Are you considering buying or selling a home or property in Fort Lauderdale that has a historic designation?  There are three historic districts in Fort Lauderdale with 54 individually designated historic sites.  The Bonnet House is one of my favorite places in Fort Lauderdale and is an excellent reminder of the area's rich history.

So what do I need to know if I'm considering buying a property that has a historic designation?  The biggest thing you need to know is that you can't do anything you please to the exterior of the property.  The scope of your work, materials used, and design will all have to go through an approval process with planning and zoning.  Should you choose to alter the exterior of the property, demolish a property, add onto an existing structure, or relocate the structure you will need to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Board if the property is designated.

Stranahan House Fort LauderdaleWhat if I currently own a home and would like to have it historically designated?  You will have to research your property and the design type or architectural style.  You will also have to identify past owners and research historical records.  After that you would need to submit an application to the historical board with all of the facts about the home.  From legal descriptions to property surveys.  You'll also have to write a narrative about the property describing why you feel the property meets historical designation criteria.  Finally you'll have to appear in front of the historic board and present your home.

Why is preserving these structures important?  I can walk you through the usual arguments about preserving the past, but I think those go without saying.  I am a huge proponent of Green Building and reusing building materials.  Those of us preaching sustainable building techniques are finding more and more of the masses agreeing with us.  One of my favorite examples of repurposing is the Whole Enchillada on Federal Highway.  For those not familiar, an old gas station was converted into a restaurant.  The bay doors and high ceilings give the restarant a rustic feel.  However, when I look at the fact the structure never came down but was reconfigured instead, I think it was a streak of modern genius.  The point of my story is that anytime you don't have to tear down and rebuild you're using less materials which in turn is helping our environment.  Preserving historic homes is more environmentally sustainable than tearing down and rebuilding.

There are three historic districts in Fort Lauderdale.  Sailboat Bend, Himmarshee St/SW 2nd Ave, and The Stranahan House District.  In 1982 the city of Fort Lauderdale rezoned the Stranahan House and surrounding property as historic to protect the area from development.  The Himmarshee zone uses SW 2nd Ave (or Moffatt Ave) as an eastern border.  The western border is SW 4th Ave.  The northern border is two parcels north of SW 2nd Street with the New River/ Intracoastal as the southern border.  Finally the largest historic area is Sailboat Bend.  This zone is going to run from Broward Boulevard south to the New River/ Intracoastal.  SW 7th Ave will make up the eastern edge and where the Intracoastal wraps around to the west of the police station (close to 95) on SW 15th Ave will make up the western boundary.

If you'd like more detailed information a link to the Historic Preservation Board is here.

I work as a real estate specialist in a small area of Fort Lauderdale. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in: Rio Vista, Victoria Park, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Harbor Beach, Lauderdale Harbors, Collee Hammock, Seven Isles, Nurmi Isles, Idlewyld, or Las Olas Isles, please feel free to contact me at (786)443-7203 or through my email is a trusted source for real estate trends, statistics, and data, as well as aesthetics.

Written By Casey Prindle