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FORT LAUDERDALE’S CONTINUED GROWTH

The real estate market in Fort Lauderdale has experienced a record-setting pace of development over the past five years. A large number of condominiums and apartments have been built and many are still proposed or under construction. New hotels such as The Dalmar are open and construction is moving quickly on Main Las Olas, the first new downtown office project in more than a decade. Main Las Olas will have 357,000 square feet of Class A office space plus apartments, retail and a Publix Greenwise market.

Recent data indicates that Fort Lauderdale’s population may have increased by as much as 9 percent last year and with this rapid growth comes challenges. At a recent Urban Land Institute meeting, both Broward County Mayor, Mark Bogen and Fort Lauderdale Mayor, Dean Trantalis said “We’re kicking off by tackling our biggest problem which is traffic congestion.” The city and the county are working on a roadway to allow traffic to bypass Southeast 17th Street through Port Everglades. Traffic light synchronization for some of the heavily travelled arteries in the city is also under consideration. The City is also planning to create a one way loop with Andrews Ave and Third Avenue, each designed to run one way with three lanes for cars, one for transit shuttles and also bike lanes. All these changes should make the city’s traffic flow a little more smoothly.

Both Bogen and Trantalis also stressed that the county and the city cannot continue to rely on tourism, real estate and the yachting industry. In order to grow the economy and to attract global investment, there needs to be continued promotion to attract new corporate headquarters to the region. There is also a big push to attract more technology incubators to the region. In order to help spur this type of growth, Nova Southeastern University has opened a technology department and is collaborating with companies to promote the benefits of the region. According to Bogen, “We need young people with specialized degrees looking at Fort Lauderdale as a place where they might want to start their families. Local investment into tech incubators might be one piece of the solution.”

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