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City Land Near Kushner's Fort Lauderdale Development Could Be Turned Over For A Concert Venue

A Fort Lauderdale civic group is planning a rally Tuesday to protest the potential use of land owned by the city of Fort Lauderdale for a privately run concert venue.

Members of the Flagler Village Civic Association complained that an approximately 3-acre site at 301 North Andrews Ave. — once a “one-stop shop” for city services, but long vacant — has been promised as a public park, but a private company proposed building a concert venue there.

The Fort Lauderdale property proposed for redevelopment as a concert venue.

Specific plans for the concert venue have not been publicly unveiled, but the city commissioners last fall voted on an intent to enter a comprehensive agreement with the operator, and the matter could be voted on again at an upcoming city commission meeting, the civic group said in a statement released Friday.

“Our first objective is to get this off, so it’s not on the July 6 agenda, then convince the commissioners it’s not a good idea and to please vote it down,” Robin Merrill, a community activist who is leading the Tuesday protest, told Bisnow via phone.

If voted down, the civic group could then have a chance to present its own proposal. Merrill noted that the concert venue proposal came after Kushner Cos. last May announced plans to build a four-tower mixed-use project blocks away at 200, 300 and 520 Broward Blvd.

On June 19 of last year, the city of Fort Lauderdale received an unsolicited proposal from a private entity, One Stop FTL, to construct, operate and maintain a recreational and cultural facility. One Stop FTL submitted the required application fee of $25K.

Bisnow requested but has not yet received a copy of the proposal.  

Jeff John, the owner of Damn Good Hospitality, which operates concert venue Revolution Live and other bars and restaurants, is listed as a manager for One Stop FTL on corporate records. John did not immediately return a call for comment, nor did an attorney representing the company. 

During the October meeting, speakers said that the concert promoter's team had privately met with certain local business owners and stakeholders to describe their proposal. Hooper Construction President Alan Hooper warned that the city didn't yet have particulars on the design or financials.  

"This thing's worth about $36M, and I don't think we're treating it with the value that it has, not only from a real estate perspective but from a value to our city and to our citizens. It's a public piece of property. It deserves neighborhood input," Hooper said.

Vice Mayor/Commissioner Heather Moraitis said she did not want to lose any green space and she would prefer a formal process with a request for proposals.

The rest of the commission voted on its intent to enter a comprehensive agreement with One Stop FTL. The law required the city to publish its notice of intent and give 60 days for alternate proposals to come in. Staff attorneys said that details of unsolicited proposals must remain confidential until the deadline has passed. It is unclear if any other proposals were made. Mayor Dean Trantalis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The civic association, which only learned of the proposed concert venue recently, asserts that Trantalis has promised residents the land would become a park and that it was designated as such in the city’s Downtown Master Plan for more than 15 years. The civic association also said that City Manager Chris Lagerbloom stated in a Zoom conference call with Broward Workshop that the matter may be on the agenda at the next commission meeting on July 6. No agenda for that meeting has yet been published. 

The neighborhood of Flagler Village has been experiencing explosive development this past decade, and $7M has been collected for green space, but none of the collected dollars have been spent in Flagler Village for a new park, the activists said in their announcement.

The protest is planned for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of 351 North Andrews Ave.