One of the truths about life in South Florida is that condo boards are pretty much hellholes of infighting and dysfunction. Put a dozen or so people in the room and ask them to agree on anything — then just see what happens. That's what makes the continuing story of the Edgewater House interesting. Back in 2005, New Times ran a piece on how the collective owners of the downtown Fort Lauderdale condo property, located right on the riverfront, had banded together to push back against developers waving around money, trying to scoop up the choice real estate.
Now, ten years later, the neighborhood around the New River has only blown up even more — making Edgewater House really the last undeveloped parcel in Fort Lauderdale's hottest real estate market. Edgewater's owners — 21 owners for 30 units — have now changed their minds.
"I've really been kind of amazed how people have gotten along. Usually, condo boards are like Peyton Place," explains Mark Albin, an owner from New York City. "Since the Icon got approved, there has been renewed interest, and I think that people that said 'I'm going to leave in a pine box' now are like, 'Wow, maybe this is the best opportunity.'"
You can understand why the holdouts are now singing a different tune. As Albin mentioned, the Edgewater is right across the river from the Icon, the 272-unit, 42-story sleek condo high-rise sprouting up now on Las Olas. That building shares the riverbank with the Stranahan House. The Edgewater also sits right on a stop on the water taxi.
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But the real value of the building, which dates from the 1960s, is the zoning potential. The parcel — just under an acre — sits in the Downtown Development District, which means that if someone buys the property and knocks it down, they might be able to build up and up. "Our building is the last [plot] that can be built about 39 stories," Albin says. Thanks to its placement, any high-rise built on the Edgewater would also have uninterrupted views of the water — which in Florida real estate terms is like landing the star in Super Mario Brothers.
The 2015 Fort Lauderdale market was enough to persuade the 21 owners to get on the same page and sell — again, another feather in the cap. In Florida, all the owners have to sign off for a sale. But instead of linking up with a realtor, the Edgewater folks have decided to market and sell the property on their own. "Kind of revolutionary type of thing," says Albin.
The property is currently up on LoopNet. Asking price: $15.985 million. "Since we started advertising, we've had 2,000 visual contacts on LoopNet, 53 emails, and three showings," boasts Tony Esposito, another Edgewater owner who is quarterbacking the sale. He hopes to see a sale happen by the end of the year. "It's a long process."
So are Edgewater's residents sad to see their building — the last holdover of Old School Fort Lauderdale — go? "I think there's one or two people that have a twinge of sadness," Albin says. "We were the last of the Mohicans."