Residents and city officials weigh in on plans for a redeveloped downtown neighborhood

ByShannon J. Cortes

Aug 6, 2022
City officials are considering redevelopment of the City Hall site by a private developer. [City of Oakland Park]

By Javon Anthony Lloyd | New Pelican Writer

Oakland Park – Tensions ran high during last week’s commission meeting, as residents, community members and city officials discussed the pros and cons of a new large-scale redevelopment project planned for the city. downtown.

During the scheduled public hearing, several people raised concerns about the proposed multimillion-dollar project, citing fears that the town will lose its small-town charm that many longtime residents say separates Oakland Park from other South Florida communities.

However, City Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with entering into a purchase and sale agreement for six individual City-owned real estate sites, including City Hall, located on the east side of Northeast 12 Ave. – between Northeast 38 St. and Northeast 36 St. – in the amount of $11.2 million.

Once the sale is final, the city plans to transfer ownership of the properties to be developed to Horizon of Oakland Park, LLC., a joint venture between Kaufman Lynn Construction and Falcone Group.

The city’s vision for the development of its properties is part of an overall vision for its downtown that includes the development of Oakland Park Square at Dixie Highway and Northeast 38 Street, west of the train tracks. The city commission plans to lease a portion of Oakland Park Square for its city hall operations.

Carlos Ferrer, who has lived in Oakland Park for more than 40 years, expressed his disappointment with City Hall’s alleged lack of transparency, saying more attention needs to be paid to those who disagree with management than takes the city.

The city’s vision for the development of its properties is part of an overall vision for its downtown that includes the development of Oakland Park Square at Dixie Highway and Northeast 38 Street, west of the train tracks. The city commission plans to lease a portion of Oakland Park Square for its city hall operations. [City of Oakland Park]

“When this project was first announced, I was excited about the possibility of growth. But there has to be room to grow and create opportunity without losing the heart of what Oakland Park is and should be,” Ferrer said. “Are we listening to our people or are we building legacies and stuffed resumes so we can hang out with the greats?”

Plans for the proposed urban commercial area include high quality residential units, commercial and retail buildings, urban green spaces, recreational facilities and public parking.

Officials say the new development has the potential to bring more than $24 million to the city over a 20-year period through ad valorem or estate taxes.

“We live in uncertain times, but what we know for sure is that we have a partner at the table who can deliver on the goals and objectives of our main downtown corridor,” said the Deputy Director of city, Jennifer Frastai.

“I really appreciate the perspective of the residents who came to express their concerns. Although this process has been ongoing since 2018, we still plan to have additional opportunities for public participation to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible.

Commissioner Jane Bolin, who attended the meeting virtually, noted that the concerns expressed by the community were strongly considered when finalizing the plans for the project.

“It’s not some kind of giveaway to a developer or creating tax rolls for the city,” Bolin said. “While I can understand the concerns of our neighbours, it should be emphasized that these plans have been well thought out. I am very much in favor of this project.

Small business owner Dale Janni applauded the city’s efforts, saying he chose to move from Fort Lauderdale to Oakland Park in an effort to grow his business.

“The changes I’ve already seen in the city center are so nice,” Janni said. “I like the direction things are going.”

Visit www.oaklandparkfl.gov for more information on the downtown mixed-use development project.