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Boat Show News

FLIBS19: New scenes around town

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If you haven’t been to Fort Lauderdale in a while, you might notice a few things changing. Here’s a quick look at some of the news going on around town.

Whole Foods: Whole Foods, the natural and organic foods supermarket chain, is building a new store on the northwest corner of US1 (Federal Highway) and Southeast 17th Street. It is expected to open at the end of 2020.

Convention center: The Portside Center office building at the southwest end of the 17th Street Causeway is gone. It is parking this week for the boat show, but it marks the first step in Broward County’s work to rebuild its aging convention center, expanding it to more than 1 million square feet, and adding a new hotel.

The expansion plan includes: An extension of the main exhibit hall to create 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, the addition of a 65,000-square-foot ballroom facing the Intracoastal Waterway, and the addition of meeting space. Skywalks are planned to connect the event space, headquarters hotel and parking structure.

A rendering of the new convention center at 17th Street and the ICW. Image provided.

The new facility is expected to be completed in 2023.

Beach park: The beach area at Las Olas Boulevard is transforming in a big way. The city is investing in a nearly $50 million rehab of the block between the east end of the ICW bridge and the beach wall. Called Las Olas Beach Park, the area will include more green space, two parks and a promenade.

The project, which includes the new parking garage on the north side of the Las Olas bridge and the ICW, is being managed by Skanska. Not sure when it’ll be complete.

Restaurants and bars: Several yachtie restaurants and bars have been either upgraded or have closed. 

  • The Quarterdeck has relocated from its longtime home on Cordova Road north of 17th Street to its new building just a half block to the west.
  • Waxy’s Irish Pub reopened in August after a one-year renovation.
  • Ernie’s Bar-B-Q on US1 south of 17th Street is no longer empty. Closed in March 2017 after 60 years, the space was purchased and reopened in late December as Andy’s Live Fire Grill & Bar. The building and restaurant are owned by Anthony Bruno, owner of Anthony’s Runway 84 restaurant and founder of the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain.
  • Bravo Ristorante, the Italian restaurant in The Quay on 17th Street, closed in June after 28 years.
  • Keep an eye on the space between two condo towers on the north bank of the New River, just west of the Andrews Avenue bridge. The Wharf Fort Lauderdale plans to open there before the end of the year. The Wharf opened on the Miami River in 2017 and has been a focal point for boaters and locals to mingle near the water. The pop-up event space is often used for festivals and music events.
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