Spirit plans $250 million headquarters

Spirit Airlines has submitted site plans to Dania Beach for a $250 million headquarters that could be up to 500,000-square-feet at the Dania Pointe development along Interstate 95.

The project was being announced Thursday evening at the annual meeting of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Spirit (NYSE: SAVE), which bills itself as America’s fastest-growing airline, said it plans to move from Miramar into the new campus by mid-2022.

Spirit has entered into an agreement with Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM), the owner and principal developer of Dania Pointe, to secure the land. Dania Pointe is a mixed-use development comprised of nearly one million square feet of retail space, restaurants and housing.

Gensler will be the lead architectural firm, and Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL) was selected as the project advisor. The new campus will be located in the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) District. The CRA supported the project.

A wider view of Spirit’s planned headquarters

In 2022, approximately 1,000 employees are planned to move from the company’s current facilities in Miramar to the new Dania Pointe site just minutes away from Spirit’s largest operating base, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). The project will make way for the future growth of the airline while improving operational efficiency by consolidating Spirit’s real estate footprint. The development will include corporate offices and a new crew training facility with flight simulators for more streamlined workflow and quick access to the airport.

“It was two decades ago when Spirit moved to South Florida and temporarily headquartered in a building of less than 1,000 square feet. Today’s announcement shows just how far we’ve come,” Spirit Airlines President and CEO Ted Christie said in prepared remarks. “This new home will keep us connected to the South Florida community while improving our team’s efficiency and ability to support what is an ever-expanding international operation. We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the City of Miramar, an outstanding location for headquarters and businesses of all sizes. We look forward to creating more jobs and driving future economic development as South Florida’s Hometown Airline.”

Mark Gale, CEO and director of aviation for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said, “Having an international airline headquarters close to Broward County’s FLL puts us in good company with a handful of other major airports across the country. We thank Spirit Airlines for the long-term commitment to our community. This new investment will help bring more guests through FLL and help grow our position as an international gateway to Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond.”

Spirit Airlines is the second-busiest carrier at FLL, with 3.52 million passengers in 2019 through May, up 17.6 percent from the previous year.

Spirit’s economic impact also includes its headquarters in Miramar, which was relocated from the Detroit area in 1999. Altogether Spirit has 3,500 employees in South Florida, Thomas C. Canfield, Spirit’s senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, said during an Alliance/SFBW panel discussion on aviation in South Florida.

Spirit long has been known as an ultra-discount carrier but more recently has emphasized on-time performance.

“In October 2018, we finished No. 1 in on-time performance for the first time in the company’s history. Since October 2018, we finished in the top four most months among the top 10 airlines,” CFO Scott Haralson said at the panel discussion, which was published in the September issue of SFBW.

The airline has quintupled in size since he joined 11 years ago, Canfield says, and is approaching 190 aircraft. By the end of 2021, it expects to have more than 300.

Spirit was recently listing 152 destinations from its hub at FLL. In addition to robust domestic service, it offers an abundance of flights to the Caribbean and Central America. Its South American service is focused on the northwest part of the continent.

Spirit’s headquarters plan drew widespread support from local and state business and economic leaders in the Alliance press release:

Governor Ron DeSantis:“I would like to congratulate Spirit Airlines on expanding your footprint in Florida and giving Floridians more access to quality air service. This new state-of-the-art headquarters will provide South Florida families with job opportunities and greatly contribute to the strong economic foundation of the area. Spirit’s investment also reinforces Florida’s position as a leader in the aviation industry and important hub for international travelers and commerce.”

Enterprise Florida President & CEO Jamal Sowell: “Enterprise Florida is pleased to work with Spirit Airlines and we look forward to their continued growth and success in our state. The real winners are the Floridians and their families who will find work because of this new investment.”=

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson: “Congratulations to Spirit Airlines, the fastest growing airline in the U.S. We are grateful that the company employs 4,000 people in Broward County.”

Broward County Mayor Mark D. Bogen: “We thank one of the pillars of our business community, Spirit Airlines, for continuing to invest in our vibrant Broward County and creating 225 new, high-quality positions over the next five years. Having fast-growing companies like Spirit Airlines headquartered here is pivotal to our economic growth strategy, and we are excited to have such high value flight options for our residents and tourists traveling in and out of Broward County for years to come.”

City of Dania Beach Mayor Lori Lewellen: “The City of Dania Beach is glad to welcome Spirit’s new corporate headquarters campus to our city. We are thrilled that the company has chosen to grow here, adding 225 high-value jobs. Spirit will become an important cornerstone in our city. We are excited for their growth as we move forward together into the new decade.”

Bob Swindell, President & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance stated, “The Alliance is incredibly proud to witness this game-changing new chapter for Spirit Airlines. We are excited that Spirit is growing in Broward County and that employees from throughout the U.S. and beyond will be trained in Dania Beach.”


Kevin Gale
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