Beachfront Fort Lauderdale’s transformation is not a new phenomenon. The area’s move from low-slung motels and mid-market, mid-century condos to upmarket luxury properties has been evolving for years.
However, some names still catch the eye. Names like Four Seasons. When the global luxury brand announced plans for a Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale private residences development, it was hailed as proof that the city is moving into a league previously reserved for other places, including its neighbor 30 or so miles to the south.
Fort Lauderdale had upmarket developments before, but this is the Four Seasons. We’re talking about a place that offers “personal beach butlers” and a dedicated yacht concierge. The 22-story building will include 130 guest rooms and 90 residences, and they were more than 50 percent sold earlier this year. Louise Sunshine is strategic advisor to Fort Partners, a Miami-based real estate and hospitality firm that partners with Four Seasons on their South Florida properties. She says sales aren’t slowing down.
“The pace of sales at Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale is continuing at a rate that exceeds our expectations,” she says. “Sales have remained strong during the summer and prices are steadily appreciating.”
That’s down to several factors, including Fort Lauderdale’s increasing profile as an easily accessible international destination.
“We’re continuing to attract luxury buyers from across the country and are also seeing an increase in international interest due to new direct flights with British Airways and Emirates airlines,” Sunshine says. “These buyers are devoted to the Four Seasons brand and are attracted to Fort Lauderdale for its accessibility as well as its well-rounded, walkable lifestyle.
“Fort Lauderdale is undergoing a major transformation,” Sunshine says, citing developments including the new Lockhart Stadium being built by David Beckham-led Inter Miami CF to the art-filled, increasingly event-oriented Breakers Avenue just behind the Four Seasons in North Beach Village.
It doesn’t hurt to have good transportation options, which for Four Seasons residents means that increasingly international airport, the new Brightline/Virgin America train station … and easy access to yachts.
Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale isn’t the only Four Seasons in South Florida, although Sunshine brands it “the centerpiece of the Fort Partners portfolio.” Other properties include the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at The Surf Club and Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Four Seasons residents also receive preferred access to a private island in the Bahamas.
Four Seasons regulars, Sunshine says, seek out Four Seasons. It’s a brand with clout and recognition. “Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale buyers are loyal to the Four Seasons brand,” she says. “They are familiar with the level of service, quality of construction and world-class design that comes with the Four Seasons name, and they understand the incredible value of an investment in this world-renowned brand.”
That said, they also look for a few things in the places where Four Seasons sets up shop. Which is why Four Seasons doesn’t set up shop just anywhere. Sunshine credits Fort Lauderdale leaders with creating a place that Four Seasons buyers want to visit.
“Mayor (Dean) Trantalis has done a wonderful job of shaping the identity of the city by focusing on quality of life – adding bike lanes, widening sidewalks and planting shade trees,” she says. “This approach appeals to buyers who are in search of a more relaxed, pedestrian-friendly lifestyle rather than a spread-out city like Miami where getting anywhere can be a hassle. At Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale, buyers have dining, shopping, cultural experiences, white-sand beaches and the chic downtown area all within a 10-mile radius.”