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Land that houses historic Elbo Room for sale

Iconic bar rose to fame in 1960 film 'Where the Boys Are'

The land on which the Elbo Room sits is for sale, but patrons don't seem concerned that the Fort Lauderdale Beach landmark is going anywhere.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A plot of land that rests on a popular Fort Lauderdale Beach corner block where the historic Elbo Room sits is for sale.

Edward Romo, a broker for the Miami office of real estate firm Marcus & Millichap, told Local10.com that the ground beneath the vintage Elbo Room bar is on the market. The portfolio offering is listed at $7.75 million.

The Elbo Room, built in 1938, became one of Fort Lauderdale's most recognizable landmarks after it was prominently featured in the 1960 film "Where the Boys Are." The film follows the experiences of four Midwestern college co-eds who spend their spring break in Fort Lauderdale.

Romo said it isn't the bar that's for sale, but rather "the ground underneath."

The property for sale totals about 10,440 square feet. It is essentially the corner block where Las Olas Boulevard meets State Road A1A.

Romo said the owner of the property isn't selling the land piecemeal, so a prospective buyer would have to purchase the entire parcel.

That wasn't something that interested Mike Penrod, whose family has been connected to the landmark bar since his father snagged it from bankruptcy in 1981. Penrod took it over in 1991, and his two sisters got involved in 2001.

Penrod said the landowner's daughter asked him if he wanted to buy it, but he wasn't in a position to pay the hefty price tag. He had already invested thousands in remodeling and didn't see a need to own such a large piece of land.

Still, with the land on the market, there is speculation that a prospective buyer would seek to transform the property into a high-rise hotel or luxury condominium.

Romo said he doesn't believe whoever buys the land would have much leeway to do away with its most-popular tenant.

Penrod said the Elbo Room has a 20-year lease, and he has no intention of going anywhere.

"I honestly think we'd upset the town if we got rid of it," Penrod told Local10.com.

Regulars who spoke to Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela agreed.

"This is definitely the best bar in the city," Pete Wood said. "All the tourists love it."

Romo said he believes the city's plan to overhaul the beachfront would be another consideration for a potential buyer before building. He said the plan calls for the sidewalk in front of the Elbo Room to be widened, and the parking lot nearby would be transformed into a park.

It's for all those reasons that Romo believes the Elbo Room is "intact and not going anywhere, at least for another 20 years."

Since its initial listing last Friday, there haven't been any offers.

"Lots of interest," Romo said. "No offers."

Penrod said business is "doing great," and he's hopeful that whoever buys the land would want to keep the Elbo Room.

"We're there as long as we can stay," he said.


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