The developer of Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort assured city leaders Wednesday that he will beat his April 10 deadline to begin construction on the 350-hotel room and restaurant complex with all financing in place.
“We have accomplished a lot in the period we have been working on the project,” said developer Lon Tabatchnik, adding he has already pulled 21 state permits, as well as county permits and is awaiting city permits.
The next steps: finalizing the finance plan for the $138 million resort project and filing the platting of the land with Broward County.
Last summer, the county required the land be measured and recorded in a process called platting, which delayed the project four months, but Tabatchnik said Wednesday the schedule is back on track.
“That was a big stumbling block,” he said.
Margaritaville, a massive beach-front hotel and restaurant project expected to revitalize Hollywood Beach, has been on the table for years. It has hit several snags along the way, including trouble securing financing.
In September, the City Commission approved a new finance structure that allowed Tabatchnik to work out a financing deal with Starwood Capital, the company that once financed high-end hotels including St. Regis, W, Westin and Sheratons globally.
On Wednesday, Tabatchnik, he was tight lipped on the deal, only to say “yes” when Commissioner Traci Callari asked if he was still working out a deal with Starwood Capital
Callari said after the meeting that she didn’t see anything new in Wednesday’s presentation.
“It’s a concern,” she said. “We are at the same place.”
But City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark said there will be new details at the March 20 meeting.
The commission, however, did approve spending up to an additional $75,000 on outside experts to assist in the Margaritaville project. City Attorney Jeff Sheffel said he estimates the city has spent about $450,000 on experts to review the deal.
Mayor Peter Bober said that he trusts Tabatchnik will get the project done, but either way the city has a safety net.
“We’ve got a drop dead date,” said Mayor Peter Bober. “I am committed to that date.”
Also at the meeting:
• The commission gave initial approval to a new towing regulation for private property. Private property owners will now have to have visible signs every 20 feet instead of 25 feet to warn of possible towing. The property owner, or a designee, will also have to be on-site to approve a tow. Joel Cantor, Hollywood Police Department’s legal council, said the new laws are a way to avoid tow company’s from just towing without approval.
• The city has changed the way it will collect payment from a property owner billed by the city for a service — done if the property has become a public nuisance — such as mowing overgrown grass or draining a pool. Rather than put a lien on the property, the cost will be tacked onto the property owner’s tax bill. The city said it expects to recover its costs faster.
• The city gave initial approval to allow animals in special events and live displays. The item was brought up after a request to have Clydesdale horses in the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade.