OKO Group, an active real estate developer in the Miami area, is building its first project in Broward County, a luxury apartment tower near the New River and just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale. OKO is developing the 34-story, 251-unit apartment building, called One River, together with its London-based joint venture partner, Cain International.
Led by developer Vladislav Doronin, OKO Group made headlines three years ago when it paid nearly $63 million for three city blocks just south of downtown and the New River to build One River. The 6.7-acre site is bordered on the north by SE Sixth Street, on the south by SE Seventh Street, on the west by SE Fourth Avenue and on the east by Federal Highway. One of the sellers who owned a piece of the site was local developer Dev Motwani, who had planned to develop an apartment building at 629 SE Fifth Avenue at the same height (34 stories) and with the same number of apartments (51) as One River.
One River apartments will range in size from 607 square feet to 1,511 square feet. A rooftop pool deck will span 13,000 square feet, complete with downtown and ocean views. Other amenities will include a spa, media room, barbecue terrace, lounge room, and a private kitchen and dining room, as well as 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
Construction of One River is underway and scheduled for completion in 2026. The development team secured $97.2 million in financing from Bank OZK and JVP Management to help fund construction of the tower. Dorsky + Yue International of Fort Lauderdale is the architect of record for One River, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture served as the design consultant.
OKO’s portfolio of developments together with Cain also includes two bayfront condo towers in Miami’s Brickell and Edgewater areas. Perhaps the most remarkable development by OKO and Cain International is 830 Brickell, a 57-story office building where all 640,000 square feet of space was pre-leased about a year before construction was scheduled to finish – despite the lingering prevalence of remote workers and empty offices since the COVID-19 pandemic subsided.
A drought in the development of office space in the Brickell Avenue corridor was a factor in the speedy success of 830 Brickell, the first new office building in the area in more than 10 years.
In Fort Lauderdale’s rental apartment market, OKO and Cain will face no shortage of competitors. Their One River development will add to a torrent of multifamily residential development in and around downtown as the downtown population expands. According to the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, the downtown area’s population has grown by more than 40 percent over the last ten years to about 21,000 residents.
Anticipating further growth in rental demand, “developers have ramped up apartment construction,” brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap said in a September 2023 research report on rental housing in Broward County. “Central Fort Lauderdale is slated to receive the bulk of near-term completions.”
The Greater Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area is poised for more population growth and greater rental housing demand, according to the Marcus & Millichap report. “The metro’s sizable work force, relatively lower business costs, and international presence will continue to act as attractants for corporate relocations and in-migration,” the brokerage firm reported. “The local population is expected to rise by nearly 90,000 residents over the next five years.” But in the interim, the metropolitan area’s rental vacancy rate “is expected to remain elevated in the near-term, as the metro is currently undergoing a historic supply wave.”
The Fort Lauderdale market is experiencing “an increase in [rental] vacancies, which currently stand at 6.6 percent, due to slowing demand, a robust supply pipeline, and shifting economic conditions. However, Fort Lauderdale continues to perform well in comparison to other Florida markets,” Matthews Real Estate Investment Services said in a research report posted November 1. “There are currently 10,434 units under construction, with 70 percent of the units set to deliver as Class A [properties].”
One distinguishing feature of One River may be what OKO and Cain choose to build next to the 34-story apartment building. The developers are working on a still-evolving plan to put a mixed-use development on their three-block site alongside the apartments, a spokeswoman for OKO said.
While working on One River in Fort Lauderdale, OKO has tended to its Miami-area projects, including Missoni Baia and Una Residences. About 99 percent of the units were presold before the construction of Missoni Baia, a 57-story condo in Miami’s Edgewater area, was completed in early 2024.
By late 2023, preconstruction buyers had grabbed about 90 percent of the units at Una Residences, a 47-story condo under construction in the Brickell area. One buyer paid $17.75 million for a triplex penthouse at Una, according to Mansion Global, a real estate news site affiliated with the Wall Street Journal, and OKO and Cain said the $2,506 sale price per square foot set a record in the city of Miami.