Oakland Park’s latest neighborhood participation meeting was held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at Collins Community Center. The topic of discussion was the future of the long-abandoned Kmart site located on Oakland Park Boulevard and N.E. 6th Avenue which has been closed since November 2014.
A New Luxury Rental Community?
The current site plan is technically still Walmart. However, RAM Realty officially submitted its application to the city of Oakland Park, which is now in pre-application status, to develop a luxury rental and resort spa community in its place. The proposed plan also includes a new gas station to the east of the current 7-11 which will remain and will not be affected by any new construction.
The new development proposal consists if one three-story residential unit, three five-story residential units, as well as three covered parking garages, which will be available as a premium upgrade to renters in the new community. It boasts modern facades like developments in neighboring Fort Lauderdale with a hip visual aesthetic and clean modern lines. Especially to those on the other side of Middle River, which will have a clear view of the interior green spaces and resort-like pool area.
It will also be home to 12,000 square feet of commercial property which will face Oakland Park Boulevard, which is equivalent to about three or four commercial businesses. There is no word of which businesses will inhabit the commercial properties yet. The proposed community will also include a dog park with artificial turf, a resort-like pool area as well as public/private access to a boardwalk along the Middle River. As of now, it is still slated to house 297 rental units. Plans for the perimeter of the property include widened sidewalks and city-compliant landscape design.
Traffic: A Constant Problem
Many residents in attendance were concerned about the traffic flow from N.E. 6th avenue into one of the three entryways into the community.
Concern was particularly focused on those making a left-hand turn from N.E. 6th Avenue into the new development. Many thought it would impede the already congested intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and N.E. 6th Avenue. N.E. 6th Avenue would also serve an entryway for commercial deliveries to the businesses that face Oakland Park Boulevard.
Representative Robert B. Lochrie, III, was present on behalf of his client, RAM Realty, and assured residents that a current traffic study is currently in progress and that this, along with many other factors, would be taken into consideration.
Residents Express Their Concerns
One person present expressed concern about the boardwalk being open to the public. They felt that it would not be of service to the renters in the luxury community to share the boardwalk with the general public, concerns about safety and loitering were discussed, while others felt that the Middle River is a public waterway that should be enjoyed by all.
Another attendee did not understand how a service station (gas station) would fit into a luxury lifestyle community, pointing out that there are many gas stations already available along Oakland Park Boulevard. The service station is going to be a pivotal source of income for the property. As a result it will remain in the plans for now.
Some didn’t feel that this new development and gas station fit in with the city’s culinary arts district plans, while others felt that that district vision for culinary arts was better suited to stay downtown. They expressed that more mom and pop restaurants and boutique shopping could be implemented, rather than a gas station to fit the city’s theme. Other residents and stakeholders shared the desire to have new development share the future vision for Oakland Park by including options for solar energy.
Proposal Under Approvals
The proposal for the new development still has two conditional use approvals which are the gas station and a 24-hour business license. As stated, the proposal is in pre-application status with the City and still needs to be reviewed by City commissioners. No mention of a future neighborhood participation meeting was mentioned.
The latest renderings have not changed since the last community meeting which was held on December 5th. New renderings are being produced and will be available as soon as possible. The current renderings are available on Living in Oakland Park’s December 5th meeting article.
As always, Living in Oakland Park encourages residents and business owners to attend these meetings and speak to their commissioners to have their voices heard. Oakland Park is truly a city on the move. It’s up to us to determine where it’s going.