As Flagler Village has become more built out and high-profile residential projects have opened in downtown, developers have increasingly cast their eyes south of New River when looking for the next big spot for walkable, higher-density urban development. Now one group thinks they’ve found the right mix with a district where plans call for shopping, dining, entertainment – and a 29-story, 352-unit residential complex made up mostly of studios and one-bedroom apartments.
The Tarpon River Entertainment and Design District – you can call it TREDD – will occupy the area around SW 3rd Avenue between fourth and fifth streets. For developer Doron Broman, who is leading the project with Moderno Development, the south-of-the-river locale is an exciting place to be. “The location of the neighborhood, the proximity of the river, we think it’s going to be a big success,” he says. “I’m confident in it. The great businsses that are coming in…I can already feel what’s going to be there three years from now.”
That said, he wasn’t sold on the area the first time he saw it.
“We were heavily invested in Victoria Park and Flagler Village,” he says. “The first time, I’m not sure it sunk into me right away.”
But he visited a few more times and checked out businesses like perennial favorite Hardy Park Bistro.
“I saw the potential,” he says. Then the brewery (Tarpon River Brewery) opened up. The location is great; it’s under the radar. I’m a small developer. We look to see where we have an advantage, and everybody was investing more in Flagler Village and in more known neighborhoods.”
They’re planning on breaking ground this month on Rivr Lofts, the 352-unit residential development. Plans call for it to have amenities such as a roof pool, yoga studio and gym. Broman estimates it will be ready for residents in about two years. Moderno has also donated land to the city for a small park.
Areas near downtown like this need to be more densely populated as Fort Lauderdale continues to grow, Broman says.
“Everybody’s talking about the cost of houses; the only way to solve it is to build more houses. You need to create that density,” he says. “The only way you fight it is to create more houses.”
In addition to existing businesses, Moderno is trying to add to the retail and entertainment side of the neighborhood with the 501 Urban Warehouse, a converted industrial space that’s now been covered in murals and will be home to a variety of businesses. “There’s some cute businesses there; we need to add some more,” Broman says. “We wanted to bring some life into the neighborhood.”
One person bringing life – and drinks – is John Fitzgerald, who is opening Fitz’s Bar. “I want a true locals bar where locals hang out,” he says, describing a place that will have live music and a laid-back, communal vibe that encourages chatting. “Maybe a little bit edgy. I’m excited about being the first bar in TREDD. I think south of Las Olas is the future of Fort Lauderdale.”
Broman seconds that.
“We’re very confident; we’re continuing buying land in this neighborhood,” Broman says. “It’s got a quiet neighborhood feel but it’s a few blocks from downtown. You can enjoy both worlds in my opinion.”
He’d never before been involved in the planning of street parties and other events, but he’s now getting into that.
“It’s the first time I’ve had it,” he says. “Everybody is so involved and cares so much, that’s the kind of energy we want.”