September 17, 2014

Community Portrait

Fort Lauderdale and Broward County

More than just gathering data, we're capturing elements that make each community distinctive.

Sawgrass Mills
Sawgrass Mills

» Sunrise: 90,081

If suburbs took steroids, they would look like Sunrise, which wants to be Broward’s second urban hub after Fort Lauderdale. Already, Sunrise is home to the BankAtlantic Center, where the NHL Florida Panthers play, and Sawgrass Mills, the mammoth shopping center. It landed the first Ikea in Florida and has a number of midsized corporations. Interestingly, it’s the first west Broward community to go vertical, with several 18- to 26-story condo and apartment towers under construction and planned. Sunrise’s grand plans cause trepidation in neighboring Plantation. Huffed one Sunrise commissioner to her counterparts in Plantation, “For you to criticize our vision, at least we have one.”

» Plantation: 85,688

Though home to major, albeit struggling corporations such as Motorola and DHL, Plantation is as much bedroom community as anything. That’s why it’s battling neighboring Sunrise, whose growth plans it fears. The big project in Plantation, meanwhile, is the remaking of the shuttered Fashion Mall as 321 North, a more than 1-million-sq.-ft. mix of retail and office space with up to 590 apartments or condos. The developer is U.S. Capital Holdings Group, part of industrial power China Metallurgical Group Corp.

» Lauderhill: 64,635

Once, Jackie Gleason and the Inverrary Country Club were synonymous with Lauderhill, whose population was defined by Jewish retirees and snowbirds. Since the 1990s, a demographic shift has evolved: Today, six of 10 residents are black — about half immigrants from Jamaica, Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

» Weston: 62,088

The city Arvida built is growing up, ditching the Arvida Parkway name for its main roadway a couple of years ago in favor of Glades Parkway and Royal Palm Boulevard. Though its creators likely didn’t envision it one day as a haven for upscale South American immigrants or home to the nation’s largest high school, it otherwise turned out just as its planners envisioned — the suburban dream, home to lots of youth sports and well-kept common areas. It was No. 73 on Money magazine’s best places to live in 2008.

Next page: The Big Picture, a demographic overview of Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County

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