Fort Lauderdale approves $190M overhaul of International Swimming Hall of Fame
The Fort Lauderdale City Commission approved a public-private partnership (P3) development deal that would lead to the $190 million redevelopment and expansion of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
The vote on Sept. 19 approved the lease and development deal with Hall of Fame Partners, managed by Mario Caprini of Capital Group P3 Developments of Florida in Boca Raton, for the ISHOF at 501 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is also a partner in the project. The process started in 2020 when the developer submitted an unsolicited P3 proposal to the city.
“The new and improved ISHOF will be a significant complement to our world class Aquatic Center and Dive Tower,” Mayor Dean Trantalis stated.
The aquatic center and dive tower recently underwent a $47 million renovation. The P3 project would feature two buildings on either side of these aquatic center.
The developer anticipates starting the first of three phases of construction in late 2023 and opening the first building in 2025. The Hall of Fame will be relocated to a temporary facility during a portion of the construction.
A new east building will be constructed with a welcome center, ISHOF museum, a café, a surf simulator machine, about 27,000 square feet of office space, and a roof deck. In addition, the new west building would have a museum gift shop, a café, a teaching pool, a parking garage, exhibit spaces, VIP suites, a grandstand to watch diving, an event center, and a rooftop restaurant.
Each building would rise five stories, and the new space would total nearly 331,000 square feet.
“As the swimming and diving capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale is deserving of a crown jewel that can be enjoyed by the best swimmers in the world, our local community, and visitors throughout the year,” stated ISHOF Chairman of the Board Bill Kent.
The ISHOF is slated to induct Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, on Sept. 30.
The estimated costs of the project are $190 million and the city would pay $9.5 million to $11 million per year toward those costs. However, the city’s costs are expected to be offset by revenue generated by the project through the lease with the developer, according to a staff memo. The city would receive half of the revenue from the project.
According to an economic analysis of the project by Business Flare Analytics, the project would have a $292 million economic impact during construction and support 750 jobs upon completion. It would also place a property that was exempt from property taxes on the tax rolls, generating $14 million in property tax revenue for the city, county and school board over 30 years.
The developer is working with Washington, D.C.-based MACQ Holdings, Miami-based architect Arquitectonica and Fort Lauderdale attorneys Jennifer Bales Drake of Becker and Stephanie Toothaker.
Toothaker said the developer has letters of intent in place for almost all of the subtenant spaces in the building, including the restaurants and workspace. She said a three-star Michelin restaurant is interested in the rooftop restaurant on the west building. The site plan will be finalized by the city later.
“This will be a place people will want to go and spend the afternoon,” Toothaker said. “It just elevates our beach.”