Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Project on Hollywood's Intracoastal

Seaside Project at North Beach Hollywood

The informal Jimbo's Sandbar is one my favorite bar/ restaurant  on the water. It has been for some years now on the lot North of the old Martha's  Restaurant. One of the last informal places where you can still sip a beer at sunset and enjoy some wonderfully greasy appetizers, this would be my dream of the scenery all along the Intracoastal from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. No fashionable restaurants, no trendy disco's; this is just what I want.

Jimbo's Sandbar

I had been wearily thinking about the land next door, which we knew as Martha's, in the late 80's a truly romantic restaurant where we would meet our friends for a good dinner and some fun on the dancing floor. It is evidently getting ready for some major construction.

Looking alarmingly at the Margaritaville gigantic silhouette slowly rising at the Johnson Street beach parking lot site, I couldn't but worry.

I have read today in the Daily Business Review an article that somehow give me some peace of mind.

See why:

When Seaside Hollywood North Beach LLC approached the Hollywood City Commission for a zoning change and site plan approval for 3.3 acres on the Intracoastal Waterway, they weren't looking to increase density in their proposed Seaside Village project.

Developers John Passalacqua and Malcolm Resnick instead wanted to build less at 6024 N. Ocean Drive, the longtime home of iconic Hollywood restaurant Martha's on the Intracoastal south of the Dania Beach Boulevard bridge.

They've demolished Martha's and want to replace it with a condominium development set amid lush green landscaping and open space. Instead of the existing North Beach development district zoning, Seaside Hollywood sought a planned development designation that would limit the size of the project.

"It was clear to everybody that the density was about half of what the developer could have put on the property," said Seaside attorney Wilson Atkinson, a shareholder with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney | Fowler White Boggs in Fort Lauderdale. "The commission complimented the project on its design and compatibility with the neighborhood and approved it unanimously" Wednesday.

Seaside controls about 900 feet of waterfront property with 720 feet of seawall and a 240-foot cove on the south end. But on land with entitlements for 61 units, the developer proposed a total of 23 units in five three-story buildings set 60 feet apart on the waterfront. Parking would also be generous—a 4:1 ratio.

Plans for the $15 million project include an 11-slip marina, dockage for boats up to 60 feet, a swimming pool and recreation center with a kitchen and barbecue area.
"We left a lot of money on the table. We really did," Passalacqua said. "But we also wanted to do the right thing."

Passalacqua, who's lived in the city 30 years, sits on Hollywood's planning and development board and is president of the North Beach Community Association Inc.—two roles that influenced his project ideas.

"We could have built anything allowable by code. The bottom line is you can do a development that will not give open vistas to the community, but we were very conscious about allowing the community to still enjoy the open vistas of the Intracoastal," Passalacqua said. "It's a lifestyle. We're not just giving square footage. It's about keeping with the integrity of the building and showing you don't have to overbuild to do the right thing."

Seaside developers had a bonus sometimes not available to their peers in areas with escalating land prices. The group acquired the land at a deep discount during a foreclosure action last year.

Broward County records show the parcel traded for $6.24 million eight years earlier. But Seaside Hollywood bought the note for $2.1 million and successfully entered a starting bid of $100 for the foreclosed property. To pay off three years of back taxes, they shelled out another $512,000 plus $250,000 in legal fees to clear notes on the property for a total investment of just under $3 million.

"We took a lot of risk. When you buy something like we did, you don't know how the court is going to treat it, so we also bought all the risks," Passalacqua said. "That's the message we're sending here. It's an example of conscientious development. I see the prices on some of these recent deals, and I understand most developers don't have that option because they pay too much. But we did what the community wanted. We're going to make money, but we're also going to the do the right thing."

Seaside Village will have a $26 million to $30 million sellout with units priced at about $500 to $700 per square foot. The developers are financing the project with partners Julie and Laurie Schecter, daughters of Aaron Schecter, who built the first Century Village in western Palm Beach County in the 1960s. The Schecters helped finance the land acquisition, and Passalacqua will fund the development with Resnick, CEO of Vintage Homes of Florida Inc. in Hollywood.

Vintage has built numerous South Florida residential projects. Its latest project, White Sands, is across the street from the Seaside Village site and includes 18 units priced from $1 million to $1.3 million.
"We didn't become greedy," Passalacqua said. "I know the end users will be very happy. I will leave something behind that shows we weren't pigs."

This is what I actually expect Seaside Village to become.

 ...If I can't have my waterside cafes, at least this would be acceptable.

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