Source: Sun Sentinel | Published: February 19, 2020 | By Phillip Valys
FAT Village facelift: Big changes coming to Fort Lauderdale’s art hub, Maguire’s Hill 16 Irish pub
A dramatic transformation may be coming to Fort Lauderdale’s arty warehouse row, FAT Village Arts District.
At nearly seven acres, the project, simply dubbed “FAT Village,” would add a 303-unit apartment high-rise, a flat-iron office building, affordable housing, a parking garage, a 145-room FAT Village Hotel and ground-floor shopping and restaurants, says Tim Petrillo, developer and CEO of the Restaurant People (Township, YOLO, Rooftop@1WLO).
One of those restaurants: a reincarnation of Maguire’s Hill 16, the beloved Irish pub on Andrews Avenue that shuttered in 2017.
And those squat, boxy studio warehouses along the spine of FAT Village? “They’re staying intact. We’re literally building on top of them,” Petrillo says. “They’re funky and cool and have huge 30-foot ceilings.”
Petrillo’s vision for FAT Village is the latest example of developers gambling on Sistrunk Boulevard as the site of the city’s next building boom. As the trendy Flagler Village neighborhood north of downtown fills out with lofty high-rises, developers are marching northwest, staking out cheaper real estate along the fringes of Sistrunk.
For the past decade, FAT Village and its jumble of mural-splashed warehouses have sparked a major revival in Flagler Village, now swarmed with construction cranes. Nearby MASS District and the Hive — both art districts where galleries and eateries thrive in the shadow of Searstown — owe their success to FAT Village.
FAT Village’s makeover has wound its way through Fort Lauderdale’s Development Review Committee since September, says Petrillo, who’s heading the project with developer Alan Hooper and FAT Village co-owners Doug McCraw and Lutz Hofbauer. If Fort Lauderdale’s board approves the project, city commissioners could vote to approve it as soon as April, with construction firing up around late 2020, Petrillo says.
“If you look across Flagler Village now, there’s a lot of lofts and housing but only a sprinkling of restaurants,” says Petrillo, whose firm Urban Street Development is also building the seven-story Forge Lofts residences a block south at 401 NW First Ave. “That’s the missing puzzle piece. We’re not just merchant developers trying to remake its character. We’re trying to improve the lifestyle and amenities in Flagler Village.”
Stretching four square blocks, the FAT Village facelift would render the squat arts district unrecognizable. The project – spanning Sistrunk Boulevard south to Northwest Fifth Street and Andrews Avenue west to the FEC tracks – would be split into east and west phases, Petrillo says.
The west side, facing Northwest First Avenue, calls for a pair of six-story office buildings (total: 150,000 square feet) perched atop FAT Village’s existing studio warehouses, along with a 125-unit high-rise touting affordable housing. The Projects warehouses, which now house artist studios, would stay mostly empty and serve as “entrances to co-working spaces and offices and bars,” Petrillo says.
The east side, bordering North Andrews Avenue, would feature a 307-unit residential loft, a 1,000-space parking garage and the FAT Village Hotel, according to public records. The total space reserved for artist studios? About 7,300 square feet, a lot less than what artists occupy now.
The old Maguire’s building, which has sat derelict since January 2017, will be razed and replaced by a reincarnated Maguire’s Hill 16, Petrillo says. He bought the beloved Irish pub from previous owners Jim and James Gregory and plans to design the pub using its old furniture and décor. “That place had such a loyal following,” Petrillo says. “The amount of people that used to camp out in that parking lot on St. Patrick’s Day was incredible.”
And he has no plans to buy Henry’s Sandwich Station, the fast-casual eatery from restaurateur Marc Falsetto (Tacocraft, Pizzacraft) that’s perched on FAT Village’s northern edge. Also staying: the art district’s last-Saturday-of-the-month FAT Village Art Walk.
Still, the layout of the new FAT Village (which stands for Flagler Arts and Technology), appears to leave less room for arts and technology. The makeover is perhaps a mirror of what befell Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, the once-buzzing hub of artists and graffiti created by late developer Tony Goldman. After boutiques, lofts and upscale eateries priced Miami artists out of that neighborhood, art galleries moved farther north into the Little Haiti and Little River neighborhoods.
Other big projects taking shape along the edge of Sistrunk include the imminent Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery, expected in March; a revival of Hot & Soul restaurant, due this summer; and Molly Maguire’s Pub and Eatery, opening this fall.