Demolition of the Airport Hilton in Dania Beach began Tuesday, as workers tore down the hotel's garage to help make room for a new runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Broward County bought the land, with the hotel and parking structure, from Hilton's developers for $62 million and are now also paying an extra $2.5 million to have it demolished.
"This is a runway protection zone and basically the structure is in the way of the future runway," said Greg Meyer, with the Broward County Aviation Department. "Before it was okay because we only basically used general aviation aircraft on the south runway, now this is going to become a commercial runway comparable to the north runway."
The hotel is set to be demolished in April, in time for the new runway to open in September.
"The FAA requires that all runways either have an emergency management arresting system as well as a runway protection zone for any worst case scenario involving an aircraft," Meyer said.
In addition to the hotel, which is more than 25 years old, other nearby structures are expected to be demolished to make way for the 8,000-foot-long runway.