By: Beatrice Silva
2 min read October 2020 — Progresso Village, nestled in the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s urban core, is taking on a life of its own. Sitting just north of Las Olas and within walking distance from Flagler Village, the up-and-coming neighborhood boasts a vibrant atmosphere while still offering the quaint charm of the city’s historic Riverfront. The area is ripe for development and one of the most recent projects could help bring more affordable housing options to the area.
Before Progresso Village and its surrounding neighborhoods became a hotbed for emerging development, the area was known for its vacant lots and empty warehouses. However, a handful of real estate visionaries saw the potential for what the urban center could be. Fast forward to 2020 and the area now boasts more than 1,000 residential units, 100,000 square feet of retail space and a handful of projects under construction. But rising property values often come hand in hand with booming neighborhoods. To ensure both new and old residents are able to maintain their quality of life, affordable housing options will be vital.
The Fort Lauderdale City Commission is considering an agreement to sell the 11,765-square-foot site at 221 N.W. Sixth Street for $560,000 to Green Mills Group, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Ambitious plans are set for the building’s future development. Green Mills Group’s blueprint for the site aims to provide 80 to 100 units of affordable housing for people aged 55 and up. A potential partnership with the Pantry of Broward could also bring offices and a food service warehouse to the building’s ground floor.
“For many years, the Board of Directors recognized that our seniors needed so much more than food,” EJ Spector, chair of the Pantry of Broward, told the South Florida Business Journal. “With limited incomes and multiple demands upon that income for medications, utilities and ever increasing rents, the board’s vision to meet those needs expanded. We along with our partners Green Mills, look forward to further exploring this most recent opportunity to better serve our community.”
Fish Property Management is another developer that has big plans to aid in the transformation of Progresso Village. The Thrive project, set to break ground in February 2021, will redevelop around 80,000 square feet of warehouses into offices, restaurants, retail stores and smaller warehouses. The Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to give Fish Property Management $2.5 million for renovations. Part of the deal is contingent on 30,000 square feet being set at an affordable rate of $17 a square foot, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
Fort Lauderdale’s Village District is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Unique character is added with the addition of each new development, redevelopments and innovative restoration project. “There’s still quite a bit of development left to do,” Alan Hooper, a pioneer developer in Flagler Village, told the Sun Sentinel. “There’s a lot of land that hasn’t been developed, a lot of pockets that have been ignored for several decades so there’s a lot of work to be done to turn it into an urban village.”