Oakland Park seeks developer to replace city hall with mixed-use project

Oakland Park issued a request for qualifications from developers to replace its city hall property with residential and commercial space

A conceptual site plan to redevelop the current Oakland Park City Hall property
A conceptual site plan to redevelop the current Oakland Park City Hall property

The low-rise central business district in Oakland Park may get a mid-rise makeover.

The construction of Sky Building, a six-story, mixed-use development that will become the new home of Oakland Park City Hall, could lead to the redevelopment of the existing city hall into a mid-rise mix of residential and commercial space.

Residents want the city “to keep that small-town, entrepreneurial feel, yet at the same time create a more vibrant, cohesive, and walkable downtown,” Oakland Park Mayor Jane Bolin told The Real Deal. “What we need is a mix of residential, commercial, and urban green space.”

Bolin said real estate development in the downtown area can support economic development by encouraging entrepreneurs to live, work and play there. “I want to help our community launch themselves in an incubator kind of way, and I think downtown can help us do that,” she said.

The city hired Colliers to help identify a developer that would build a mixed-use project on 4 acres of city-owned property that includes the current city hall. The site just east of Dixie Highway, between 36th and 38th streets, could be expanded to 6 acres because owners of two adjacent parcels totaling 2 acres have expressed interest in selling their properties.

Oakland Park issued a request for qualifications from developers interested in building on the 4-acre, city-owned site. The standard limit on building height there is three stories, but a residential development with a density of at least 65 units per acre could qualify for a six-story height.

Multiple submissions from developers are expected by the Sept. 14 deadline, said Ken Krasnow, vice chairman of institutional investor services in Florida for Colliers.

The 4-acre site including city hall is just south of the Funky Buddha Brewery at 1201 Northeast 38th Street, a popular craft brewery and taproom that anchors a city-designated culinary district in the downtown area.

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The site is also just east of the Florida East Coast Railway line and someday may serve as a station for commuter train service. A study by the Florida Department of Transportation recommended Oakland Park as one of six stops on the east side of Broward County for commuter train service on the FEC railroad, potentially from Tri-Rail, which runs trains on tracks farther west with suburban stops in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.

“I think a lot of people like the buzz in Oakland Park. It’s got kind of a cool feel to it,” Krasnow said. And if commuter train service comes to the city, “the train is really a game-changer … It has gotten people super excited.”

Construction will soon begin on the six-story Sky Building development encompassing a new city hall. The mixed-use project, developed by Miami-based NR Investments, is fully approved, and is in the pre-construction permitting phase, Bolin said.

Sky Building, which actually includes two buildings connected at the third level by a pedestrian skybridge over a street, will rise on two vacant lots on the west side of Dixie Highway at Northwest 38th Street, directly across from the Funky Buddha Brewery. The mixed-use development will include nearly 40,000 square feet for the new Oakland Park City Hall, about 15,000 square feet of first-floor retail space, a parking garage with 334 covered spaces, and 140 residential units.

Redevelopment of the current city hall property is likely to advance at a brisk pace, Krasnow said. “By this time next year, we’re going to be ready to start talking about a ground-breaking,” he said.

Several income-producing properties in Oakland Park have sold for eight-figure prices this year.

South Florida developers Steve Hudson and Charles Ladd Jr. bought two Oakland Park retail centers about three months ago for a total of $33.4 million. They paid $23.4 million for Festival Centre, a 150,537-square-foot shopping center at 3400-3700 North Andrews Avenue; and $10 million for Primavera Plaza, a 51,594-square-foot strip center at 830 and 840 East Oakland Park Boulevard.

R.O.I. Capital acquired Green Tree Apartments, a 296-unit multifamily property at 5201 North Dixie Highway, for $59 million in April. In February, a shopping center at 2899 and 2901 West Oakland Park Boulevard, called The Shoppes at Oakland Forest, sold for $10.7 million.