The Real Deal Miami

Future bleak for Fort Lauderdale’s style=”co

July 14, 2010 02:30PM

Las Olas Riverfront

The Las Olas Riverfront complex, which was conceived 12 years ago as a local and tourist attraction for Fort Lauderdale, is now a virtual ghost town after being sold to one of its lenders at auction last year. There’s still a movie theater and some bars, but scores of retailers and restaurateurs have closed up shop, leaving for-lease signs and empty storefronts in their place. A group of commercial real estate developers recently backed out of a deal to buy the complex, dimming hopes for a revival. That move comes on the heels of a failed plan to tear it down altogether and replace it with a hotel and condo tower, which fell apart amid the real estate crash. Now, the future of the Las Olas Riverfront appears murky. “Time will force a decision, but I don’t know how much time that will be,” said restaurateur Tim Petriello, who is also part of the Downtown Development Authority. “It’s terrible because it is one of the nicest pieces of real estate in Fort Lauderdale and is so underutilized. Ultimately, I hope something happens sooner rather than later because what is happening right now does nothing for downtown.” [Sun Sentinel]