By Kevin Deutsch
Margate officials will hear a new pitch for developing the city’s long-stalled City Center project, which would create a sprawling downtown off State Road 7.
SeaVest Consulting Services, a Kentucky firm, will present Margate’s Community Redevelopment Agency with its vision for a 1.5 million square foot, mixed-use property at the agency’s Aug. 17 meeting.
The proposal marks the latest chapter in a years-long saga that saw the city hire and contract with a developer to build a different version of City Center, only to renege on the deal over a dispute involving the number of residential units.
The new proposal includes commercial retail space, a luxury hotel, 500 residential units, indoor pools with a retractable roof system, green spaces with food trucks, a rooftop restaurant, cigar bar, and solar-powered covered parking areas, according to the proposal documents.
The plan also calls for a 16-acre community park with powder white sand, a food hall, spaces for special events and meetings, an arcade, outdoor play areas with covered canopies, a boathouse with paddle boats and kayak rentals—with channel access to Lemon Tree Lake Park—plus pavilions and gazebos with themed seating, walkways, and LED lighting, the documents show.
The project, as proposed, would be built during three separate phases. The budget for the first phase alone is an estimated $190 million, with final costs to be determined, according to the documents.
“The facilities will be developed with many unique and entertaining features including amazing special effects, elaborate themed buildings, and world-class attractions,” the proposal states. “The Margate development will be within a day’s drive of over a third of the United States population and will offer a family-orientated environment.”
In 2016, a different proposal for City Center nearly became a reality.
The city hired developer New Urban Communities to execute its vision for the project that year. But as the plan changed and the number of proposed apartments for the property fluctuated, city officials backtracked.
Despite the city having a contract in place with New Urban Communities, city commissioners stopped the project.
The developer sued the Community Redevelopment Agency in 2018, waging a protracted legal battle in which closing arguments were filed with the court last month, records show.
Ideas for a Margate downtown have been circulating since 2003, when Margate’s “Citizen’s Master Plan” called for creating a town center. The city’s redevelopment agency later assembled 36 acres off State Road 7 for the City Center project, including land that used to be the Swap Shop.
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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