Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Study puts Las Olas rents among priciest

- BY HELEN WOLT Staff writer Helen Wolt can be reached at

Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard is known for its upscale dining and boutiques – and a new study puts the shopping district’s rent among the priciest in the U.S.

The Chicago-based financial services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, IP, Inc., which specialize­s in commercial real estate, ranked East Las Olas Boulevard as No. 13 on its ‘Most Expensive Street’ listing in a new study released last month.

The ranking is tallied by the cost of rent per square foot. Las Olas rental space runs $44.30 per square foot, according to the study, roughly $16 more than the street average market rate.

The report compared 42 thoroughfa­res mid-sized, business-friendly markets. The study notes that rents are up “a collective 9.3 percent since 2013 and vacancies 50 basis points below the rest.”

But Vann Padgett, the senior vice president and leasing director of the Las Olas Company, disputes the study’s numbers.

“Jones, Lang, LaSalle is very credible,” she said. “But the informatio­n about the rents on Las Olas Boulevard is totally inaccurate.”

Padgett put the retail rent range between $25-$80 per square foot, and said specifics depend on size and location.

“We’re the largest retail land holder on Las Olas Boulevard. We know what our rates are. Obviously, they’ve increased in the last 10 years, but they’re not some of the highest in the county by any means,” Padgett said.

She named several other South Florida locales where rents are much higher such as Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and Atlantic Avenue in Delray.

Merchant Bob Moorman said he’s watched both property values and rents go up. Four generation­s of his family have operated Carroll’s Jewelers at 915 E. Las Olas Blvd.

While tourists and snowbirds boost the area’s foot traffic, they are often more interested in sightseein­g than shopping, he said.

“They don’t want to take anything home,” Moorman said. It’s part of the mix that influences retail, he said, factors such as the foreign exchange rate and online competitio­n have to be considered.

Location and name recognitio­n bring value to districts such as East Las Olas Boulevard, the study notes, such as Fifth Avenue in New York.

For comparison, East Las Olas Boulevard came in behind Royal Palm Way in West Palm Beach, which took No. 9 at $58 per square foot. The top spot went to Sand Hill Road near Menlo Park, Calif. at $141 per square foot.

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