Leaders weigh in on coming changes to projects, profitability and population

Leaders weigh in on coming changes to projects, profitability and population

2022-01-11T18:22:05-05:00January 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Writer: Sara Suarez

2 min read January 2022 — Aggressive business strategies and exciting projects are set to mark the next two years. According to a recent survey by Invest:, regional leaders expect the next 24 months to be steeped in growth and prosperity for Greater Fort Lauderdale. A majority of these leaders predict increased profits, accelerated expansions and an increase in investments.

Dean Trantalis, Mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale 

A lot of things we started a couple of years ago are going to come to a conclusion. We opened a soccer stadium and renovated our historic playhouse. Next year, we’re going to see a completed aquatics center and in two years, the Swimming Hall of Fame will complete their construction project. The Panthers hockey team is moving its operations to Fort Lauderdale and building ice rinks not just for the team but for the community as well. We intend to move forward on these initiatives. We’re moving aggressively to bring excitement to the community. I’m very positive about the economy over the next 36 months.

Bob Swindell President, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance

I see us building on the strength of the last several years of branding and identity for Greater Fort Lauderdale. Families and individuals continue to move to South Florida. “Work in the cloud, live in the sun” is a motto that rings true as people continue to work remotely and favor a better work-life balance. 

We’re looking forward to continued growth. We are all concerned about inflationary pressures and I don’t believe it will be as transient as many people may think it is. We’ve been a low-wage state so to see pressures on wages is a good thing for us, whether it’s in hospitality or logistics. Amazon is going to be one of our largest employers in the next few years and while those are entry-level jobs, they offer great benefits. It will cause some upward pressure on inflation but it will be beneficial to the area and as a community. 

Sandy-Michael McDonald, Director of the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development Florida

Broward is already committed to funding its own infrastructure because of the penny tax. The penny tax is also being utilized by the Citizen Broward which affords our small businesses more opportunities. While collecting an estimated $355 million per year in penny tax, an average of $177 million dollars will have an assigned small business goal of 30%. Small businesses in Broward will have competitive access to $53 million dollars per year during the penny tax. Additional near-term priorities also include continuing initiatives at the port along with the airport master plan, which is a $3.2 billion expansion along with the completion of the Convention Center expansion and the new 800 room hotel scheduled to begin in Spring 2022. 

Phil Purcell, President & CEO of the Maritime Association of South Florida

It’s very difficult to manage 35% growth for any industry. I would imagine that we’ll have another record year for our industry because being on the water is amazing. There are huge investments being made in our industry, in new infrastructure, in new products, such as electric motors that will start showing up in smaller boats. West Marine is relocating from California and that’s a big deal. Florida is the No. 1 state for boating. I think our future is bright. I think the labor issues will continue for every industry but from our industry perspective, we have a bunch of resilient entrepreneurs that just don’t take no for an answer. 

Stacy Ritter, President & CEO of Visit Lauderdale

We’re expecting to continue to grow and for visitation to rise, at least at the beginning of 2022. We are going to see more international influx, especially coming from Canada and Mexico. Business travel is making a comeback and we’re ready to receive them with a new convention center. Things are looking very positive. The first Four Seasons in Greater Fort Lauderdale is opening in February 2022 and the Omni Hotel has started construction on its 800 rooms.

We’re making drastic changes in the way we market and promote ourselves; we have rebranded this year from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau to Visit Lauderdale. We have also changed our tagline to Everyone Under the Sun. Our marketing is becoming edgier to fully portray our diverse community and enhance small and local businesses.

There is always something new for visitors to experience as new shops and restaurants open. Real estate prices have increased, showing that people are moving here and want to make this place their home. It’s an attractive place not only to visit but to live.

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