Envision Uptown Looks to Future of Cypress Creek

Written by on March 31, 2015 in Employment, Meeting Recaps, News, Trends - No comments

The SFOBA meeting for March was hosted by Mainstreet Partners, owners of Trade Center South  at 200 W. Cypress Creek Road, one of the premier buildings in Fort Lauderdale’s Cypress Creek or uptown submarket. Mainstreet is represented by Greg Martin and Peyton Moore of Avison Young. The partial relocation of law firm Greenspoon Marder has left Trade Center South with approximately 60,000 SF to backfill. The latest market info on Cypress Creek shows vacancies at 16.9 percent, down 140 basis points over the past 12 months. However, the Cypress Creek Class-A market has had -35,000 SF of absorption so far in 2015.

Our guest speaker for March was Cary Goldberg, President of Diversified Realty Investments. Carycary goldberg sfoba was responsible for the development of Uptown Centre, a 19,000 sf retail center on the former Steak and Ale site at 6300 N. Andrews Avenue. Cary is also President of Envision Uptown, a newly formed group working to transform the area around Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport into a progressive urban village, where people can work, play and rely less on their cars and more on alternative forms of transportation. Envision Uptown is a non-profit public-private partnership. It was created out of Cary’s concern that the City was focused on the Downtown and the Beaches but nothing was being done to improve the uptown market that provided homes for such companies as Citrix and Microsoft. One of the early successes of Envision Uptown in the Uptown Link, a free shuttle service connecting Tri-rail to the area’s office parks and restaurants, and allowing workers to grab a bite without having to get in their cars.

The uptown market as defined by Envision Uptown includes the area from Commercial Boulevard to McNab Road from I-95 to NW. 31st Ave. and also includes the Radice Corporate Center just east of I-95 at Cypress. The market contains two I-95 exits, a tri-rail station, and the second busiest general aviation airport in the US. As part of the future I-95 expansion, Cypress Creek will be one of the limited exits for the expanded toll lanes. Large parcels of land in the area are still available for development and plans for 600 new residential units in the works. Both the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) and DOT (Department of Transportation) have offices in the Cypress Creek area, and are therefore aware of the need to update the transportation infrastructure in the uptown market. It is a key factor that the MPO on the Federal level and DOT on the State level are willing to fund road improvements to create a sustainable community for the future.

Following a public forum on the subject, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) devised a plan (you can download it here) with a 20 to 30 year vision to create a sustainable walkable community. They envision a four- lane central boulevard with enough capacity to handle the current traffic along Cypress Creek Road, with shaded single lane roads on either side to access the businesses along the street. Additional parking structures would also be constructed.

Plans are also in the works to create a soccer academy near Lockhart Stadium which is the current home of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The fate of the proposed Schlitterbahn Waterpark on the Fort Lauderdale Baseball Stadium site stadium site remains uncertain.

While the western submarkets of Broward County exploded in the late 90s and early 2000’s, and we have seen a more recent residential boom in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The uptown market has remained relatively quiet as it pertains to new development. Those of us who are stakeholders in the uptown market are excited about the prospect of creating a sustainable urban village in the emergence of envision uptown is a major step in that direction.

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