Old Diplomat Imploded, New One Planned

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- In mid-April, the tower of the famous Diplomat Resort & Country Club here was leveled. Over a six-month period, the interior was demolished in preparation for the final implosion, which was witnessed by thousands last month.

Flash forward to Dec. 31, 1999. That is the planned opening of the new Diplomat Resort & Country Club, a 1,000 room, 39-story luxury resort and convention hotel to be built on the site of its predecessor. Illustration of The Diplomat

The owner, the United Association of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Sprinkler Fitters, an AFL-CIO union, bought the property in late 1997 and is promising a tower with 200,000 square feet of meeting space, a 50,000-square-foot grand ballroom, a 150-acre country club, a spa, a fitness center, a tennis club and a marina. In addition, 107 oceanfront condominiums will be built.

When completed, the $400 million project is expected to benefit from the Diplomat's name recognition, according to industry executives.

The hotel is expected to provide a significant impetus for economic revival along Hollywood Beach.

The union that purchased the tower and its 19.5-acre beachfront site paid $40 million to the previous owner, a life insurance company owned by other AFL-CIO unions. The Diplomat is the first hotel investment for the union, which has more than 300,000 members.

Driscoll Development Co., part of a group of companies in the Washington area that manages hotels, conventions and trade shows, will manage the Diplomat as an independent hotel. A Washington sales office is open, and others are planned for New York, Chicago and the West Coast. According to Driscoll, the resort and an adjacent banquet facility will feature nautical decor.

A huge portal in the center of the building will provide what the developers call a "breathtaking view of the ocean and sky behind the hotel." Open-air terraces will provide a panoramic view of the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The 1,000 rooms will include 920 guest rooms, 74 suites, four governor's suites and two presidential suites. Dining spots will include a signature restaurant, an entertainment lounge and restaurant, a lobby bar and a poolside bar and grill.

The 30,000-square-foot Country Club will have 6,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants and an 18-hole golf course.

The spa will provide programs in basic fitness, nutrition, lifestyle management and face and body care along with advanced programs. A 2,500-square-foot tennis club will include 12 clay courts, according to the Driscoll group.

Driscoll Development, Phone: (202) 362-0200

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