For years, Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been a hotspot for people on spring break, as well as individuals looking for a beautiful seaside destination with affordable accommodations. Although people still come every year to enjoy this part of Florida for those reasons, a new string of luxury hotels along the beach are changing the landscape.
In addition to luxury hotels, Fort Lauderdale has experienced an increase in luxury residential buildings, thereby attracting a large number of affluent tourists and foreign condominium buyers. For instance, hotel owner Motwani, along with Fort Partners, a Miami developer, is building a new Four Seasons hotel and residency. Sales for this $200 million lavish condo development began last November with asking prices of more than $14 million.
Rather than Fort Lauderdale being an area frequented by rowdy college students on spring break, you now see the development of an upscale resort town. Due to soaring prices in downtown Fort Lauderdale condos and rising hotel costs, developers have turned their attention to the coastline.
In Miami, land prices are extremely high. As such, people are now looking at other markets within close proximity. The gorgeous beachfront, coupled with a number of older properties not yet developed to full potential, Fort Lauderdale is a prime location. At this time, roughly $1.5 billion is under way for hotel and residential developments within Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area.
Included in the pipeline for hotel projects is Melia Costa Hollywood, a 304-room hotel close to the ocean. In addition, developers are building a new Westin Hotel in the downtown area of Fort Lauderdale. These two luxury hotels will join existing properties such as the Ritz Carlton and W Hotel Fort Lauderdale.
For people taking up residence at the Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale, average asking price per square foot is $1,50— approximately 40 percent less than condos at the Four Seasons on Miami Beach.
To make transportation to Fort Lauderdale easier, an airport expansion costing $2.3 billion will offer more direct routes from Europe and South America. Included in the transportation project is JetBlue Airways, which in October will offer flights from Cartagena, Columbia, also adding direct flights from Sao Paulo and Mexico City in December.
Although Fort Lauderdale will continue to offer spring breakers and tourists the option of staying in family owned and operated motels, city lodging and various other privately owned lodging current available will be overshadowed next year by luxury hotels and condo developments along the beach.
For several years, the local government has worked hard to clean up the city’s reputation. Instead of Fort Lauderdale being seen as a party place, its fabulous beaches are now being promoted to people in Latin America and Europe. Although having more accommodations is exciting, some worry that if development does not slow down, there will be a number of hotels with high vacancy rates. As for college students on spring break, they will continue to come to Fort Lauderdale, although there will be notable shift.
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