The Stiles real estate firm is building a 357,000-square-foot office tower and a 341-unit rental in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Two law firms and a real estate company will take a combined 85,000 square feet in what will be the largest new office building delivered in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in more than a decade.
The law firms, Akerman and Berger Singerman, will join BBX Capital at The Main Las Olas, a mixed-use development on a city block bordering 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. and Southeast Third Avenue.
The Stiles real estate firm made the announcement during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
Aside from the 357,000-square-foot office building, the 2.7-acre project also will include a 341-unit apartment tower, restaurants and shops, including a grocery store. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020.
Stiles officials say the development further strengthens the downtown core, making it even more of a pedestrian-focused destination where people can live, work and play. Thousands of new condos and apartments have been built downtown over the past six years.
"We need to get people out of their cars," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said at the groundbreaking. "That's the answer to our traffic problem."
Stiles Chief Executive Ken Stiles added said the project is significant because it helps expand the central business district to west of Third Avenue. Kolter Group is building a new hotel on Las Olas across from Stiles' project. "Everybody got to Third Avenue and kind of stopped," he said. "This whole west side, in three years, is going to have a whole new feel."
Stiles is the most prolific office developer in Fort Lauderdale with a portfolio of more than 4 million square feet in the Las Olas corridor alone. The Fort Lauderdale-based firm also built the New River Center (now known as 200 East Las Olas), the Bank of America Plaza and Las Olas Centre.
Akerman and Berger Singerman both have been long-term tenants at Las Olas Centre, located at 350 Las Olas Blvd., according to CoStar data. Each firm leases roughly 20,000 square feet in that 18-story building.
CoStar News first reported in February that Stiles was working on a deal with Akerman in the new 23-story tower, the biggest in the city's downtown since Stiles built a 186,516-square-foot tower at 200 SW 1st Ave. for Autonation in 2007.
The Great Recession and financial crisis halted major office construction in Fort Lauderdale and across South Florida, but the lack of new space has pushed vacancy rates down in recent years, creating the need for another building, Stiles said. Architect Cooper Carry designed the building, which will feature "a contemporary curtain wall pointing skyward" with 12-foot floor to ceiling glass on the exterior, according to Stiles.
The building also will have 10-foot ceilings, a first for Class A office buildings in Fort Lauderdale, Stiles said. Amenities will include a fitness center, conference center and office lounge.
The 27-story apartment building will have studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 600 to 1,400 square feet. Rents have not yet been set. Amenities will include a fitness center, keyless entry, a concierge service, indoor dog run and pet grooming spa.
The development is four blocks from the Fort Lauderdale station of Brightline, the new commuter train service to Miami and West Palm Beach that opened earlier this year. Residents and office workers can take a trolley in front of the office building to the Brightline station.
Stiles Chairman Terry Stiles negotiated the deal early last year with Broward College to demolish the college's two old buildings and move students to another building on Las Olas that the college shares with Florida Atlantic University. Terry Stiles passed away in September 2017 after a three-year battle with cancer.