Q: What do Hollywood’s and Dania Beach’s downtowns have in common?
Before you guess, let me list some true-but-wrong responses: homeless people, rats, idiot drivers, vacant stores, bad restaurants, traffic tie-ups, ineffective business plans, rednecks. There. Give up yet?
A: One of the largest buildings in each is a decrepit, vacant hotel.
In Hollywood, it’s the Great Southern Eyesore, an allegedly historically significant structure that has been visibly deteriorating for decades. For the last few years, even the ground-level stores have shut down, leaving a very visible battered retail void in a major commercial intersection on Hollywood Blvd. It is kept vertical only by occupying colonies of Formosan termites holding hands.
In Dania Beach, it’s the Pirates Inn on US-1 and Dania Beach Blvd; 4 stories of grey cement enclosing such horrors that its occupying rats commit suicide by leaping from its broken windows. What mitigates its depression is that the remainder of Dania Beach isn’t much better.
In a burst of public relations efforts, Hollywood’s CRA released the following memo:
Dear Downtown Business / Property Owner,
Over the past week many of you have inquired as to ‘what was happening’ at the Great Southern located on the southwest quadrant of Young Circle. As many of you may have noticed, there has been some activity at the property . City and CRA Staff have been working with the property owners to make improvements in order to clean up the site and make it more safe.
So as to keep you apprized of what is happening, below is a list of the proposed work:
1. All windows and doors will be boarded up with plywood with framing around it to protect the property from water intrusion. Decorative elements surrounding the openings will remain and be painted.
2. Remove and dispose of plastic siding, A/C vents, and rusted metal gutters and rails. Patch, finish, and paint throughout.
3. Repair and replace downspouts and remove and dispose of all electrical conduits around entire property.
4. Repair east and west roof to make it watertight and remove all debris.
5. A chain-link fence will be installed around the vacant parcels and along the east side of the alley to prevent access to the building.
6. Canopy/awning along the northwest side of the building, which is not original, will be removed, patched, stuccoed, and painted.
7. Entire building will be painted with architectural details emphasized.
8. Remove and dispose of all vegetation on the east side and roof of the lower building and on top floors.
9. Backfill, grade, and add wildflower seed mix to entire site within fenced area.
10. Plant silver buttonwood hedges along the perimeter of the site. Mulch perimeter up to fence along north and east sides of the site.
The applicant has received all required permits and we will continue to monitor all work on the property. We will keep you informed if anything changes.
That’s right, “apprized.” In fact, it’s a real word, just happens to be the wrong one.
The city is divided over the hotel’s disposition. Some people want the building saved, some don’t. But everything came to a halt several years ago when plans to renovate were detonated by a property owner whose adjacent building would have been pulled down: he sued to stop the project and won. Then the money vanished. The hotel continues to rot, shedding large pieces of itself and attracting vandals and troublemakers.
So it appears that now, during a real estate recession, public funds will be deployed to rehab a large, deserted, unsafe structure on prime real estate. There are no long-range plans in place. so whatever millions are spent now are likely to be at best for temporary improvements. Lipstick on a pig is sensible investment compared to this waste of effort, and at least when it’s all over you can salvage a pulled-pork sandwich..
Is Hollywood still considered a destination for terrorists? For the first time in my life, I could support a case to detonate a car bomb.