Of course, that’s not exactly the way most visitors and residents view this development.
Hollywood Beach is poised to lose nearly a third of its parking spaces as construction begins for the new Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort….As of midnight Monday, the 630-space parking garage on Johnson Street will close, and gone also will be the 146 spaces in front of the garage and nearly 50 spaces along Johnson and Michigan streets.
To make room for the Jimmy Buffett-styled Paradise — complete with seven restaurants and bars, several pools and a double FlowRider — the massive garage, street lot and sandy area that houses a playground and exercise equipment will have to go….. The project, which is expected to take 27 months to complete, will eventually have a parking garage with 600 public spaces. — Miami Hurled
So let’s see … subtract 800+ parking spaces for a little over 2 years. That should do wonders for current business establishments along the broadwalk that depend on beach-goers and pedestrian traffic.
But they’re dead, anyway, because the new Margaritaville facility, with seven new bars and restaurants among its glitzy attractions, will soak up a lot of those tourist dollars from visitors and locals alike who check in and out without so much as a glance at the ocean or those shabby, tacky establishments decaying along the broadwalk.
Also, consider that the city will have replaced 800+ parking spots with a garage for 600, a net loss of about 200 — and that facility will be conveniently located to serve Margaritaville, further discouraging visitors to stray.
Who cooked this up? Whose brain fart calculated that adding attractions while limiting access yields improved revenues and customer satisfaction? I can’t get anybody at the City of Hollywood to talk to me, but Howard Shemp at the Community Redevelopment Agency takes my call.
“We support this project 200%,” he tells me, proudly.
200%, is it? I see where why these parking numbers make sense to you guys.
“Look, progress comes at a cost. Margaritaville will pump millions of dollars into the city’s tax base for many years, and projections indicate that tourism will get a boost, which spills over into every other local business from the airport to hotels to food and beverage and every Mom and Pop operation savvy enough to capitalize.”
Assuming there’s any left. How are broadwalk merchants supposed to live off a beach nobody can get to?
“Oh, that’s an exaggeration. There’s over 2,000 other parking places close to the beach, as well as remote sites. People can use the water taxi or trolleys. Or they can walk. They can use the exercise. Have you seen how disgustingly obese most beachgoers are, squeezed into Speedos with all their hairy fat exposed? And then there’s the guys. Sometimes it looks like a herd of wildebeests sprawled out on the sand.”
Close to the beach? Remote parking? Howard, how long have you been here? if people can’t drive to the beach, park their cars within spitting distance, and get up and go on their own schedules, they’ll go elsewhere. Are you sure your CRA isn’t working for Hallandale?
“Well, y’know what? We can’t force people to come here, and if there’s fewer visitors, and a handful of businesses decide to close up shop, well, that’s the way it goes. On the plus side, the beach will be less crowded, and the entire area much cleaner.
“Besides, this project takes the long view. The residents of this town have proved over the years they’re not a viable market. They don’t go anywhere or do anything. They spend nothing. Downtown is deader than the dinosaurs, so maybe the best thing that happens to the city’s revenues is we stop trying to please the deadbeats who live here, and open ourselves up to tourists looking for ways to empty their wallets. Which means building places like Margaritaville, because they sure ain’t going to the slop and sewage establishments we got now, unless it’s at gunpoint.”
That’s as eloquent a Fuck The Locals speech as I’ve ever heard.
“Hey, maybe when they close up we can pave ‘em over and build more parking! By then we’ll be ready to expand Margaritaville for gambling! Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em! Hooey!” He rings off.
So there’s your vision, Hollywood, assuming rising tides and storm surges don’t render this whole program moot. Too, let’s give Howard Shemp and the CRA a lot of credit: singlehandedly they figured out a way to get people to visit Dania Beach. I’m impressed.
Photo credit, with apologies for late acknowledgment.