FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) -The Fort Lauderdale City Commission gave approval Tuesday night to a massive, $250 million dollar development project called Bahia Mar Park.
The project — which will be built on city-owned land — has been in development for 5 years.
Commissioner agreed to the site plan for the project by a vote of 4-1.
Developers plan to build a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, shops, restaurants and a waterfront park to a stretch of land along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Developers say it will also create a permanent home for the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
The land is currently home to a hotel and a parking lot.
The developer — LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels — already has a lease of more than 50 years on the land. Developers want their lease extended to 99 years. Commissioners will decide that at a later date.
It is estimated the project will take 8 years to build.
Already approved are a restaurant and an office complex.
“Bahia Mar will become a landmark destination,” developer Peter Henn promised commissioners.
Henn said he worked closely with residents who had concerned about the size of the project, eliminating two 21-story condominium towers in exchange for four extra floors in the Hotel.
The Hotel will house 290 rooms and 27 residences.
The Idlewyld Neighborhood Association endorsed the project after working with the developer to address concerns — such as putting in noise restrictions, a promenade, a beach community center and funds from the project set aside for public art.
“We ask you to support this,” Karen Owen, Vice President of the Idlewyld Homeowner’s Association, told commissioners.
The proposal also drew the support of another local group — the Central Beach Alliance.
Mayor Jack Seiler said the developer did the right thing by addressing the concerns of residents early on.
“He realized early on this was going to be a series of compromises,” Seiler said.
Seiler said the new project will be a significant upgrade over the current project
It will be “financially better and aesthetically better,” he said. “We have a property (now) that we don’t have public access to.”