Attracting hundreds of perspective buyers of single family homes, condominiums and townhomes is a City in Broward County that sits in the middle of Fort Lauderdale Florida, Wilton Manors. Approximately 2-square miles, Wilton Manors is known as the “Island City” as its boundaries are surrounded by waterways of the Middle River. Minutes to the coastal beaches and Downtown Fort Lauderdale, features that only add to its popularity and appeal. Diversity is embraced by this community and has landed the Island City in the top three destinations in all of the United States for the gay and lesbian population to call Wilton Manors their home, their second home or an investment in South Florida Real Estate. Not only does Wilton Manors have a National appeal, but now more than ever before, an attraction to International buyers.
To the east of Wilton Manors are the beaches, only 1-2 miles you can find Sebastian Beach which many of the Wilton Manors gay and lesbian resident’s enjoy the sun and sand of this beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach. To the south of Wilton Manors is Downtown Fort Lauderdale where professional jobs are prevelant and many of the Fortune 500 businesses in Broward County Florida are located. To the north is Oakland Park which earned the #1 destination for gay and lesbian couples relocating from other areas in the US for their full time residence. On the western boundary are main arteries like Interstate 95, known as I95, for those who work and commute to Miami and Boca Raton where major firms are located.
So what’s all this talk about a renaissance? At the turn of the 20th century, there are writings by developer and designer, E J Willingham, encouraging the growth of Wilton Manors and a very interesting look at Wilton Manors of 100-years ago. More recently, History Press has published an accounting of Wilton Manors growth, written in 2007 by Benjamin B. Little, “WILTON MANORS: From Farming Community to Urban Village”. It is an easy read, well organized and sorts out the timeline of the development of this South Florida City . This book has further given Wilton Manors National and International notarity and spotlights many of the unanswered questions; myths and facts that many visitors and resident’s have about this Tropical Wonderland.
Despite the latest real estate and mortgage catastrophy of 2007, it may be recorded for historical purposes, as a time whereby a rejuvination of the City had occurred. These last 5-years have been a process of an osmosis-like change. And looking back 10-12 years, at the turn of the 21st century, driving along Wilton Drive is nearly unrecognizable to what it is now in 2012. What the next 5-years will bring to this Florida community further justifies the title “Renaissance of a City”.
Property values had decreased significantly in mid-2007 and into 2008 from the high’s of the peak market values of 2005 & 2006. A single family home just two blocks off Wilton Drive, an adorable mid-century three bedroom, one bath single family home on a large lot with a carport and a covered front front porch. This home is filled with design and style of a typical Key West home as it is modestly upgraded with dade pine wood floors, granite countertops, new cabinetry and an updated bath. This home valued at nearly $475,000 in 2005, was sold through a foreclosure sale for $149,000. That was quite a Wilton Manors single family home deal. That same home in 2012, if sold, would most likely fetch a 40% to 50% gain at about $215,000 to $225,000. And my expertise in the Wilton Manors real estate market tells me the days to sell this home at that price, less than 30.
Broken homes, termite infested with a leaking roof are being purchased 50%-60% from peak market prices. Soon thereafter a dumpster is dropped at the site, the home is escavated to be replaced by a newly constructed single family home. These are signs of growth. The brand new Wilton Manors City Hall, the Wilton Manors Nursery once located in the heart of Wilton Manors on the Drive near NE 21st Court was home for the nursery for decades, replaced by a retail – residential community, Gables Park, home to the Remax Preferred franchise at 2166 Wilton Drive and soon, other stores, restaurants and businesses. The Burger King franchise replaced by the upscale Tai restaurant, Galanga. Belle Isle Townhomes and Retail-Residential units adorne the Drive as well. And it would be irresponsible not to mention the community, Wilton Station situated at the five-points where the Drive, Dixie Highway and NE 26th Street all come together. The Island City Lofts on Wilton Drive directly across from Wilton Shoppes where you will find the world-famous Georgie’s Alibi, is an urban-style construction reflecting design of the 21st century. The new outdoor restaurant, Bier Garden at the corner of NE 6th Avenue and Wilton Drive adds a unique flavor reminscent of other gay tourist locations in the US. Despite the critics analysis and opinions of these projects, each that were faced with turmoil and financial challenges have been turned into successful projects and improvements to the infrastructure of the City of Wilton Manors. A new project that has started in Wilton Manors, the Unity Church of Fort Lauderdale moving into the former Sun Trust Bank building on NE 26th Street, walking distance to the Wilton Station community, adds to the already diverse flavor of the Drive. And just as the make-up of the Wilton Manors resident’s are the diversity of restaurants, retail shops, services, entertainment outlets and newly constructed communities. Starting from one side of the City to the other, just take it all in and you will realize the ‘renaissance’ of this great US City, Wilton Manors, Florida.
Article written by: Frank Vigliotti, Realtor and Co-founder of the Henri Frank Group at REMAX Preferred located at The Gables Park Building, 2166 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Frank is a gay Realtor whose clients are as diverse as the community, and is a resident of Wilton Manors where he lives with his partner of 21-years and their two beagles, Lucy and Max. Formerly from Provincetown on Cape Cod Massachusetts where they lived for nearly 10-years, Frank has been in South Florida since late 2004.
If you are interested in more information about Wilton Manors, the Wilton Manors Real Estate market, if you are one of the many who are relocating here, contact Frank Vigliotti at 954-604-9999. or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.