• DowntownFTL

The Pulse on DowntownFTL: Winter Commercial Real Estate Report Recap

December 24, 2021


The Fort Lauderdale DDA recently hosted its latest version of The Pulse on Downtown Fort Lauderdale: Market Report Series. The event marked the official release of the Winter 2021 DowntownFTL Commercial Real Estate Market Report prepared by Colliers International. Hosted by the DDA's President and CEO Jenni Morejon, the Winter 2021 Commercial Real Estate Market Report was presented by Ken Krasnow of Colliers International. Key takeaways from the report highlight DowntownFTL's strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • DowntownFTL now has nearly 21,000 residents, an increase of about 2,000 over the past year.

  • The number of employees in DowntownFTL now matches the number from before the pandemic, highlighting the urban core's strong employment recovery.

  • Retail vacancy rates in DowntownFTL plummeted to 4.8% in 2021, lower than pre-pandemic levels.

  • DowntownFTL office workers are returning to the office at a rate 15 points higher than the national average.

Jenni, Ken, and special guests Tim Petrillo, CEO & Co-Founder of The Restaurant People and Joshua Morris, General Manager of Hyatt Centric Las Olas, focused on the evolution of DowntownFTL’s restaurant and hotel sector as well as DowntownFTL’s balance as a residential, employment, and tourism hub. Additional topics covered included how DowntownFTL is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of DowntownFTL as a destination for top talent.


From Jenni Morejon, President & CEO, Fort Lauderdale DDA:

  • On trends brought to the forefront due to the pandemic: “We’ve been hearing a lot about the flight to quality in DowntownFTL whether that is residential, office, restaurant, and hospitality …where it's all about authentic experiences and places.”

  • On the evolution of DowntownFTL as a destination for tourists: “Years ago visitors would stay on the beach and consider going downtown. Now DowntownFTL is becoming the homebase of the visitor experience.”

From Tim Petrillo, CEO & Co-Founder, The Restaurant People:

  • On the evolution of downtown as a destination for residents: “Downtown used to be heavily focused on work, but over the last 10 years residential has been a gamechanger for restaurants. When we opened up YOLO, there were only 2,500 units downtown. That growth (now with over 20,000 residents) has made for a more vibrant experience and better lifestyle.”

  • On shifts accelerated by the pandemic: “What happened was in 2020 the world was shut down … residents who just moved here… are staying here. They live here, love being here, and want to stay here.”

From Joshua Morris, General Manager, Hyatt Centric Las Olas:

  • Speaking on his return to the region this summer as the new GM of the Hyatt Centric Las Olas: “In the 6 years that I’ve been gone…so much is still here and so much is new to the DowntownFTL area… which has really blown up” “I’m a good example as someone who lived here and is witnessing all the development.”

  • On the impact of the Hyatt Centric on DowntownFTL: “This hotel will have 100,000 staying annually by 2023. We’re doing our part to complement everything going on downtown.”

  • On DowntownFTL’s momentum: “It looks like and feels like everything is shifting in the right direction… for DowntownFTL…there is a buzz about and great awareness from what Fort Lauderdale is and what it is becoming."

From Ken Krasnow, Vice Chairman of Institutional Investor Services, Colliers South Florida:

  • On changes caused by the pandemic: “People’s priorities have shifted. The cities that offer balance of lifestyle, open space, inclusivity is where employees want to be. Companies are tracking where their employees are moving to and Fort Lauderdale benefits in the long-term as the center of the region.”

The Winter 2021 Commercial Real Estate Report can be found at https://www.ddaftl.org/resources and the virtual panel event can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C48BJIeX0U.