An Example Of `Smart Growth'
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
Posted August 5 2003
Waterways have always been key to Fort Lauderdale's
specialness. The Atlantic Ocean, the New River, the Intracoastal
Waterway and other rivers, lakes and canals are highways to move
people and goods around. They are places to fish, swim and go
boating. They are drains to combat flooding and make the area
livable. And they are sources of scenic beauty and quality of
Finally, the rich history of those waterways and their
importance to the city will be told at the planned Fort Lauderdale
Maritime Museum. Within two or three years, it will open as a place
to show off boats, nautical instruments, photos, exhibits and other
The museum is part of the $5.2 million New River
Trading Post Development, covering an acre stretching north from the
New River to the old downtown post office site at 330 SW Second St.
A 5,800-square-foot museum, resembling an early sailors'
house of refuge, will rise on the New River and Riverwalk, with dock
space for regular boats, water taxis and historical exhibit boats.
To the north, along Southwest Fourth Avenue, will be the Riverwalk
Theater Studios, a "live-work" space blending ground-floor offices
and shops with second-floor apartments, with parking space behind.
Along Second Street would be restaurants and retail stores.
The city leased the land to developers for 50 years for
escalating rents starting at $50,000.
This project will
enrich the city in many ways:
It will be developed by
longtime city residents with a record of achievement in city
betterment, developers Alan Hooper, Tim Petrillo, Kelly Drum and his
grandfather, former Mayor Bob Cox, who has helped create museums
elsewhere in the nation.
It is an innovative public-private
partnership demonstrating many desirable "smart growth" principles.
It strives to maintain both the character and scale of the
neighborhood. The mixed-use facility merges places to live, work,
eat, shop and visit, all in an easily walkable, user-friendly
It is at a site urgently in need of
revitalization and redevelopment. For years, Fort Lauderdale has
tinkered with what to do with its closed post office, while
development plans faltered.
And it fills a gaping hole along
the Riverwalk. It will be the "missing link" between the Arts and
Science District, including the Museum of Discovery and Science and
the Performing Arts Center, the historic Himmarshee Village shopping
and dining area, and the Las Olas Riverfront mall.
This is a
"win-win" deal for all concerned.