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FT LAUDERDALE, FL-This oceanfront tourist destination, 30 miles north of Downtown Miami, has 850,000 sf of new commercial space valued at an estimated $185 million surfacing in 2001. Most of the new product is arriving within a four-block area.

For example, two hotels, Hampton Inn and Riverside Hotel, will have 264 new rooms, 20,000 sf of restaurants and a 502-car parking apron. Retail will be increased by at least 45,566 sf at the 23-story Las Olas City Centre, where 367,000 sf of class A offices will be added on the 2.3 acre site.

Tower 101 adds another 178,000 sf of office and retail. In addition, Florida Atlantic University and Broward Community College are building a 12-story, 144,000-sf classroom building. The total estimated construction cost of $185 million for the 850,000 sf is about $217 per sf, considered high. Fully occupied, that’s about 8,500 more people working in this four-block Downtown sector.

Not everybody is pleased with the city’s development progress and goals, however. Frank Schnidman, an attorney with Greenberg, Traurig tells Globest.com, “the local government could have been implementing incentives for redevelopment, not just development in this eastward movement, as we find ourselves facing the Everglades to the west where that’s it, not a chance for another place to dredge, fill and drain.”

Schnidman says current city incentives are for development, not redevelopment. “The local authorities have sat around for four years, shooting the breeze and spending about $1 million at the meetings,” the lawyer says. “It’s just too easy to calculate the development assessments, and so many variables with redevelopment.”

Schnidman is skeptical that although there are at least 17 other projects totaling $700 million, most are proposed only to see if they can get financed. He considered especially promising the proposed Publix Supermarket, a 41,000 sf store at Andrews Avenue and SE 5th Street.

“If this estimated project is not allowed to go through soon, the property may become too expensive to make the grocery store, with parking on the rooftop and conveyor for your groceries, cost effective,” Schnidman says. “There are several warehouses set up to deliver groceries to serve the burgeoning Downtown, but this may take away from the accessibility and visibility of the urban center.”

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