Developers in talks for $595 million Florida surf park with homes, hotel and shops

Developers in talks for $595 million Florida surf park with homes, hotel and shops
File photo surfing (Adhoc Alley/Flickr)

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Those who like to carve a wave will be stoked to find out Florida developers are in talks to build a multi-million surfing complex in the city of Fort Pierce.

The $595 million venture will feature 800 residential homes, 600 hotel rooms, 400,000 square feet of retail space and 125,000 square feet of office space across 200 acres, according to TCPalm, a digital subsidiary of Treasure Coast Newspapers.

The idea has been in the works for years, but new updates have moved developments forward.

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The project, which is slated to begin construction next summer, will create an estimated 3,400 jobs during construction, according to the Economic Development Council. It would generate nearly 2,000 jobs upon completion.

The first phase of construction is to focus on a $40 million surfing center, which will include a “Wavegarden Cove surfing lagoon” and resort.

The surfing lagoon will “deliver high quality waves and authentic surfing experiences year-round for new and existing surfers of all ages, experience and ability,” according to details released by the developer, Surfworks.

A large swimming pool-like area will be able to accommodate 100 surfers at a time, with 1,000 waves generated each hour, TCPalm reported this week.

A larger community with multi-family homes, townhouses, single-family detached houses and green spaces is slated for later construction.

“The [Willow Lakes Resort Village and Community] will be comprised of several distinct neighborhoods, knit together by a network of walkable, pedestrian-oriented streets, and navigable flow-ways designed for maximum environmental and recreational purposes,” Surfworks said.

“Willow Lakes and the surf park project, in our view, is a catalytic economic development event which has the ability to ‘move the needle’ on our collective efforts to enhance Fort Pierce’s reputation as a premier tourist destination and further diversify our growing economy,” Pete Tesch, president of the St. Lucie County Economic Development Council, wrote in an endorsement letter about the project. “As we enter the ‘new normal’ and the post COVID-19 environment, this important project will have a historically significant impact on our community.”

A similar project is being considered for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Phil Dixon Jr, CEO of American Surf Parks, said developers have been working on bringing Wavegarden Cove to Myrtle Beach since October 2016 but couldn’t “find the right piece of land.”

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