Fort Lauderdale project mired in lawsuit


A proposed development project for Fort Lauderdale, which resulted in a lawsuit filed against the city by developers, is on hold.

The project, called The Sails, would have replaced an 8.5-acre parcel with a new, state-of-the-art, hotel, office and marina. The Sails is a $100 million investment with secured funding to be located at the southeastern foot of the 17th Street Causeway Bridge, across from Port Everglades.  

But opponents of The Sails said the project was too big, with its planned 30 deepwater slips to accommodate 500-foot megayachts with drafts of more than 20 feet, and mixed-use development.

The proposed development project resulted in a lawsuit filed against the city by developers 17th Street Marina Investments, LLC, and Mastriana Development, LLC after the commissioners denied the developers’ application for a hotel, marina and office development permit in a 4-1 vote June 5, 2007. The commissioners upheld an earlier decision by the city’s planning and zoning board.

The lawsuit resulted because the developers claim no zoning variance was required for construction of The Sails, whose property was already zoned for business use. The location has been the site of a marina, hotel, and office for decades, better known as “Pink City” for decades. 

The city will consider The Sails’ new proposal this month. The revised plan results in 27 percent less volume, with a reduction in retail office space and the hotel moved to the east, while increasing the view corridor to the Intracoastal Waterway.

“We need those new slips, especially the dry stacks, online as soon as possible, as well as the much needed deepwater dockage,” said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “Developers Tom Gonzalez and Ron Mastriana are commended for their perseverance in this saga.”

The wet marina for megayacht dockage is proposed for 2,200 linear feet, with 150 dry storage slips for smaller craft.

“Things are quiet now,” says Ron Mastriana, developer of The Sails. “The redesigned project results in only 63 additional daily slips than the previous Best Western Hotel/Pink City that occupied the property for more than 45 years.”

— Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp
Freelance writer


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