$52 Million Lottery Winner’s Plans to Rebuild Historic Black Community
After winning a $52 million lottery jackpot in 2010, Miguel Pilgram used his winnings to launch his own real estate company, The Pilgram Group, and invest in properties across South Florida. Now, the successful businessman is committed to reviving Sistrunk Boulevard, a notorious corridor in downtown Fort Lauderdale once known as a thriving Main Street for African Americans.
Known as the “historical heartbeat of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest black community,” Sistrunk Boulevard runs through the city’s black business district. It was named after James Sistrunk, a black physician who helped establish the first African American hospital in Broward County in 1938. During this time, segregation laws banned African Americans who lived west of the tracks from crossing over to the east side after dark.
After desegregation, Sistrunk Boulevard gradually declined into an area plagued by gun violence and riddled with drugs and abandoned buildings. To restore the distressed community to its original days of glory, Pilgram has purchased three buildings and plans to build a jazz lounge, blues lounge, restaurants, and a center for performing arts.