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Another beachside tower could tie up public land for ages. And it may be a bum deal anyway

Susannah Bryan, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Hollywood resident Geoffrey Pearson, a kayaker who frequently launches from that beach, worries about losing a public parcel of land to a private developer for the better part of a century.

“Once you give up a piece of property, you’re never going to get it back,” he said. “If it’s developed it’s going to be developed forever.”

At the end of the lease, Hollywood taxpayers will inherit the condo building.

As part of the deal, Related plans to replace Harry Berry Park and the Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center with a new park closer to the ocean and an updated two-story community center. Also in the plans: A 5,000-square-foot restaurant; an extension of the beachfront Broadwalk pathway by another block and half; and a three-story parking garage with 109 public spaces on the ground floor. When 49 street spaces are included, the project will add 37 spaces to what is there now, city officials say.

Details of the deal will be hammered out behind the scenes over the next several weeks, with commission approval still probably months away.

Some activists remain wary that worried city officials may give away the farm.

 

“It’s a good vision, but the devil is in the details,” said Peter Hernandez, a former city commissioner who was still in office when Related Group floated the plan.

As long as the powers that be don’t give away the house, the city can benefit from it,” he said. “I don’t like 99-year leases. I don’t think the city should be giving away or selling beachfront property for 99 years.”

Hernandez urged city officials to negotiate the best deal they can.

“If the developer is going to be the only one making money 50 years from now, we should not be doing that deal.”

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