By Lucy Chabot Reed
As the yachting world visits South Florida’s signature marinas during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, questions arise about the future of Pier Sixty-Six and The Sails.
Just in time, the new owner of those two properties has revealed a few plans — one, a short-term fix for what is now known as Pier South, and the other, a full-blown concept for renovation of the iconic hotel property.
Drawings for the Pier Sixty-Six property reveal a new entry, a shifted vantage point toward the marina, a new hotel to complement the existing tower, two tall residential/office buildings, four squat residential “villa” buildings, and 12 single-family homes.
Up first, however, is what Tavistock Development Company calls “activation” of Pier South, previously known as The Sails, which it acquired in the summer of 2017. Instead of having a vacant lot for the next few years while work begins on the Pier Sixty-Six property, Tavistock plans to erect a temporary but storm-proof building and landscape about 2.5 acres on the west end closest to the marina.
Tall west-facing windows on the building would surround a neighborhood gathering space that is intended to include happy hours, weekend brunches and other events. Outside would include lawn and seating as well as temporary food vendors. Tavistock is taking lessons from Boxi Park, a container park it is building at Lake Nona in Orlando that is scheduled to open in December.
The Pier South project is slated to begin in the early part of next year and open in time for the Fort Lauderdale show next fall.
“It will take longer to permit — about five months — than to build,” said Jessi Hill Blakley, a senior director with Tavistock.
Plans for the Pier Sixty-Six property include a new entry that takes traffic off 17th Street and around the property’s large banyan tree, oriented to overlook the marina, Intracoastal Waterway and downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The area that is parking now will be elevated so that parking will be “under ground”, making the top a grassy area that is level with the bridge incline. Atop that will be two condo buildings, three levels of which will be parking “underground” and eight above, which include two levels of retail and office space. Five units will fill each floor, but they can be combined should a buyer so desire.
For the first time on the property, Tavistock proposes to build 12 single-family homes on the east side along the canal. On the north side along the Mercedes River will be four four-story condo villas with parking on the ground floor and one unit per floor on the three floors above.
Hotel rooms in the iconic tower will be renovated, and a new 10-story hotel building will stretch alongside to the north to replace the small hotel buildings currently around the pool, which will enable the pool deck to be enlarged. The two hotel structures will have 345 rooms. The Pier Top will reopen as a permanent lounge.
The property also will have 32,000 square feet of new restaurants and shops along a new marina promenade that runs along the waterway.
Tavistock began the design review process with the city of Fort Lauderdale in October. It was unclear how long the permitting process would take, but Blakley said that once permitted, the project could take as little as two years to complete.
Tavistock is hosting an open house on Nov. 15 from 4-7 p.m. at the Pier Top with renderings of the new Pier Sixty-Six project. Anyone is welcome to stop by. In the meantime, Tavistock is conducting a survey to get feedback from residents and others on what they want to see on the properties.
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.