Dania Beach LONG has been one of those communities that people overlooked as they drove along Interstate 95. Sure, it’s home to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, several yachting centers clearly visible from the interstate, and an iconic roller coaster. Even I-95 itself runs through it.
For a city that’s 10 years older than the county it’s in, being overlooked brings no joy.
But developers and city officials have big plans for the sleepy town. It will start with the tearing down of that roller coaster – and building up the city’s tidings.
In fact, that “100 acres hiding in plain sight” represents a significant project for the area, said Robert Shapiro, principal with Master Development Inc. The company and its partners recently acquired several parcels that comprised the old Boomers! arcade fronting the interstate. Still in the works, the current plans call for 1,000 apartments, 800,000 square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail and hotels.
“We think that will be a game-changer for the entire area,” Shapiro said.
Nearby, the Design Center of the Americas is redeveloping its space to offer offices. The neighboring Sheraton is being converted to a high-end hotel, Shapiro said.
To the east, Dania Jai-Alai is currently undergoing a yearlong, $50 million renovation project to bolster its gaming offerings. The well-known “Antique Row” along Federal Highway is part of a downtown redevelopment project that will refresh the retail presence, but also include Dania Place, a mixed-use condo and commercial development.
To the north, the airport recently completed the elevation and expansion of the south runway, and finishing touches are being put on U.S. 1 through the area.
Airport expansion, new hotels, renovations to major thoroughfares and retail areas bode well for the city, said Rachel Bach, acting executive director with the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. The city is estimating more than $150 million in new development in the coming years, not including the Dania Pointe projects, she said.
“Location-wise, we’re perfectly situated,” she said. “We’re really becoming a prime opportunity for redevelopment, as opposed what it’s been, historically: a place to pass through.”