New Hurricane Resistant Tower Slated for Ft. Lauderdale

aying to rest a slew of marketplace rumors, Crocker Partners and ING Clarion announced plans Monday for the $175 million, 30-story Atlantic Center mixed-use project in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The partners will put up what’s billed as the market’s first hurricane-resistant building with 400,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on Southeast Second Street just south of Broward Boulevard.

The building will rise on a 1.5-acre site adjacent to the city’s oldest office tower. One Financial Plaza is owned by Mainstreet One Financial Plaza Ltd., an affiliate of Mainstreet Capital Partners. Mainstreet Capital was formed by Paul Kilgallon in 1999.

The parcel, now a parking lot, is between One Financial and the Camden Las Olas apartment building.

A company affiliated with Crocker Partners paid $14.9 million for the site in September.

Atlantic Center is to have two generators capable of powering the building at full capacity even if the downtown electrical grid is knocked out, said Angelo Bianco, senior vice president of Crocker Partners.

The windows will be impact-resistant glass capable of withstanding hits from large objects. In testing, the glass must withstand two strikes by 2-by-4 lumber shot from a cannon.

Shortly before the Atlantic Center announcement, street talk indicated Mainstreet’s Kilgallon had approval power over what would be built on the adjacent land.

“That’s strong,” Kilgallon said Monday about his supposed approval rights for the new project. Crocker “submitted plans to us, but it was a neighborly thing.”

Rumors also contended Kilgallon would approve the project if Crocker and ING would buy One Financial. ING was under contract to buy the building before Hurricane Wilma walloped it. ING managing director Ed Rotter confirmed longstanding damage estimates of $15 million to $20 million.

But Crocker and ING aren’t buying the building, and repairs to the building’s curtain wall, or skin, will begin in February, Kilgallon said.

That could take nine months to be followed by a likely sale, he said.

“We could probably sell it now, but we’re not sure if we want to,” he said.

Bianco said Crocker is interested in investing in new and existing assets.

“One Financial is a lovely building, and we look at them all,” he said.

When told that sounded like he dodged the question, Bianco replied, “That sounds like what I can say at this time.”



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