When the idea to pave a road through a sometimes-boggy patch of land was created, it was unlikely that anyone involved in this planning foresaw that a dirt path would, in time, become a grand boulevard lined with upscale boutiques and shops, restaurants, al fresco cafes, a world-class hotel, and companies doing business around the globe.
But over the course of the next century, that’s exactly what happened along Las Olas Boulevard—thanks to the vision of Preston and John Wells, two wealthy brothers from Chicago who founded The Las Olas Company in 1935. With the help of local resident Champ Carr, the two brothers made their first mark on Las Olas with the opening of Hotel Champ Carr.
At the end of World War II in 1945, many of the men and women who served at Fort Lauderdale’s military bases remained in the city, leading to a new economic boom. It was around that time when Champ Carr stepped down as GM of Hotel Champ Carr and The Las Olas Company renamed the property Riverside Hotel, which to this day still remains the “crown jewel” of Fort Lauderdale.
As the fourth generation of the family-run company that is responsible for building and preserving Las Olas Boulevard, I strive to continue the legacy of the previous family members whose vision was to make the Las Olas Experience something truly unique and enduring. To me, the role of the Las Olas Company is to guide the growth and success of Las Olas Boulevard, while honoring the charm, character and history that is so much a part of its heritage.
The Las Olas Company sits at the intersection of hospitality, shopping, dining, and entertainment in Fort Lauderdale. My role is to attract the kinds of tenants, restaurateurs, and merchants who share this vision. To earn their trust. To inspire their cooperation. To work hand in hand with the Las Olas Boulevard Association in supporting the community and making Las Olas Boulevard the premier destination for fashion, food and fun.
While my primary responsibility is to maintain the fiscal soundness of the Las Olas Company, I also feel it’s important to make this a company where our associates feel like they are part of one, big, happy family. I know it may sound trite, but the best way to make Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverside Hotel thrive and prosper is to acknowledge the role that our associates play in making that happen, every day.
Making the Riverside Hotel one of the leading hospitality destinations in Fort Lauderdale is my primary goal, and along the way, offering a level of luxury, service and culinary excellence that inspires the property’s history as one of the most prominent hotels in Fort Lauderdale. From catering and meeting rooms, to guest suites and restaurants, I’m proud to offer our guests and visitors something truly memorable.