The Central Beach Master Plan initiative continues to focus on promoting the Central Beach Regional Activity Center as a vibrant beach community and a desirable destination. The Urban Design & Planning Division has been working with Redevelopment Management and Associates (RMA) on a zoning analysis and capacity study for the area, as well as addressing many complex issues such as future streetscape improvements, sea level rise, remaining vehicular trip and residential unit allocations and development density policy relative to the updated plan.
A significant amount of private development and public investment has occurred on Fort Lauderdale’s barrier island over the past 30 years, creating one of South Florida’s most notable destinations. Most of this growth was based on planning studies conducted in the 1980’s. The Central Beach Master Plan effort initiated in 2008, with the assistance of the consulting firm Sasaki and Associates, brought the community together to analyze past successes and failures and set the course for future development patterns and public improvements in the beach area. Master Plan objectives include the following:
- Expand opportunities for pedestrians to experience the active edge of the Intracoastal waterway;
- Create a symbolic center and gathering place at Las Olas Boulevard and celebrate the other beach entries;
- Create a variety of public spaces for residents and visitors of all ages, accommodating daily use as well as special events and performances;
- Make streets more pedestrian oriented with attractive shaded sidewalks with cafes, restaurants and shops;
- Preserve and enhance unique architectural resources within the Central Beach; and,
- Promote a mix of uses to establish a vibrant, active resort and residential community.
Following a series of public input meetings, various public realm improvement opportunities were identified and design principles for guiding private development were established with the assistance of the consulting firm Sasaki and Associates. In 2011, the City Commission authorized more than $70 million worth of public improvement projects for the Central Beach CRA as originally outlined in the Master Plan. This work has helped to move toward the vision of a dynamic, mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly urban beach destination. The emphasis moving forward is to improve the remaining portions of the Central Beach.