By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
The plans for the 100 Las Olas building in downtown Fort Lauderdale have a lot of parts you might call ambitious. They include a hotel, condos and a massive restaurant on the ground floor. And at 46 stories, the building will stand as the tallest north of Miami and south of Atlanta.
There was just one thing that made all of this difficult, recalls Ed Jahn, vice president for the developer, Kolter Urban.
“It’s on basically a postage stamp of land,” Jahn says. “We had a lot of goals and not a lot of property.”
When 100 Las Olas opens early next year it will be among the most large-scale construction projects in recent memory in Broward, perhaps ever. It’s a building that will top the skyline, with an aim of becoming a downtown anchor.
When Kolter Urban settled on the hotel-condominium combination, it had to rethink how it worked on projects, Jahn says. Typically Kolter has separate divisions working on condos and hotels. “People who are rarely in a room together all of a sudden had to be working together every day,” Jahn says.
They tapped SB Architects to design the project, and the firm assigned Pinar Harris and Stefano Falbo to work on the design. They are part of a team that’s something of a rarity in the construction world: women in charge of many parts of the project. In addition to the architects, Carrie Tolman of Simeone Deary is handling design, Diana Manning Yankee of KAST Construction is the senior project manager, Peggy Olin of OneWorld Properties is sales director and Shannon Lee from Kolter Urban is operations manager.
Among the project’s biggest challenges was that it would be somehow legally split into two entities, a condominium and a hotel. On paper, the two portions of the buildings operate from separate loan payments, overseen by different legal entities, and yet they will also work in tandem.
Rather than simply designing a building that looked identical from top to bottom, SB Architects created what looks like two separate pieces for the building. One piece starts with a ground floor of windows designed to hold an 8,500-square-foot restaurant. The restaurant will be part of a 15-story structure that occupies most of the land, with ocean-like curves running along the sides. That section of the building will hold the 238-room hotel, operated under the Hyatt Centric brand.
From the 16th floor up, 160 feet off Las Olas, the second piece will hold the 113 residences. The design on this section of the building features gentle curves at the corners and dramatic vertical lines running up the centers of each side. At the top will be Fort Lauderdale’s tallest two-story penthouse, a 5,154-square-foot space that will include four bedrooms, four and a half baths, and a den, spread between the 45th and 46th floors. Penthouse 4603, as it will be called, is being marketed for $5,999,000.
That penthouse will reach to the top of the building, 499-plus feet up, just 10 inches shy of the 500-foot ceiling allowed in the city. That height puts 100 Las Olas well above the previous tallest building in town, Icon Las Olas, which stands at 455 feet.
The Hyatt Centric will be the first hotel to open on Las Olas in decades, since the Champ Carr Hotel opened in 1936 and later became the Riverside Hotel. The Hyatt property at 100 Las Olas will have its own pool deck above the parking garage section of the building, and residents of the condominiums will have access to some hotel amenities. Above the hotel, the condominiums will have access to resident-only areas that include an outdoor plaza, formal seating areas, fitness center, news café with beverages, a catered club room and a resort-style pool.
Having a restaurant and hotel downstairs from your home provides a convenience for residents, especially when guests come to town, Jahn says. “Imagine for the holidays you have all of your friends and family staying just a few floors down,” he says. “One of the tag lines we use is that downtown is downstairs.”
The spot 100 Las Olas occupies is just north of the 42-story Las Olas River House building. The River House was built in 2004 with anticipation of a building coming in next door, and for more than a decade now, a multi-floor section on the north side of the River House has been a flat, windowless shape with anticipation of a neighbor. Now it’ll be occupied by the tallest building in the city, and Jahn says that’s a sign of what’s still to come.
“We feel like we are on the beginning stages of the upturn in Fort Lauderdale,” he says.
100 Las Olas
The sales center operates seven days a week from a space next door, at 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., 954-800-6263, onehundredlasolas.com.