The newly expanded Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center recently reopened with a total of 800,000 square feet, including 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and two ballrooms. Financing was secured with a bond-signing ceremony on Dec. 17 to fund a $1.1 billion expansion project that will be completed in 2025. Additions will include a building with waterfront ballrooms and meeting rooms, a five-acre outdoor waterfront plaza with three restaurants and an amphitheater, and an 800-room hotel connected to the convention center. Once complete, the facility will have a total of 1.2 million square feet. The project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and boost the local economy by $200 million annually.
"The convention center expansion, with a new 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom along with our expanded exhibit hall, makes Greater Fort Lauderdale highly competitive in the national convention landscape," said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. "The expansion is key to our continuing evolution as an upscale, cosmopolitan and diverse tourism and meetings destination."
The first event to take place in the new space was the 62nd Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October, displaying more than 250 boats along with motors and watersports products. Exhibitors included Grady-White Boats, Mercury Marine and Nautical Ventures.
"The facility offered enhanced opportunities for us to display our full line of models, and customers were very happy to have this vital display hub back at the show," said Ray Jahn, president of Fish Tale Boats, a leading Grady-White Boats dealer. "We're excited for the completion of the expansion in 2025 and think the benefits for exhibitors and consumers will be world class."
The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center already has more than a dozen events on the calendar for 2022.