2 min read February 2022 — Steven Hudson, president and CEO of Hudson Capital Group, met with Invest: to discuss how the growth the county is experiencing is changing the way its residents perceive their lives. He highlighted the new projects in Broward County and how important it is that infrastructure keeps pace with growth. He also discussed why now is a crucial time for Fort Lauderdale’s Downtown core.
What consequences from 2021 are most likely to impact the region moving forward?
The migration from all over will have a huge impact on Downtown residential units. We’re absorbing over 100 units a month in the Downtown core, which is a building every three months. We’re building so fast that it has led to skyrocketing property values. A lot of these projects are now coming online and with that comes the need for transportation. The city is having conversations about a preferred alternative for commuter rail to build a tunnel under the New River. That’s an important piece of trying to connect Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach. Those are some of the challenges resulting from the growth in the Downtown core. The core itself is pretty much almost built out.
What are some of the strengths of Broward County being between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade?
With Brightline up and running and the proposed coastal link commuter rail, Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are literally and figuratively at the center of the South Florida Region. The quality of life here is so much better if you live anywhere in or around Downtown: you have access to the beach, airport, seaport, the arts and entertainment district and Las Olas all within a 5- or 10-minute drive. We have a great tech ecosystem here, and we are attracting many family offices and wealth management companies. For very specific reasons, they don’t want to be in Miami and they don’t want to be in Palm Beach. They love the lifestyle here.
We’re seeing the migration of people into South Florida. We’ve acquired quite a few properties Downtown as well as outside of the Downtown core. In the next few years, as everything continues to get built and more people continue to work remotely, you’re going to see people want to live in places like Broward.
How is remote working affecting the landscape of Broward County?
Right now, we are hiring for one of our companies and we realized that if we looked for someone from South Florida or someone who would move permanently to South Florida, we would wipe out about 80% of the applicants. With remote work, you get a much larger talent pool that you can pull from but you also miss that experience of being in an office. For some industries and for some people, it is necessary to see workers in the office. However, times do change and to attract top talent you need to offer flexibility. It is a bit of a different world.
I’m also seeing the design of the office space layout changing. You’ve got fewer people in the office but those people need more space. In some ways, the office market itself is strengthening. The Main at Las Olas recently opened up, leasing is strong and it’s the first class-A office building in the last 10 years Downtown. It’s a balance to have people in the office. Cooperation is essential in some industries so I don’t see a fully remote society anytime soon.
What are some of the hotbeds of investment in Broward County?
Fort Lauderdale and Downtown are ready for investment. Right now, a five-star hotel on Las Olas Boulevard that five years ago would not have been possible is a good example. It’s a 140-room hotel that caters to tourists and business people. It’s designed for the people who come to Fort Lauderdale, not for the beach, but for other types of entertainment. It didn’t used to be that way but now we have this amazing Arts and Entertainment District that is growing by leaps and bounds. Las Olas, the Downtown core, and all the surrounding areas are growing. There’s a whole lot more that Broward County has to offer now than just the beach.
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