Two local developers won city approval to build a 138-room luxury hotel on East Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The two-year construction phase of the development is expected to start in fall, said one of the developers, Steven Hudson, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Hudson Capital Group.
“We feel that this fills a downtown luxury hotel niche,” said Hudson, whose partner in the project is Charles B. Ladd, Jr., president of Fort Lauderdale-based Barron Real Estate. “It’ll be a five-star property with restaurants, a spa and meeting space.”
Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted Tuesday night to rezone the hotel development site at 1007 East Las Olas Boulevard from “exclusive parking district” to “community business district.” The commissioners also voted to vacate a city-owned alley next to the site.
Most luxury hotels in Fort Lauderdale are clustered near the city’s beach, said Hudson, nephew of the late billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga. But “not everybody here is drawn to the beach.”
Business travelers with downtown destinations “want to stay in a nice place. But they don’t want to get in an elevator with a bunch of kids with sandy rafts and beach balls,” he said. “Then it’s another 15 minutes [by car] to downtown.”
The as-yet unnamed downtown hotel is expected to open in 2023 without a branded hotel-chain affiliation. “It’s going to be an independent hotel,” Hudson said.
In 2016, Hudson and Ladd paid $8.29 million for the development site through two Florida entities, 800 Las Olas, LLC and Mustang Properties, according to property records.
The developers are preparing to relocate two tenants, optician Warby Parker and camping and fishing gear retailer YETI, which now occupy commercial space on the hotel development site.
Warby Parker and YETI will move one address to the east, at 1009 East Las Olas Boulevard, into a new building built “just for the two of them,” Hudson said. “That building is now under construction, and after we finish that, we’ll break ground for the hotel.”