|By Brittany Wallman, South Florida
Sun-SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Apr. 15, 2008 --FORT LAUDERDALE -- A 22-story resort that's the equivalent of 30 stories long got the go-ahead Tuesday night to rise on Fort Lauderdale's evolving beach strip.
That means two older, three-story motels will meet the wrecking ball, as has been the trend on the city's signature beachfront, between Las Olas and Sunrise boulevards, along picturesque State Road A1A.
Ocean Wave Beach Resort will rise on 1.8 acres at 525 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., between Viramar and Windamar streets, where the Tropic Cay motel and the Avalon Waterfront Inn now stand.
On either side are new high-rise condo-hotels.
"Between Trump and Hilton, it's like a picture frame," said Ramola Motwani, who is developing Ocean Wave with her sons.
Ocean Wave's block is flanked by the 24-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, still under construction, and the 25-story Q Club/ Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which opened a year ago.
The beach has been in transformation for several years toward what county tourism gurus marketed as "Positively Posh." The renewal of the Ocean Wave block moves the beach farther from its former reputation as a seedy place for college students to party.
But the remaking is not complete, even with the addition of Ocean Wave. The beachfront that boasts the 24-story St. Regis Resort, where an oceanfront suite can be booked online for tonight for $1,286, still is home to the likes of the Sea Club Hotel, advertising rooms right now for $59.
The Howard Johnson, a popular Spring Break pad, still stands, fenced and vacant. A developer won approval for an 18-story resort there last year.
Elsewhere on the strip, T-shirt shops and bars share the scene with other new mega-buildings, like The Atlantic resort, and the W Hotel and Residences, and Las Olas Beach Club condo.
Motwani said the "beautiful design" of Ocean Wave will add to the beachfront.
The tower's design is unique, a bowing curve toward the beach like a giant capital "D," but from overhead the building is like a "V." The building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of New York, designer of the Espirito Santo Plaza tower on Brickell Avenue in Miami.
The Fort Lauderdale beach tower will have a 25,000-square-foot plaza in front, and about 375,000 square feet total, with 328 hotel rooms, two restaurants, some retail and banquet space. Parking is planned for 423 automobiles and 44 bicycles.
At 245 feet tall and 325 feet long east to west, the hotel required special approval to exceed height and width guidelines.
Commissioners made no comments, and voted unanimously.
Brittany Wallman can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4541.
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