By Lucy Chabot Reed
Tavistock Development Company, started and owned by yacht owner Joe Lewis, officially broke ground on March 12 on its redevelopment of Fort Lauderdale hotel Pier Sixty-Six.
Though the property on the northeast corner of the 17th Street Causeway and the Intracoastal Waterway is already cleared and the iconic tower gutted, company and government officials gathered in the parking lot to dig ceremonial shovels in the sand as cranes itched to get back to work clearing away debris and preparing foundations.
Plans include a complete renovation of the tower — including a reopening of the Pier Top to the public — a second hotel wing, two 11-story condo towers, residential townhouses and villas along the canals on the east and north sides, eight restaurants, retail and meeting space.
“When Tavistock bought the property in 2016, we knew it needed some love,” said Jessi Blakley, vice president of strategic communications, noting that generations of South Florida residents have attended momentous events such as weddings and proms at the hotel. “We are reinvigorating that legacy and will make Pier 66 the social harbor of Fort Lauderdale.”
Tavistock has not settled on plans for Pier South, site of the old Best Western hotel, preferring to wait to see what the market needs once Pier North is complete in 2022. And while there are no major plans for the marina, workers did begin cutting on March 18 the concrete dock on the south side to straighten it, opening it up for yachts up to 300 feet.
“While we are here for the groundbreaking for the hotel, the marine industry is a huge part of what we do here at Pier Sixty-Six,” said Amaury Piedra, general manager of the property. “We are part of the marine community.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.