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Bahia Mar Owners Want To Bring An Intracoastal Promenade to Fort Lauderdale (Once They Figure Out How To Tackle Traffic)

South Florida developers want the site of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to be a waterfront attraction year-round, but they have a few things to figure out first. 

The owners of the Bahia Mar Resort property in Fort Lauderdale Beach plan on developing an Intracoastal promenade and putting up two 39-story residential towers alongside the existing hotel. 

“I want a relaxed, fun, easy feel so that everybody feels welcome and comfortable,” said Jimmy Tate, president of Tate Capital, part of a group of real estate companies that bought Bahia Mar last summer. 

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Before they submit the plans to the city for review, however, a firm they hired is trying to assess what kind of traffic impact the additions—which include four waterfront restaurants, retail offerings and a gourmet market—would have. Together, the towers would add 525 condo units to the already congested area, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“We’re fully prepared to honor that report and any recommendations that the report makes,” Tate said.

He expects visitors to arrive at the promenade by water taxi, boat or trolley—transportation options he hopes would help reduce traffic.

Tate said a highly anticipated part of the plan is the addition of the market, which would mean residents of the barrier island and yacht captains would no longer have to cross the 17th Street Bridge to buy groceries.

“We’re looking to have a quality brand, whether it’s a Fresh Market or a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s,” he said.

If the proposal gains city approval (there’s currently no set timeline), the project would start with a renovation of the existing 297-room hotel, the addition of the market and a 500-spot parking facility to be used as exhibition space during the boat show. The first condo building would then go on sale, but its construction would depend on market conditions. 

In total, the phased redevelopment of Bahia Mar could take seven to 10 years, Tate told The Real Deal.

As of today, the project shouldn’t have an impact on the 2015 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November.

“The game plan is to never interfere with the boat show,” Tate said.