We mean it this time. The 45-story Icon Las Olas is really, truly going forward, starting in December or January.
The 272 units will be at the site of the former Hyde Park Market, ready for its first residents in late 2016 or early 2017.
Of course, for a project that had its original roots in 1999, there have been changes along the way. While originally intended to open as a condo, it may ultimately become high-end rental apartments. Depending on market conditions, Related Group may convert them to condos at a future point.
Fort Lauderdale had approved the project way back in December 2005, even when the housing boom was ending. The next door historical Stranahan House supporters weren't ready to accept the project as a neighbor, pursuing contrarian legal action to convert the site to a national park. But they didn't get to cover much ground; the case to convert was dismissed by an appeals court in 2011, and the project stalled during the housing market collapse.
When prices bottomed out in 2012, the market took a turn back toward increased construction. And Icon is now benefitting from the latest building boom. And from the conditions in Miami.
The Miami-Dade market is starting to get tapped out," said Peter Zalewski, head of CondoVultures consulting firm. "When Related goes [into Fort Lauderdale], other developers realize the game is on. Related also announced plans to turn the former Ireland's Inn on Fort Lauderale beach into more condos.
So the market has opened the path back to development. Are the community struggles (a.k.a. the tug-of-war between Stranahan and Icon) laid to rest, too?
The waters ahead look calm. The Sun Sentinel reports a response from Leo Hansen, president of the Stranahan board: "any animosity from the long legal battle has disappeared." Old and new can live together peacefully, right? Hansen believes so, saying that "our goal is to be good neighbors."
Let's see if future neighbors can truly call this long-term project home.