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now where to go High rises help

Construction continues on the New River Landing building photographed from the balcony of the unsold Penthouse Three, which occupies the 45th and 46th floors of the 100 Las Olas building, currently the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Jason Amato, a former Chicago resident, says he and his wife always liked what they saw when they visited South Florida on vacations. But it was their daughter, a University of Miami student, who helped clinch their decision to move to the region.

“My company was very open to allowing me to relocate,” said Amato, an executive with a wreath management firm. “We said, ‘let’s look at Fort Lauderdale’ because we kept hearing about it.

“When we saw it we were shocked. We lived in the west loop of Chicago, which has continued to be developed over the last 10 years. When we were in that Las Olas [Boulevard] area it was like Chicago in a good way. It was an In-between place we never thought about.’

The Amatos now reside in a 30th-floor condominium in Kolter’s 100 Las Olas tower downtown, which, at the moment, is the city’s tallest building at 46 floors and 499 feet high.

Thanks to multiple years of aggressive development in the form of mid- to high-rise construction projects, both before and after the outbreak of COVID-19, Fort Lauderdale and other South Florida cities are enjoying a Renaissance in luxury living and new business in the form of professionals relocating from major northern and U.S. cities. Despite inflation, high interest rates and fears of a recession, developers are still starting new high-rise projects, buying land and filing plans to build more. “New high-rise projects coming to Downtown Fort Lauderdale are creating the density needed to sustain a vibrant, walkable, and connected downtown,” said Jenni Morejon, president and CEO of the Downtown Development Authority. “Our downtown now has over 25,000 residents that have brought a new energy to our city.”