Across from Jaco Pastorius Park are two City owned parcels known as the West Dixie Lots. These empty lots have been designated as brownfield land. Brownfield land is land that is potentially contaminated and hazardous. As a result of this designation the City has rehabilitated the site. Rehabilitation makes it clean, useful, productive and ultimately taxable.
Before the City began working on cleaning up the west Dixie lots it was already working on the Oakland Park Square project. The Oakland Park Square project is a mixed use, private, public partnership that would completely change the face of Downtown Oakland Park. Along with its private partner, Integra Investments out of Miami, the City planned to develop over 60,000 square feet of retail and office space and residential units, including approximately 30,000 square feet for Oakland Park’s new City Hall.
However, recently the City and Integra found it necessary to reconceive the project and introduce a new developer, N.R. Investments (NRI) out of Miami Gardens.
NRI is not new to development and they are not new to South Florida. They have been an integral part of the revitalization and redevelopment of Miami’s Downtown Omni area into Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District. They were behind the Filling Stations Loft project, the Canvas project, and are now beginning work on a new project: the 17th Street Tower.
The Filling Stations Loft project was an 81 unit mixed-use project offering live/work lofts, retail areas and a space for a community hub. The Canvas project, one with which I am very familiar because I was working at a real estate brokerage in Miami when it was being built, is situated on 16th St. and N. Miami Ave in Miami in the heart of the new Arts and Entertainment District.
Canvas is the epitome of urban living, situated where residents can enjoy the walkable, urban lifestyle of Miami’s revitalized Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods while at the same time experiencing a deep sense of community. It is a living example of NRI’s philosophy in action :
“Our focus on commercial and residential real estate is built upon our belief that small investments in communities and local culture result in large returns in real estate value”.
~NRI Website, About page
They have distinguished themselves by investing in communities and local culture. Their approach is distinct in this sense, proudly beating “…to a different drum and always [having] a drum readily available” (NRI Website, About page). This unique approach to development makes them a very viable partner in Oakland Park’s future.
“NRI believes in fostering cultural movements and communities in undiscovered areas, and in making their buildings the beacons of these movements”.
~NRI Website, About page
This idea really spoke the City’s government when conducting background research on this potentially new partner. According to Jennifer Frastai, Assistant City Manager, as she dug deeper into their philosophy she understood the value of this statement and what it meant for Oakland Park.
When explaining their philosophy Nir Shoshani, one of the principals of NRI, told the City Commission at its May 20, 2020 meeting
“I think both Ron and I believe heavily in communities… it is not only a task of love it is also a good business move, it’s doing well by doing good“.
This belief coupled with Oakland Park’s already deep sense of community clearly makes NRI a good match for the City and its development.
NRI has significant experience in opportunity zones. After reviewing the plans for Oakland Park Square it recommended changes. These changes are key as they will insure the financial stability and longevity of the project.
Below is a page from the presentation made at the City Commission meeting on May 20th showing the proposed changes to the current program:
The introduction of NRI also requires the adjustment of the timeline for completion. NRI still has to submit their Development Review application, obtain approval for the same and then apply for permitting before beginning construction. As a result, the new date for completion of Oakland Park Square project is now set for June of 2026.
While this sets the project completion back, there will be no changes to the proposed design or aesthetic. So Oakland Parkers can look forward to a new and modern Downtown Oakland Park that will look like this:
What are your thoughts on the Oakland Park Square project? Share them with us in the comments section of this post.
EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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Visit her real estate blog at www.DesireeRealtor.com
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