Private condo on public beachfront land? Hollywood planning board votes no

A controversial plan to build a luxury condo on taxpayer-owned beachfront land got a unanimous no vote from Hollywood’s planning board this week. 

The Related Group is seeking a land-use change to pave the way for a condo tower with up to 30 stories on the southern end of Hollywood beach. 

Critics saw the “no” vote as somewhat of a victory, even though it’s not enough to stop the $352 million project. 

Hollywood commissioners have already said yes to a comprehensive agreement and are likely to approve the land-use change. 

Jennifer Jurado, chief resilience officer for the county, sent a letter to the Broward County Planning Council on April 17 warning that the project will place a dense residential project in an area that’s already at risk of flooding from sea level rise.

“That memo convinced me this was not the right place for the project,” planning board member Dick Blattner said Wednesday, the day after the 8-0 vote. “I voted against it because of sea level rise.”

The parcel is now home to the Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center at 1301 South Ocean Drive. 

In March 2022, Hollywood commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of a deal that would let the developer lease the land for 99 years and build a condo tower and restaurant.

In return, the developer says Hollywood would collect around $3 million a year in property taxes, millions in rent and a share of condo sales.

As part of the deal, the developer has promised to build a new two-story community center. 

Eric Fordin, a longtime Hollywood resident and senior vice president at The Related Group, could not be reached for comment. 

A year ago, Fordin told the South Florida Sun Sentinel he was hoping to start construction this year.

Before that can happen, the project still needs county, state and federal approvals, Blattner noted. 

Cat Uden, a Hollywood activist who has vowed to fight the project to the end, was buoyed by this week’s unanimous rejection.

“Some people think it’s a done deal,” she said. “I hope this makes people realize it’s not a done deal and we can continue to fight it. In the long run, it can become a nightmare because of sea level rise. It’s going to be a burden for the younger generations.”

Susannah Bryan can be reached at sbryan@sunsentinel.com or on Twitter @Susannah_Bryan

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