Times, they are a-changing. For the first time in more than 60 years, a new hotel has alighted on Andrews Avenue.
"We felt there was a tremendous need," says Bernard Wolfson, Developer of said hotel, the Hampton Inn. Wolfson's company, Hospitality Operations, has brought three other Hampton Inns® to South Florida. His son Howard is regional manager. "We're close to 600 million square feet of office space, the library, the courts, the Performing Arts Center, the administration for the city and county, the state office building. There's so much going on downtown, and there [are] no hotels."
Downtown Fort Lauderdale fell into disrepair in the 1950s, but the city began hustling in the mid 1980s to lure business back. New hotels followed suit, but moved to the beach and 17th Street Causeway. Downtown's business zone was routinely passed by.
Until now. The 156-room limited service hotel was built with the business traveler in mind, offers free in-room, high-speed internet access along with the requisite business center and workout nook. Seems it's not just government workers and business travelers who have a hankering for North Andrews Avenue: The hotel is picking up cruisers, too.
"Leisure-wise, we thought it would be weekenders and families visiting families and friends and seeing jazz shows and plays", says Tom Moran, the hotel's director of sales. "But 80 percent of our leisure calls are pre- and post-cruise. It was unexpected. But very exciting."
The excitement began when doors opened last Thursday afternoon.