Riva leads the charge as Fort Lauderdale fills the void left in luxury by Miami’s abundance of development.
By Peter B. Laird
As waterfront property in the Magic City becomes increasingly scarce, more and more luxury-residential developers are shifting their sights north to Broward County and beyond, where land is more affordable and redevelopment opportunities abound.
Take Fort Lauderdale Beach — where funky beachfront motels are giving way to condo-hotel developments bearing the flags of some of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands, including The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. Needless to say, they’re catering to a very different crowd than the one that packed the Elbo Room in the 1980s.
The beach isn’t the only part of Fort Lauderdale that’s going upscale, however. The city, itself, is attracting huge interest from developers who see an untapped market for luxury-waterfront development. Known as “The Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is laced with hundreds of miles of waterways that offer ample opportunities for life on the water.
“Fort Lauderdale may not have the glitz and glamour that Miami does, but the city is becoming more sophisticated by the day,” says Bradley Deckelbaum, a fourth-generation developer who grew up in the area and is now a principal at Premier Developers. “It has great shopping, dining, arts and entertainment, and it’s also a world-class boating center that attracts high, net-worth individuals from around the globe.”
Forbes magazine recently ranked Fort Lauderdale eighth on its list of “Best Buy Cities” because it has so much to offer. Yet, property values here haven’t hit the stratosphere as they have further south, where a Miami Beach penthouse recently sold for $60 million.
ELEGANCE ON THE RIVER
One of the prettiest waterways in Fort Lauderdale is the serene Middle River, which meanders southward through quiet residential neighborhoods before connecting with the Intracoastal Waterway. Here on the river’s west bank is where Deckelbaum chose to build Riva, the area’s first luxury-residential development. The $150-million project, with a sleek, contemporary design by Jiro Yates of Fort Lauderdale-based FSMY Architects and Planners, broke ground in August 2015 and is slated for completion during winter 2016.
A 15-story tower with just 100 residences, Riva offers the best of both worlds — a tranquil waterfront lifestyle, paired with a prime location in the heart of the city — that places residents just minutes from Fort Lauderdale’s best restaurants, shops, galleries, museums, theaters, parks, and of course, its world-famous beach.
“I challenged our architect to design a building with fewer larger residences, and with more space for amenities,” Deckelbaum says. “And rather than go tall, I wanted a horizontal design that takes full advantage of Riva’s waterfront site.”
Riva’s curvilinear design follows the gentle curve of the river along 400 feet of shoreline, offering panoramic, unobstructed views to the east and west. The tower sits on its own private, lushly landscaped riverfront park with an owners’ promenade overlooking the river and picturesque George English Park just beyond.
The River Club will likely be one of Riva’s most popular amenities. Occupying nearly all of the building’s fourth and fifth floors, it features a waterfront fitness center, Borghese spa, expansive terraces, a 65-foot lap pool, fully furnished cabanas, and the unique “Cucina” — a fully equipped kitchen and dining room where residents can entertain and cook for up to 30 guests or have their own private chef prepare a five-star meal.
In addition, a private watersports center offers boat slips for residents, storage for their kayaks and paddleboards, and a private water taxi that will ferry them to tennis across the river, shopping at The Galleria, or dinner on Las Olas.
Each residence at Riva is designed to complement both location and lifestyle. Open, airy floor plans offer up to 2,500 square feet of indoor living area for a two-bedroom unit to more than 3,500 square feet for three bedrooms — with prices ranging from $675,000 to $1.6 million. Interior living space seems even larger, thanks to nine-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass throughout, and a 30-foot-wide great room with multiple seating areas and dining room. Spacious master suites feature large walk-in closets and sleek, polished stone and glass “wet room” baths.
Riva’s open-island kitchens come with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, including gas cooktops, plus stone countertops and imported Italian-design cabinetry. And because this is South Florida, after all, where people can enjoy outdoor living year-round, each residence opens onto an exceptionally large and livable outdoor terrace featuring a summer kitchen with built-in grill and counter. With their gorgeous views, these terraces are a natural extension of indoor living areas and the perfect places for entertaining.
DOUBLE THE LUXURY
Taking Riva to the next level, entirely, are its eight penthouse units on the building’s top two floors. Priced from $2.65 million, these grand residences double up on luxury with two floors, two terraces, two horizons, and a private two-car garage. Indoor-outdoor living space ranges from 5,000 to more than 7,000 square feet, with up to four bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths. Each residence boasts oversized sunrise and sunset terraces, rooftop spa with ocean moonlight views, private elevator foyer, private elevator between the two floors, and a private boat slip.
The most impressive unit at Riva, however, is the River Loft. Occupying the tower’s entire second and third floors and curving above 250 feet of waterfront, this $5.25-million residence offers the ultimate privacy and more than 12,000 square feet of living space with four bedrooms, study/guest room, and four-and-a-half baths. Extending 150 feet from the custom kitchen all the way to the two-story bedroom wing are 16-foot-high walls of glass, providing panoramic vistas of the Middle River and George English Park.
Access to the River Loft is provided by two private elevators — one from the lobby, the other from a secure, two-car garage — while a third interior elevator connects the residence’s two levels. Outside, the River Loft offers more than 2,700 square feet of terraces, including an expansive 83-foot-long terrace overlooking the river, an upper-level terrace off one of the three upstairs bedrooms, and a private-pool terrace with spiral staircase leading down to the river walk and the owner’s own 35-foot boat slip.
Decklebaum, who “discovered” Riva’s site — while paddle boarding along the Middle River and plans on living there himself — calls the River Loft the most unique waterfront residence in all of Fort Lauderdale. “There’s nothing on the water like it, anywhere,” he says. “Like Riva itself, the River Loft is truly a one-of-a-kind residence.”
For sales inquires, contact Silvio Sulichin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (305) 934-9742.