For more than a decade, Hollywood has courted development, aiming to revitalize its downtown.
After a stubborn recession and a long wait, downtown Hollywood is finally on the verge of a building boom.
Old buildings long past their prime are slowly giving way to more cosmopolitan buildings.
In August, a 12-story apartment building that occupied the northeast corner of Young Circle for the past 36 years was reduced to rubble. In its place will rise a 25-story apartment tower. The aging Great Southern Hotel on the west side of the circle will soon be replaced by a 19-story apartment tower.
Plans are also in the works for the Hollywood Bread Building on the circle’s south side and possibly the Publix plaza on the east side, officials say.
It’s all about the timing, says Jack McCabe, a real estate analyst in Deerfield Beach.
Since 2012, developers have announced plans for 237 new condo projects and 68 major apartment complexes in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, McCabe said.
“Developers are once again very positive about the future of real estate in South Florida,” McCabe said. “Many believe the current boom is going to continue for a number of years. Hollywood in particular is very ripe for redevelopment. There were a lot of grand plans last decade that had to get shelved because of the recession. Those projects are coming back.”
McCabe believes only one-third of the condo and apartment projects announced in the past couple years will see the light of day.
“I think we’re going to see another recession in 2017 and it’s going to put the brakes on a lot of these,” he said.
Some developers are intent on launching their projects sooner rather than later, taking a cue from the painful lesson learned during the last recession, McCabe said. Projects completed after the start of the last downturn were failures, he noted.
On Aug. 2, Hollywood bid farewell to the drab Town House Apartment tower on the northeast side of Young Circle.
The building’s demolition was a key piece of the puzzle to get things moving in downtown Hollywood, says Jorge Camejo, executive director of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
“It’s such a strong indicator of the change that’s coming around Young Circle,” Camejo said. “The new projects will bring an entirely new inventory downtown. We need critical mass around Young Circle, and these projects will absolutely create that.”
A new 25-story high-rise dubbed Hollywood Circle will rise in its place, courtesy of developer Chip Abele. The $160 million project will include 397 luxury apartments, a boutique hotel, shops, offices and a supermarket.
That project should be completed in 2016.
Next in line for the wrecking ball is the Great Southern Hotel on the west side of Young Circle.
Young Circle Commons, an $80 million mixed-use development, will rise where the landmark hotel now stands. When it opens sometime next year, it will be home to 229 apartments with shops and offices lining the ground floor.
Abele, the developer on that project as well, has agreed to save the façade of the historic Great Southern Hotel, built in 1924 by Hollywood founder Joseph W. Young.
Asseff thinks Abele’s projects will pave the way for more projects downtown, both big and small.
“We are starting to have a sigh of relief here,” Abele said. “It’s been a tortuous process. We certainly hope and expect that this will be a renaissance for downtown Hollywood.”
Change also may be coming for the landmark Hollywood Bread Building, on the south side of Young Circle.
“We’re ready for it,” Commissioner Peter Hernandez said. “I think we’re looking for the development that never came. And it’s finally here.”
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