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Fort Lauderdale approves condo by Motwani near the beach


Merrimac Ventures, led by President and CEO Dev Motwani, secured unanimous approval from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission on Feb. 19 for a boutique condo project a block from the beach.

The 21-unit building would rise 11 stories at 520 and 530 N. Birch Road. Motwani said condos in the luxury project would be priced from $1.25 million to $2.75 million, with penthouse prices exceeding $5 million.

He promised that the amenity levels, including a pool deck, rooftop deck, gym, spa, club room and theater, would be the same quality as much larger buildings in Fort Lauderdale.

“When you go to the pool, do you like seeing other people or do you like to have it so quiet that you can read a book?” Motwani said. “You can still get all the amenities but have fewer people to share them with.”

Motwani said most of the condos would range from 2,000 to 3,400 square feet, plus there would be three penthouses ranging from 4,000 to 5,500 square feet. The 193,765-square-foot building was designed by Adache Group Architects. It would have 48 parking spaces.

Motwani has yet to launch condo sales or hire a brokerage to represent his project. The issue is timing.

Motwani co-developed the Gale Residences Fort Lauderdale Beach and is co-developing the Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale that’s currently under construction, projects that he said would elevate the neighborhood. Motwani said his Birch Road project would complete with other boutique buildings, not 100 unit-plus condos. In the boutique category, Adagio, 321 at Water’s Edge, and the Wave on Bayshore are currently under construction with units still available for sale, Motwani noted.

Motwani said he’ll probably wait for more units to sell in those boutique buildings before launching sales on Birch Road.

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“We think there is a strong market for boutique buildings but it’s hard for us to compete for buyers with buildings under construction because buyers often want something they can move into sooner,” Motwani said. “We will be targeted end users and second home buyers.”

The 0.68-acre site currently has a 14-room hotel and a vacant lot.