November 2, 2021
Compared to the recovery from the great recession, DowntownFTL has become much more resilient to major disruptions in economic activity. Major gains in the residential population, the share of high wage jobs based downtown, and hotel offerings currently makes DowntownFTL more resilient to shocks impacting any one specific industry. Unlike many peer downtowns from across the country that are still primarily destinations during business hours, DowntownFTL has a diverse mix of office, residential, and hospitality options that better represents what downtowns of the future will look like.
We'll go into detail as to why DowntownFTL is better positioned to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the global financial crisis.
Residential Population: The significant increase in residents is a major off-set to the temporary fall in the number of daily employees working five days per week at downtown offices.
The residential population has grown by 41% since 2010 and 33% since 2015. This cements DowntownFTL's role as the fastest driver of residential growth in Broward County over the past five years.
Compare that to 2000 to 2010, where the DowntownFTL residential population only grew by about 2%.
Residents aged 25 to 44 make up 42% of the DowntownFTL population. This age group is entering their prime earning years. The share of residents in this age group has grown by more than 40% over the past decade.
These trends will continue to accelerate as 13,000 new residential units are projected to come online over the next decade. With 275+ move-ins per month, DowntownFTL is an in-demand residential destination.
Employment: A higher share of high wage jobs are based downtown compared to 2008. The jobs recovery will be much quicker.
50% of DowntownFTL workers are currently in high wage "knowledge sector industries" including but not limited to financial services, technology, and professional services. This is a 7% increase since 2008.
It took until 2016 for DowntownFTL to recover the number of private sector jobs lost in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. This year DowntownFTL is likely to fully recover the number of jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic
In the years prior to and throughout the pandemic (2018 - 2020) Downtown Fort Lauderdale experienced a 33% increase in finance jobs, 16% increase in professional services jobs, and 10% rise in technology related jobs.
Tourism: Combined with the opening of the newly renovated Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, the explosion of new downtown hotels will capture a greater share of time that 14 million annual Broward County visitors spend in DowntownFTL.
Over 900 hotel rooms have opened within the past five years, making DowntownFTL a compelling complement to Fort Lauderdale Beach for tourists and business travelers to stay, experience, shop, and dine. Prior to the gain in hotel rooms, DowntownFTL was not as easily accessible to visitors.
1,000 additional hotel rooms are projected to open over the next decade, complemented by an additional 600,000 square feet of retail and restaurant offerings.
Due to the regional connectivity offered by Brightline, DowntownFTL is at the center of the South Florida region of six million people. This positions Fort Lauderdale at the center of a region that is bigger than 30 states. The reopening of Brightline this fall is poised to accelerate the recovery of DowntownFTL by reconnecting the region.
The opportunities that come with connecting Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties were not available during previous downturns. What's clear is that a diverse Downtown economy with multiple engines and greater regional connectivity has emerged.