By William Gjebre, Florida Bulldog.org
A proposal for a massive, four-tower project in Hallandale Beach featuring three hotels, 938 rooms and a 250-unit high-rise condominium under the Diplomat brand will be officially unveiled to nearby residents at a meeting Thursday in the city’s Cultural Center.
The four towers will elevate the city’s skyline and represent a significant expansion of an existing 60-room hotel at the Diplomat Golf Resort and Spa, placing its room count on par — and then some — with the nearby 998-room Diplomat Resort and Spa, on Hollywood Beach.
The project is estimated to cost $100 million.
Hallandale city officials said owners of the new mixed-use development, to be called the Diplomat Hotel and Country Club, have said the two facilities are not directly tied and are apparently separate operations. Previously media reports, however, have linked the two to the Thayer Lodging Group of Annapolis, Md.
The two facilities will nonetheless share facilities, with country club visitors being able to use the beach services at the Diplomat in Hollywood beach, whose visitors will be able to use the golf course a short distance away in Hallandale Beach.
In this early planning stage, the biggest challenge facing owner-developer Diplomat Golf Course Ventures LLC is the project’s impact on local traffic.
“This is a significant development,” said Hallandale Beach City Manager Renee Miller. “There is fear from the community about traffic.” But, she added, “We will work with the developer to see how to mitigate the impact on the surrounding community.”
“The traffic impact is a big concern,” said City Commissioner Michelle Lazarow, adding little information has been presented to nearby residents to date.
Other commission members, Mayor Joy Cooper, Vice Mayor Bill Julian, Keith London and Anthony Sanders, did not respond to requests for comment.
The developer’s lawyer is Debbie Orshefsky, with Holland & Knight. She did not return phone calls seeking comment, but instead had former State Rep. Joe Gibbons call.
Gibbons said the huge project “will blend in” with the property and surrounding area. Still, he noted “everyone wants to know about the traffic.” He said traffic questions would be addressed at Thursday’s meeting.
Gibbons said the new Diplomat Hotel and Country Club would cost close to $100 million and make Hallandale Beach even more of a tourist destination than it already has become and add to the city’s tax base.
“We will learn more after the presentation,” City Manager Miller said.
The make the project a reality, Diplomat Ventures will be seek various proposed zoning changes. They include establishing a planned development use for the property and rezoning some commercial land for residential use.
Those changes would allow for construction of three hotel towers of 20, 24 and 30 stories, 70,000 square feet of retail and other accessory hotel space and another 30-story residential tower with 250 units. The developer will also seek to rezone six-tenths of an acre near the existing marina to allow for four new single-family homes.
City officials said the 100-acre golf course itself would remain unchanged. All the new construction will take place on 12-15 adjacent acres.
The development group is sponsoring Thursday’s community meeting at 6 p.m. in the Cultural Center, 410 S.E. 2nd Ave.
Hallandale’s Development Review Committee (DRC) and its Planning and Zoning Board will review the project. If the project passes muster there, it is expected to go to the City Commission for approval next year.
The Miami Herald reported in 2014 that Diplomat Ventures, an affiliate of Thayer Lodging Group and Concord Wilshire Management, paid $20 million for the 18-hole golf course and hotel, at 500-501 Diplomat Parkway. The Herald also reported then that another Thayer affiliate, Diplomat Hotel Owner LLC, bought the Diplomat Hotel and Spa for $460 million.
Gibbons said he was unaware of the relationship between the two facilities, but added they are apparently operated separately.