Pier 66 Owners Propose Three Towers Near SE 17th Street – South Florida Sun-Sentinel – Sun Sentinel

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The developer that seeks to overhaul the iconic Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and Marina property in Fort Lauderdale is exploring the construction of three luxury condo towers that would rise to 480 feet, the company said Wednesday.

“We have just begun very early conversations with select city staff, commissioners and adjacent HOA board members to explore our desire for a concept for our next phase of development that considers the addition of three ultra-luxury condominium buildings,” said Jessi Blakley, vice president for strategic communications.

Two of the high rises would be on the south side of the 17th Street Causeway bridge, on property once known as The Sails Marina, which the company acquired in 2017. The site, which now includes a single-story, 5,000 square foot building, currently serves as the temporary home of a “superyacht” center for the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. At other times the building is used for entertainment events.

A third tower would be on the north side of the bridge and part of a major redevelopment of acreage around the Pier 66 tower.

Tavistock suspended the project after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not before workers had demolished the buildings behind the 17-story Pier 66 tower, which remains standing. The company has since moved the completion year from 2022 to 2024, and construction resumed on the original approved portion of the north side redevelopment with a projected hotel opening in early 2024.

Blakley noted that the proposed buildings’ heights are below a Federal Aviation Administration maximum of 500 feet. The property is four miles from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

She said a plan from another developer, previously approved by the city for the Sails site “is a very dense, very traffic heavy site plan that no one likes.”

“We are exploring options to better serve the community and preserve view corridors and ground floor open spaces,” she said in the emailed statement. “Again, conversations have just begun with this very small group, and we look forward to conversations with our neighbors.”

Word of the condo tower proposal emerged during a city commission workshop discussion on Tuesday attended by City Manager Chris Lagerbloom, Mayor Dean Trantalis and three commissioners.

Lagerbloom told the meeting that Tavistock is “now looking at a different development concept on the south side.”

“The new renderings show buildings at a height just under 500 feet,” he said. “Those buildings are not buildable under code we have today.”

A commemorative time capsule is displayed at the Pier Sixty-Six redevelopment groundbreaking in 2020. The capsule, filled with historic items related to the city and mementos from residents who celebrated life events at the resort, will be reopened in 2088, 66 years after its burial. (Susan Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Lagerbloom said he needs “to get some idea from the commission” as to whether there is an “appetite” for erecting structures that high. Rules governing the Planned Development District for the neighborhood do not allow structures that exceed 225 feet, he said.

The city manager did respond to an email message seeking comment Wednesday.

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Commissioner Ben Sorensen said he wanted to get more neighborhood feedback before making any decisions.

“With anything of this magnitude in terms of size of the development, the most important thing is for the developers to immediately start talking to the neighborhood that would be impacted,” Sorensen said by phone Wednesday. “They’ve just started to do that.”

He added that the towers “would require a zoning change which should never be taken lightly and always require a significant amount of discussion of vetting and feedback and guidance.”

Joanne Robinson, president of the Harbour Inlet Association, which is comprised of 246 single-family homes and low-rise condos, said Wednesday she could not comment until after information is disseminated to association members.

Here’s a timeline of key dates leading up to the redevelopment of the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and Marina, starting with its acquisition by Tavistock.

2016: Company buys property for $165 million. 2017: Tavistock acquires The Sails Marina property on the south side of 17th Street Causeway. Hurricane Irma forces temporary closure of hotel after damaging dozens of rooms in the tower. 2018: Fort Lauderdale commissioners approve 15-year development agreement with Tavistock. 2019: The hotel lays off 213 workers in preparation for the project. Pier South property (formerly Sails Marina) transformed into Superyacht Village for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. 2020: Project breaks ground. As work crews move in, the longtime Grille 66 and Bar steakhouse closes. 2021: North side project suspended due to COVID-19 and then resumes. Completion date moved from 2022 to 2024. Tavistock introduces proposal to city that would allow two 480-foot luxury condo towers on the old Sails Marina property south of the causeway bridge, and a third on the bridge’s north side. Staff writer Susannah Bryan contributed to this report