A Post by Kit Denison
As a long-time resident of Fort Lauderdale and member of the marine community, I would like to share a few thoughts on why “MARINA LOFTS” is the type of development needed in Fort Lauderdale.
I moved to this city from Michigan in 1947, as a young boy, when my parents purchased “Dooley’s Yacht Basin,” on the South Fork of the New River. Dooley’s had been one of the City’s first boatyards, and was a major shipbuilding contractor during World War II, building scores of 65- and 85-foot “Air-Sea Rescue” vessels, one of which would later star in the movie “PT-109.”
Dooley’s was renamed “Broward Marine” and during the next decade became the largest private employer in the county, with over 500 men and women – building a series of wooden “Minesweepers” for the U.S. and NATO navies, up to 173 feet in length. Broward Marine was also one of the founding members of what is now known as the MIASF (“Marine Industries Association of South Florida”).
Since those early days, the Marine Industry has grown to employ more than 135,000 and has an annual economic impact of over $10 Billion. A major portion of the Marine Industry is located along the New River, which is the major waterway from the Inter-coastal Waterway to the Everglades to the west.
In my view, MARINA LOFTS will positively impact our City in a number of significant ways, including:
- Provide an iconic residential housing development for 1,000 residents, attracting many who work downtown to live downtown. This will include many of those who work on the large yachts that call Fort Lauderdale their home port. In recent years, Fort Lauderdale has lost a large number of its marine-based residents to Palm Beach County and even farther north where many boating firms have relocated because of a lack of affordable waterfront housing.
- MARINA LOFTS will connect the south side of the RIVERWALK. This “connectivity” is an important goal of the City Commission and will provide the last link between Andrews Avenue to the west.
- The RIVERFRONT boat storage facility will continue to serve the 200 + boaters and their families who enjoy a safe and convenient place to store their boats.
- There will also be several hundred linear feet of high-quality dockage for boats of various sizes, including “transient” boats, whose owners will be drawn to the many shops, offices, restaurants, and other retail spaces that will be a part of MARINA LOFTS.
- The WATER TAXI will now have a permanent “terminal” to serve as the hub of the City’s key water-based transportation connecting the City’s hundreds of miles of waterways.
I have had a number of opportunities to meet with Asi Cymbal and his staff. I am impressed with his vision and the care with which he and his firm have approached every aspect of this development.
As residents and business members of our City, we need a project like MARINA LOFTS to bolster our economy and provide a world-class addition to our waterfront.