Encore's $350 Million Plantation Walk Makeover Pitched as Alternative to Pricey Downtown Fort Lauderdale Office Rents
Encore’s 0 Million Plantation Walk Makeover Pitched as Alternative to Pricey Downtown Fort Lauderdale Office Rents
Seven-Story Office Component Set to Open in Mid-2018 as First Phase of Mixed-Use Project
For a decade, the former Fashion Mall in Plantation, FL was an eyesore, a shuttered retail complex in one of the busiest areas of suburban Fort Lauderdale.
Now the 35-acre site along Broward Boulevard near University Drive is being primed for a $350 million mixed-used project that Plantation Mayor Veltri Bendekovic says will transform the city.
“We are thrilled with the proposed redevelopment of the Fashion Mall property,” she said. “It is long overdue and one of the most eagerly anticipated projects in the city’s history.
“Plantation is one of the few cities in Broward County that has shown consistent, year-over-year increases in property values, and this will help increase our tax base and boost our economy even further,” Mayor Bendekovic added. “The jobs the project will bring to the city, both short-term and long, will have far-reaching effects upon other businesses in the area, further enhancing their bottom line as well.”
The developer, Encore Capital Management, has demolished the old mall and started preparing the site for construction of Plantation Walk. When completed, the project will inlcude a renovated hotel and a seven-story, 160,000-square-foot office building, more than 200,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and 700 apartments.
The offices are expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2018, Encore said. It’s unclear when the balance of the project will open.
The project, another example of the live-work-play destinations that developers are creating across South Florida, also will feature green spaces and walkways, new landscaping and other amenities.
“It’s time to bring in a new era of an enhanced lifestyle to the city,” said Art Falcone, CEO and managing partner of Encore. Falcone also is part of the development team for the massive, mixed-use Miami Worldcenter planned for downtown Miami.
The Fashion Mall once was one of the most popular shopping venues in Broward County, but Macy’s closed in 2005 after damage from Hurricane Wilma and never reopened. The entire mall closed two years later, losing the battle for shoppers to the newer Westfield Broward Mall located a quarter mile away.
After a Chinese investment firm didn’t follow through on a series of plans to redevelop the former Fashion Mall site, an affiliate of Encore bought the property for $37.7 million out of bankruptcy in 2015.
Jay Adams, Plantation Walk’s office leasing agent and senior managing director of Newmark Knight Frank in Boca Raton, said Encore hopes to attract an anchor tenant willing to take 40,000 to 100,000 square feet. He said negotiations are intensifying on a couple of prospective leases.
Magic Leap, a high tech firm developing mixed reality products, and health care company Amsurg Corp. have leased about two-thirds of an 850,000-square-foot facility near Plantation Walk that once served as a regional headquarters for Motorola. Other companies also have discovered Plantation and Adams said he’s convinced that the city can become a major corporate draw.
“Downtown Fort Lauderdale is going to get busy and congested,” Adams said. “Where is the next best place? Plantation probably is.”
At the end of the third quarter, downtown Fort Lauderdale was the priciest office market in Broward, with gross rents averaging $35.80 a square foot, according to CoStar data. Plantation was only the fourth most expensive market at $27.65 a square foot.
Aside from the cost, employers are seriously considering Plantation because they know that many of their workers live near the bustling community and are eager to save on commute times, said Elliot LaBreche, a broker at Easton Group who advises office tenants in lease negotiations.
Plantation Walk will be busy at all hours, with workers during the day and residents looking for shopping and entertainment options at night, he said.
“It’s going to be successful,” LaBreche predicted. “All of these uses are very complementary of one another.”