At Home in Harbordale

A new mixed-use development is part of a trend away from industrial and towards more residential in Harbordale.


Mike Seemuth

Published date: 

Jun. 1, 2017

A fresh jolt of gentrification may be coming to Harbordale, the southeast Fort Lauderdale neighborhood with an industrial edge.

A developer has proposed to build a five-story building with condos and ground-floor offices and shops on vacant land at 2100 S. Miami Rd. The unnamed project would be another milestone in residential and commercial development in a part of town that abuts the back of Port Everglades but also is close to the beach, the airport and downtown.

Eli Halali, the developer of the five-story, mixed-use building, has owned the land for about three years. He expects to break ground by the first quarter of 2018 and to finish construction of the building in 12 to 15 months. Barring big setbacks, Halali’s $5 million development could open sometime in 2019, bringing new neighbors to the area, offsetting its industrial surroundings and nudging Harbordale further in a residential and commercial direction.

Of course, Port Everglades isn’t going anywhere, and a field of fuel tanks on port grounds will continue to demarcate much of the industrial zone in Harbordale that lies east of U.S. 1 and north of State Road 84. Not surprisingly, the mix of property uses and users in Harbordale can contribute to occasional clashes of industrial and residential interests in the neighborhood. In early 2016, for example, some condo owners in Harbordale pushed back when news broke that Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Company wanted to build a big storage tank on port grounds.

Marathon’s tank, with capacity for 6.7 million gallons of gasoline, would be located less than 100 feet from the Village East condominium at 2001 SE 10 Ave. The Sun-Sentinel reported that some Village East condo residents criticized the planned tank’s potential for fueling a catastrophic accident or terrorist incident. The big fuel tank hasn’t been built – not yet, anyway. Marathon still plans to build it on Port Everglades’ so-called “tank farm.” Company spokeswoman Stephanie Griffith says Marathon may have more news on the tank project by summer: “It’s not dead.”

But a little industrial isn’t going to put off Halali. Matt Jelinek, an executive in Halali’s collection of real estate businesses including GALA Real Estate Services and Galleria Maintenance Inc, says location plays a big part in the site’s appeal. “The location – being close to Federal Highway, A1A, the beach, downtown, the port, hospital and airport – presented an interesting central point.”

Halali, Jelinek says, “purchased the land in 2014 due to the progressive and welcoming atmosphere that was apparent in the Harbordale neighborhood.” Halali has discussed his development with the Harbordale Civic Association, a neighborhood association of homeowners, and “they’ve received it in a very positive manner,” Jelinek says. (Marilyn Mammano, president of the association, didn’t respond to a request from Fort Lauderdale Magazine for comment on Halali’s development.)

Halali took the first step in the process of obtaining city approval for his Harbordale development in a March 28 meeting with Fort Lauderdale’s municipal Design Review Committee, or DRC. “We recently passed the DRC review and ended up with a number of comments that we are now reviewing,” Jelinek says. The DRC comments will “help ensure the fusion of this project within the existing Harbordale neighborhood.”

The ground floor of the development would have about 1,000 square feet of retail store space, plus a lobby, offices and a conference room. The development may attract some condo buyers who want to go to work downstairs in an office or store, but it is aimed at a bigger market, Jelinek says.

“We feel that our audience will be much wider,” he says. “The feel of the entire project will reflect the relaxation that comes with the plethora of services so near to home … There is no way to place value to the return on investment for improved quality of life.”

The proposed development would have 12 condos ranging in size from 1,500 square feet to 1,700 square feet, each with a balcony. The building also would have a rooftop amenity deck with a Jacuzzi on the west side, and on the east side, a fitness center rising 13 feet above the roofline.

Pre-construction prices for the condos were still undetermined in early May. In Harbordale’s used condo market, “anything over $400,000 the condo market is not moving. Anything under $300,000, I’m getting calls all day long,” says Chris Widen, an agent in the Fort Lauderdale office of residential real estate brokerage Keyes Company.

Many of Widen’s prospects are yacht owners and yacht crew members who are attracted to Harbordale’s practical selling points, including the presence of Harbor Shops, a neighborhood retail center anchored by a Publix supermarket, as well as the neighborhood’s proximity to Fort Lauderdale’s waterfront marine industry.

Widen says Harbordale’s best asset may be access to the beach across the 17th Street Causeway, citing a public beach south of the popular one that hugs A1A: “People don’t realize it, but it’s right by the parking meters. You walk over the bridge and you walk into this neighborhood, and you have public access to the beach. It’s actually much quieter” than the busier beach to the north along A1A.