All original photos on this page by me, South Beach Hoosier. (c) 2016 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
This is the latest installment of my regular series of blog posts about what's going on in Hallandale Beach with the Chateau Group LLC's Chateau Square project that would erect TWO 40-story buildings with a large retail and hotel complex to be located at the corner of U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd., which could actually make the city's notoriously gridlocked traffic even worse.
On Wednesday night at 6:30 PM, after many months of delays, the Hallandale Beach City Commission will have their first of two votes on the project.
As my blog has shown for nine years now, these are NOT exactly the sort of people you can allow yourself to give the benefit of the doubt, since they have managed so consistently to break nearly every vow and promise they've made about public accountability and public oversight over the past ten-plus years.
Which is to say, that they they are NOT the caliber of people you want deciding whether or not the city should allow TWO 40-story buildings, with a large retail and hotel complex as well- to be located at the SE corner of US-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd., where so many businesses have come-and-gone and failed over the past 12 years, save The Knife Argentine restaurant, which continues to pack in local consumers and visitors there because they feature great food and customer service -the rarity in HB.
Hard to imagine that something could actually make that area WORSE, but based on what I've seen so far, it looks like this project, if approved, could very well make the city's infamous, gridlocked traffic even worse unless cooler heads and moderation prevail.
Excerpt from May 26, 2015 South Florida Business Journal article by real estate reporter Brian Bandell
Chateau Group plans mixed-use project
The project was presented to the city in January with the following specifications:
The Hallandale Beach Planning & Zoning Advisory Board meeting was held July 27th at Ingalls Park -because the City Commission Chambers were being rehabbed- and I attended it. For three-and-a-half hours...
Given how things are done in Hallandale Beach and its peculiar history with respect to development, it was hardly surprised that anyone leaving at 10 PM, like me, would be UNABLE to comment publicly on the biggest development issue of the year in this town, at a public meeting that had started at 6:30 PM.
@SFBJRealEstate 1/ #ChateauSquare project presentation to #HallandaleBeach P&Z Board Wed. night may've been new low. pic.twitter.com/vEorrjwhwH— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) July 30, 2016
All these months later, just as I said at the time to people in the room, I'm still dumbfounded that City of Hallandale Beach Director of Development Services Kevin Klopp allowed the meeting to start without either a TV camera to record the meeting if they could not broadcast it from that location, as they have done previously at other HB P&Z meetings I've attended held outside the HB City Hall Chambers, or, at least having the good sense to publicly explain why he and the city failed to do that, since they could have at least recorded the meeting for play back later on COMCAST for residents to watch or on the city's website for any interested party.
It seems to me that just because it's July doesn't mean the normal rules don't apply
to transparency and public accountability.
The 8.8-acre site at 600 East Hallandale Beach Blvd. could be approved for 726 high-rise units in two towers, 36 live/work units, 152,792 square feet of office space, 309,000 square feet of gross commercial/retail space and a 280-room hotel. The developer also was to create two openings onto Hallandale Beach Boulevard and one opening on Federal Highway.
Looks like Chateau Square project back on Hallandale agenda for Nov 16. But BIG changes in city commission just happened... @hbbtruth— Brian Bandell (@SFBJRealEstate) November 10, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 1/ Will have LOTS of info/nuance to share w/U Monday -plus photos- re incompatible #ChateauSquare #HallandaleBeach project.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 2/ But for ppl who care abt either #RealEstate development, ethics or Good Govt. in #SoFL #Broward and want a good overview— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 3/ of the sort of preposterous unethical/anti-democratic behavior concerning all 3 passed off as "normal" 4 #HallandaleBeach— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 4/ I suggest a gander at my recent post abt why changes were DESPERATELY needed in #HallandaleBeach https://t.co/b2kIWctUQo— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@hbbtruth The question is whether the new commissioners will oppose Chateau Square or not.— Brian Bandell (@SFBJRealEstate) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 1/ Corner of #HallandaleBeach Blvd/US-1, Voters saw @ChateauGroupLLC's preferred ppl at CityHall: Julian & Lewy. They lost! pic.twitter.com/UBbl5b0ztx— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 2/ Lewy, an ex-HB Comm., is on #HallandaleBeach P&Z Advisory Board. He voted in July to approve @ChateauGroupLLC's project.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 3/ Typical #HallandaleBeach! @ChateauGroupLLC's project, BIGGEST B4 city, not brought up til after 10 at a 6:30 meeting. :-(— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 4/ And despite plenty of time to make arrangements, #HallandaleBeach P&Z mtg was NOT televised or taped for airing later.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 5/ This tone-deafness fm #HallandaleBeach CityHall re a giant project, 2 forty-story towers in area where 20 is the highest— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 6/ currently allowable, w/no effort by city officials to explain to public why mtg was NOT being shown or videotaped, raised— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 7/ all sorts of red flags in city where incompatible projects are routinely approved by Mayor #JoyCooper's RubberStampCrew.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 8/ This = Taub & Lazarow signs @GulfstreamPark #HallandaleBeach, who oppose the project next door. They won -convincingly. pic.twitter.com/lCjmmOgWA2— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 9/ .@GulfstreamPark's support 4 Taub & Lazarow was dwarfed by efforts of @DiplomatFlorida's $375k PAC effort to defeat them.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
@SFBJRealEstate 10/ The same @DiplomatFlorida that got 4 towers approved, 2 at 30 stories in neighborhood w/height limit of... 10 stories.— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
The Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino sign on the south side of Hibiscus Street, across from where the proposed project is situated.
@SFBJRealEstate 11/ Sign for Wed. night's crucial #HallandaleBeach City Comm. mtg @ 6:30 PM for 1st hearing re @ChateauGroupLLC project. pic.twitter.com/DihXel3QxK— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
UNStudio in The Netherlands and BC Architects are listed as architects of record
Even from a cursory look at the photos you can see how completely incompatible two 40-story buildings on that corner would be, and the disastrous effect it would have in a city where Hallandale Beach Blvd. is the ONLY East-West street that runs throughout the city, connecting the beach to I-95.
On a very intensive street that already receives THE lowest possible rating from FDOT.
@SFBJRealEstate 12/ Closeup photo of @ChateauGroupLLC's rendering of incompatible #ChateauSquare project @ city's most-gridlocked street! pic.twitter.com/b9MuHIO8cT— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) November 14, 2016
Here's the Traffic study for the Chateau Square project
It was NOT available to the public before or during the July 31 HB P&Z meeting.
People who wanted to appear at the P&Z meeting in July or the first planned-then-postponed HB City Commission meeting on Chateau Square on August 17th, could have only relied on partially-submitted documents, but without being able to see video, would have no access to the answers given to questions posed to the developer, his attorney and the traffic consultant by the Board during the meeting
Based on what I heard at the meeting from the traffic consultant, the traffic numbers
are very troubling and negative for HB residents and businesses who are looking at
a much worse traffic/gridlock situation than even now, if the city allows something
to be built as planned in the busiest place in the city -and at twice the current height
And to quote myself, "the folks over at Gulfstream Park next door don't like it, either!"
Unless someone on the Hallandale Beach City Commission does something quite unexpected, and actually pushes back against this plan and proposes a reasonable compromise, with meaningful traffic remediation, this impractical plan may well become one of the final albeit GIANT nails in the coffin of this city's Quality of Life, and people's
ability to move around in this city, which is already very difficult at more times of the day than one would think possible for the number of people living/working in the area.
I don't have to remind you that Mayor Cooper likely sees this project as further
confirmation of her poorly thought-out ideas about development, where buildings
and the revenue they generate for the city are more important than people or neighborhoods, which she has demonstrated time-after-time since she has been in office, despite the facts on the ground and the mood of the citizenry.
But when has she really ever listened to anyone else and changed her mind?
So, given everything that's happened of late, with the decisive defeats of pro-development Commissioner Bill Julian and Alex Lewy, longstanding members of Mayor Joy Cooper's Rubber Stamp Crew, where exactly are her developer friends and their plans for higher
density projects near the FEC tracks, something that would actually be smart and which I and most other people in the area would support because of the proximity of the future Tri-Rail Coastal train?
They are MIA, just like last year and the year before that and the year before...
No, unfortunately, it's going to take more than a few positive election results to turn Hallandale Beach around. But a good place to start is to kill any thought of making the city's busiest corner the home of two forty-story towers that strangles the ability of residents and visitors to navigate their way in and thru the city.