It will also get a complete makeover. The bleachers will be replaced with Adirondack chairs, and the hotel agreed to maintain the stage and provide music at least five nights a week.
The Broadwalk, where hundreds of people jog, bike and walk daily, will not be touched.
A new community plaza and public restrooms will be added.
And to accommodate all the expected guests, there will be a new parking garage with 600 public spaces.
While Hollywood beach certainly has it charms, it will be so much better with an attraction, said Lon Tabatchnick, the main project developer.
“I think the Broadwalk is lacking a resort destination that people can experience for more than a day,” he said. “The location is the perfect fit for this type resort.”
But some local businesses are worried about what will happen to them during the 28 months of construction.
“Change isn’t always good,” said Joe “Chiacchiarone” Davis, who works at Rocco’s Pizza, a Hollywood beach mainstay for more than 20 years.
Davis thinks the future construction is going to kill the restaurants and shops that are there now. “The only people [Margaritaville] is going to help is big businesses,” he said.
“Change is inevitable,” counters Jorge Camejo, director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency.
Hollywood’s CRA has already fed more than $45 million into fixing up the Broadwalk over the last decade. Camejo predicts Margaritaville will be a catalyst for more development and help reshape the aging infrastructure. The CRA has pledged $23 million to help the hotel with furniture and equipment.
But some have their doubts the resort will ever get built, at least, as it’s being envisioned.
“I won’t believe it until I see a shovel in the ground,” said Mike Taylor, the manager of St. Maurice Beach Inn, which is next to the Margaritaville site.
Taylor said he’s been hearing for years that something would be built.
Indeed, the city has been trying to get a resort built on the site since the late 1990s. But each time, prospective developers weren’t able to pull together the necessary financing.
This time, it’s different. The city has given Tabatchnick numerous extensions to get permits and financing.
And this time, there is a major finance company involved: Starwood Capital, which once backed high-end hotels, including St. Regis, W, Westin, and Sheratons globally. Starwood has pledged to invest a minimum in equity of $45 million.
“The fact that they are willing to back the project says a lot,” said Scott Brush, a hotel consultant, who has worked in South Florida for more than 30 years. “Starwood is an industry heavyweight.”
As to anyone who worries that Margaritaville will destroy the nostalgic feel Hollywood beach currently offers, City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark has an answer:
“There is going to be a point that when you walk by, it’s going to be like it was always there.”