South Florida, especially Fort Lauderdale, has enjoyed a reputation as the yachting capital of the world and as a tourist mecca for the rich and famous. Consequently, much of the initial housing development focused on luxury high rise condominiums and single family waterfront homes. Recently, tech companies, financial institutions and health related industries have started shifting their businesses to downtown Fort Lauderdale and creating a need for housing for their employees within the city center. Developers responded by building smaller condominiums and apartments in the downtown area to fill this need. Downtown living is attractive for younger employees looking for the ease of commuting between Fort Lauderdale and Miami or West Palm Beach via Virgin Trains and all the conveniences a city offers just a short walk away.
As the downtown core started to build out and land became more expensive, developers began purchasing land in less expensive fringe areas of the city which are still close to transportation, shopping, and entertainment venues. One area is FAT Village (Flagler Arts and Technology), a 270 acre section bordered by Sunrise Boulevard, Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway to the FEC railroad tracks. This trendy and rapidly growing neighborhood could be the next destination for thousands who want urban living in a convenient location with reasonable housing costs. The redevelopment of this area continues as a public /private partnership with millions in public funding coming from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency in the form of forgivable loans. Approximately 1,400 new apartments have already been built and it is estimated that the number of units could swell to a least 4,200 over the next couple of years. In addition to apartments, developers are also building smaller units for sale at a lower price point and attracting many young professionals.
Fort Lauderdale’s housing options continue to evolve from luxury condominiums and single family waterfront homes to smaller condominiums and apartments in urban areas thus providing more choices to a varied demographic.