By Dorie Cox
The Las Olas Marina is home to scores of yachts at the northernmost end of the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. And now plans are under way for redevelopment.
The city of Ft. Lauderdale awarded the contract to Suntex Marinas and Edgewater Resources to lease, manage and develop the property. There are several plans under consideration and a major difference is the number of slips dedicated to megayachts.
M/Y Cheers 46, a 140-foot Benetti, is one of the largest yachts docked in the Las Olas Marina section of the show. And Capt. Kelly Esser said yachts industry-wide are only going to get bigger.
“In season, all the big slips in the area are filled,” Capt. Esser said. “And nothing’s getting smaller. Plus, Ft. Lauderdale will continue to grow until the city says, no more.”
The yacht is docked in the marina on the south side of the Las Olas Bridge. Capt. Esser hopes the future redevelopment project is practical.
“You can always put small boats in a big slip, but not the other way around,” Esser said.
Yacht broker Glynn Smith of Denison Yacht Sales, said it boils down to money and space.
“It’s all real estate,” Smith said. “But you have to have yachts come to make money. Yards are churning out boats, but they’re not churning out linear feet.”
The base plan being considered offers 6,745 total linear feet in the Intracoastal Waterway with
space for one 300-foot yacht and nine yachts more than 100 feet.
The megayacht plan includes less total feet at 5,540 but has dockage for two 300-foot yachts as well as 36 yachts more than 100 feet.
Both drawings include layout plans for the boat show as well as options for restaurants.
Jon Luscomb said he has seen the original bids and plans as facilities supervisor for the city of Ft. Lauderdale.
Early drawings had Med mooring, but were changed to more traditional slips to avoid cross current. The latest plans run parallel to the tidal flow.
“Once the lease is signed, Suntex gets the marina as-is,” Luscomb said. “Then they head toward developing it. It’s three-to-four years before there will be meaningful movement.”
Las Olas Marinas was working to dredge from the newly deepened ICW into the marina, he said, but those plans will be on hold until a plan is chosen.
Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comment below