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.”