The Evolution and Livability of Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Our Fort Lauderdale expert, Elaine Tatum, met Jenni Morejon while attending board meetings for the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority. Jenni Morejon is a self-described enthusiastic community builder with more than two decades of experience in urban planning and development. She is the former director of the Sustainable Development Department for the City of Fort Lauderdale, has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Ft Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and the Chambers Downtown Council, and is the Chair of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Coalition. She is currently the President & CEO of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, also known as the DDA. It was our pleasure to welcome Jenni Morejon to the Better Decisions Podcast.

The City of Fort Lauderdale is dramatically growing and changing. These changes are most evident in the Downtown area, where the residential population has grown 80% since 2010 and is expected to continue to rise.

The Evolution and Livability of Downtown Fort Lauderdale

The Evolution of Downtown Fort Lauderdale

In this segment of the Better Decisions Podcast, we discuss the evolution of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, how Fort Lauderdale is pioneering downtown living, and the three key pillars driving development. The growth of Downtown Fort Lauderdale has been a progressive vision of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) since its inception in 1965. The DDA is tasked with bringing together community and private stakeholders to facilitate continued investment, engagement, and improvements to the Downtown. The efforts of the DDA are helping transform the Downtown from a strictly Central Business District where businesses shutter at 5 pm. Instead, they are pioneering a new type of Downtown as a Central Connectivity District. This new vision of Downtown is livable, walkable, and blurs the line between work and lifestyle.

The Three Key Pillars of Downtown Development

#1 Prioritize Residential Development.

According to a DDA report, the pandemic perception was that residents were fleeing the urban core of cities in preference for the suburbs. This result was not the experience in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, which had an 80% growth in residential population. There are now 24,000 residents living in the 2-square-mile urban core of Fort Lauderdale. The DDA 2030 Forecast calls for more than 20 new urban core developments. They will feature 13,000 new residential units, 600,000 square feet of shopping and dining, 1.1 million square feet of additional office space, and 1,000 new hotel rooms. This further development will transpire in the next ten years.

#2 Blending Living and Working in Downtown

Priority #1 is well underway, with an emphasis on residential housing. The counterbalance to residential space is the increase in office space and jobs in the urban core. According to an article in Forbes, between 2018 and 2020, Downtown Fort Lauderdale witnessed a 33% surge in finance jobs, a 16% increase in professional service jobs, and a 10% hike in tech jobs. Fort Lauderdale delivered the most considerable amount of new office space in 2021, totaling 486,000SF and 22,000 SF of retail space, which is under construction in the urban core. There is a balance of live/work space that is attracting residents and business owners alike.

#3 Investment in Public Spaces

 Parks and open gathering spaces make a neighborhood feel like home and enhance livability. The DDA has spearheaded two notable projects in the Downtown area that will expand the connectivity of residents, visitors, and workers. The first is the Tunnel Top Plaza which will further connect the famed Las Olas Boulevard with Downtown. The Tunnel Top Plaza will be built, as described, directly on top of the river tunnel. The DDA coordinated with city planners and others to create a gathering space where there was no space before.

The second major project for the DDA is the reimagining of Huizenga Park. The space will have curated restaurants and an entertainment venue in the heart of Downtown along the riverwalk. These projects will add to the exceptionable livability of Downtown.

Livability of Downtown Fort Lauderdale

To further understand the livability of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, check out the latest video produced by our Fort Lauderdale Expert, Elaine Tatum. Elaine describes her selections for the best waterfront condos in Fort Lauderdale based on lifestyle. She highlights three downtown luxury condominiums.

As always, for the best Real Estate Representation in Fort Lauderdale, contact Elaine Tatum with the David Siddons Group. 305-793-0540


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