northwest-gardens-housing-project_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

FORT LAUDERDALE — Revitalization of northwest Fort Lauderdale’s housing community is underway and the first phase of Northwest Gardens, located on Northwest 10th Avenue between Sistrunk Boulevard and Northwest Eighth Street, is ready for the 55-plus community.

“This has really transformed the neighborhood,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler said of the 143-unit community. “To see what’s been done and knowing how much it will help makes everything that went into it worthwhile.”

Seiler’s remarks were made during the development’s recent ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The overall project, developed under a public/private partnership between the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale and Carlisle Development Group, is being built in four phases, each costing $25 million, said Scott Strawbridge, director of development and facilities for the Housing Authority. More than 14 blocks of housing will be redeveloped.

Goals to employ local residents and subcontract to minority businesses were exceeded during the first phase, according to Matthew S. Greer, CEO of Carlisle, which is building the homes.

“Our goal was to (subcontract) to 15 percent local Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) and that number is 44 percent. We also targeted 30 percent for local hires and that number was 100 percent,” Greer said.

Residents in the Step-Up Apprenticeship Initiative program, run by the Housing Authority, are involved in the project. The program provides low-income public housing residents access to education, job skills and employment opportunities, while they help to renovate houses in their community.

The new energy-efficient LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified townhomes are setting a new standard for community-based affordable housing, the developers said.

Lois Ellis, who lives in the area, welcomed the project. “I’m glad to see this finally happen,” she said. “It was something to fear before they came in here and started tearing things down. I’m glad the eyesore is gone.”

James Bradley, a Fort Lauderdale resident and Old Dillard Museum historian, echoed those sentiments, saying the revitalization “is long overdue and well deserved.”

Phase 3 of the project, which includes five blocks of 88 townhomes from Northwest 12th Avenue to the east, 14th Terrace to the west, and Ninth and Eighth streets to the north and south, respectively, has already begun, Strawbridge said. “We are not doing it in order,” he added.

Cynthia Roby may be reached at


NEW HOMES: An artist’s rendering of the first phase of the Northwest Gardens housing project in Fort Lauderdale which recently opened.