Building A Stronger Community: Urban Street Development’s Alan Hooper At Bisnow’s Broward County State Of The Market Event
The fast-growing South Florida region is not immune to the affordable housing shortage that is plaguing cities across the country. While South Florida saw a housing boom in the past few years, home sales have started to plummet in Q1 due to rising asking prices.
With more than 1.2 million South Florida low-income residents using 50% of their income for housing, it has become a burden for many families to afford the basic necessities to live, let alone save for an emergency.
“We want to make Broward County more accessible for workforce housing because the bulk of the labor force can’t afford to live where they work,” said Alan Hooper, founder of Urban Street Development.
Creating more workforce housing for Broward County residents is just one of the topics to be covered at Bisnow’s Broward County State of the Market event on April 11. Register here to hear Hooper and other developers speak on the Future of Fort Lauderdale panel, discussing some of the ways that public and private developers can help create a more cohesive Fort Lauderdale community.
Bisnow spoke with Hooper to discuss what Urban Street Development is doing to develop a stronger Fort Lauderdale and why he chose to be a part of this Bisnow event.
Bisnow: What inspired you to speak at Bisnow’s Broward County State of the Market event?
Alan Hooper: One of the things that inspired me to attend the event is my desire to give back to the community, and local knowledge is a key part of that. It’s important to learn all you can about what’s going on in the area so you can find solutions to different issues, whether it’s development, adapting to population growth, affordability or connectivity.
Bisnow: Can you describe your role at Urban Street Development and any projects you’re working on?
Hooper: Myself and Tim Petrillo are the co-founders of Urban Street Development. Our relationship started over 20 years ago as partners in The Restaurant People, a well-known South Florida restaurant group. Our experience in the hospitality industry has allowed us to stay unique and ahead of the curve to look for locations and breathe life in overlooked neighborhoods.
In a partnership with the Seminole Boosters in Tallahassee, we acted as partner and lead developer on the College Town development. College Town overlooks Doak Campbell Stadium and is the preferred housing choice for students and hotel stays for visitors at Florida State University. It features 605 student housing beds, 60K SF of retail and restaurants, a 690-car public garage and Hotel Indigo. It’s been a successful project that was a catalyst for the renaissance of many more projects, transforming a dilapidated warehouse corridor into the College Town district.
We are currently working with Hines on a joint partnership to develop FAT Village in downtown Fort Lauderdale. We assembled and conceptualized this two-block, 5.6-acre mixed-use project that is going to be a game-changer in Flagler Village. It will be a home for people to work and live in a campus setting that inspires their creative expression. Hines is bringing a unique, innovative and cutting-edge office concept called Timber, Transit and Technology, or T3. The Restaurant People will collaborate with Hines on programming 80K SF of retail, restaurants and nightlife. There will also be two towers of residential types in the 850 units for both luxury and workforce housing, which we hope will attract a diverse mix of creative types to come together and make FAT Village unique to Fort Lauderdale.
Bisnow: What are the most pressing challenges facing the Broward County CRE market? How can public officials and private developers collaborate to create a more unified Fort Lauderdale community?
Hooper: We need to curate and be deliberate about how we develop in an intelligent and thoughtful way. Fort Lauderdale is experiencing a boom of growth, and we need to manage how people connect and get around the city.
One of the solutions is creating a well-designed transportation system. We have the advantage of a one-penny surtax program, which will provide Broward County with the funding to create seamless connectivity over the next few decades.
Also, we need to develop more affordable housing options, but with transit options that connect affordable housing to where people work. By developing affordable housing along strategic corridors with transit options, people can save money not only with rent but commuting to work.
With more stops and commuter rail on the verge of joining Brightline on the FEC railway, we need to be deliberate on how this rail system crosses the New River in the center of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. The choice is between a less expensive but highly visible elevated bridge with 90-plus trains traveling over it on a daily basis or a tunnel that would insulate all of the negative impacts that come with rail travel and preserve how Fort Lauderdale welcomes its guests with an unobstructed view of the skyline.
We, as a community, need to be smart and consider long-term impacts as we invest and develop our communities into the future.
Bisnow: What is Urban Street Development’s approach to developing and strengthening communities?
Hooper: We like to go into overlooked areas and try to make them better than what was there before. The data and intense marketing that is required in the restaurant business keep us in touch with what downtowners like. Also, our local knowledge allows us to target up-and-coming neighborhoods to make an early impact and set a unique development tone for these areas.
As a Fort Lauderdale native, I find it rewarding to be a part of its evolution. Tim and I have seen Broward County grow from 1 million to 2 million in population. We have a passion for our local roots, and I think a global partner like Hines Development sees the value in how we are able to connect the dots between the community and developing projects that make a positive and long-term impression.
Bisnow: What are you most excited about experiencing at the event?
Hooper: I’m excited to see the panelists speaking at the Bisnow event as well as interacting with the guests. I learn a lot from attending these events and find value in gaining new perspectives and contacts in the CRE industry.
Register here for more details on the April 11 event.
This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Urban Street Development. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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