September 2008

  • Sep

Hollywood: Development Taking Shape Inside and Out

September 30, 2008

By Stephanie Mayhew, via Florida Commercial Properties

Founded in the 1920s by Joseph Young, Hollywood, Florida, boasts beautiful beaches and it is perfectly situated within easy proximity to major Florida employment centers: thus, the city has become a great spot for residents and businesses to settle. However, in the 1990s, Hollywood city officials decided that it was time to spruce up the city and focus on smart growth for the future.

In the late 1990s, the current city manager spearheaded a city-wide master planning process that was set to revitalize 26 acres within the city. Aside from revitalizing the city’s major commercial centers – Downtown Hollywood and Hollywood Beach – the plan was created to encourage commercial development in four other major corridors: Dixie Highway, Federal Highway, Hollywood and U.S. 441.

“The effort was to expand the community redevelopment efforts beyond the traditional CRAs commercial redevelopment areas,” says Neil Fritz, the director of Commercial Corridor Redevelopment for the City of Hollywood. “We have spent the last few years since the plan was adopted looking at taking suburban zoning and land use and converting that to see what our opportunities are for the redevelopment of those areas.”

Since the plan was formed, the city has been hard at work on the revitalization. The city’s first successes were within its key CRAs on Hollywood Beach and the Downtown area. In Hollywood Beach, there have been numerous condominium developments as well as the conversion of several aging hotels and the development of some new hotels. “The city has had great success on Hollywood Beach. “The efforts on the barrier island are successful, including the ability to take the CRA funds and create more than a hundred million dollars in capital improvements, which included the complete reconfiguration of the city’s historic boardwalk,” explains Fritz.

Obviously, the beach is a big draw in any city, so development and redevelopment there proved easy. However, according to Fritz, things are m ore challenging on the mainland. The city set to work to create urban design guidelines to bring some development to the downtown area as well as build o those commercial corridors in areas outside of the traditional CRAs. Fritz notes that with the completion of several projects since 2003, the city is starting to see success from its plan.

In 2003, Regent Park Condominiums brought 256 residential units to Van Buren Street in downtown Hollywood. “That was the first time that new residential had been constructed in Hollywood in a very long time,” remarks Fritz. “I am not sure of the last time any significant residential was built east of I-95 in Hollywood, but it would likely have been the 50s, 60s or even before that. It is a fundamental new development and it is also vertical.”

This successful development was followed with the recent opening of the Radius project, a mixed-use development by the Lane Company. Located at the northwest quadrant of Young Circle, the project brought 311 residential units to the market, as well as 40,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-space public parking garage.

Hollywood Station also came online with approximately 300 condominium and townhouse units and 20,000 square feet of commercial space. Developed by Cornerstone Premier Properties, the project always included a parking garage.

“Both of these developments were completed and started closings in late 2007 and continue to close, bringing new residents every week to the downtown area,” notes Fritz. “Roughly 1,000 units have come to the downtown area, which is completely unprecedented in any of the areas east of I-95, but especially in the historic downtown area.” The city recently approved another project that will further revitalize the downtown. Miami Beach-based WSG Development is set to construct Arts Park Village, a 390-unit high-end rental project set directly on the city’s Art Park. The project is also slated to feature 30,000 square feet of retail space and a 50,000 square foot office component. Incidentally, the new project will have a stellar location along the Arts Park, which just underwent a $15 million renovation from the city.

“The Arts Park is now the very center of the community and a beautifully open space,” remarks Fritz. “When you see the new Village, you understand that a public sector investment can create interest and take a community to the next level, and that is why projects want to locate close to it.”

The city is also heavily focused on improvements outside of the traditional CRAs. The city is experiencing success in the downtown area, so we started working outside the downtown area to develop the kind of projects that you used to see in downtown 10 or 15 years ago,” explains Fritz. “You will see small façade improvements and the rehabilitation of small shopping centers, and we are starting to see the spinoff outside the CRA areas.”

To ensure success in these areas, the city’s zoning and land use discussions have extended outside the CRA areas. “It took 3 years to even allow for the possibility of mixed-use along the commercial corridor because they were zoned exclusively for commercial uses,” notes Fritz.

One of the biggest successes for the city outside of the traditional CRAs is Sheridan Station, a 38-acre transit-oriented development located between I-05 and the CSX railroad tracks at Sheridan Station. The project is being developed by Pinnacle Housing Group of Miami and Ram Development Company of Fort Lauderdale.

According to Fritz, the Sheridan Station project came about in 2003 from a site specific land use change within the county that designated the area for transit oriented development. Approximately 17 acres was owned by the Department of transportation and there was a competitive process to develop it for mixed-use directly at he train station on Sheridan Street.

“The site is the perfect location for a transit-oriented development with a tri-rail station on one side and the I-05 on the other side. It is mid way between downtown Miami and Boca Raton: hence, there is much demand for office, retail and residential,” explains Mike Hammon, chief development officer for Ram. “Being so close to the airport has also made it very appealing to the hospitality industry. The relatively large size of the site has made it possible to place all of the uses on the site and this will be very hard to replicate anywhere else along the I-95 corridor/tri-rail line.”

Sheridan Station is slated to contain a mix of workforce housing, condominiums and townhomes, along with retail, office space, a hotel and mass-transit parking. Situated right on the tri-rail line, the project is slated to be the first transit-oriented development in South Florida. Plans call for up to 1,600 housing units, 300,000 sf of retail and office space, a 150-room hotel, a 6-acre park and a 793 space parking structure for tri-rail riders.

“We have been able to create a great mixed-use synergy in an urban infill area,” explains Michael Wohl of Pinnacle Housing Group. “Sheridan Station has everything. It will be completely self-contained and it is going to be a mass transit hub as well. Residents can go out to dinner, go to work, shop, have family in town to stay at one of the hotels – everything will be right there.”

The project is slated to break ground second quarter 2009 with an 8 to 10 year build-out in two phases. The first phase is set to include the entire retail component as well as approximately 150,000 sf of office space, a 150-room hotel and more than 600 multifamily rental units.

Once the project is complete, Wohl believes that it will have an indelible impact on the lifestyles of Broward County residents due to the availability of a mass transit hub at Sheridan Station and the economic windfall for the city of Hollywood. Hammon agrees and notes, “Aside from being a large economic generator of jobs and tax revenues, the site has been selected into the LEED ND pilot program. LEED for Neighborhood Design integrates smart growth urbanism and green buildings into a sustainable community.”

“If we are going to see future development accommodated in built-out communities, this is really going to be a model,” says Fritz.

As one of the first major mixed-use projects outside of the CRA areas, Sheridan Station is quite significant. “It is important because it will contribute significantly in both the city, Broward County, school board and children’s services: where4as, new projects within the agency boundaries end up being reinvested into the CRA areas. It is exciting to reach our first major objective outside of the CRA area,” explains Fritz.

The city’s successful rezoning of land uses outside the CRAs has been crucial to the current success it is enjoying as well as the sustainability of the city in the future. “As a city that is built out, it is imperative to have immediate opportunities in order to increase property values,” says Fritz. “The only way that South Florida can continue to develop is to find the opportunities for increased density. When projects like Sheridan Station are not only on a transit line, but literally at a transit station, it is really an exciting thing.”

Having filled the residential and retail gap, the city is focusing on its next objective – office development. “We recognize the changing market, so the city has identified approximately 40 acres adjacent just to the north of our historic downtown that will be rezoned and targeted for office mixed-use,” says Fritz. “We see the capacity and the possibilities there, and we are looking at our assets to position that district for a development of approximately 750,000 to 1 million square feet of public space and other uses.”

The daytime population that an office component would bring to the downtown area is also crucial for the retail component within the city. “Hollywood has an historic shopping district with new retail and new residential units, but the commercial opportunity is something that has to happen because it is very difficult for the restaurants to say open at lunch without a daytime population,” notes Fritz.

Another issue the city has set its sights on is State Road 7, which runs through Broward County. The area was a bit of a no man’s land, but the success of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has helped attract much attention to the area. The 86-acre resort features a 130,000 square foot casino, a lagoon tropical pool area with theme-park-style water slides and a swim-up bar, a Hard Rock Café, a spa and fitness center and Seminole Paradise, a 330,000 square foot entertainment complex and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.

“The city wants to build upon the success in that area and along the corridor so we have already done preliminary analysis of 15 mi8les of the commercial corridor,” says Fritz. “If someone wanted to do a certain kind of mixed-use development along a certain site on State Road 7 USS 441, we could respond very quickly.” The city is also looking to further strengthen its already solid tourism industry on Hollywood Beach.

Going forward with the master plan, the city will analyze 25 major and minor nodes to ensure that they will create developments that will have enough density to maintain value now and well into the future. “The city of Hollywood has to look at the long-term development and how do we as a city accommodate future growth and continue to realize the vision of our founder in the 1920s as well as preserve the parts of the community that are important, says Fritz. “The master plan that we have in place is very forward thinking and very exciting, so it is thrilling that we have had these preliminary successes and we look forward to more.”

  • Sep

Midtown to Host 3rd Annual Art in the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

September 26, 2008

Midtown to Host 3rd Annual Art in the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
September 26, 2008

Heidi Armstrong or Bryna Jacobs
Thorp & Company
(305) 446-2700

Midtown, a new village-like, blended-use community in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., will host the 3rd annual Art in the Gardens, a fun, free cultural arts event that will feature 100 regional artists from Southeast Florida displaying their unique work. Live entertainment, children’s activities including a youth art showcase from 42 area schools, street performers and a wide variety of popular cuisines from local restaurants will make this event enjoyable and memorable for all who attend.

Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23, 2008
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Main Street at Midtown
4655 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

COST: Free

Free self parking is available onsite and complimentary shuttle service is available from offsite lots. Just follow signs for offsite parking locations near Midtown.

INFORMATION: Call (561) 691-8507, or visit

Midtown, a Ram property, is a new village-like, blended-use community with all the conveniences and style of cosmopolitan living. Located on PGA Boulevard just west of Military Trail, the development consists of 97,000 square feet of high-end retail, restaurant and office space, a 500-seat cultural center and a 300-seat banquet hall, all within walking distance of its 225 luxury condominiums. For more information about Midtown, visit

Art in the Gardens is produced by ArtiGras. For more information, contact the North Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce at (561) 748-3946, or visit

  • Sep


September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008


Bryna Jacobs or Heidi Armstrong
Thorp & Company

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Sept. 25, 2008 – Ram, a leader in real estate development and acquisitions, today announced that it will kick-off the fall season with cultural events beginning in late September at its new village-like community called Midtown in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

“Midtown is an exciting destination where locals and visitors can gather to enjoy arts and entertainment, sophisticated boutiques, signature restaurants and luxury living,” said Casey Cummings, president of Ram. “We look forward to this season’s events, which promise to offer something for the entire family.”

The events lined up include:
• Sunday Jazz:
➢ Susan Merritt Trio featuring Dave Hubbard from 1p.m to 3 p.m. on September 28
➢ Zach Schwartz Quintet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on October 12
• The Lyric Series: The Lyric Theatre will present its inaugural season with six shows from November through April, at the Borland Center at Midtown.

The performances will include:
➢ Livingston Taylor at 8 p.m. on November 20
➢ CutTime Players Chamber Ensemble at 8 p.m. on January 21
➢ The Kingston Trio at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on February 5
➢ Asleep at the Wheel at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 20
➢ Colin Hay of “Men at Work” at 8 p.m. on March 28
➢ Get Back! The Cast of Beatlemania at 8 p.m. on April 3

For tickets, call the Lyric Theatre at (772) 286-7827 or visit
Special Events:

Radio Disney High School Musical 3 – Senior Year Pep Rally Fun, games and tons of High School Musical prizes will be given away at the Senior Year Pep Rally hosted by Radio Disney from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11.

3rd Annual Art in the Gardens – A fun, free, cultural arts event that will feature 100 regional artists from Southeast Florida displaying their unique work. There will be live entertainment, children’s activities, including a youth art showcase from 42 area schools, street performers and a wide variety of popular cuisines from local restaurants. Art in the Gardens is taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23.

About Midtown
Midtown, a Ram property, is a new blended-use community with all the conveniences and style of cosmopolitan living. Located on PGA Boulevard just west of Military Trail, the development consists of 97,000 square feet of high-end retail, restaurant and office space, a 500-seat cultural center and a 300-seat banquet hall, all within walking distance of The Residences at Midtown luxury condominium. For more information about Midtown, visit

About Ram
Founded in 1978, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Ram is an affiliated group of companies comprised of Ram Development Company, a leader in retail, residential and mixed-use development and acquisition, and Ram Realty Services, a provider of residential and retail management and leasing services. In addition to the Palm Beach Gardens office, Ram has offices in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Fla., Chapel Hill, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. Currently, the company manages approximately 2.5 million square feet of retail property and 3,000 apartments and is active in Florida, North Carolina and Georgia. Ram is committed to making places that are socially responsible, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit

  • Sep

Rays of Light Penetrate Retail Gloom – Excerpt

September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008
Florida Real Estate Journal
Mixing it up

The day of reckoning for mixed-use centers has arrived, said Casey Cummings, president and chief investment officer for Ram Realty Services in Palm Beach Gardens.

The time when just any site could be turned into a mixed-use project has passed, Cummings said. New mixed-use projects will need high density markets, more office and hotel space (less multifamily); more chic and cultural uses, and alternative formats that incorporate multistory buildings and structured parking.

  • Sep

LA Fitness opens at Ram’s Springs Plaza

September 16, 2008

Florida Rreal Estate Journal

Palm Beach Gardens – Ram announced that LA Fitness has opened a location at its Springs Plaza property at the southeast corner of US 41 and Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs.

LA Fitness is an anchor tenant occupying 45,000sf of newly constructed space at Springs Plaza, a 199,992sf shopping center built in the late 1970s. Other notable tenants include Beall’s Outlet and Sweet Bay Supermarket.

  • Sep

Two Local Developers donate to support library expansion

September 15, 2008

Two Local Developers donate to support library expansion
September 15, 2008
The Palm Beach Post

Ram, a firm for real estate development and acquisitions, has announced that Chairman and CEO Peter Cummings, and his wife, Julie, have donated $150,000 to support the expansion of the library that bears their name: the Peter and Julie Cummings Library in Palm City. In addition, Regency Centers donated $50,000 to the library’s expansion.

The Cummings couple donated the land to the Library Foundation of Martin County in 1980; the library was built in 1995. The donations will be used to fund the planned expansion of the library, which will include a second-story addition, a reading area for adults and a gathering area for teens. Construction began in April and will be completed in April of 2009.

“We’re big advocates of education, and we wanted to support a cause that would have a positive impact and enhance the lifelong learning of our community members,” Peter Cummings said. Added Mike Kinsella, CEO of Regency Centers: “Being good stewards of the communities where we invest is at the core of who we are.”

The Library Foundation of Martin County provides funding from individuals and other private parties to support free programs for children and adults and construction grants for the expansion and the building of libraries. Membership in the foundation is $35 for an individual and $50 for a family. For information, call (772) 221-1409, or visit

  • Sep

Ram marks $3M sale of Texas Bldg.

September 15, 2008

Ram marks $3M sale of Texas Bldg.
September 15, 2008
Florida Rreal Estate Journal

PALM BEACH GARDENS – Ram recently completed the sale of the former 12,383 sf Home Depot Landscape Supply Center and its outdoor landscape area of approximately 25,890 sf in Plano, Texas.

Calloway’s Nursery Inc., a Texas corporation, purchased the property for $3 million. The property is at 2460 State Highway 121.

Steveco Commercial Real Estate Group LLC handled the transaction for Ram. The company has sold three of 11 similar sites, which were acquired as part of a portfolio earlier this year.