Hollywood wants Holocaust museum to hand over deed to building

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center may have plans to move out of its Hollywood digs by the end of the year, but city leaders say they will still proceed with the foreclosure suit it filed against the museum last year.

However, if the center hands the deed to the building in downtown Hollywood back to the city, officials might be willing to drop the lawsuit, City Attorney Jeff Sheffel said Wednesday.

The city filed the foreclosure action in March 2013 after not receiving any payments for the building at 2031 Harrison St. from the center.

But the center said the building it bought from the city in 2004 was a lemon and it should not have to repay the $1.2 million purchase price because there were so many problems with it.

Steve Geller, the attorney representing the museum, said the museum fed money into the building for a new roof, new façade and many other issues, but it was never able to open.

The building was expected to house a museum and exhibit videos, DVDs and paper manuscripts of 2,400 eyewitness testimonies to the Holocaust.

The center had originally agreed to pay the city $16,000 a month for 15 years. Hollywood says the museum owes $288,000 in back payments.

As the relationship between the museum and the city deteriorated, the center decided it was going to move to a 25,000-square-foot property at 303 N. Federal Hwy. in Dania Beach.

Geller said Wednesday that the museum will close on the new building by the end of May. The museum has already paid about $250,000 in deposits for the new location.

While Geller still believes Hollywood owes the museum money, he thinks it’s in everyone’s best interest for the Holocaust center to “move where we are wanted.”

He added: “We wish them the best, and they wish us the best.”