Fort Partners Lands $169M to Build Condo Near Deadly Building Collapse in Surfside

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Fort Partners scored $169 million to build an oceanfront condominium just four blocks from the site of the deadly building collapse in Surfside, Fla., property records show.

Last April, the Town of Surfside approved plans for a condominium building, dubbed the Hillcrest by the Sea at 9165 Collins Avenue. The development will rise 11 stories and hold just 14 apartments as well as an underground 32-spot parking lot, despite the site being zoned for up to 58 units.

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Fort’s development has generated controversy given its proximity to the parcel that held the Champlain Towers South condo, which collapsed over a year ago, killing 98. A resident of the neighboring condo, Carlisle On the Ocean, is suing the Surfside government for its approval of the Hillcrest project, The Real Deal reported.

The Carlisle homeowner fears the demolition of the existing property, a 24-unit co-op built in 1949, and the forthcoming construction of the condo could damage her building, which was built in 1965 — mirroring an allegation the plaintiffs of the Champlain tragedy have levied.

The Champlain class sued the developers of the luxury condo next door, Eighty Seven Park, claiming its construction damaged the Champlain building. The parties resolved the claims as part of a billion-dollar settlement involving about two dozen defendants.  

Fort Partners bought out the Seaway Villas apartment building, paving the way for the redevelopment of the 0.5-acre site. To finance the acquisitions, it secured a $15 million loan from Synovus Bank in 2020. 

This April, the South Florida-based developer took a $30 million mortgage from Bank OZK, per records. Now Fort Partners has upped the loan by $124 million, bringing the financing’s total to $169 million. 

The Hillcrest development will rise next door to one of Fort’s other properties, the Four Season hotel and condo complex, which houses a Thomas Keller-helmed restaurant that nabbed a Michelin star earlier this year. The property counts billionaire developer Richard LeFrak as a resident. Just last month, a penthouse unit sold for $30 million.

Fort Partners, led by Nadim Ashi, owns all the Four Seasons-branded properties in South Florida, which include hotels in Palm Beach and Brickell as well as condo and resort property in Fort Lauderdale. 

A representative for Fort Partners declined to comment.

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com