Fort Lauderdale beaches attract new developers and condo buyers

Approximately 25 miles north of Miami Beach, in the same Atlantic Ocean but less hectic and much more affordable, much of the construction of beachfront condos in South Florida has moved to Fort Lauderdale. Once again famous for being the beach location for the 1960 film, “Where the Boys Are”, which helped launch Fort Lauderdale as a spring destination for thousands of college students who drink beer and pack hotels, the city has left its T-shirt wet. T-shirt on the sand and became one of the most glamorous coastal cities in South Florida. Instead of noisy partying, the city is now attracting wealthy condo buyers who are buying some of Florida’s most luxurious condos in the Fort Lauderdale beach area at about half the price of Miami Beach.

At the northern end of the Fort Lauderdale Strip, one of the city’s top vacation beach destinations, Howard Johnson’s was one of Florida’s most popular spring break hotels from 1958 to 2005, when it was closed and empty for years. A fond memory for aging baby boomers, the hotel was demolished in 2014 to make way for the first new oceanfront condo project on the Strip, Paramount, in more than a decade. Since then, six other buildings in the beach area have launched sales and the waterfront is filled with exclusive outdoor restaurants, bars, boutiques, and luxury hotels. Instead of the Ohio state fraternity boys, visitors are now likely to be wealthy families and young retirees from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

While many of the new condo projects in Miami and Miami Beach are struggling to find buyers, Fort Lauderdale developments are performing extremely well with sales sold in Paramount and Gale and around 80% sold in Auberge. The ultra-luxurious Four Seasons has just begun construction and is now 40% sold. Paramount, Four Seasons and Auberge are directly on the Atlantic, while Gale is a couple of blocks away on foot. Prices ranged from around $400,000 in Gale for a studio to $10 million for Paramount’s penthouse. A bargain compared to Miami Beach’s most expensive penthouse, Mansions of Aqualina, priced at $38,000,000.

A couple of miles north of Fort Lauderdale, where ocean land is even more available and cheaper, half a dozen new condo projects in Pompano Beach have launched sales or are in process, including Arya, Aqua One and Pure. Pompano has been preparing for an influx of new residents with a new beach, a three-mile strip of wide beaches, picnic shelters, playground, and even professional exercise equipment. Under construction there is a state-of-the-art fishing pier and a 40,000 square foot complex of restaurants and beach shops. Fort Lauderdale is a city made for beach bums and nature lovers. Case in point: Fort Lauderdale Beach and Sawgrass Recreation Park, home to alligators and other Florida wildlife. History buffs will find things to do here as well (we recommend a stop at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens).