New projects are reaching for the sky

In a strange sense, Fort Lauderdale is the Jan Brady of South Florida cities. To the north is West Palm Beach, bastion of high society, and to the south, it’s all Miami, Miami, Miami. Even mapmakers are hard-pressed to get Fort Lauderdale’s name to fit on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Often, it’s just easier to deal with the neighbors.

That’s all about to change, though, as a series of major construction projects promise to forever change Fort Lauderdale’s skyline and investment possibilities. Just last year, Fort Lauderdale’s healthy economy, lower office rents, higher occupancy, and lower regional cost of living captured the attention of investors. Mapmakers, it seems, are going to have to make more room on their maps.

Downtown is going up

When people hear of Fort Lauderdale, they immediately think of the resorts and hotels facing the beach along A1A and memories of Spring Breaks from long ago. The city, though, is more than a pretty coastal face.

Because of its close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the FAA has a 500’ height limit on buildings in the area. New construction projects are inching closer to that height – all at the same time.

  • Icon Las Olas: At 455’ tall, this is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale. Rents will range from $2,500 to $7,000 a month, making it one of the most expensive rental properties in all of South Florida. It’s expected to open this fall.
  • 100 Las Olas: If Icon is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale, it won’t be for long. 100 Las Olas, a Hyatt hotel and condo combo, will take that position at 499’. Condo prices will start at $800,000. There will also be 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants.
  • Riverfront: Demolition has already started on this redevelopment project. When the dust settles, there will be two residential towers, 461’ and 441’ feet tall, and 58,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space.
  • Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas: This 471’ senior-living tower will also include 152 assisted living residences and 57 memory care units, as well as a host of luxury amenities and on-site medical facilities.
  • 4 West Las Olas: This proposed 273’ building – the smallest in the new bunch – will replace the 9-story Sweet Building, Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building for 46 years.

Wait, there’s more

If all of this building in a concentrated area weren’t enough, Fort Lauderdale is also addressing two important infrastructure issues.

  • Creating a vibrant and dynamic downtown scene also means addressing the transportation needs of a growing population. While the towers are going up, the city will also be laying tracks for the Wave, an electric streetcar system. Part of this process will require the five-month closure of the 3rd Avenue Bridge so the wings of the drawbridge can be fitted with Wave tracks. The system will then link the north and south banks of the New River.
  • The pedestrian walkway that runs along the north bank of the New River will be extended beyond the Icon Las Olas and the historic Stranahan House to better connect people to dining and shopping further east.

Fort Lauderdale is moving upward and outward

While all of the attention is currently focused on the downtown projects, there are two other areas of Fort Lauderdale that also deserve mention.

The first is the SOLO (south of Las Olas) neighborhood. There, the 550 Building on South Andrews Avenue will be built on the site of the existing Justice Building. The seven-story structure is Fort Lauderdale’s first new office building since 1989. In addition to six floors of office space, there will also be ground floor retail/restaurant space.

Finally, no city would be complete without an art district. Fort Lauderdale has two: FAT (Flagler & Arts & Technology) Village and MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District. On the fourth Saturday of each month, the two areas – packed with galleries, arts venues, and speakeasies – host an art walk and are linked by a free trolley.

South Florida is growing

Morris Southeast Group is excited and energized with the news coming out of Fort Lauderdale. The downtown project adds up to 1,900 apartments, 400 condo units, 238 hotel rooms, and countless square feet of commercial and retail space.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our commercial investment or property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at