Friday, February 25, 2011

Florida History: The Pier 66 story

For more Fort Lauderdale and Miami history, visit my history blog at

Phillips Petroleum, when headquartered in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, purchased land in south Fort Lauderdale for a gas station in 1956.   Within a few short years, the parcel, bordered on its west by the Intracoastal Waterway, began to evolve into the world-class hotel and resort that claims part of Fort Lauderdale’s skyline today.
Courtesy, Broward Cty Historical Commission

The oil company built a fuel dock on the parcel in 1957, then installed a marina for more than 100 yachts. In November that year, Phillips advertised the grand opening of a restaurant in the building that today anchors the west side of the resort. By 1959, a two-story hotel was added.  Pier 66’s reputation grew during those boom years as did its need for more rooms.

One of the primary designers of its iconic 17-story tower was Richard F. Humble (1925-2011), a Phillips Petroleum architect. The addition was constructed in 1964 for nearly $6 million. The project included about 250 rooms and a revolving top floor cocktail lounge (open only for special events today); both opened in 1965 but not after some construction problems. The building leaned slightly to one side and was righted with extra fill. When completed, the resort sprawled across 22 acres and berthed 142 boats.

The fortunes of Phillips Petroleum changed in the 1980s, the decade of takeovers. It fought two hostile takeovers and incurred $4.5 billion in debt. Assets were sold off to reduce that debt and included the sale of Pier 66 in 1985.

Today, the complex is owned by the Blackstone Group of New York. Blackstone bought the Pier 66 property in 2004 from H. Wayne Huizenga's Boca Resorts, Inc. Pier 66 is now for sale. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Feb. 4, 2016), the selling price will probably be $200 million. Broward County records indicate it is valued at about $77 million. Pier 66 will likely not retain its current Hyatt brand. Look for additional mixed use development ...

Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

For more on Pier 66, see          

For more Fort Lauderdale  history, use search box at upper right.
Broward County Historical Commission
Miami News:  Nov. 22, 1957
Miami News:  Dec. 27, 1964

Tags: Fort Lauderdale hotels, Fort Lauderdale history, Pier 66 history, Fort Lauderdale resorts, Fort Lauderdale marina, Fort Lauderdale dockage

No comments: