The project to expand the Broward County Convention Center – including the addition of a new, headquarters hotel – has now officially begun.
After years of planning a larger and more advanced Convention Center, the phased project will follow a schedule of construction activities into 2023.
Ed Simon, senior vice-president of convention sales & services at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “Greater Fort Lauderdale is already recognized as a top-tier choice for corporate and association meetings, incentive trips and small tradeshows. But we have been limited by the size of our space and committable hotel room inventory.”
Simon continued: “So, we are thrilled that the convention center expansion and new headquarters hotel project has become a reality. There has been some skepticism after three previous attempts to get the expansion project approved, but today with the first swing of the sledgehammer, we are celebrating.”
With the addition of flexible indoor and outdoor contemporary event space, the County expects to attract more convention business with the enhanced mix of accommodations, meeting space and amenities.
When completed, the expanded Convention Center will boast more than 1,200,000 square feet, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space, a new 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom, the latest in new technology, new dining concepts, enhanced water taxi access, and an iconic waterfront plaza with public access.
Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, pointed out that: “As Greater Fort Lauderdale increases in popularity domestically and internationally as a premier year-round meetings destination, we need to exceed the needs of meeting professionals and create the perfect destination showplace. We are listening to the needs of meeting planners to create the Convention Center experience of the future.”
Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, the 800-room County-owned hotel will be managed by Omni Hotels & Resorts and be within a two-mile radius of Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Port Everglades, dining, shopping and famed 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches.
The hotel will also add more than 73,000 square-feet of meeting space, an 11,000 square-foot spa and fitness center and expand the entertainment, retail and dining spaces for visitors and local residents to enjoy.
The additional room nights generated by the expanded Convention Center will also have a positive impact on local hotels, while the increased tourism revenue will benefit local restaurants, shops and attractions.
The new structures are designed to be LEED Gold certified (Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design) and will be the centerpiece of the more than $1.3 billion resilient Convention Center district enhancement project.
Amaury Piedra, chairman of the Broward County Tourism Coalition Committee and general manager of the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, said: “Greater Fort Lauderdale has evolved from a spring break haven to a sophisticated, upscale tourism destination. Renovating and expanding the Convention Center is another key building block in our growth as a world class community.
The redeveloped Convention Center, its new Headquarters Hotel, reimagined Pier Sixty-Six along with other key developments will complement all of the tremendous amenities Greater Fort Lauderdale and all of Broward County offer, making our destination the complete package for both domestic and international groups.”
The expanded Convention Center and Headquarters Hotel is anticipated to open in 2023.