March 18, 2014 | By Miriam Valverde, Sun Sentinel
Locals aren’t the only ones noticing Fort Lauderdale’s bustling downtown. Livability.com has ranked downtown Fort Lauderdale at No. 7 among the Top 10 Best Downtowns in the nation. It’s the first time Fort Lauderdale has made its annual list.
Tennessee-based Livability.com ranks the best small to mid-sized cities to visit, work and live in. It released its top downtowns list on Monday.
Fort Worth, Texas placed first in this year’s list of Top 10 downtowns, Birmingham, Ala. rounded the list at No. 10. Fort Lauderdale was the only city from Florida to make the 2014 rankings.
Downtowns that made the list “maintain a high level of energy and give all city residents a reason to come in,” Livability.com said. Some factors Livability.com considered were retail improvements, office vacancy rates, income growth and ratio of residents to jobs in downtown areas.
“The ratio of jobs to residents in the downtown area is nearly equal,” Livability.com said about Fort Lauderdale. “A sign that people want to live where they work.”
“We are an incredibly hot market,” said Stan Eichelbaum, president of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Civic Association. “We have an incredible infrastructure, many good plans in place to make things work, and many more have to be done to take advantage of the situation.”
Downtown Fort Lauderdale has become a much more vibrant destination in recent years for locals and tourists, said Lisa Burgess, owner of New River Fine Art, going on its 17th year in downtown’s Las Olas Boulevard.
“There’s a lot more to do downtown than ever before,” Burgess said.
And it should only get better. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said the city has more than 4,000 new residential units in development in downtown Fort Lauderdale and several initiatives in place to reshape and enhance downtown.
“These investments, coupled with our outstanding quality of life, continue to strengthen downtown Fort Lauderdale’s position as an outstanding place to do business and an even better place to call home,” Seiler said in a statement.
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Top 10 Best Downtowns, 2014
- Fort Worth, TX
- Providence, RI
- Indianapolis, IN
- Provo, UT
- Alexandria, VA
- Frederick, MD
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Bellingham, WA
- Eugene, OR
- Birmingham, AL