Fort Lauderdale’s $190 Million Transformation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Posted on October 18, 2023 by Jon Kling in

In an exciting development for swimming enthusiasts and the Fort Lauderdale community, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission has given the green light to a groundbreaking $190 million redevelopment project for the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF). This ambitious endeavor, facilitated through a public-private partnership (P3), promises to revitalize and expand the ISHOF, solidifying its status as a world-class aquatic destination.

A Transformative Vision

The newly approved project is set to transform the ISHOF into a crown jewel for both locals and visitors alike. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis expressed his enthusiasm, highlighting how the renovated ISHOF will complement the city’s already impressive Aquatic Center and Dive Tower, which recently underwent a $47 million renovation.

The redevelopment plan includes two new buildings flanking the existing aquatic center, marking a significant expansion of the facility. The project team is a collaboration of Municipal Acquisitions, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., and Hall of Fame Partners, and anticipates commencing the construction’s first phase in late 2023, with the first building expected to open its doors in 2025. 

Two Impressive Buildings

The project consists of two five-story buildings on either side of the aquatic center. The east building will house a welcome center, the ISHOF museum, a café, a surf simulator machine, approximately 27,000 square feet of office space, and a rooftop deck. Meanwhile, the west building will feature a museum gift shop, another café, a teaching pool, a parking garage, exhibit spaces, VIP suites, a grandstand for diving events, an event center, and even a rooftop restaurant.

In total, these two buildings will provide nearly 331,000 square feet of space, ushering in a new era of aquatic excellence and entertainment for the Fort Lauderdale community.

Economic Impact and Tax Revenue

The financial implications of this project are noteworthy. While the estimated project cost stands at $190 million, the annual lease costs are expected to be offset by the revenue generated through the lease with the developer, with the city set to receive half of the remaining generated revenue.

An economic analysis conducted by Business Flare Analytics indicates that the project will have a substantial economic impact during its construction phase, contributing approximately $292 million and supporting 750 jobs upon completion. Furthermore, the redevelopment will place a previously tax-exempt property on the tax rolls, generating an estimated $14 million in property tax revenue over 30 years, benefiting the city, county, and school board.

Positive Prospects and Exciting Partnerships

The project team, consisting of Municipal Acquisitions, Hall of Fame Partners, Miami-based architect Arquitectonica, and Fort Lauderdale attorneys Jennifer Bales Drake and Stephanie Toothaker, is working diligently to make this project a reality. Letters of intent have already been secured from various subtenants, including restaurants and workspace providers, with a three-star Michelin chef expressing interest in the rooftop restaurant of the west building.

The city is poised to welcome a transformed ISHOF that not only honors its swimming and diving heritage but also elevates the entire beachfront experience. 

Stay tuned for more updates as this exciting redevelopment project unfolds, bringing a wave of positive change to Fort Lauderdale’s aquatic landscape.