Beachfront building demolished in Fort Lauderdale

Former Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel knocked down to make room for high-rise

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former beachfront hotel, once a popular destination for spring breakers, was demolished Wednesday as construction crews make room for a new highrise residence.

Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach will be built on the land that was once home to a Howard Johnson hotel. The property is located along A1A, north of Vistamar Street, with a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Spectators from the other side of the world came to watch the building crumble.

"That was very good," Ole Olssun told Local 10. "We came from Sweden."

The Howard Johnson had been an iconic symbol years ago, but it was shuttered after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

"I actually used to stay there in the 80s during spring break and we used to get kicked out," Paul Poluso said.

The nearly two-acre prime property was purchased for $20 million.

"There are great hotels up and down the beach, but we are missing the residential component," Peggy Fucci of Owner One World Properties said. "Fort Lauderdale is really missing the high-end luxury residential market."

Paramount will be the first luxury high-rise built along this beach in the past 10 years. Initially, there were plans to renovate the old Howard Johnson, but now an 18-story tower will be built in its place. According to its website, the units are priced starting at $1 million each.