Four Seasons hotel and residences on tap for Fort Lauderdale

Four Seasons luxury hotel is coming to Fort Lauderdale, the first high-end hotel built on the beach in eight years.

Construction on the 23-story Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, Fort Lauderdale is expected to begin in 2016 and be completed in 2018, according to its developer, Fort Partners of Miami.

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The last hotel of this caliber to hit Fort Lauderdale beach was the $225 million St. Regis Resort & Residences Fort Lauderdale — now known as The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale — in 2007.

Fort Partners also owns the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, which it acquired in early 2014, for an undisclosed amount.

The Four Seasons project in Fort Lauderdale will have about 150 hotel rooms and 95 residences, but the final room configuration is subject to change, a spokeswoman for Fort Partners said.

Fort Partners is working with Merrimac Ventures on the beachfront project, set for a 1.8-acre site at 521 to 529 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd..

Merrimac — led by President Dev Motwani, whose family has long developed and operated hotels in the area — previously owned the land earmarked for the new Four Seasons.

Avalon Waterfront Inns and Tropic Cay Hotel currently occupy the site, according to Broward County property records. They plan to close this year.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Fort Partners on the Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale,” Motwani said in a statement. “The vision and reputation they bring to the project is truly unparalleled.”

Toronto-based Four Seasons, whose hotels are known for refined service, opened it first hotel in 1961 and expanded into the U.S. in the 1980s. Today it has more than 30 hotels nationwide, including the Four Seasons Hotel Miami and the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

Hospitality industry specialists like Scott W. Brush say Four Seasons’ entry into Fort Lauderdale is a coup for the area and reflects the overall strength of its tourism sector.

“Fort Lauderdale is getting more and more attention,” the Miami-based lodging industry consultant said, noting that Four Seasons hotels are primarily situated in top destinations or major gateway cities.

“It’s not a top gateway city yet, but it’s certainly a top destination,” he said of Fort Lauderdale.

Hotel occupancy has grown in Broward County for 60 consecutive months as of November. Room rates, a key financial indicator for the hotel industry, are rising in the improving economy.

As a testament to the health of the tourism hotel sector, more than a dozen Broward hotels were sold in 2014 as investors snagged key properties.

Sales included the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel (now B Ocean Resort, Fort Lauderdale), Westin Beach Resort & Spa, W Hotel & Residences and Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood.

“This gives us a great opportunity to expand the luxury offerings for visitors to Broward County,” Nicki E. Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said of the new Four Seasons. “The brand itself trumpets potential growth in the luxury market.”

International and domestic travelers who are loyal to the Four Seasons brand will find another destination to enjoy, Grossman said.

The Four Seasons in Fort Lauderdale will include separate hotel and residential lobbies, as well as separate hotel guest and resident swimming pools, Fort Partners said. Additional amenities will include poolside cabanas and beach club, spa, fitness center, children’s recreation room, ballroom and meeting facilities. The hotel and residences also will have several restaurants.

Residences — will range from 800 square feet to 6,000 square feet and one to three bedrooms. Sales are expected to begin in February, Fort Partners said. Prices have not yet been released.

The Miami real estate developer also is collaborating with Four Seasons on a project in Surfside in Miami-Dade County: The Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences. It is under construction and set to open in 2016.

“I believe that 2015 is the right time and Fort Lauderdale is the right place for Fort Partners to develop the new Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences on Fort Lauderdale Beach,” said CEO Nadim Ashi. “This Four Seasons will enhance and elevate Fort Lauderdale to a world-class destination.”

Source: www.sun-sentinel.com