Las Olas Boulevard – ReimaginedMay 10, 2022
I moved over two decades to Fort Lauderdale. Las Olas Boulevard was thriving with unique retail options and a dozen or so restaurants & bars. Downtown, as we know it today, didn’t really exist. Nobody lived in the downtown area, the couple of high-rises were offices. The New River was a working river (on its way out) and Las Olas Isles was this ensemble of larger ranch style homes, sometimes those houses had a second floor, but mostly they were single story dwellings. The Beach had 2 story hotels (motels?) and the dive bars on the beach were well and alive.
Year after year, Fort Lauderdale and with that, the Boulevard, turned into a busy winter destination. Some ‘snowbirds’ started to come in mid November and December, most arrived in January the latest. Come around April (whenever Easter happens each year) they disappear. It got REALLY busy on Las Olas – kind of like overnight. It was interesting to watch and to experience this.
During the summer time you only saw locals on the Boulevard. It felt like everyone knew each other. You could have easily thrown a bowling ball down the Boulevard at around noon and most of the day and you didn’t hit a soul. You saw “See you next Season” in some of the retail & restaurant windows – sometimes with the added remark to visit their location in XYZ (somewhere “up north”) during the summer.
At one point, Las Olas was compared to Rodeo Drive”. Not too sure who came up with that, but it does sound like a far fetched comparison. There will be another time to talk about this.
Anyways, times have changed, mostly to the better I personally think.
Fort Lauderdale did turn over the last two decades into an ‘all-year-around’ destination. How it came to that .. yes you figured it right, later.
Two decades ago, there was already ‘talk’ to redo Las Olas – 2017 the ‘talk’ became more serious on a city level and today, we are closer than ever to soon see a reimagined and redesigned Las Olas Boulevard.
Here you can learn more about the conceptual design.