Fort Lauderdale is no longer a vacation destination for tourists and snowbirds; it has become a highly desirable metropolitan destination for businesses and full-time residents. At a recent symposium sponsored by the Urban Land Institute and Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, George L. Hanbury II, President and CEO of Nova Southeastern University and a former Fort Lauderdale city manager, summed it up this way, “We’re not the city between Miami and West Palm Beach anymore, we’re at the center of 6 million people in three counties and have the potential to be a world-class center.”
The city will soon be the midpoint for daily Brightline rail service between Miami and West Palm Beach. The Fort Lauderdale station is a short walk or ride from Las Olas, a major plus for the thousands of people moving into the residential towers that have opened along this corridor. In what seems to be a quasi-collaborative movement, landowners, developers, entrepreneurs and professionals have all helped downtown Fort Lauderdale achieve this new found prominence. The mix of people includes empty nesters, young people with children, millennials and those currently living in other areas of the city looking to move to the new apartments and condos downtown.
The new vibe that is felt along the Las Olas corridor is helping to revive other parts of the city, especially Flagler Village, a nearby neighborhood that went from a ghost town to an area in the midst of a renaissance. The area is drawing people attracted by the new apartments, a bud-ding nightlife scene and an eclectic group of restaurants.
Fort Lauderdale is in the midst of significant commercial and residential development and is now ranked number 6 among the top real estate markets in the U.S. Ken Krasnow, South Florida executive managing director for Colliers International, has this to say about Fort Lauderdale, “Property market drivers continue to be strong, we’re in the 9th inning, but it’s the beginning of a double header.”