Fort Lauderdale approves master plan for its $90M-plus version of Miami’s Underline

31-mile project calls for pocket parks, bridges, pathways and more

Mayor Dean Trantalis with Flagler Greenway to NE 9th Street (Wikimedia, Path Foundation)
Mayor Dean Trantalis with Flagler Greenway to NE 9th Street (Wikimedia, Path Foundation)

Fort Lauderdale is moving forward with plans for its version of Miami’s Underline linear park and trail that could extend throughout the city, where development has boomed in recent years.

Fort Lauderdale commissioners Steven Glassman, Ben Sorensen, Vice Mayor Heather Moraitis and Mayor Dean Trantalis voted to approve a resolution accepting the LauderTrail master plan at a meeting last week, according to city documents.

The 31-mile LauderTrail project, which is expected to cost more than $90 million, has secured $5 million in funding from the city so far.

NE 9th Street to Holiday Park (Path Foundation)

Like the Underline, a park that is under construction and runs underneath the Metrorail in Miami-Dade County, a nonprofit called Friends of LauderTrail is expected to be formed to raise additional funds and support for the project. The Underline has raised money from developers with nearby transit-oriented projects.

North Fork New River Trail Bridge (Path Foundation)

North Fork New River Trail Bridge (Path Foundation)

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Jay Shechtman, a senior associate at Kayne Anderson Real Estate, who was part of the working group created to devise plans for the LauderTrail, said the next step will be to have the city recognize the nonprofit once it is formed. It will eventually solicit money from private developers and other donors.

The multi-phased park and trail would include pocket parks, bridges and boardwalks, bike and pedestrian paths and landscaping, and would connect at public transit hubs, according to the master plan. The proposal includes a bridge over Federal Highway at Southeast 14th Street, and the addition of a multi-use trail running parallel to the Florida East Coast Railway corridor along Southwest Second Avenue from Croissant Park to Southwest 20th Street.

NW 5th St. – NW 5th Ct. Green Alley (Path Foundation)

The master plan identifies four model projects where construction could begin.

Shechtman said Miami-based Related Group plans to extend the riverwalk near its three-phased New River Yacht Club development, which will loop around to the intersection of the first phase of the LauderTrail, stretching down to 17th Street.

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In addition to Related, developers such as the New York-based Kushner Companies are building in the Broward County city. Kushner brought on Denver-based apartment giant Aimco to co-develop a planned 3-million-square-foot, mixed-use project on Broward Boulevard.

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