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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-The leaseholder on a 4.27-acre county-owned site adjacent to the Broward County Convention Center is facing an eminent domain action.

Yachting Promotions Inc., a holding of Fort Lauderdale-based Pearson Holdings Inc., faces a hearing Oct. 22 for a stipulated order of taking in a civil lawsuit the Broward County Commission filed in August against the company.

Last week, the commission appropriated slightly less than $3.9 million from the Convention Center Capital Fund to cover an initial settlement offer of $3.7 million made to the Pearson Holdings affiliate.

Until April this year, Pearson Holdings operated as Show Management Inc., a company founded in 1976 that produces the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The company now produces eight other boat shows as well as special events.

It is uncertain whether the Pearson affiliate is agreeable to the tentative settlement offer, because Kaye A. Pearson, Pearson Holdings’ president, did not respond to a request from GlobeSt.com for comment.

By approving the appropriation, the commission authorized county staff to issue short-term commercial paper to cover what is described as an unanticipated budget cost.

The county expects to repay the loan with convention center revenue over a three-year to five-year term. The proceeds will be placed into escrow, pending the expectation of depositing the funds into the Broward court registry 20 days after the Oct. 22 hearing.

The eminent domain action comes as the county is expanding the convention center, a 370,000-sf facility located on 17 acres at Port Everglades. Expansion plans include the development of a 50,000-sf exhibition hall and additional meeting rooms.

However, the county argues that the convention center’s current configuration is constrained by the site’s existing footprint. Because of the constraints, according to county records, convention center operations lack the necessary staging area and dock loading space for large vehicles.

Those constraints also limit availability of outdoor exhibitions and additional room for parking.

Consequently, the county turned its attention to the lease that the Pearson affiliate has maintained on the 4.27-acre site on Southeast 18th Avenue since 1978.

“The leasehold interests encompass land that is unique by virtue of its location adjacent to the convention facility and meets the compelling needs to expand the facility,” according to county records.

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