I often drive through the North Beach area of Fort Lauderdale on my way to Sunrise Blvd. It is a convenient short cut to avoid the traffic on A1A. Since I travel this road several times a week, I am familiar with its small old time motels and boarded up buildings. I was pleasantly surprised to read of the renovation planed by a Swedish investor to bring this area back to its past glory but with a more modern zest.
According to an article in the Sun Sentinel on 7/20/2011, the city has long wanted to develop this area into an urban village. An investor, North Beach’s major property owner, has been petitioning the city to lift their ban on small hotels having cafes, shops and other ancillary businesses.
He has spent more than $28 million buying small motels, apartments and vacant land in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach. He envisions a Europeanesk village where visitors and residents can walk to shops and restaurants. He would like to add these ground level shops to the small hotels as he renovates them and wants the city to improve the neighborhood streets with landscaping, roundabouts and brick cross walks. It appears that the city is moving with caution. Presently the city does not allow small hotels with less than 50 rooms to have additional businesses.
The bright spot in the neighborhood so far is the 62 room Royal Palms Hotel, newly renovated in the spring, which includes a restaurant /bar; a shining beginning to a long awaited restoration. Eileen Kedersha
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