Fort Lauderdale Approves Aviva Rio Vista Multi-Family Development

Jean Francois Roy and renderings of the Fort Lauderdale Project (OceanLand)

Jean Francois Roy plans to develop an eight-story apartment building in downtown Fort Lauderdale after he bulk-bought condominium owners on the property.

Roy, Founder and CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based Ocean Land Investments, will build Aviva Rio Vista, a 96-unit apartment building, on the south bank of the New River, west of the Federal Highway tunnel under the river.

The project will replace a three-story condominium after national developer Trammell Crow failed to build a 21-story tower in the same location.

Roy plans to begin demolishing the 30-unit Edgewater House Condominium at 501 Southeast 6th Avenue by the end of 2021 to clear the 0.8 acre site for Aviva Rio Vista after acquiring all of the condos later this month. The condominiums were built in 1980. The two-year construction phase of the project is scheduled to begin in spring 2022.

Fort Lauderdale City Council on Tuesday approved an application from the Edgewater House Condominium Association for planning permission to build Aviva Rio Vista.

“We have a sales contract for each of the units,” Roy told The Real Deal. “It closes June 30th.” He declined to disclose the purchase price for Edgewater’s condominiums, citing confidentiality agreements, but said the total cost of the Aviva development would be between $ 65 million and $ 70 million.

“We’re drawing it as a rental and may convert it to a condo during construction,” said Roy. “It’s an expensive project because the finishes are like boutique high-end condominiums.”

Most of the units will have two bedrooms and will be 1,200 square meters. In total, the units will range from 937 square feet with one bedroom to 2,100 square feet with three bedrooms.

Roy declined to discuss the likely range of monthly rents at Aviva. If he converted the project into a condominium, unit prices would be less than $ 1,000 per square foot, he said.

Aviva amenities include a rooftop swimming pool, spa and fitness center, and approximately 8,000 square feet of commercial space for a restaurant, cafe, and bookstore.

In 2018, the city commission rejected a proposal from multi-family real estate developer Trammell Crow Residential to convert the condominium site into a 21-story tower with 181 units called the Alexan-Tarpon River.

Aviva Rio Vista is about half the size of the rejected Trammell Crow Tower.

“What we saw first [from Trammel Crow] was not right for the neighborhood and the area, “said Commissioner Ben Sorenson at the meeting on Tuesday evening. “At the end of the day, I think we have a product that is great and that fits the region better.”

Roy said residents of Aviva Rio Vista are likely to be from the nearby Rio Vista neighborhood, a cluster of single-family homes across the highway from the Aviva development site.

He expects Aviva Rio Vista to appeal to buyers of other boutique apartment buildings he has developed on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Ocean Land Investments completed the 35-part AquaBlu and the eight-part AquaVue in 2018, the 20-part AquaMar in 2017, the 16-part AquaLuna in 2016 and the 22-part AquaVita in 2015.

Ocean Land’s portfolio also includes larger projects, including Trump Hollywood, a 200-unit tower that the developer completed in 2007 in partnership with the Related Group. Ocean Land also developed Ritz-Carlton Residences Singer Island, a 242-unit condominium with two 27-story towers in Riviera Beach.

The Aviva Rio Vista project is part of a broader real estate investment and development trend in the south of the New River area and central business district of Fort Lauderdale.

This month, billionaire developer Vlad Doronin’s OKO Group acquired three properties south of the New River and downtown for nearly $ 63 million.

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