Broward County Gearing Up For Development Surge

Written by on April 1, 2014 in News, Trends - No comments
under constructiion

Get ready to witness a dramatic spurt in new development in Broward County, if dozens of high-rise apartment towers, hundreds of single-family homes and a few mega commercial projects are given the green light.

The recent surge in development proposals could change the county’s landscape — and prove there’s no such thing as “built out.”

Among the many projects in the pipeline, according to county records:

  • Downtown High-Rises: Downtown Fort Lauderdale is undergoing another burst of vertical growth. The Manor at Flagler Village, a 382-unit tower with some retail space, is under construction on the southwest corner of Federal Highway and Northeast Sixth Street. Adjacent to it is Edge at Flagler Village, under construction with 331 units. They are two of 12 major residential towers — including one hotel — that are proposed or already under construction downtown. Together they total a whopping 4,067 units and could nearly double downtown’s 8,200 population.
  • Sheridan Station: Developers have revived this project in Hollywood, between Interstate 95 and the CSX Railroad tracks, south of Sheridan Street. The complex features a hotel, transportation facility, commercial and office space, and 1,050 high-rise and mid-rise residential units.
  • Pine Island Marketplace: On a cow-grazing pasture on the southeast corner of Stirling Road and Pine Island Road, a developer plans a commercial complex anchored by a Walmart. It will be near the new Monterra community, a 1,600-home development on a former dairy farm in Cooper City.
  • City Center: A massive commercial-office-residential-hotel complex is finally underway in Pembroke Pines, where the city is selling its land west of Palm Avenue, between Pines Boulevard and Washington Street. The Pembroke Pines City Center ultimately will include 1,365 residential units, including 350 hotel rooms, plus 120,000 square feet of office space and 265,000 square feet of commercial. The apartments are among 1,365 rentals under construction or recently built. At a former golf course in Pembroke Pines, another 500 single-family homes are envisioned.
  • The Wedge: On a horse farm recently annexed into Broward County’s Parkland, a new, 538-home development is planned, for people 55 and older. The vast acreage is south of Loxahatchee Road and west of a proposed leg of Nob Hill Road.
  • Woodmont: Within the Woodmont Country Club community in Tamarac, one of the golf courses will be replaced with single-family homes. The resulting new development, south of Southgate Boulevard, between University Drive and Pine Island Road, will add 152 single-family homes, retain some golf courses, and add 28,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Naugles Nursery Inc.: On former nursery land in Davie, a 240-unit residential project is planned, primarily aimed at teachers and college students from nearby colleges.
  • Mid-Rise Homes: A former mobile home park in Wilton Manors will be transformed into Wilton Twenty-Fourth Street Residences, a 179-unit mid-rise planned south of Northeast 24th Street between Northeast 13th Avenue and the FEC railroad.
  • Riverbend Marketplace: On vacant land formerly home to used-car lots, mobile homes and adult-oriented strip shops, a Walmart Supercenter and commercial complex are coming to Fort Lauderdale, on the south side of Broward Boulevard west of Interstate 95, across from the Broward Sheriff’s Office headquarters.
  • Multifamily Near Tri-Rail: On a vacant piece of land on the northwest corner of Northwest 33rd Street and North Andrews Avenue Extension in Pompano Beach, near a Tri-Rail station, developers plan 108 multi-family residential units.
  • Coral Ridge Golf Course: Another golf course will be replaced with 37 homes in Fort Lauderdale. The former American Golfers Club in the Coral Ridge community of Fort Lauderdale, east of Federal Highway and north of Northeast 37th Drive, has been closed for years.
  • Charter School: On vacant land just south of Griffin Road and east of Southwest 208th Avenue in Pembroke Pines, Franklin Academy, a 43-acre charter school campus, is proposed.

The uptick is striking.

“This year we’re definitely seeing more proposals,” said Barbara Blake Boy, executive director of the Broward Planning Council, a county advisory board.

In 2013, the number of residential units for which developers sought approvals jumped 218 percent at the Broward County Planning Council, one of the earliest stages in the process.

This year, approvals are again on the increase. Developers have submitted plans to add 1,970 homes in seven projects in Pompano Beach, Miramar, Plantation, Pembroke Pines and Lauderdale Lakes. That’s nearly as high as the total for all of 2013.

“Is there a higher level of proposed development activity than there’s been in the last few years? The answer to that is absolutely yes,” Stiles Corp. President Doug Eagon said.

Eagon said the South Florida housing market is more robust than elsewhere in the country right now, with heavy demand for rental apartments coming from millennials who’ve finally gotten jobs, and from baby boomers downsizing after their kids move out.

“There’s been a pretty dramatic increase in activity,” Executive Director Jim DiPietro said at the Broward Board of Rules and Appeals, which has seen a spike in building permit revenue. “You can see the way we started to claw out of the recession.”

The dramatic development surge might seem counterintuitive to those who’ve scanned the horizon and seen that nearly every square inch is paved and built upon (except for the two-thirds of the county that’s in the Florida Everglades).

In fact, Broward County was considered largely built out in 2005, according to the county’s recently released population planning report. But that doesn’t mean it’s game over for developers.

“When people say, ‘Well, we’re out of land,’” Eagon said, “the reality is we’re very close to being out of vacant land, but the redevelopment potential is still very good.”

The county’s vote is typically the first step, a general approval spelling out what type of development and how much of it can take place on the land. Many more projects that already had those approvals are under construction now.

In the cities, towns and neighborhoods where the construction trucks are headed, residents may be hesitant to embrace more growth. Developers will have to show that their projects won’t overburden local roads and schools, among other things.

Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan said improving public transportation and ensuring that some of the new housing is affordable to the working class will be critical in this wave of development.

“You want to try to change the mindset, I think, in the coming decade,” Ryan said, “to get more people onto mass transit.”

Regardless, he said, people are coming. Population estimates for Broward show the flow to the south will continue, driving demand for more housing.

“They keep having winters like they just did,” Broward planning section manager Martin Berger said, “and they’re going to keep coming.”


Source:  SunSentinel


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