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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

“This is one of the most amazing pieces of property on the beach,” he said. “It would be a shame if the city didn’t get a good deal on this.”

An artist's illustration of a 365-foot-high condo tower planned on city-owned land at 1301 South Ocean Drive on Hollywood beach. Under the deal, the developer would lease the land for 99 years.

An artist's illustration of a 365-foot-high condo tower planned on city-owned land at 1301 South Ocean Drive on Hollywood beach. Under the deal, the developer would lease the land for 99 years. (The Related Group/Courtesy)

Hollywood would be paid 12.5% in condo sales, after the developer shaves off the $10 million in public improvements from an estimated $280 million in sales. That amounts to another $3.375 million.

The city also would collect $1.7 million in yearly property taxes after the project is built.

“They don’t have any taxes on the property right now,” Fordin said.

Hollywood would collect an estimated $400,000 a year from the public parking spaces, nearly double the $230,000 it collects now, Storey said.

Hollywood has been working on the deal since June 2020, when Related submitted an unsolicited proposal to develop the beachfront parcel. As required under state law, the city opened up the bidding process to other developers. In the end, Related got the top ranking over three other bids.

Real estate expert Jack McCabe warned that sea level rise could eventually threaten the new tower along with those already built.

“There could be 20 feet of water in that area 99 years from now,” he said. “The first four floors you’re going to need a scuba tank to live there. It will be like living in an aquarium. People still clamor for oceanfront property even knowing that 10 years from now many of these buildings can be severely affected by sea level rise.”

Hollywood resident Cat Uden questioned the wisdom of building another tower when that section of the beach is projected to be under water by 2040 due to sea level rise.

“I have not heard one resident say a 30-story condo tower is a good idea on the barrier island,” Uden said.

Others remain worried about noise, traffic and long shadows on the beach.

That includes Mary Alex, a Hollywood mom who has fond memories raising her three children at the Summit Towers just north of the site.

“The beach was our backyard, and that’s still the beach I go to,” she said. “I will be heartbroken if this happens.”

 

Alex is not the only one worried the tall tower will shade the beach and block the view.

But if something’s going to get built, most of the neighbors prefer a tall and slender tower like this one because it won’t block their view like one that’s short and squat, Fordin says.

Related will build the tower as close to A1A as possible to help prevent shading on the sand, he said.

“A lot of people have said they don’t want to be the next Sunny Isles — and I’ve told then you’re not going to be the next Sunny Isles,” Fordin said.

In Sunny Isles, developers can build up to 750 feet and 100 units to the acre, Fordin said.

“We’re not looking to do a 450-foot tower,” Fordin said. “But a taller, more slender building would be more beautiful for the city’s skyline.”

Still, the project will be anywhere from five to seven times taller than current code allows. Height limits cap buildings at 50 to 65 feet for that area of the beach. And the condo will have more than double the 25 units per acre allowed under code.

Because the project would be built on public land, it’s exempt from the rules, Levy says.

Fordin says the new tower, which has not yet been given a name, will have more than 200 condo units selling for $1 million to $2.1 million.

A two-bedroom would have 1,427 to 1,490 square feet; a three bedroom would have 2,300 square feet; and a four bedroom would be 2,600 square feet.

Despite all the concern about height, the new tower would not be the tallest on the southern end of Hollywood’s beach. That honor goes to a condo-hotel 1.2 miles away, the Hyde Beach House. That tower, also built by Related Group, tops out at 483 feet.

Ann Ralston, an outspoken Hollywood activist, fumed over the notion of another tall tower on the beach.

“They want to ignore their own rules, density, height, zoning laws,” she said of city officials. “All they want is to take green space and make it concrete. I did not move here to watch high rises go up and look like Sunny Isles.”

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