A Russian billionaire with an eye for high-end developments in major cities just dropped $63 million to snap up Fort Lauderdale properties near the Broward courthouse and school district headquarters.
The OKO Group, by Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin, last week finished the purchase of 6.7 acres between Southeast Sixth and Seventh streets, bound by Federal Highway to the east, Southeast Fourth Avenue to the west.
The property is now home to a slew of small business and attorneys’ offices, a satellite of the Broward Public Defender’s Office, insurance agencies and parking lots.
Last year a different developer won approval for a 34-story luxury apartment building for seniors on part of the same property.
A spokeswoman for the OKO Group was vague about Doronin’s development plans for the area, but the developer is not known for thinking small. His other projects include the 57-story Missoni Baia condo in Miami, the 30 Brickell Class A office tower, and Aman Resorts in New York and Miami Beach.
“The acquisition of this 6.7 acre site marks OKO Group’s entrance into the downtown Fort Lauderdale market, which benefits from strong demographics, an easily accessible location in proximity to many of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, and an urban grid which lends itself to a pedestrian-oriented development,” spokeswoman Allie Schwartz Grant said in an email. She said the developer “looks forward to working with the City of Fort Lauderdale to finalize plans for an exceptional development that will help to further transform the downtown district while adding significant amenities for nearby residents and businesses.”
Businesses already on the site know that change is coming, but it’s not clear how soon. Attorney Stephen Melnick said his lease doesn’t run out for another year and a half. Efforts to reach commissioners and Mayor Dean Trantalis were unsuccessful.
Doronin, a flashy developer of high-end properties and office complexes, has been called Russia’s answer to Donald Trump and was labeled one of the top 20 power players in New York Real Estate in 2015.