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Big changes underway for Pier 66, Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale

Upgrades expected to make significant economic impact to city

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – If you live or even visit Fort Lauderdale, it is doubtful you have not heard of Pier 66 or the Bahia Mar.

Pier 66 is a resort marina that began as a fuel dock in the 1950's so it is getting a much needed makeover. Meanwhile, Bahia Mar has just been sold to local ownership that has some big plans for the property.

"We want to bring Bahia Mar back to its iconic name," said Kenny Tate of Tate Capital.

Tate said it took five months to close a complicated deal with the city to buy the land lease of Bahia Mar for the next five decades. The hotel and marina is home base for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show each year, and that is something that will not change.

"One of the components of the redevelopment plan is to leave enough space available for the boat show for the future," said Tate.

The 39-acre parcel is prime real estate and will eventually get a big renovation.

"We want to create a whole campus setting here," said Tate. "Between the marina, the hotel, bringing some office commercial component and additional restaurants."

Meanwhile just down the Intracoastal, Pier 66 is in the middle of a $20 million marina upgrade.

"We are replacing everything," said Kevin Quirk, vice president of Pier 66 marine operations. "All the bulk heads. We are putting in power to accommodate these boats which we didn't before because they are getting bigger and bigger. It is now up to 600 amp service."

The new state of the art marina will go from six to 16 super-yacht slips, able to handle yachts 125 feet and larger.

And they want to get even larger super yachts into Pier 66 and Bahia Mar. So the city is actually planning to dredge the Intracoastal and take it from 12 feet deep to 15 feet.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show alone has an impact over half a billion dollars. That's more than a Super Bowl. Work on the marina will be finished by the second week in October and Pier 66 will be back in the boat show for the first time in four years.