Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No surprise given what I've told you here: A "challenging retail leasing environment" at Village at Gulfstream Park according to Forest City's execs

Above, entrance to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach, FL.
December 7, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

Many of you who are regular readers of this blog have no doubt wondered why I haven't yet taken the opportunity to write anything about the recent 'Opening' two weeks ago of the new season of racing at Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino, as well as comment on what I've heard and observed of late there and with The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, and their parent, real estate developer Forest City.
I know this because you've contacted me to ask as much.

I have quite a lot to say, actually, and have been sitting on some troubling information for a bit, waiting for some more shoes to fall, even while I've already attended a few hours worth of races the past two weeks.

Mostly, though, I've been patiently biding my time waiting to see what actually transpires at Hallandale Beach City Hall -directly across the street from the racetrack and the retail complex- where the developer and their myriad minions and flacks, along with other interested parties, have, unfortunately, tried to use the current sour U.S. economy like a cudgel against the best long-term financial and Quality-of-Life interests of the HB community.

These well-paid forces have tried their best to persuade the elected City Commission to waive or modify mitigation requirements the city and Broward County required them to agree to in writing in exchange for the developer getting their desired final approval for the giant retail complex, as well as their long-term housing plans for lots of pricey condos on the HB side of the property.

(Property which, lest you forget, also extends south into the City of Aventura and Miami-Dade County, where the powers-that-be keep the entrance/exit on N.E. 213th Street closed with barricades. The adjoining sidewalk entrance onto the property is STILL full of dangerous potholes and loose wires as they have been for YEARS. And did I mention yet that it was STILL the very picture of pitch-black at night, as it has been for -wait for it- YEARS?
That area is a litigation disaster waiting to happen, but STILL they do nothing.)

I'll have more to say about all of that over the next few days, but until then, please mull over the following news directly from the mouths of the upper echelons of developer Forest City.

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent out on December 9th:

Highlight of Forest City Enterprises CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript



Let me take a moment to address the other primary impairment, the Village at Gulfstream Park and Hallandale Beach, Florida, where we recognized a $34.6 million impairment in the third quarter. The lease up of Gulfstream began during the death of the recent recession and has continued through what remains a challenging retail leasing environment, particularly for new properties.

Our house wares, home furnishings and restaurants at the Gulfstream have done well, but our fashion tenants have struggled and we are actively working to remerchandize the center to match the demands of the market. Repositioning that component of the center will require additional investment. Also the original construction loan for this equity method property matures in September of next year. The uncertainty of the repositioning, together with the standard of the loan required us to impair our investment.

Long term we continue to believe in the strength of the market and will focus on repositioning the asset to meet the needs of the market. We also have additional future entitlements at the site that we can activate when economic conditions and the performance of the center improve.

Well-informed people I know tell me that many of the owners of the struggling retailers at the Village are already taling about fleeing toute-de-suite in the coming months when their rents get jacked-up in the new year as their current leases end.
And you thought the Dolphins and the City of Hallandale Beach were badly mis-managed...

One last thing to consider: despite their millions and resources, do you know what Magna Entertainment/Gulfstream Park has actually told the residents and business owners of Hallandale Beach about their intentions for having at least some night racing next year -which I support in theory- since I last wrote about the subject here on the blog?
NOTHING.
Nothing at all.

They still send their PR rep, Suzanne Friedman, across the street to HB City Commission meetings once in a while to paint an optimistic portrait of the doings on the east side of the street, but in her defense, she is NOT empowered by top management to actually level with everyone here about the truth of the matter.
So what's the plan?
What's the plan?

Well, they won't say, despite the fact that it would have a tangible -maybe even severe- effect on the ability of HB residents to actually get around and navigate thru the city at night on the evenings racing takes place, given that there is only one street in the entire city that has east-west capability throughout most of the city -over-loaded Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Yes, the street that is the north-side entrance and exit for Gulfstream Park and the Village, right next to the sign at the top of this post.

But then Magna Entertainment is STILL having problems launching their new website, which was supposed to already be up and running: http://www.stronachgroup.com/
As of today, December 15th, it still reads, "Site Launch Fall 2011."

Well, facts are facts and Winter officially starts one week from today.
Draw your own conclusions.

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