The fate of a contaminated swath of city-owned land that once housed an incinerator moved a step closer to being decided on Wednesday.
In the next five years, if things go as planned, an old trash dump could be turned into a new mixed-use development with 315 apartments and a nearby supermarket with trendy shops and restaurants.
The team that would develop the sprawling 30.5-acre parcel includes Louis Birdman, the same man who’s building the One Thousand Museum, a 62-story ultra-luxury tower overlooking Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami.
But first, Hollywood officials have to iron out the details and bring the plan back for commission approval, likely in a few months.
Commissioners got their first look at the possibilities in December, when four builders came forward with plans to clean up and develop the land Hollywood has owned since 1963. The site, which houses Hollywood’s Public Works compound, sits just west of Interstate 95 and extends from Pembroke Road north to Hillcrest Drive.
On Wednesday, after hours of debate, commissioners ranked all four proposals, giving Birdman’s Park Road Development LLC the top spot.
If Hollywood officials can’t work out a deal with Birdman and his team, they’ll move on to the second-ranked firm, Bridge Development. If the land goes to Bridge, two massive warehouses would rise on the site.
Bridge offered to pay $6 million for the land, twice the amount offered by Birdman’s team.
But commissioners made it clear they were thinking about more than price.
The deal they’re envisioning has been a long time coming.
City officials have been talking about selling the land for 11 years, and at one point thought they might have to give it away.
“There’s an old expression: All good things come to those who wait.” Commissioner Dick Blattner said. “It wasn’t too long ago we were going to do a fire sale, get rid of this land. And today we’re on the edge of a pretty spectacular project.”
Mike Meyers, one of Birdman’s partners, promised commissioners the project would get built even in the event of an economic downturn.
“Market goes up, market goes down, this project gets built,” he said.
Meyers estimates it will take up to 18 months to get final approvals and another two to three years to build. Once the project is built and on the tax rolls, it would bring in an estimated $444,000 a year to the city alone.
But at least one resident said he’d rather see the land turned into a giant green space.
“Once you build on it, you never get it back,” Jack Izzo told commissioners. “I think we’re making a bad decision by building.”