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Fort Lauderdale Getting A Major Beachfront Makeover

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – High dollar upgrades are coming to Fort Lauderdale Beach as several hotels have changed hands and others are working on major upgrades.

Major renovations are underway at the Conrad which was a luxury Trump Tower and was ready to open but then never did. The property was sold and turned into a Conrad, everything was ripped out, down to the bare walls.

“When it transitioned to Conrad,” explained Tamas Vago, Director of Operations for Hilton, “they said ‘the space is good but the design is not right, it needs to be more upscale.’”

Down the street, at Bahia Mar, new owners are taking over. A few years back, the plan was to turn it into a Waldorf Astoria–with condo towers, as well but that plan was scraped. The new owners have decided to wait a couple years to come up with a new idea.

Some plans have been discussed, however.

The property will likely include a boardwalk on the Intracoastal along with some shops and restaurants, but they’ll make sure they have plenty of slips available for yachts as well as for the annual boat show which brings in more money each year to the area than a Super Bowl.

And then there’s construction at the Hyatt Pier 66.

“We’re replacing the entire marina here at Pier 66, it’s 62-years-old,” explained Kevin Quirk from LXR Luxury Marines.

The marina has seen better days. The plan now is to make room for more boats, especially the mega yachts.

“Right now we can currently take six large super yachts as they’re known, 150 feet and up,” Quirk said. “When we’re finished, we’re going to be able to take 16.”

And the trendy W Hotel has a new owner, Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross. Ross is keeping future plans under wraps.

“We bought it, it was a distressed sale,” he said while in Davie at the first day of Dolphin’s training camp. “We’re the general partner of a series of real estate funds, I don’t think it will have much impact on the Dolphins,” he laughed.

The Pier 66 Marina project should be complete in time for the boat show in October. The Conrad will open in May of 2015.

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