Right now it’s just a row of concrete structures, mere husks of what’s to come.
Being constructed on the Intracoastal Waterway across A1A from Fort Lauderdale beach, they could easily be mistaken for cabanas or boathouses in the making.
Nope. This is Marina Village, and those buildings will house eight fast-casual restaurants when the project debuts this winter as the first phase of Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach’s ambitious resort rollout plans. There will also be entertainment among the kiosks, centered around a party boat with three bars.
Native Realty founder and CEO Jaime Sturgis and COO Kaley Tuning helmed the curation of food and beverage tenants that will make up Marina Village.
“We both were born and raised (in Fort Lauderdale) and it’s near and dear to our hearts, the beach in particular,” Sturgis says. “It’s always been … these national chains that are really geared towards tourists, which obviously is important to the economy, but we think that you can get the best of both worlds. You can have quality food offerings with local and regional operators or national operators for that matter, but that will also appeal to the residents who live here, you know, instead of just cheap beers and wings.”
Tuning says, “We’ve done dozens and dozens of taste tests just to make sure that we’re bringing in the right people.
“I know a lot of people, myself included, that are born and raised here and don’t frequent the beach quite often. And mostly it is because of the tenant mix that’s there,” she adds. “To Jaime’s point, I can go get wings somewhere else without having to deal with the traffic.”
They also say that Fort Lauderdale is geographically ideal for getting a feel for the South Florida market.
“People recognize that Lauderdale is a phenomenal location in the center of the tricounty — to be able to service both markets, especially for (restaurants) that are coming in from out of town,” Sturgis explains. “It’s a great place to plant the flag … it’s a great centralized location to start there.”
Featured photo credit: (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)