Downtown Fort Lauderdale is doubly young. The town center began forming c. 1900 not long after the arrival of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad arrived in 1896. It grew and evolved until the 1960s as suburbanization sucked the life out of it.
Faced with a largely vacant downtown, stakeholders came to together and formed the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority to reimagine and rebuild the downtown. Slowly, c. 1970, it began to grow again. A development boom in the c. 2000 brought the city center to a new plateau and the current development boom is transforming downtown before our eyes.
Swaths of demolition included the loss some fine old buildings, but this yet emerging downtown nevertheless retains its human-scaled grid, unbroken by elevated expressways, and in the cleared blocks have come two parks, two museums, a central library and a regional performing arts center.
The growing skyline is just the beginning.
The tour winds along Riverwalk from Laura Ward Plaza to Brickell Avenue, then north to Stranahan Park and back to Laura Ward Plaza through the downtown core.