Investor picks up Elbo Room property, adjacent retail in Fort Lauderdale for $7M

Elbo Room bar in Fort Lauderdale
Elbo Room bar in Fort Lauderdale

The property housing one of Fort Lauderdale’s most popular dive bars, the Elbo Room, has sold for $7 million.

Investor Joseph Cohen closed on the three properties at 3001 East Las Olas Boulevard at the end of March, broker Jonathan Gerszberg of Marcus & Millichap told The Real Deal. He paid $670 per square foot for the 10,440-square-foot plot of land.

The portfolio hit the market about a year ago for $7.75 million, which means it sold for a nearly 10 percent discount. Gerszberg represented Cohen, and Marcus & Millichap’s Scott Sandelin and Eddie Romo represented the seller, Richard Steinbook, a University of Miami psychiatrist. Previous sales information was not available online.

The bar has the oldest continuously operating liquor license in Broward County, according to Marcus & Millichap. It opened before World War II and was featured briefly in the coming-of-age movie “Where the Boys Are.”

But the Elbo Room and the adjacent liquor and tattoo stores aren’t going anywhere for at least another 20 years. Both are subject to 99-year ground leases, which have about 20 years remaining, Romo said.

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The listing generated significant interest, but “the challenge was the fact that the Elbo Room property and the piece in the middle provide very little income, and they were encumbered for about 20 years,” Romo said. The tenants pay the operating expenses on both buildings under ground leases.

The properties, near the ocean, are poised for long-term redevelopment, Scott said. The Fort Lauderdale Beach Community Redevelopment Area plans to turn Las Olas Boulevard into a festival street, without curbs and medians, expanding the sidewalks for outdoor retail and dining, and converting the nearby parking lot into a park. “This whole area is going to turn over soon,” he said.

A number of new developments are underway in Fort Lauderdale Beach, including Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Gale and Jimmy Tate’s revised proposal for the Bahia Mar resort and marina property.

And investment along Las Olas stretches west onto the mainland. Commercial broker and investor Michael Comras was hired at the end of last year to revitalize a four-block stretch of the corridor with new/renovated retail, restaurant and office space.