Fort Lauderdale show signs 30-year deal with Bahia Mar developers

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A new agreement will keep the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the Bahia Mar Resort and Marina.

A new agreement will keep the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the Bahia Mar Resort and Marina.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will continue to have a home at the Bahia Mar Resort and Marina for the next 30 years, based on an agreement show owners reached this week with the property’s developers.

Developers say they are looking to transform about 16 acres of “mostly asphalt” into a marina resort community “with a village feel.”

“Bahia Mar really is the hub for all the sites of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,” Marine Industries Association of South Florida president and CEO Phil Purcell said in a statement. The MIASF owns the show.

“In terms of the show’s continued success this agreement is a critical component that gives permanency and certainty,” Purcell added.

Boat show producer Show Management, now owned by Informa Global Exhibitions, helped finalize the agreement.

“We’ve made a significant investment in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and we are committed to ensuring its status as the best and largest in-water boat show in the world,” executive vice president Ken McAvoy said. “Without the long-term guarantee of the Bahia Mar property, we simply would not be able to do that.”

“We consider our renewed relationship with the boat show folks and the marine industry more of a partnership,” said Jimmy Tate of Rahn Bahia Mar LLC. “We are excited to work in a collective effort as we transform approximately 16 acres of mostly asphalt into a stunning world-class hotel/marina/commercial and resort community with a village feel to bring back that old Florida charm. The Bahia Mar will once again be the pride and joy of Fort Lauderdale, the permanent home of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.”

In April the city of Fort Lauderdale delayed approval of a development plan that, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, put the boat show at risk.

In an April 29 editorial the newspaper wrote that commissioners should ensure “a chair remains open for the marina’s biggest tenant: the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, whose future is at risk. Let’s remember this world’s-biggest boat show drives our region’s marine industry and has an $857 million annual impact. Yet despite years of city assurances that its survival is paramount, the show’s long-term lease with the developer is down to just three years.”

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