission chamber to either support or oppose a BIG, $250 million multi-use development planned to infill an industrial gap on the waterfront of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Although the majority of the crowd seemed to be in favor of the “impressive, innovative and even daring” project, concerns arose regarding the Marina Lofts’ density, height and traffic impact – many of which were appeased by developer Asi Cymbal’s decision to reduce the two 36-story towers to 28, which cut nearly 100 housing units from the project.
Project Architect : BIG Architects
Other last ditch opposition efforts regarded the controversial plan to move a giant rain tree that wasn’t within the purview of the board’s review. Despite this, following an hour-long presentation by Cymbal and his staff, the Planning & Zoning board unanimously voted 9-0 in favor of the project.
“We are not looking to create an average or ordinary community. We are looking to transform and transcend,” Cymbal said.
Supporters, including those on the Planning & Zoning board, seemed to have passionately believed the Marina Lofts will be the key to Fort Lauderdale’s transformation from a sleepy, dated community to a world-class city.
As resident Adriana Fasano, an Amherst College Fulbright Scholar, stated, “We cannot be the city that stifles innovation.”
The Bjarke Ingels-designed Marina Lofts plan to infuse a currently run-down stretch along Fort Lauderdale’s New River with a thriving, pedestrian friendly public space thereby attracting new residents into its development. Cymbal has promised to provide $10 million in public benefits, which include the development of a riverwalk, that will connect the surrounding community to its nearly 1000 affordable lofts, 10,000 square feet of restaurants and 25,000 square feet of retail space