Florida’s Hollywood gets its day in the sun

HOLLYWOOD, FL—Although mentions of Hollywood usually conjure up images of Tinseltown, on the opposite coast of the country is another town with warm weather, miles of beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. 

“Hollywood has the most beautiful beach in South Florida and the only boardwalk not next to an avenue or street,” said Anne T. Hotte, CEO and executive director of the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “It offers a lot of charm, yet the comfort of a modern lifestyle.”

Hotte said that visitors to the area come from varied backgrounds. “They are people who are looking for the tropical lifestyle without the hassle of big cities,” she said. “Everyone speaks English in Hollywood, and it is the ideal destination for weddings on the beach, family reunions, family vacations and, of course, the corporate world attending conventions at The Diplomat Beach Resort (part of the Curio Collection by Hilton), which offers 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.”

The area has a burgeoning art scene. “For the artistic side of you, there is an incredible mural journey through Downtown Hollywood, featuring 24 murals that will take your breath away,” she said. “The Arts & Culture Center always has a new exhibit…along with Gallery 2014 and the Gallery of Amazing Things.”

The Hollywood/Airport submarket of the Ft. Lauderdale market, according to CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research, had 74 properties with 7,921 rooms in 2017, with an occupancy rate of 76.6%, ADR of $147.61 and RevPAR of $113.08. The market had a 102% submarket penetration expressed as a percentage of the market RevPAR for the previous four quarters, which was an increase from the previous year. 

The area is also continuing to grow, with Lodging Econometrics (LE) reporting that six projects are currently under construction, and another six are in the early planning stages or starting construction in the next 12 months. “With six new hotels coming to this small area of the larger Ft. Lauderdale market, it is likely to cause some room-demand redistribution in the second half of 2018,” said Bruce Ford, SVP/director of global business development.

Charles “Chip” Abele, founding partner of Gold Coast Florida Regional Center, was drawn to the area to develop Hollywood Circle, a mixed-use real estate project, and its soon-to-be-opened Circ Hotel. “Founded in 1920 as both a ‘playground’ and ‘workground,’ Hollywood draws upon a unique history in South Florida,” he said. “It is an eclectic, pedestrian-friendly center for foodies, art lovers and shoppers—a metropolitan area that’s not congested with concrete and is just five minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and the region’s best beaches.”

The 12-story, 111-room modern boutique hotel, set to open in May, is the first in the area for Abele’s company. “We chose Downtown Hollywood for a number of reasons—location being the primary one,” he said. “Uniquely situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, close to the action and near both airports and seaports, Circ Hotel is the first new hotel built in Downtown Hollywood in decades. Guests can easily walk to great shopping and dining, art galleries and more.” 

The hotel will include Olivia Restaurant & Bar, an Italian restaurant by South Florida restaurateur Piero Filpi; Muse, Hollywood’s first outside rooftop bar and lounge, according to the company; a fitness center; and 3,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space.

Abele believes that the area is on “the cusp of a renaissance. Hollywood development is booming, real estate sales are on the rise, and business is thriving, with continued growth in the city’s base,” he said.

The developer is also planning another property in the area, Block 40, a second mixed-use development with a hotel, residences and retail components, on the site of the former Great Southern Hotel in Downtown Hollywood. 

Another developer new to the market is Moses Bensusan, whose Costa Hollywood Beach Resort is also set to open in May. Echoing Abele’s thoughts, Bensusan said, “Hollywood Beach has a nearly 100-year history (unique in Florida) as a ‘playground’ for visitors, offering pristine beaches, sweeping views of an azure Atlantic Ocean, and access to the famed Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. And our beach resort is just five minutes from a vibrant downtown with its fine dining options, art galleries and street murals, and lively shopping. Beachfront-Downtown destinations such as Hollywood are rare.”

Costa Hollywood Beach Resort, with its studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom European-influenced suites, will cater to upscale families from Latin America, the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. “Our 25,000-sq.-ft. rooftop pool deck and 3,500 sq. ft. of flexible space, both offering abundant natural light and ocean/Intracoastal views, make the resort an ideal wedding and event destination,” said Bensusan. 

In addition to the new hotels, Hollywood is also home to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which is currently undergoing a $1.5-billion expansion. Included in the renovation is a giant guitar tower designed to resemble back-to-back guitars, with guitar faces, necks and brightly lit guitar strings that reach 450 ft. into the sky on both sides. 

The tower will be the centerpiece of one of the world’s most elaborate casino complexes, including a Hard Rock casino nearly double its current size with 3,267 slot machines and 178 table games, plus a new 18,000-sq.-ft. poker room. The expansion will also include 60,000 sq. ft. of new retail and restaurant space and a $100-million redesigned and completely rebuilt Hard Rock Live venue with 7,000 seats in a theater-style configuration. 

The expansion of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open in mid-2019, in advance of Super Bowl LIV at nearby Hard Rock Stadium in February 2020. HB