The old Hurricane roller coaster in Dania Beach will soon make its final plunge.
The 100-foot-tall wooden ride visible from Interstate 95 will be taken down starting at 10 a.m. March 16, making way for a 1 million-square-foot shopping center called Dania Pointe.
But those looking for a dramatic implosion or souvenirs will be disappointed.
The roller coaster will be disassembled piece by piece, and the process could take weeks, said Paul Puma, president of the southern region for New York-based Kimco Realty. Citing safety concerns, Puma said onlookers will not be allowed to take home parts of the roller coaster. Still, he said the event will be a big deal for the community.
"It will be the most visible sign of progress when people see that roller coaster come down," he said. "We will not be wiping away any tears. It's a celebration."
Kimco is developing the 102-acre Dania Pointe east of I-95 at Stirling and Bryan roads in a joint venture with Master Development of Aventura and Salzman Real Estate Advisors of Dania Beach.
The developers had said the long-shuttered Hurricane would be torn down in 2015, but signing leases and getting city approvals for the shopping center were bigger priorities.
The Boomers entertainment complex closed early last year as the developers assembled land for Dania Pointe.
No signed leases have been announced. But the 35-acre first phase, which will include discount retailers and "big box" stores, is expected to open in the fall of 2017.
The second phase, which will include more retailers, restaurants, 1,000 residential units and two hotels, will follow in the fall of 2018. By that point, construction should be started on 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of offices, Puma said.
Barry Wolfe, a vice president of investments at Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale, said the "mega-project" likely will attract patrons from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
The Hurricane, which opened in 2000, was built with more than a million feet of lumber and 8 million pounds of concrete. It was known as the tallest wooden amusement park ride in Florida. But it closed in 2011, the victim of a sagging economy, and some local officials consider it an eyesore for a city trying to boost its image.
A handful of people held wedding ceremonies on the ride in its heyday. In 2009, Avi Frier, a magician and entertainer in Hollywood, pulled an escape while riding the roller coaster.
City Commissioner Albert Jones said he expects a large crowd next month, with kids and adults alike clutching cameras and iPhones to capture the Hurricane's last stand.
"I'm quite sure it holds sentimental value, and a lot of people will hate to see it go," Jones said. "But we have to move forward. It's a new beginning."