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Big, Beige, Tan Things Are Totally Urbanizing Flagler Village

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Flagler Village, Fort Lauderdale's blossoming neighborhood of walkable, mid-rise urbanity just north of Broward Boulevard, is indeed booming, with construction launching on multiple large projects, mostly apartment buildings that haven't had the benefits of armies of public relations people to show them off the way their condo brethren usually do. But what's important about Flagler Village is not the P.R., or even most of the insufferably-generic-looking architecture of the buildings themselves, but the urbanism that they are actively creating. The stuff being built in Flagler Village is infill mid-rise construction close to the urban core with a mix of uses, which is actually quite rare in South Florida. We've got plenty of the extremes—from the 60 story condo towers packed cheek to jowl in Brickell to the endless suburbia of Weston—but very little of the middle stuff that usually makes great urbanism.

Two new mid-rise, large scale developments currently well under construction in Flagler Village are the Related Group's Henry Square on North Federal Highway, designed by Cohen Freedman Encinosa Architects, and The Pearl at Flagler Village, marking the return to south Florida of Houston-based developer and property manager The Morgan Group. These market rate developments, proposed in an austere cream, beige, tan and brown centric palette, (how bland it is to be an apartment dweller sometimes) border the west side of US1, between Broward and Sunrise Boulevards, and will inject much needed rental units, 721 to be exact, into the generally urbanizing heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Henry Square comes with 25,000 square feet of retail space, ample sidewalks and plazas in an effort to foster an urban-like environment and pedestrian atmosphere.

Further west within Flagler Village, along NE 4th street on a block that spans from Third Ave. to Andrews Ave., a 2.2 acre site will become grounds for One20Fourth, a rental high-rise, with 286 units and 2,100 square feet of retail space by Fort Lauderdale-based Ellis Diversified. Whether it was planned or just a lucky accident, One20Fourth will benefit from its location along the 2.7 mile route Fort Lauderdale's future electric streetcar, the Wave, which is slated to be in operation by 2016 and to cruise straight through the neighborhood, making it ever more urban.
—Glenda Puente