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Amera Corp. Nears Finish of New Victoria Park Shoppes

Fri October 10, 2003 - Southeast Edition

Signaling another step in revitalization of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Federal Highway corridor, Amera Corporation announced construction is well under way for Victoria Park Shoppes. The project at Federal Highway between 6th and 7th streets is slated for completion by the end of the year. Nearly two-thirds of the 63,000-sq.-ft. center of shops and restaurants, anchored by a Winn-Dixie supermarket, is leased.

“The project is intended as a thread in the fabric of the community. It returns to the neighborhood what has been lost through the years — a local retail component and the look of an indigenous, compatible design,” said architect Derek Vander Ploeg. “The look is derived from a composite of 1930s Fort Lauderdale-era buildings, scaled to the residential neighborhood, rather than to Federal Highway.”

Developers George Rahael, president of Amera Corporation, and Charlie Ladd, president of Barron Real Estate, believe Victoria Park Shoppes can be a prototype for how commercial development can support a neighborhood, rather than be a detriment. With the widening of Federal Highway, the neighborhood’s interests were overlooked as big box retail became prevalent, Rahael noted. “Our desire is to reverse that trend.”

Even the Winn-Dixie is being designed specifically for the site, Rahael said. To make the complex neighborhood friendly, pavered walkways, deep overhangs for shade and outdoor dining areas for restaurants complement the plan.

The project, welcomed by the Victoria Park Association, which has been involved in the project’s evolution, is the latest example of Amera’s community sensitive development. The company has been a major proponent of upgrading the Federal Highway corridor, already significantly changing its character with several successful projects. These include development of Palm Court Pavilion, Kinko’s, Starbucks and City National Bank at Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway, and redevelopment of Hub Plaza near Sunrise Boulevard.

In Coral Springs, Amera’s 240,000-sq.-ft. project, The Walk, also designed by Vander Ploeg, transformed two city blocks along heavily traveled University Drive into a pedestrian-friendly, award-winning mixed-use Main Street.

“Victoria Park Shoppes is designed to create a similar, community-friendly atmosphere for this part of downtown Fort Lauderdale,” said Rahael. “Orienting shops and restaurants to pedestrians makes for a more inviting space and provides the opportunity for people to interact.”

For more information, call 954/753-9500.