Throughout 2020, Greater Fort Lauderdale saw a flurry of new development take shape. Crews broke ground on a long-awaited, $1-billion expansion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, which will wrap up its first phase in October 2021 — just in time for the official kick-off of the 62nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Besides working towards a new grand total of 1.2 million square feet of space, phase one of the expansion project will not only increase the facility’s contiguous exhibit space by 150,000 square feet to a total of 350,000 square feet, it will completely refresh the existing breakout space and ballrooms, including the 20,000-square-foot Floridian Ballroom and the 31,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom. When the final phase of the expansion wraps up in 2024, the LEED Gold-certified venue will offer several new waterfront ballrooms, the largest of which will span 65,000 square feet, plus new dining concepts and the latest in event technology and safety protocols. New outdoor spaces and water taxi access will create new avenues for groups to experience the destination.
This boom in new development carries over to Fort Lauderdale’s hotel inventory as well. Six new properties opened their doors in 2020, including the 238-room Hyatt Centric Las Olas Fort Lauderdale, which features a rooftop pool deck and 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. In January, the 141-room Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton, opened on Fort Lauderdale beach along with the new 137-room Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown in the trendy Flagler Village neighborhood. Several more are slated to open in 2021 — check out the lineup at right to see a list of highlights.
Off the Top
• 121 venues with meeting and event space, including the BB&T Center
Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center (as of 2024)
• 1.2 million total square feet of space
• 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space
• 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom
• Outdoor event spaces and new dining outlets
• 35,000 hotel rooms destination-wide
• More than 3,000 hotel rooms within a 1.5-mile radius of the convention center
• Nonstop service to more than 79 U.S. cities and more than 57 international destinations via Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), about three miles from the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center
The historic Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center and International Swimming Hall of Fame complex, home to Florida’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool that opened in 1926, is undergoing a $46-million renovation and expansion. Major highlights include new meeting facilities, five new swimming pools, and a 27-meter dive tower with springboards and nine platform levels. A “Top of the Tower” tour will give visitors bird’s-eye views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Completion is expected in late 2021 and early 2022.
Greater Fort Lauderdale has dozens of new hotels in the pipeline for 2021, including —
• 141-room Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton (pictured)
• 137-room Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown
• 171-room AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach
• 196-room Marriott at Dania Pointe
• 154-room AC Hotel Dania Pointe
• 148-room Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale hotel