By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine
Coming soon to Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale: A two-story, 31,500-square-foot building that will bring additional shops, restaurants and offices to the trendy downtown boulevard.
The Las Olas Company, a Fort Lauderdale-based developer and owner of office, retail, restaurant and hospitality properties, broke ground on the project in July. It’s located at 788 E. Las Olas Blvd., just east of the Riverside Hotel, and will include 16,000 square feet of upscale retail space on the ground level and 15,500 square feet of office space on the second floor.
The building will also feature a rooftop event space that can accommodate more than 500 guests and will offer views of both the neighborhood and the nearby New River.
“We are doing a small building that will maintain the character of Las Olas,” says Vann Padgett, senior vice president and director of real estate for The Las Olas Company. “It will be a renaissance on Las Olas.”
The project is at the corner of Southeast Eighth Avenue and East Las Olas Boulevard. Completion is scheduled for the summer of 2017.
Padgett says that when the company first starting planning the project, it had no availability in its retail properties. “Our [rental] rates were going up, and we felt it was the optimal time to start development,” she says. “The retail market has changed somewhat, but we feel that this building is going to be unique enough that the tenants we bring will really be a beautiful addition to the boulevard.”
The Comras Co. of Florida, a retail leasing, investment and development company in Miami Beach, will handle leasing for the project. “They have a presence in the national market and great connections,” Padgett says.
Michael Comras, president and chief executive officer of The Comras Co., says there is demand today for downtown neighborhoods that offer opportunities for people to live, work and play. “Having a street like Las Olas, and then elevating it with the right mix of tenants, can create the right kind of vibe for the street,” he says.
Cafés, home furnishing stores, boutiques and specialty fitness concepts such as Flywheel would be attractive additions to Las Olas Boulevard, says Comras, who adds, “It’s really an amazing opportunity for downtown Fort Lauderdale and to take Las Olas to the next level.”