Downtown Fort Lauderdale Aims to Create Hip and Fun Vibe

Fort Lauderdale’s downtown neighborhood of Flagler Village has been on the radar of many millennials, developers and entrepreneurs due to its rapid growth. The ideal location that is adjacent to the downtown workforce offers a prime spot for many to live and work with a walkable commute. Now the area is striving to complete its mix to include shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

“Flagler Village should be that fun, hip, energized, live-work-play area in Fort Lauderdale,” said David Cardaci, who owns a Mexican restaurant in a converted auto-body shop, and a funky bar that serves drinks from an airstream RV.

The village spans across 250 acres from the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks to Federal Highway south of Sunrise Boulevard. Walking events to lure in the public are being formed by FAT (Flagler Arts and Technology) as well as MASS (Music and Arts South of Sunrise). The groups share common goals of trying to bring more food and drink establishments into the area.

“We want to help take down the cultural desert and bring more of an oasis to the area,” Lagi said.

Eli Goldshtein who owns a production company in a space on Northeast Fourth Avenue is planning on converting a warehouse into a venue that can host live concerts, corporate gatherings and social events.

“It’s more like a community-driven thing,” Goldshtein said. “We see what’s happening and we’re really happy to be part of it.”

Flagler Village is booming right now with 16 developments that are in some stage of review or construction. These projects total over 3,300 residences and more than 700 hotel rooms. Residences are being designed to appeal to millennials that offer affordable spaces with easy access to shopping and entertainment. Construction of the Wave, an electric streetcar system that will run through the neighborhood, will begin next year that shall help those interested in public transport rather than by personal car.

With all of the buzz and building that is happening the neighborhood is quickly becoming developed which is adding the much needed density for businesses to open up shop and thrive. Many of the remaining parcels are quickly being purchased for their hopeful opportunities.

“You can drive around this whole area and you see these houses and buildings and you think, ‘That would make a great bar or restaurant,'” Cardaci said. “I’d say 95 percent of those buildings are already spoken for.”

The next area that is speculated for expansion is westward. However, for now, Flagler Village is where all of the focus is.