The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau reports that the conceptual plans for Broward County’s convention center expansion and new headquarters hotel projects were unveiled earlier this week.
This first look at the development, which represents a significant increase in the destination’s meetings, convention and exhibition capacity, was presented as an update on the design process. Construction is expected to begin in late 2018 for a scheduled opening date in 2021.
The new Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel are expected to bring an additional $100 million per year to the local economy by increasing tourism and creating jobs in Broward County. They will also improve the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center District, which includes surrounding hotels, restaurants, retail and entertainment options, as well as the adjacent Port Everglades cruise port.
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades have also undergone multi-billion dollar expansions. The destination has also seen a significant increase in airline service and carriers.
The Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Projects will add an additional 400,000+ square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The 800-room, four Diamond-rated headquarters hotel that will feature a mix of meeting space, accommodations, retail, and dining. The proposed 22-story hotel will be located on the famed Intracoastal Waterway, offering sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and the destination’s airport, cruise port, and 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches.
“This is significant news for the future growth of the destination,” said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The new facilities, especially an on-site hotel, puts us in a lead position with the meetings industry. Our success in hosting many events and conventions annually will be amplified with new infrastructure and resources that meet the needs of the meeting, event and association planner and attendee of the future and bring over $100 million of new annual economic activity to our community.”
The convention center expansion will add 68,000 square feet of additional ground floor exhibition space, and 65,000 square feet of ballroom space including a 14,000 square foot ballroom and 20 additional breakout spaces. The new headquarters hotel will create an additional 83,000 square feet of meeting rooms and ballroom attached to the convention center north building.
The convention center expansion and headquarters hotel projects, both of which will be certified Gold in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), will be the centerpiece of a $700+ million convention center district enhancement project. Other proposed plans include a walk-in visitors center and intermodal center for public transport.
After an extensive procurement process, developer Matthews Holdings Southwest Inc. (Matthews) was selected by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners to move forward with the Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Headquarters Hotel Projects.
Following the County’s approval, Matthews worked collaboratively with the County and with input from the City of Fort Lauderdale on a final conceptual design package with construction contractor Balfour Beatty Construction. Other consultants on the project include the architectural firm Stantec working on the headquarter hotel component, and Fentress Architects consulting on the convention center expansion portion.