Hollywood's Coral Rock House
February 1, 2007, 9:36 PM
Filed under: Historic Preservation

February 1, 2007

Coral Rock House…A Rare Example

Christopher Eck, Broward County Historic Preservation Officer, provides official comments on the Coral Rock House and surrounding area within the site of the proposed mixed-use development called Sheridan Stationside.

“Hollywood has been found to have a rare example of an oolitic rock (“coral rock”) residence constructed in a vernacular interpretation of the Mediterranean Revival-style bungalows constructed in Broward County from c. 1920-1935; there are less than a half-dozen examples of coral rock structures from this period still standing in all of Broward County and this particular example is associated with the locally prominent Butler family of Hollywood.

“The structure is of local significance and should qualify for designation as an historic structure within the City of Hollywood or for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  As a former high sand ridge with a hardwood hammock bordering a former fork of the Snake Creek drainage, the project area also has a moderate to high probability of containing archaeological resources that have not previously been surveyed.  Both an archaeological survey and an historical structure assessment should take place prior to development to determine the significance of the archaeological and historical resources contained within the project area.”

In recent weeks — before Mr. Eck’s opinion became available — the developers of the big mixed-use project have spoken informally of a revised development calling for 1000 residential units, including 50 townhouses to be situated in the site’s oak hammock, a 150-room hotel, and 639,000 square feet of office and retail.

But as of this writing, none of these changes have been formalized and the original proposal stands as the official one:  1600 residential units including 99 3-story townhouses where the majestic live-oak hammock miraculously still stands, 300,000 square feet of office and retail, and a 150-room hotel. Neither the city staff’s nor the developer’s presentations to the City Commission made any mention of the coral rock house.  Now, it cannot be ignored.

Still unresolved is the fate of the majestic old oaks — an historic treasure in their own right.  Their demise remains hidden in the city staff report on the proposed development which states in part that an unspecified number of trees “may need to be mitigated.”  Mitigation in this context means the developer will be allowed to destroy them and plant new ones either on this site or elsewhere.

The towering majesty of these oak trees cannot be over-emphasized.  The typical tree canopy in Hollywood. and for that matter all of Broward, is just puny by comparison, especially since Hurricane Wilma.  Interestingly, this majestic native oak canopy “was mostly unscathed” by Wilma, according to the city staff report.

The next stop in the approval process for the proposed development will be the Broward County Planning Council’s review.  The Planning Council’s public hearing on the Sheridan Stationside Village development is scheduled to occur in March.

What needs to happen now is for the City of Hollywood, the Hollywood Historical Society, and the developer to carry out all of the recommendations of the Broward County Historic Preservation Officer.

In addition, we urge the developer to scale down, significantly and officially, its proposed development.

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