On Friday, a long-in-the-works $200 million Hollywood project will finally come full circle.
Before, the area along ArtsPark at Young Circle housed a Papa John's and the Townhouse Apartments. Now, it will feature a sleek U-shaped development called Hollywood Circle, which features the 25-story CIRC Residences with 389 luxury apartments for rent, and the 11-story CIRC Hotel, with over a hundred guest rooms and suites.
It's the first hotel to open in downtown Hollywood in more than 30 years, said Charles "Chip" Abele, Chairman and CEO of Gold Coast Florida Regional Center, the Hollywood Circle developers. The project also includes a new 47,000 square-foot Publix to replace the previous store and a five-story parking garage.
"It's pretty neat to be part of the beginning of what we think will be a pretty substantial renaissance for downtown," Abele said. "We're sort of betting on it being a pretty positive uplift."
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Abele and CIRC General Manager Kara Lundgren hope that the people moving into Hollywood Circle's apartments and hotels will prove to be valuable customers to the area. They hope that all the new residents will also bring fresh awareness to Hollywood.
"There's such a trend for urbanization across the board," Lundgren said. "And Hollywood is celebrating it's 93rd year as a city. it's just great timing."
Abele believes the new development helps Hollywood compete with markets in Downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Several people who have reserved rental apartments in CIRC Residences have told him that they decided to live in the new development over options in Fort Lauderdale.
"Imagine a couple where one works in Fort Lauderdale and one works in Miami," he said. "It's a nice compromise right in the middle."
South Florida, and Hollywood in particular, are proving to be dynamic retail markets, Abele said. In addition to Hollywood Circle, the GCFRC is also moving forward on Block 40, a mixed-use development at the site of the former Great Southern Hotel in downtown Hollywood. Visitors of the Muse Rooftop Bar & Lounge on the top floor of the CIRC Hotel can see the rapid construction of the guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Parc Place, another residential and commercial project, has been proposed on the southern side of Young Circle.
"It certainly seems to us that Hollywood is prime for a serious reinvestment," Abele said.
The area is also a host to a variety of breweries, beer gardens and rooftop bars, Lundgren said. The 2007 revitalization of the Arts Park further established the artsy community in Holywood, leading developers to pay attention to the art purchased for the building. Local Hollywood artists and others from the greater South Florida area contributed to the art displayed throughout the buildings.
"They have lots of great events in the park," Abele said. "I can't wait to see it activated more. I think having this here activates it more."
Abele believes that the Hollywood Circle project will be appreciated by city leaders and residents who have witnessed the plan unfolding. He also expects that the group of residents and visitors of Hollywood Circle will play key roles in the continued revitalization of the city. Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy agreed.
"The new Publix grocery is a welcome addition for the residents who live in the surrounding neighborhoods," Levy said. "And the residential and hotel component will introduce lots of new people to downtown Hollywood's growing arts, entertainment, dining, and business district."
Abele, looking over the high ceilings of the new Olivia Restaurant and Bar, was glad that the project, which has been in the works since 2004, is so close to completion.
"I think we lived up to what we said we were gonna do and delivered what we said we were gonna deliver," he said.