Ocean Properties Sinking
July 30, 2008, 1:28 AM
Filed under: Beach, CRA Districts, Development

July 30, 2008

What’s Happened to the Ocean Village and Resort?

Quiz:  Is this an office building or a beach resort?

Answer:  This is, in fact, not a new mixed use office complex, but the redesigned Ocean Village and Resort slated for the city-owned Johnson Street property on Hollywood Beach.  Drop us a line and let us know your opinion of this design for Central Beach.

You may be wondering what has happened to this long-awaited project that was approved back in 2005.

We were supposed to have a luxury hotel complex with two swimming pools, 350 hotel rooms, upscale restaurants and retail, as well as passive parkland and a grand ballroom. And the Beach CRA was to provide the money for a 1,600 parking garage, with 500 spaces for the Resort and the rest for the public. This highly touted development was intended “to change the image of Hollywood Beach.”

The project has been plagued with delays and foot-dragging, and recently it appears that the developer wants to scale it down. The city had to secure permission for an exception to the State rule that new coastal construction must be substantially elevated to minimize flooding. That has been accomplished. But instead of moving the project forward, Ocean Properties submitted plans last winter that were so inadequate the city’s Planning Department would not process them. Earlier this summer, Ocean Properties re-submitted a more detailed set of plans which the city is currently studying. From a quick review of these, it begins to appear that the project Ocean Properties promised back in 2005 is not what it wants to build.

Can we expect Ocean Properties to start building soon, or are more delays likely? For one thing, we are not alone with our stalled development. Palm Beach County and Portsmouth, NH are both stuck in the same boat. As reported in the Palm Beach Post, after being selected back in 2004 for a $100 million downtown hotel in connection with the Palm Bach convention center, Ocean Properties is now fighting in court for an extra $10 million to build a smaller hotel than originally promised. The Chair of the Palm Beach County Commission has been quoted as saying the project is on hold and may be put out to bid again.

In Portsmouth, NH, Ocean Properties is “embroiled in a similarly snarled” hotel and conference center project that has not moved forward, according to the Post.  Ocean Properties has put up so many road blocks in that project that the Portsmouth city manager has suggested the company is trying to kill the deal by applying “death by 1000 cuts.”

The Post has also reported that federal authorities are investigating whether Palm Beach decision makers “accepted free or deeply discounted hotel accommodations” from Ocean Properties when it was initially selected to build the hotel.

Word of these disputes and the company’s nonperformance in Hollywood all influenced the outcome in Portland, Maine, where Ocean Properties was vying for a development contract in that city. After being warned by their city attorney about the Palm Beach, Portsmouth and Hollywood problems, Portland officials picked another company, according to the Post.

Currently it appears that Hollywood will have a new Hotel (and Resort?) that looks a lot like a Ft. Lauderdale office building for our premier beach property. Keep your fingers crossed for things to run smoothly from here on in, because we’re beginning to wonder….

Sara Case
Laurie Schecter

Comments Off on Ocean Properties Sinking

Comments are closed.