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Urban Sawgrass Overview
Written by Dima   
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 19:00


This neighborhood is officially called West Sunrise Entertainment District on the City of Sunrise Zoning District Map. I preffer the shorter and catchier "Urban Sawgrass". This is a term I coined for the area in west Sunrise, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Florida. Why Sawgrass? The area is bordered by the beautiful and unique Everglades, a nationally protected wetlands area. Why Urban? This neighborhood is already home to a sprawling Sawgrass Mills Mall with many upscale brands having a presence here, popular BankAtlantic Center (home of the NHL Florida Panthers) and Tao (residential), the first skyscrapper in Broward County west of I95. This area also features large corporate parks with many multinational companies present. There is already an upscale hotel, Crowne Plaza, a beautiful upscale master planned residential community called Artesia.

Proposed and approved plans to develop the neighborhood include:
-Metropica, a large scale transit oriented development (TOD) which would feature residential units, commercial office buildings and restaurants
-a new and improved City Hall for the City of Sunrise (see the existing one here)
-a development of the vast BankAtlantic Center parking lot into a City of Oz, a residential and commercial district with an entertainment complex and a theater component
-upscale apartments on land owned by Wayne H. Huizenga
-Westerra, a community of office space and residential units
-Everglades Corporate Park, a development featuring a mid-rise Marriott hotel and office towers

As you can see, this area is up and coming and promises to be the second urban core of Broward county. In fact, it would be similar to Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, a highly urbanized core or center in a suburban setting. (Wikipedia article on Buckhead)

Why this neighborhood? For one, the city commissioners already gave their approval to Westerra, Metropica and other developments. But also:
-Sawgrass Mills is a second largest tourist destination in the state of florida
-BankAtlantic center is one of top 10 arenas in the country and features NHL Florida Panthers, as well as numerous concerts and performances year round.
-The neighborhood is already home to many international companies

Unfortunately, the economy right now is not very receptive to new developments and banks are now willing to invest money. That's fine. The changes can be done gradually and will build upon each other as the economy improves, and it becomes easier to receive funding for these projects.

Urban Sawgrass has a chance of becoming the most desired neighborhood in Broward County due to its proximity to excellent residential options (multi-family and single-family both readily available and approved), excellent existing public and private schools, present world class shopping and entertainment and an abundance of jobs (white-collar and service, present and to come).  Contact us or follow us on Twitter (@UrbanSawgrass) and let's work together to make sure this becomes a reality.

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