Land Use, Zoning & Procurement.... Redefined.
Activate The True Potential of Your Property or Idea
What We Do
“Responsibly activating private property rights and
growing the economy with innovative initiatives
is the best way to build a bold future.”
Stephanie J. Toothaker, Esq.
Chairwoman & Chief Strategist
Comprehensive Development Representation & Planning
We Make You a Priority... Concept through Entitlement.
Billionaire investors and startup entrepreneurs alike expect the best, and we provide just that. Land use projects involve dealing with political, policy and regulatory landmines. Our experience, relationships, and smart solutions uniquely position your project for success. Our planners and strategy partners help you navigate the entitlement process with the velocity you expect and the skill you demand.
Innovative Economic & Mobility Initiatives
Making Your Project Relevant... and Part of the Solution.
When David Beckham needed results, he called us. We lead smart economic investment, public/private partnerships, and innovative mobility initiatives better than the rest. Offering a wealth of experience on P3 projects and complex transportation challenges, our team knows the best way to manage your new idea or complicated project..
Elite Sporting & Lifestyle Events
The Contacts and Experience to Make the Impossible... Possible.
Red Bull trusts us, so does Swatch. Don't let your sports or lifestyle event get sidetracked by environmental issues or regulatory red tape that cut into production values - and your bottom line. We have permitted major events at complicated public/private sites on time and under budget. Let us show you how.
Meet the Boss
Stephanie J. Toothaker, Esq.
Innovative, Experienced, Connected
Stephanie J. Toothaker, Esq.
Chairwoman & Chief Strategist
Stephanie is a Martindale Hubbell AV rated attorney, and so much more. Regularly recognized as a SuperLawyer and by Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, she guides clients with her sophisticated approach to governmental relations and procurement. Representing private equity firms, innovative companies, and entrepreneurial individuals seeking complex land development entitlements, her specific expertise on these matters is focused on innovative activation of property rights, public/private P3 initiatives, complex mixed use projects, land use plan amendments, zoning modifications and site plan approvals in the commercial, residential, sporting, and hospitality sectors.
Stephanie is an effective advocate at the Federal, State, and regional level, regularly representing clients before governmental entities throughout South Florida. She is consistently recognized for her unique ability to seamlessly navigate multi-agency processes, efficiently manage the government relations process, and achieve success with aggressive timelines.
Stephanie’s practice also includes niche representation for European-style sporting and destination lifestyle events with worldwide television coverage. With clients that have included David Beckham's InterMiami, Red Bull Global Rallycross, Swatch Volleyball World Championships, Key West Race Week, the Lauderdale Yacht Club and the largest boat show firm in the world, Show Management/Active Interest Media, she has a proven ability to leverage resources and relationships, meet challenging deadlines, and enable profitable outcomes with global reach.
Her impressive understanding of public policy at the nexus of government and private entities has as its foundation her deep experience in the national political arena. Stephanie served as special counsel to U.S. Senator Bob Graham, where she was the first female and youngest in history to serve in that capacity. In 2004, she served on the Kerry-Edwards legal team, and more recently, Stephanie assisted as co-lead counsel for Broward County for the Obama-Biden legal team.
The bottom line is Stephanie delivers serious results. David Beckham’s Inter Miami Lockhart Soccer stadium facility, Tavistock’s Landmark Pier 66 reimagining, Cymbal Development’s Marina Lofts multi-jurisdictional project, Thor’s Beach Place, OTO Development’s AC Marriott, Roger Penske’s first-of-it’s-kind South Florida Porsche Concept Dealership, a $50 million state-of-the-art dry stack marina, a 523,000 square foot commercial/industrial park, and landmark legislation amending Florida law to change the legal boundaries of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. All cutting edge projects with transformational results.
Stephanie has been a regular contributor to Florida Trend and the South Florida Sun Sentinel, is involved with a broad range of civic organizations throughout South Florida, and is the first woman to serve as a Governor - and future Commodore - of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. She was previously a Director and Head of the Land Use & Zoning Practice at Tripp Scott, and a partner with Ruden McClosky and Blosser & Sayfie.
Keeping your Applications on Track, on Time, on Budget
Lead Planner, Research & Concepts
Estefania is our lead professional urban planner skilled in integrating her urban design and planning knowledge with common sense strategies to efficiently bring our clients' ideas to life.
Adept at actionable zoning due diligence, comfortable navigating simple to complex land development entitlements from the conceptual stage all the way through application and ultimate approval, Estefania understands the challenges of the 21st Century.
Zoning code text amendments, variances, rezonings, land use plan amendments, and site plan applications for mixed-use, commercial, and residential projects, she understands the process - and provides the details others miss.
Estefania has co-authored peer-reviewed publications and professional reports with a focus on transit-oriented and sustainable development in South Florida through her research role at the Center of Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University. She also actively participates in design competitions to tackle, in an educated and inspired manner, challenging urban problems our communities face. She was recently awarded two prizes in an international design competition for her team’s “Brightline-to-Riverwalk / B2R” proposal in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Member, American Planning Association
BA Urban Design with Honors, Magna Cum Laude
Florida Atlantic University
Researcher, Center for Urban & Environmental Solutions
Recent Professional Reports & Conference Papers:
- 2019 John Renne, Serena Hoermann, Estefania Mayorga, and Lentzy Jean-Louis. “South Florida Transit Oriented Development: Harnessing the Potential for Infill Development along the Tri-Rail Coastal Link Corridor.” Prepared for South Florida Regional Planning Council (SFRPC) and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA).
- 2018 John Renne and Estefania Mayorga. “What Has America Learned Since Hurricane Katrina? Evaluating Evacuation Plans for Carless and Vulnerable Populations in 50 Large Cities Across the United States,” Paper 18-03079, Transportation Research Board Conference, Washington, D.C.
- 2017 John Renne and Estefania Mayorga. Abacoa Spring Training Survey, Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, Florida Atlantic University.
Stephanie's Success in the News
David Beckham's InterMiami Stadium & Training Facility Comes to Fort Lauderdale
Lionheart Oceanfront Two-Tower Luxury Project Tallest in Pompano
Pier 66 South Improvements
Stephanie Toothaker on the Record
Florida Trend: Your Rights on Rights of Way
With new infrastructure improvement initiatives across the state, property owners are receiving eminent domain notifications from the Department of Transportation. Do you fully understand your rights?
Stephanie J. Toothaker 3/28/2016
Florida’s Supreme Court levels the playing field on eminent domain. “That the power to tax involves the power to destroy … [is] not to be denied.”
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall
Eminent domain has received bad press in recent years regarding public/private development deals, but it is alive, well and a mission-critical tool as it relates to enabling public infrastructure efforts. Regarding right of way projects, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, the right of way eminent domain staff is responsible for coordinating the department’s activities, with attorneys and other experts representing the department during condemnation process. If the department and the property owner cannot agree on the price to be paid for the owner’s property, the department may choose to file an eminent domain suit to acquire the property.
To tip the scales in favor of its citizens, Florida legislators put in place a unique protection. Chapter 73 of the Florida Statutes requires full compensation, including attorney fees, to land owners when property is secured for the State through eminent domain. Additionally, a recent case brought new attention to attorney fee reimbursement levels when the Florida Supreme Court fundamentally leveled the playing field between owners and condemning authorities in Doerr v. Central Florida Expressway Authority. What does it mean for you?
Remember, the condemning authority still has the upper hand.
The eminent domain program exists to ensure the people of Florida can be served and protected through responsible infrastructure projects. However, the decisions made for a community’s benefit should not unfairly dismiss the rights of individual landowners. Doerr v. Central Florida Expressway Authority recognizes the landowner’s right to be vigorously defended in litigation where unfair compensation is offered.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that, under the Florida Constitution, a landowner is entitled to full compensation, which includes an award of attorneys’ fees. In addition, the Supreme Court noted that limiting the attorneys’ fees to the prescribed formula in this case would deny the landowner his right to full compensation under the Florida Constitution.
Progress is a matter of economic sustainability.
Cases like this will occur more often as our state continues to mature. Land is limited in urban areas, and more efficient statewide connectivity is critical to keeping the Sunshine State competitive in the 21st Century. New infrastructure initiatives triggered by both technology needs and new economic realities have become drivers for the process.
Landowners must be ready to act.
Government tends to move more slowly than the private sector, so landowners are generally not surprised by the initiation of an eminent domain action. A proactive strategy could save headaches and unnecessary litigation fees for all parties. It is necessary to stay abreast of proposed projects, because when you receive a notice of condemnation you should already have a good idea about the value of your property.
GoRiverwalk: Not Your Grandpa's Office Space
ALTERNATIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS APPEAL TO THE EVOLVING BUSINESS OWNER
Stephanie J. Toothaker November, 2014
As a Fort Lauderdale native focused on helping to set the course for our downtown’s future, I have always been excited by the unexpected evolutions that sometimes happen as a result of demographic shifts and technology advances. Once, business was tethered to hardline phones and workstations driven by room size, but today that has all changed.
With downtown Fort Lauderdale’s skyline maturing with more modern buildings, elegant residential projects and edgy mixed-use loft development, we are seeing a new evolution in workspaces as well. As I write from the 15th floor of a Class A office tower overlooking the heart of the Riverwalk district, I am just a short walk from the top law firms and corporate offices that have traditionally made up the power center of our city. But nestled within and nearby our downtown are some exciting new conversations happening in non-traditional venues, bringing West Coast style economic synergies to the heart of our community – and making Broward better as a result.
As in all vibrant communities, Fort Lauderdale benefits from the positive tension between the “button- down” work accomplished in offices high above the streetscape and the on-the-fly world of deal making at coffee shops, incubators and co-working spaces. Today, emerging tech entrepreneurs in rolled up sleeves and sneakers huddle with couture-clad execs to bring ideas and capital together with fantastic results. Here in Fort Lauderdale things are emerging quickly. Just check out the excitement that surrounds Fat Village. It’s entirely nontraditional and has seen a complete shift in the past 15 years.
We all understand that Starbucks is the new office away from home with comfortable, easy to find locations and free Wi-Fi. Standard executive offices now offer all the administrative and technology horsepower of Fortune 500 organizations but on a much smaller scale. South Florida is rapidly transitioning beyond the casual spaces where angel investors and hotshot entrepreneurs operate to a completely different way of doing business.
One example is Axis Space, a new and innovative alternative workspace here in Fort Lauderdale. With a collaborative space approach that encompasses four floors overlooking the New River, Axis Space has all the creative touches Silicon Valley techies have come to expect – and demand – in order to successfully bring concepts to life. With exciting residential projects coming online in our urban core, the new breed of downtown dwellers are drawn to this style of workspace. As a kind of open source, bricks and mortar venue where innovative idea cultivation merges with old -school hard work, this kind of approach is sure to spark the establishment of other spaces like it within our downtown. It also might enable startups to confidently launch alongside the proven, established companies that form the foundation of our regional economy.
Really, it is all about making connections between the new creative class that is driving an up and coming, innovative segment of our economic ecosystem and the established business leaders that provide stability for our community – and the places those connections happen. It is exciting to see this type of flexible, communal office space with big pipe connectivity and bright, open areas becoming a hot downtown alternative. It’s not for everyone, but for those who thrive in a less structured environment, a fun vibe is part of the package.
It's what we get for our clients.
Over 2 Billion Dollars
In approved development entitlements