Friday, April 4, 2014

Former Hollywood Fashion Center demolished for Wal-Mart

April 3, 2014
Demolition of the long-vacant Millennium Mall in Hollywood is underway, paving the way for a new Walmart Supercenter slated to open in 2015.

About 80,000 cars travel daily past a growing pile of rubble that holds hope for reviving a desolate section of Hollywood.
The debris used to be the Hollywood Fashion Center, one of Florida's first indoor malls when it opened in 1972 at Hollywood Boulevard and U.S. 441. Most recently, it was The Millennium Hollywood's City Place, an indoor flea market. The property has been vacant for nearly a decade.
Now, Dacar Management, a real estate company based in Dania Beach, is demolishing the landmark mall to make way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Wal-Mart, along with TD Bank, Pollo Tropical and Taco Bell, all have agreed to move to the corner partly occupied by a GFS Marketplace.
"For us this is a major redevelopment," said Davon Barbour, director of Hollywood's Department of Community and Economic Development. The vacant mall "has been an eyesore, a plague to the community."

It wasn't always that way.
Hollywood Fashion Center once was a bustling shopping destination and one of the city's largest employers, anchored by retailers such as JCPenney and Burdines. But the mall closed after 21 years when its major tenants packed up to go six miles west to a more attractive, just-built shopping center: Pembroke Lakes Mall.
The flea market was the property's "last hurrah," Barbour said. It closed in 2005 for lack of vendors.
Wal-Mart's arrival heralds a rebirth for an important corridor leading to the heart of Hollywood and the beach, Barbour said. The retailer will bring about 300 jobs and generate an unspecified amount of tax revenue for the city.
Barbour also believes Wal-Mart's presence will bring more businesses.
"It's important to have a global retailer move into our community," Barbour said. "It signals confidence in the marketplace and attracts other national tenants."
The 180,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter and pharmacy will sell groceries, clothes, household items and other general merchandise. Wal-Mart will occupy about half of what will be called "The Place at Hollywood." Other parcels will be built for surrounding stores and restaurants.
Dacar Management bought the property about four years ago for $15.8 million, said Alberto Micha, a firm representative.
"Wal-Mart will bring a lot of life into the area," Micha said, adding that at least 165,000 people live within three miles of the development. "We're sure that this will not only be a good investment but a good service to the community. We'll change the face of that area."
Dacar owns several other retail centers in South Florida, including a shopping center on U.S. 441 across the street from the Wal-Mart site. Micha said Dacar also plans to upgrade that plaza.
Mercedes Ramos, 77, rides the bus for about five minutes to get to a thrift store across the street from the new development. She's happy she will soon have a Wal-Mart nearby as an option. Every now and then, the Hollywood resident takes the bus to a Wal-Mart in Hallandale Beach.
"I hope it lasts," Ramos said of the upcoming shopping center.
The owner of a subs restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard also hopes the new development is successful.
"Look at it now," said Don Drybread, owner of Sub Center, pointing to demolition debris across the street. "It's empty, terrible, ugly. People don't want an area that's depressed. They want an area that's happening.
"Hopefully this will give me exposure, no one wants to be on a block where you are the only business."