Bahia Mar development plans scaled back

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Plans to redevelop Fort Lauderdale's Bahia Mar complex have been scaled back under a compromise struck between developers and neighborhood activists.

Gone from the proposal are two condo high-rises. Instead, the developers commit to build a waterfront park, promenades along the marina, a beach community center and a heavily landscaped parking area that would serve as the new home for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.

The cornerstone of the project - a five-star Waldorf Astoria hotel - would be enlarged to 26 stories to accommodate four floors of condos. The existing Bahia Mar Hotel would still be renovated and a plaza of restaurants and shops would still be built along State Road A1A.

The compromise is the result of months of negotiations between LXR Resorts and neighborhood opponents. It will be presented tonight to city commissioners, who must give LXR a new long-term lease on the city-owned land and rezone the property.

The boat show has been held at the Bahia Mar since 1976 and it pumps more than $500 million a year into the local economy. Officials have wanted to ensure that the boat show has a permanent home and believed Bahia Mar must be upgraded for the show to remain competitive.

Carlos Vidueira, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which owns the show, said the association has reviewed the compromise and believes it addresses the future needs of the boat show, the newspaper reported.

Still, not all are pleased with the compromise.

City commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, who represents the beach, said she remains concerned about any residential construction on the property and whether the buildings will create too much traffic and too many shadows on the beach.

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