As a city, Fort Lauderdale has topped its share of lists during the past year, although not necessarily ones you might expect. Shedding its reputation as a spring break mecca, the city is racking up praise, from being named the best for brunch in America by Travel & Leisure, to becoming known as one of the country's top staycation spots. Today, the "Venice of America" is all about living up to its name. Enter the area's most prestigious property owners - The Las Olas Company. Barron Real Estate and Hudson Capital Group-who've banded together to modernize and transform Fort Lauderdale's most famous tree-lined shopping and dining district. Cosmetics retailer Bluemercury, along with eco-conscious jeweler Alex and Ani, Louie Bossi's Ristorante and Pizzeria and Mexican "soul food" joint El Camino, are just a few of the new names on Las Olas. The influx of professionals, families and seasonal condo dwellers, largely from the Northeast, are fueling downtown's growth, along with up-and-coming affluent residential neighborhoods like Flagler Village and Wilton Manors. “Walking down Las Olas, you can't help but feel the energy and potential to do something great”, said Michael Comras , CEO of the Comras Company, which has been tapped to lease upwards of 100,000 square feet of commercial space on the strip. “With more than 10,000 new residences built downtown, we’re reestablishing retail and dining experiences that fulfill the lifestyle needs of new consumers in the area. This is where New Yorkers spend their winters and young families own their first home.” With housing costs still considerably less than Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north, Fort Lauderdale remains a great value proposition. More than 1,200 hotel rooms and 15,000 apartments and condominiums have been approved and built in recent years, helping to turn the city into a true “live-work-play” destination. New residential offerings in the area include the Related Group's recently opened Icon Las Olas. W Residences Fort Lauderdale and Auberge Beach Residences and Spa Fort Lauderdale, which counts NFL legend Dan Marino, style icon Annie Falk and NHL's Jacob Trouba among future residents. Comras added, “It’s extremely rare to find such an Organic streetscape tucked just steps away from some of the world's most beautiful beaches, Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale International Airport and a central business district spanning more than six million square feet.”
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