Marina Lofts Wins Approval; Rain Tree Will Be Moved

Marina Lofts 3.jpg

Sorry, Egypt. The "eyes of the world [were] on Fort Lauderdale" last night.

At least, that's what Marina Lofts developer Asi Cymbal said without the slightest hint of irony before a packed house at a Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting Wednesday. The commission, voting on the relocation of a century-old African rain tree and on a massive Marina Lofts apartment complex designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels on the south side of New River, approved both measures: the tree move with a 3-1 vote and the larger project unanimously.

The meeting, which ran later than 3 a.m., was a marathon of contentious back-and-forth. It started with a presentation by Cymbal Development's team of yuppies, followed by statements from the public.

See also:
-- Five Reasons Marina Lofts Should Be Nixed

Supporters listed off the city's future (buzz phrase: "Fast-forward Fort Lauderdale"), "affordable luxury" apartments, and "density" as selling points and outnumbered opponents, who worried about congestion, traffic, sustainability, and the life of the rain tree.

Ingels was one of the first to speak. Boasting heartthrob good looks and a natural charisma, he spoke about fusing maritime culture and urban life and bringing "life and activity" to Riverwalk. He also made a weird comment about the building resembling the silhouette of a woman, but for the most part he was charming and just looked damned happy to be the star of the show.

The arborists comprised the most educational and tolerable component of the presentation. They spoke convincingly about the ability to move the tree safely, with Paul Cox, vice president of one of the country's most reputable tree moving companies, reciting his experiences moving large trees in South America, Israel, and North America. When someone on the commission asked Cox his success rate "out of a hundred," he said "98" and pointed out that even though it's counterintuitive, smaller trees proved more problematic than large ones.

Cymbal has also promised a $1 million bond to ensure that nothing happens to the tree during its relocation.

However, that's still too much risk for some. Fred Carlson, who sits on the board of directors of the Central Beach Alliance, called Cymbal's stated commitment to the tree a "specious stunt."

"The million-dollar bond as a way to buttress survivability is a joke because it may take a year or two before it dies," he said. Carlson came to speak on an earlier item on the agenda, however, and left just as the presentation kicked off. "I can't stomach this," he said.

In turn, many opponents begrudged the project's inflexibility: Why can't this world-renowned architect redesign with the rain tree, which reportedly requires 200,000 gallons of water daily, in mind?

A few Lofts supporters didn't do the development any favors either. One said rather insensitively, "We are going to be the Mecca of Southeast Florida!"


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39 comments
WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

"He could've just [uprooted] it and paid a fine." 

So he's a good guy for not doing what he's supposed to not do?  It doesn't work that way.  You don't get credit for not breaking the rules.  You're not supposed to break the rules.  I didn't beat my wife last night.  Do I deserve praise for that?  What a great guy I am!  If anyone ever questions anything I do, I'm just gonna say, "Well, I could've just beat my wife."  Then they will support whatever I'm doing.  Solid logic.

WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

Historically, people move to a place where they can make a good living.  And usually people need a good job in order to make a good living.  So smart people go where they can find a good job.  Once they have a good job, they can start the good living.  And it's a proven fact, I promise, that the good living means buying stuff.  So those that are making a good living start buying stuff.  But when they buy stuff, it means someone else has to sell them stuff.  Some people are great at selling stuff.  And the people who are great at selling stuff usually make a good living too.  The pattern continues until everyone is making such a good living that they all can afford to live in a big fancy high-rise condo downtown by the river.  Then they build a big fancy high-rise downtown by the river.  Then, when the condo is complete, there are people that can afford to live there.  So historically, you start with the good jobs, and end with the fancy high-rise condos downtown by the river.

But nowadays people seem convinced that the best place to start making a good living is to go where there is a fancy high-rise condo downtown by the river.  Then, once all the people move there, they will start buying stuff with the money that they never got from their not-job.  But when they start buying stuff with their not-money, it means someone else has to not-sell them stuff.  Some people are great at not-selling stuff.  Especially when they're selling it for not-money.  The pattern continues until everyone is making a not-good living.  So nowadays, you start with a fancy high-rise condo downtown by the river, and end with a not-job.

Also - and maybe I'm superstitious - but I think it's a bad sign that the guy's name is Assy Symbol (check spelling).  Smells funny.

Guest
Guest

I support this project. It will draw educated, high income, young people to the city -- and hopefully good, high paying white collar jobs will follow. Yes, this means that Fort Lauderdale is growing and transforming. That's a good thing. I don't care if I'm a "yuppie." I'd rather have the tax base, jobs, education, and cultural trappings of a newer "yuppie" crowd than the traditional Fort Lauderdale beach bums. I'd like to see Fort Lauderdale continue to grow as a real city. Move the tree. Who cares?!

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

the TREE is just a distraction pleasantly promoted by the developer who is eventually going to CASH OUT cha-ching on this property

duped investors in mortgage pools the bankers have gotten triple-a rated will once again be caught holding the bag as the developer, the bankers and investment advisors ALL earn fees and charges and commissions and other revenues even though scam flippers are the initial "buyers" who will ultimatly default and walk away via jingle mail

on occasion a real occupying owner will buy as a real resident to be financed to the hilt and ultimately suffer the write down and be under water with the rest of the unoccupied units owned by those duped investor pools

and chazzam yet another mostly unoccupied empty high rise with unsellable units in perpetual limbo as unrentable hence uninhabitable - and the BANKs will shift gears and make more commissions and fees and charges on the foreclosure = all paid by duped "investors" of the CDOs and mortgage-paper tranches (most of which do not even know where the building is!)

rvergez
rvergez

I want to comment but am distracted by the Mother-Daughter escort Team, Nudie Pic, and Fort Lauderdale Bikini Contest links to the right bottom of the page. Oh and I failed to mention the creepy libido energy guy with the weight at both sides of my screen. What tree?

Rj Petrucci
Rj Petrucci

The tree will live --- the mistake is all the lefty fools made the issue about the tree - and not about how the building is too big for the location (luckily they cut 100 units - must have been something they figured out benefited them)

Alan Williams
Alan Williams

Of cource it did, money wins everytime. Get the GPS #s of the tree so the future generations will know where it was before it was killed.

chrisFTL
chrisFTL

Fairchild Gardens is THE preeminent nonprofit horticultural organization in South Florida. They are known to be the preeminent resource on our tropical landscapes in South Florida.  They have strongly argued that moving the tree is fairly low risk. Why do you people keep ignoring that? I love that damn tree and I also want it preserved. And it will be.  

chrisFTL
chrisFTL

I totally resent the tone of this article.  Let me be very clear. I'm an 8 year-long homeowner in FTL and a huge project supporter. To say the project is just "carpetbaggers" is so off base. Many of my "yuppie" - your word not mine- friends also are supporters. The idea that the "People" of Fort Lauderdale don't want this project is baloney.  I'm just brainstorming here, but maybe there's a tendancy of people who appreciate great architecture (this project is universally loved by architecture critics and magazines) to also appear more "yuppie".  Maybe we listen to NPR more than the average Margaritaville character I saw there last night that represented the no-vote supporters.  Maybe we value appearances more and don't go to city council meetings in tank tops.  Fine.  But I am totally supportive of a diverse city with all of us coexisting in it.  Seriously. But for you and the posters to somehow claim that those of us who appear more affluent and who support the project must be carpetbaggers or stooges is just ridiculous.  The project is just breathtaking- so says me, so says the New York Times, so says the folks from Fairchild Gardens.  Get over it. 

yachtiegirl
yachtiegirl

it was an unfortunate joke and they sold out to not even the highest bidder. It is a shame that they really do not care about the history, the tree or the people it is  par for the course these days.  It is as usual ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! The city commission are true sell outs and all we can do is try to get them out in the future. Poor Fort Lauderdale... pays the price with one more UGLY complex that they try to convince us is affordable and the big one iconic (that is laugh). Sleep well Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners and Mr. Cymbal just wait in a few years what this  turns out to be.... an eye sore of a building and a 100+ year old Rain Tree is dead just down the street...

falynrose
falynrose

If all happens according to proposed plans, I think the Marina Lofts will be great for the city. Fort Lauderdale does need to "move forward." Maybe it's not the ideal for everyone, but at least someone has stepped up to the plate and put some thought and creativity into how we can harness all the potential our city really has -- and maybe it will inspire more to do the same. Those who think the design is ugly are entitled to their opinions, but international consensus says otherwise. As a 20-something Broward-to-Miami commuter in the creative field, something like this appeals a lot to me. Why don't we just keep an open mind and let in a little change? 

FatHand
FatHand

I'm still not fully sure I understand why everybody is so worked up over that tree. I mean, it's a nice looking tree and it's 80 something years old, which is old, but not all that old, right? That cypress tree that girl burned down while smoking meth in Seminole County or wherever was 3,500 years old. And they are actually moving this tree as opposed to torching it, which sounds crazy to me, but if it works that's awesome. I can understand opposing this development for a whole host of reasons (that I'm not sure I agree with), but I'm just not feeling the 80 year old tree.

Also, "the eyes of the world are on Fort Lauderdale" is hilarious.

LynneHelm
LynneHelm

Marina Lofts' rental boxes will rob the neighborhood of its potential for maximizing history under shade of a raintree.

Last night's myopic vote was a snub to the 1987 city commission's vote to protect its champion raintree. Somewhere along the line, this parcel should have been scooped up for development as restaurant/retail/city park green space. S

Still to come: 

The congested mess from hundreds of tenant vehicles in need of parking where inadequate space has been allocated because fools on staff think everyone will depend on shoe leather on bikes . 

Repositioning of big, ugly FPL poles and wiring to a location that will either be an eyesore to condo neighbors or a possible health hazard to Loft tenants.  

Bets on just how "affordable" these rental cubes will be once the developer is forced to deliver on all his promises -- if indeed the city bothers to enforce conditions. 

Yanking up of the raintree by its roots so it can be plunked down elsewhere to make room for an undersized parking garage. Will it survive? Maybe. Maybe not. Seemingly only 5,000 petitioners care ...

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

The whole thing is a boondoggle.  There is a glut of empty places to live, why would anyone add to that?  Whole highrises that already exist that are, for the most part, empty.  Even on my street, though admittedly is not the most desirable of neighborhoods, there are a ton of houses for sale and rent.  So why are they going to add yet more condos when they just are not needed?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

the whole project is a scam and the buyers will be condo-flippers with nothing or little down and are prepared to jingle-mail the keys in once they walk away from their obligation AFTER living for free for two or three years while the foreclosure process drags on

the financing is available because the bankers won't hold the paper for very long only to cha-ching cash in on points and fees and commissions and will sell it to dupe investors as CDOs in various tranches and again the advisors will cha-ching in on fees and commissions

it's why you see on big high rise luxury project after another - to dupe investors who pay fees and commissions to brokers and dealers and bankers and advisors just to get shafted by holding non-performing mortgage paper investments

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

guest, come downtown in the evenings and count the lights on in the high rise luxury condos and see for yourself how many empty units there are - plus add in those that are occupied but in foreclosure - and you will realize the building is a scam as i described eleswhere here

YES some unwittingly are owner occupied units who are probably UNDERwater as the only seller that gets a premium price is the developer on the initial sale - after that it's all downhill

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

it is the ultimate scam to screw outsiders a/k/a TOURISTs only this scam requires the assistance of greedy investment advisors to sell to the dupes they call "clients" and funding by banks who handle the financing by those investors and arrange to have the initial investment grade a quality rated paper selling to condo-flippers they call "buyers" who will walk away before closing

the thing of it is they (the advisors and bankers) have managed to lobby for legislation limiting their exposure on forclosures of property taxes and HOA dues and assessments - so THE more high rises the MORE BROKE the city of ft lauderdale becomes !

ft lauderdale does not recover its required expenditures in infastructure as IMPACT FEEs are reduced as inducements and subsequent taxes become uncollectable from foreclosures in perpetual limbo (neither the flippers who have sent in the keys and vanished nor the banks who have NOT TAKEN LEGAL TITLE)

only in america do luxury high rises go empty while banks and advisors thrive and investors (YOU AND ME IN OUR RETIREMENT PLANs) and municipalities financially wilt from write-downs and uncollectable write-offs and flippers continue to flip and junk continues to be rated triple-A secured

WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

@chrisFTLChrisFTL, you're obviously angry about being called a yuppie.  Take some time to calm down, grow up, and get over it.  Then, when you're thinking more rationally, come back and post.  Because you're not making any sense right now.

SaltyEggs
SaltyEggs

@chrisFTL Yes, classism and references to Mecca, so cerebral. They really sound like NPR types.

WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

@falynroseCan someone explain how adding another empty sky-rise condo building downtown will move the city forward?  In what way did the last dozen sky-rise condos that went up (most of which seem fairly vacant now) move this city forward?  This project looks like a spade to me.  And I've seen those before.  They look like Spades.  And this spade comes with a turd hanging from it.

SaltyEggs
SaltyEggs

@FatHand Yea, the tree seems in really good, capable hands, but, I don't know, they could've budged and worked around the tree. I agree, though, that it's not the most pressing issue. 

Also, suck it, Egypt!

chrisFTL
chrisFTL

@smdrpepper Please explain your credentials to us so we can understand why you are the authority on market demand for higher end rentals.  And please include data supporting your point.  Let me help you:  Vacancy rates are sub 5%, and rents rose 3.7% in FTL last year.   

Additionally, from a trend perspective, folks are looking to move back towards central business districts where they can walk for entertainment and nightlife.  That said, let us know supporting data for your statements please

funchey1
funchey1 moderator editor

@chrisFTL @falynrose And Falyn works at New Times!!! I'm disowning her!  JK - she is going to write a defense of this architecture for us in an upcoming column... stay tuned!


WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

@chrisFTL"rents rose 3.7% in FTL last year."  Is that a good thing?  It might seem to help the rent collectors.  But I have a hard time seeing it helping the rent payers.  What do you think?  Also - Does your vacancy rate data refer strictly to new high-rise condos built in the past few years?  Because those buildings do appear conspicuously empty.  Seems off topic to include all the housing in the whole city in your data when the discussion is mainly about high-rises.

funchey1
funchey1 moderator editor

@chrisFTL @smdrpepper But Chris, also waiting for your supporting data where all these magical people are going to come from to fill up these apts and what they will be vacating in order to move into here.


chrisFTL
chrisFTL

@SaltyEggs @chrisFTL You misunderstand my post. I am referring to the posters, not to the article.  read the comments below mine. they ignore any feedback about the tree being safely moved. My post is in response to them, not the article. I'm complaining that other posters are denying the tree can be moved safely. read the posts below mine please

funchey1
funchey1 moderator editor

@chrisFTL @funchey1 @smdrpepper Still wondering where all these migrating young people are going to work. Do the downtown banks and law firms have a glut of positions available? Let me know! If that's the case I would love to write a story about it. 

WwwwEEEE...
WwwwEEEE...

@chrisFTL @funchey1 @smdrpepper It's nice that it feels good to you.  And the facts should apologize for being so negative.  High unemployment, stagnant wages, and a rising cost of living for most of the population is fine as long as it's not that way for the "entire population".  All that counts is that a few of us keep doing well and feeling good about FTL.  After all, it feels better to be rich when everyone else is poor.  Right?

chrisFTL
chrisFTL

@funchey1 @chrisFTL @smdrpepper although i'm totally unqualified to speculate, i believe that some of the buildings being launched as rentals will later go condo.  But who's to say.  Related is behind two of the big new projects, and my impression of them is they're not normally a big rental company, more focused on condos.  I think at the end of the day the next few years will be interesting. I actually feel pretty good about FTL these days, the city feels clean and prosperous, in spite of the nattering nabobs of negativism that claim the "entire population" is just treading water.    I hope they get to work on  this project soon - i.e. no lawsuits to block the commencement of the project- and we can see what unfolds.  


chrisFTL
chrisFTL

@funchey1 @chrisFTL @smdrpepper you ask a great question, and i'm no demographer.  but let me turn that around to you as a reporter - what about the numerous upscale rental buildings being built in Flagler Village right now.. along Federal Highway? the number of apartmetns in those complexes is roughly equal to this one, and rents in all those new buidlings are in excess of $1k per month.  We are talking about a building (this one) that will house AT completion (remember 3 phases) roughly 1,000 people (apts are small, and 880 units or whatever).  At the end of the day that's not a lot of people.  There will certainly be migration from young people currently paying similar prices for apts outside the CBD- fancy complexes in Davie and Plantation, Weston, and there is currently net migration in to FL again.  How about doing an article about all the developments opening/ already open in flagler village- again fancyish complexes with kitchesn with granite, pools, ,etc. How are THEY doing? whats THEIR absorbtion rate?  

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