Pricey Makeover for Fort Lauderdale Beach

Area west of A1A will be updated with upscale hotels and restaurants

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Change is about to sweep over Fort Lauderdale Beach as the oceanfront hotels and restaurants along A1A may soon have competition. (Published Thursday, Mar 17, 2011)

    Fort Lauderdale Beach is about to undergo a multimillion dollar facelift. The vision is to transform the area just west of A1A into a bustling pedestrian area with upscale hotels, restaurants and shops.  

    The location is currently filled with older boutique motels that stand in the shadow of the oceanfront luxury hotels and resorts. The change will take at least two years to notice.

    "I think some of our smaller hotels took a beating for several reasons," said Nicki Grossman, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. Grossman says the small hoteliers struggled through the sluggish economy and business slowed down significantly. 

    Seizing on the low property values, an investor from Sweden and another from Cananda have been buying up the mom-and-pop hotels over the past year, each acting independently of each other.

    Richard Gray is the director of operations for the Royal Palms Resort located at 717 Breakers.  It was purchased by investor Par Sanda and it is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation. 

    Once it opens in April, Gray says it's going to be the largest gay boutique resort in the country.  The updated look will be modern, sleek, and sexy, he says.

    "I think it's more than exciting," Gray said. "The area behind Fort Lauderdale beach is ripe for change."

    Grossman says the investors have purchased two dozen hotels in the area west of the beach. 

    "The vision is casual elegance," said Grossman, who added that the city of Fort Lauderdale will get  a 30 to 40 percent increase in its tax base from the redeveloped area. "It will be yet another generation of Fort Lauderdale Beach."