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  • Writer's pictureDowntownFTL

The Florida Panthers & the Evolution of DowntownFTL

May 16, 2022

The Florida Panthers are red hot both on and off the ice. As the President's Trophy winning Panthers take on the 2-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, let's take this moment to reflect on the evolution of DowntownFTL as we celebrate the teams recent success.

Following the team's initial run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996, the Panthers' move to Broward County and FLA Live Arena helped to celebrate the growing potential of Fort Lauderdale as a vibrant destination. The Panthers' current investment into War Memorial Auditorium helps highlight just how much DowntownFTL has evolved since the 90s.

Late 1990s

In the mid to late 1990's, DowntownFTL was mostly a collection of offices and government buildings. Office workers commuted in from the suburbs, leaving downtown quiet on nights and weekends. That era was a culmination of about 30 years of flight to the suburbs.

During this period minimal investment was made on Federal Highway and in the area that would later become Flagler Village. The density to attract a high volume of employers, residents, retailers, and restaurateurs to the urban core did not exist.


Since 1996, DowntownFTL has evolved into a vibrant, mixed use destination full of amenities to be enjoyed by residents, employees, and visitors. With over 21,000 residents and 64,000 employees, DowntownFTL has grown up significantly. The strong mix of office and residential buildings has created an in-demand environment for young professionals, families, and retirees. The skyline images below are the result of over major residential growth since 2010, +57% across the entire downtown.

DowntownFTL, during the pandemic, experienced over 250 move-ins per month, balanced between new arrivals from the suburbs and from out of state. This is the opposite of what occurred in the 90s. DowntownFTL is now rapidly growing (+12% since 2020) while Broward County is currently losing residents (-0.7% since 2020) according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Flagler Village is just as dense at the central business district, with about 15,000 residents per square mile. The population in this neighborhood has increased by 146% since 2010, making Flagler Village one of the most desirable neighborhoods in South Florida. Notable developments over the next several years will enhance the vitality of the neighborhood with retail, restaurant, and entertainment options.

Investment In War Memorial

The Florida Panthers are doing their part to impact DowntownFTL through their investment in War Memorial Auditorium. DowntownFTL is excited to be part of the evolution of the Florida Panthers and looks forward to being the home of the club's new state-of-the-art practice facility.

The revitalized War Memorial will be a tremendous amenity for downtown residents, by making hockey more accessible to downtown families and bringing a new world-class performance venue to be enjoyed.

DowntownFTL salutes the Cats and wishes the team continued success on their march to the Stanley Cup. Learn more about the project at and be sure to cheer on the Panthers as they take on the Lightning. Let's go Cats!


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