Hollywood Builds for Thousands
October 14, 2006, 11:21 AM
Filed under: Development

October 14, 2006

Hollywood Builds for Thousands of New Residents

The Hollywood City Commission’s pro-growth policy is taking on a life of its own. Countless town home projects are in the approval process, most of them located in central Hollywood.  These small projects serve to increase neighborhood densities slowly but surely. For example, this month alone, the North Central Hollywood Civic Association will be hearing developer presentations for 11 town homes at 2217 Taylor Street, 11 town homes at 2718 Pierce Street, and 20 town homes on the 2400 block of Pierce Street.  The city is approving projects of this sort on a regular basis.

In addition to the town homes are the big condo structures, most often high-impact mixed use developments that are incompatible with traditional low-rise Hollywood neighborhoods.  We have tried to count these but do not have information on all the pending projects. What follows is a partial count and it does not include any of the 2,000 plus condo and condo/hotel units planned for Hollywood Beach:

Project Name No. Residential Units
Radius Phase 1 311
Radius Phase 2 105
Young Cir. Commons 208
HART Project ?
Young Cir. Publix Site ?
Young Cir.Texaco Block 500
Taylor at U.S. 1 89
Golfview at U.S. 1 326
SoHo Lofts 92
Hollywood Station 602
Post Office Site ?
Sheridan Stationside 1600
Millennium City 2000?
Incomplete Total 5833 additional units

Note:  It is noteworthy that none of these new residential units falls within the category of “affordable housing,” The only potential affordable housing project we are aware of would be located on Adams Street — a project that is short of funds and mired in controversy for the appearance of unfair insider dealing.

All of the projects listed above lie within the downtown Regional Activity Center except for two which are west of I-95:  Sheridan Stationside Village and Millennium City.

Millennium City is a 40-acre mixed use project to be built on the site of the failed Millennium Mall — the southeast corner of Hollywood Blvd. at 441. A few days ago, with a nod to warnings of the condo glut in South Florida, city staff in concert with the Millennium City developers told a crowd of over 200 — many of them residents in neighborhoods that will be most impacted by this project —  that “times have changed.” By this, they meant that the market for new condo units is not what it was.  But having reached this conclusion, neither the city nor these developers miss a beat.

Now the mantra is “offices.” City staff, appearing alongside members of the development team at this meeting (speaking as if they were part of the team instead of working for the taxpayers), presented plans for development around Young Circle and along Hollywood’s commercial corridors (U.S. 1, Hollywood Blvd., and State Road 7, the site of the Millennium City).  While new residential condos are a major component of all this planned construction (even though “times have changed”), square footage for offices has more emphasis than before.

For example, a few months ago, the developers were planning to put 2,800 new residential units in the ” Millennium City.”  Now they say somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 — no small number in any case. This housing will range from 3-4 story garden apartments to high-rise condos.  Home prices are projected in the $200,000 – $500,000 range. In addition there will be 1,000,000 square feet of commercial/retail and 400,000 square feet of office space.  “White collar professionals” are expected to work in the offices, while “blue collar workers” will staff the restaurants and cafes according to Debbie Orshevsky, the developer’s attorney. She also said that Millennium City will provide “an incubator for small businesses — mom and pop type sites.”

Neighboring residents questioned Ms. Orshevsky as to how the City of Hollywood can possibly provide adequate services to the new Millennium City.  Is there sufficient water and sewer capacity, for example?  What about trash collection and maintenance of the green space that is supposed to be included within the project?  The developer’s attorney spoke noncommitally about creating a Community Development District which could help to finance and maintain facilities and services required by this mega-development.

According to Ms. Orshevsky, Millennium City is about half way through a long approval process.  She anticipates a start date for this project about a year from now.  Residents of the adjoining Lawn Acres community have been monitoring the Millennium City project since it was first proposed.  They have expressed major traffic concerns as well as opposition to the idea of towering condos next to their one-story homes, thus removing all privacy as the high-rise residents would be peering right down into their yards.  The developer’s response is that the high-rise structures will front the corridors and the buildings will be stepped down as they approach the boundary with Lawn Acres. Nonetheless, the Lawn Acres homes will lose their sense of privacy as these towers are built and occupied.

Hollywood’s pro-growth mayor and city commissioners won’t face the voters until March 2008 — but because of Commissioner Wasserstrom’s suspension, a much earlier opportunity presents itself to slow the hyper-growth direction the City Commission has set.  Florida state law plus the Hollywood city charter require that a special election be held in early 2007 to fill the vacant District 4 commission seat. Let’s hope this race includes a slow-growth candidate.


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