Hollywood has a message for tourists and locals heading to the beach: Pardon our dust, but we promise it'll be worth it.
The Jimmy Buffett-themed Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort broke ground in August and is still on track to open by July 2015, says developer Lon Tabatchnick.
"We're going great," Tabatchnick said of the $147 million project rising on 5 city-owned acres at Johnson Street and A1A. "We're up to the fifth floor. We're on schedule, on budget and on time."
The 349-room property will include seven restaurants and bars, oceanside pools, a FlowRider wave ride, spa and fitness center and 35,000 square feet of convention space.
In mid-2009, Hollywood sought development proposals for the city-owned parcel at Johnson Street and A1A. The following year, Tabatchnick's Margaritaville plan was chosen for its potential to transform the beach.
Tabatchnick plans to lease the land for 99 years, paying Hollywood $1 million in the first year alone. Part of the deal requires Hollywood's redevelopment agency to kick in $23 million.
The ongoing construction has made it tough on some nearby businesses, but crews are doing everything they can to "minimize the heartburn," says city spokeswoman Raelin Storey.
Tabatchnick says flagmen are helping direct traffic during construction to help people find their way. And remote parking has been provided for construction crews to help free up precious parking space.
By his estimates, 150 construction workers descend on the site each day. That will increase to 300 workers at the peak of construction, he said.
Saul Dominguez, who owns the Beach Market store on Johnson Street right next to the construction site, says his customer base has dwindled since the project broke ground.
Hollywood beachgoers lost more than 700 parking spaces when the Johnson Street garage closed in July in preparation for Margaritaville's groundbreaking. The garage has since been torn down to make way for the project.
The new Margaritaville resort will have a 1,056-space garage, with 600 spaces set aside for the public.
But for now, Dominguez and others are faced with a parking crunch.
"This time of the day around 2 p.m. it used to be really busy form November to April," Dominguez said. "Right now it's quiet. There's no space for parking, so nobody is coming here."
Like many, Dominguez is looking forward to Margaritaville's opening day.
"Then I'll have more people coming, and more business," he said.
As a child, Gloria Petrone spent summers the beach. She remembers a hardware store and drug store sitting on the spot where Margaritaville is being built.
"I'm really excited about Margaritaville," said Petrone, who owns a condo near the project. "I think it's going to be a shot in the arm for all the businesses. And I know it's been a shot in the arm to all the condo owners."
Petrone, 66, estimates the value of her condo has increased by $100,000. She says it's all thanks to Margaritaville.
"It's going to be another draw for Hollywood beach."
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