If you haven’t been to Fort Lauderdale in a while, you might notice a few things changing. Here’s a quick look at some of the news going on around town.
Whole Foods: Whole Foods, the natural and organic foods supermarket chain, is building a new store on the northwest corner of US1 (Federal Highway) and Southeast 17th Street. It is expected to open at the end of 2020.
Convention center: The Portside Center office building at the southwest end of the 17th Street Causeway is gone. It is parking this week for the boat show, but it marks the first step in Broward County’s work to rebuild its aging convention center, expanding it to more than 1 million square feet, and adding a new hotel.
The expansion plan includes: An extension of the main exhibit hall to create 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, the addition of a 65,000-square-foot ballroom facing the Intracoastal Waterway, and the addition of meeting space. Skywalks are planned to connect the event space, headquarters hotel and parking structure.
The new facility is expected to be completed in 2023.
Beach park: The beach area at Las Olas Boulevard is transforming in a big way. The city is investing in a nearly $50 million rehab of the block between the east end of the ICW bridge and the beach wall. Called Las Olas Beach Park, the area will include more green space, two parks and a promenade.
The project, which includes the new parking garage on the north side of the Las Olas bridge and the ICW, is being managed by Skanska. Not sure when it’ll be complete.
Restaurants and bars: Several yachtie restaurants and bars have been either upgraded or have closed.