Fort Lauderdale weighs megayacht marina proposal

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Boating advocates want the city of Fort Lauderdale to spend as much as $16 million on a major expansion of the city's Las Olas Marina, with extra space for megayachts.

But the idea could conflict with current beach redevelopment plans, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reports.

The proposal calls for excavating one of the city's main beach parking lots to accommodate as many as 91 additional boat slips along the Intracoastal Waterway. Current city plans for a beach makeover, though, envision turning that lot into a waterfront park and promenade with an adjacent parking garage.

“We have to build for the future and ensure Fort Lauderdale continues to be the first choice in the global yachting market,” said Frank Herhold, former head of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “It all starts with slips, so we need adequate dockage not only for the local boating community, but those who visit us.”

According to estimates drawn up for the city marine advisory board, construction could cost as much as $16 million, but a larger marina could bring an extra $3 million a year in rental revenue to the city.

City commissioners are reacting cautiously, the newspaper reports, but have agreed to further investigate the plan.

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