June 14, 2021 by John T. O’Connor, Island Magazine
Changes on the barrier island that is Fort Lauderdale Beach have often been contentious. Legend has it that at the turn of the 20th century, early landowner Hugh Taylor Birch was annoyed by encroaching civilization on the beach, and used a rifle to shoot out new streetlights installed by the City at the edge of his property.
A century later, each time a hotel or condominium of substantial size is proposed for this slender strip of land, pandemonium ensues. To be sure, those who live here are ––– and should be ––– protective of the gem they have. They remember what has happened in the past, when residents were less engaged. Back then, buildings rose with all attention paid to Atlantic Ocean views while the west sides of those buildings often turned their backs on the neighborhood beyond, snubbing them with giant stucco walls and unsightly service entrances.
Happily, the opposite is true of Kolter Urban’s new condominium project, Selene, due to rise just south of Casablanca Café. Here, after an iteration that attempted to placate locals by keeping its height lower, architect Kobi Karp worked with residents to create something different. Why not, the team thought, create two slender, 26-story towers and then jog them a bit, pushing one west just a bit while pulling the other east. They’d be taller, yes, but their slender design would allow more view corridors for buildings to the west, and keep Selene light and airy. Karp’s design pays attention to all sides of the two towers, avoiding the monolithic appearance of some earlier hotels and condominiums that line the shore.
The dual-tower residence offered Karp’s office the opportunity to use the space in between to create a 4th floor amenities deck connected to both buildings with two swimming pools, cabanas, pool bar and more. On the 2.6 acre landscaped site will be a 5,300 square foot restaurant open to the public, as well as a dog park for residents’ use. At the ground level, each corner of the site is to be treated as an elegant, public plaza, connecting Selene and its restaurant to the fabric of the neighborhood.
Selene Oceanfront Residences, to use its full name, also brings an opportunity that, believe it or not, is rare on Fort Lauderdale’s Central Beach. While the stretch between Las Olas and Sunrise Boulevards has seen plenty of hotel development, new, oceanview condominiums are rare. In fact, Paramount, a 95-unit building near the Bonnet House, is the only oceanfront, exclusively condominium project to rise in the past decade.
Inside Selene, residences will have floor-to-ceiling, impact glass windows. A ceiling height of 9’8” should make Ocean and Intracoastal views even more breathtaking. Balconies are planned to be a full ten feet deep and gently curved around the corners of the towers, their depth allowing them to truly function as outside rooms. Kitchens will feature European-style cabinetry and be finished with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Of the two towers, the south tower is slightly more square in plan than the elongated plan of the east tower. Sizes range from a line of 1,395 square foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath residences to an exceptionally spacious, 3-bedroom, 4-bath plus den model that boasts wraparound terraces both east and west, offering residents fabulous sunrise and sunset views from higher floors. The Tiffany Residence, as this model has been branded, has completely open plan entertaining spaces facing the ocean, with private, family quarters to the west. It consists of 3,264 interior square feet, with
an additional 746 square feet of terrace space. In all, there are nine different floor plans from which prospective buyers might choose.
Kolter Urban has tapped Douglas Elliman, the firm responsible for selling out 100 Las Olas, to handle sales at Selene. Construction has begun and the two towers are expected to welcome residents in 2024.