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Bahia Mar Developers Drop Their Plans To Redevelop The Home Of The Boat Show

Redevelopment plans for the Bahia Mar site, including two 29-story condo towers and an Intracoastal promenade, won't be coming to fruition.

Developers jointly withdrew their application with the City of Fort Lauderdale Friday, June 17. A final vote on the proposed plan for the home of the boat show was scheduled for Tuesday, June 21. 

As the Sun Sentinel points out, the project has faced opposition from critics citing concerns about traffic and overdevelopment. 

In a joint letter to the city commission, the developers—which include Tate Capital, Rok Acquisitions, Rialto Capital Management and RCI Group—wrote: "For reasons beyond our control, the entire approval process has strayed from its proverbial path."

Tate Capital co-founder Kenny Tate identified the reduction of the height of the residential towers—from 39 stories to 29—as a factor contributing to the group's decision to withdraw the application. These condo buildings would have been the primary source of revenue from the project, developers have told Fort Lauderdale Daily. 

"We just lost too much available square footage," Tate said. "That, in combination with the fact that the condo market for Fort Lauderdale seems to be slowing down. There's a time consideration we had to look at."

The move follows the release of a video clip from the June 7 commission meeting (when officials were slated to hold a final vote on the site plan), in which developer Jimmy Tate appears to be using hand signals to direct commissioners, critics point out. Tate told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times he was gesturing to the commissioners to get on with their vote.

Kenny Tate said the development group—which holds a 46-year lease on the city-owned property—first discussed withdrawing the proposal after that meeting ended with commissioners delaying the vote until June 21. Commissioner Romney Rogers​ had raised concerns about approving the site plan without coming to an agreement on the lease terms as well. 

"It's just too many things. We're overcomplicating the issue," Tate said.

He added that business has been going well at the Bahia Mar Resort property, and the developers are wary of disrupting that.

The developers will continue to operate the resort. They hope to consider other redevelopment opportunities when they're ready.

"We decided to just pull back and think it through for the time being," Tate said.

Meanwhile, Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center will host the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) through 2020. Tate said the developers are not opposed to a long-term contract extension with FLIBS, like the city has pushed for.

"We're happy to have the boat show at our location. We hope that will continue for many, many years to come," he said.

For now, Tate says developers have been doing some brainstorming about future plans for the Bahia Mar, but they have not yet come up with another course of action.