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The developers of the proposed $1 billion Metropica project in Sunrise is turning its attention to sales now that it’s one step closer to building one of the biggest new projects in South Florida.

After the Sunrise City Commission unanimously approved the design blueprint Tuesday, Metropica Holdings LLC said it plans to start sales in July on 250 condominiums in the first tower on the massive site.

The company envisions a decade-long, mixed-used development on land with entitlements for nearly 2,400 residential units, 650,000 square feet of office space and 485,000 square feet of other commercial development.

It came closer to that goal when city commissioners approved a development agreement between Metropica Holdings LLC and the city for the first parcel—28-acre tract at the northeast corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Northwest 136th Avenue.

“It was a good day,” said developer Joseph Kavana, president and CEO of Metropica Holdings and chairman and CEO of K Group Holdings Inc., a development and investment holding company. “Essentially right now, we are positioning the project on the map.”

With the approval in hand, Kavana is wasting no time forging ahead on the 63-acre mini-city that would have its own stormwater system and a 2-acre public park with biking and walking trails and children’s play area. An agreement with Broward County would maintain cypress trees on the sprawling site west of the Sawgrass Mills mall.

The developer is spending about $5 million on transportation for infrastructure work on State Road 84 and 136th Avenue to build a transit hub to connect Broward County shuttles with pedestrian and bike trails, and install kiosks throughout the property with transit information screens.

“I feel comfortable at this stage moving this on, understanding there’s a lot more to be done,” Mayor Michael J. Ryan said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Zoning Change

The next step is to take the proposal before the planning and zoning board June 5 to change the zoning from B3 for general business district to PDD for a planned development district. In the meantime, a ground crew is pruning trees along Sunrise Boulevard and started work on a sales center with a late June delivery date.

Sales are set to start by July, with construction beginning in the first quarter of 2015, according to Erick Collazo, Metropica’s vice president of development.

Brokers say the project, envisioned as an upscale “urban core” for Sunrise, is in a prime location to take advantage of the city’s established and emerging opportunities in retail, commercial and residential markets. It would be within easy reach of Sawgrass Mills, the Sawgrass Expressway and the site of the proposed American Express corporate campus, where the credit card company plans to employ about 4,000 workers.

That’s likely good news for Metropica, which launches just as national data shows South Florida markets in the top five nationally for job growth, retail and immigration, said Gerard Yetming, senior vice president in CBRE’s Fort Lauderdale office.

“Sunrise has all of those three things. It has the retail, it has the job base, and it has a great established residential base. An additional project in that market that has the mix of those three things is going to be hugely successful,” Yetming said. “What all of that means is that we are one of the fastest developing areas in the U.S., and in order to continue to meet that growth we need to have projects like Metropica.”