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Oakland Park Residents Voice Concerns Regarding Oakland Park Square Lease

Today is like no other day in the history of the United States. It is election day during one of the most contentious elections in the history of our nation. While we, Oakland Parkers, experience this national phenomenon, there is also a battle being waged for the future of our City, specifically our downtown and the Oakland Park Square project. 

As the City continues to develop, there are clearly two camps: those in favor of development and those that are not in favor of development. Those against it are afraid that our little City will lose its unique character. Those that are for it believe it will define Oakland Park for its second century of existence. Regardless of which side you are on, the Oakland Park Square project is drawing concern from both proponents and opponents of development. Within the Living In Oakland Park Facebook Group, the debate is being waged and Oakland Park residents have voiced concerns they feel need to be addressed before the lease is approved at tomorrow’s Commission Meeting. 

As we delve into this issue we first present the City’s perspective and initial response. We conclude by outlining residents concerns with an appeal to the City for responses to those same concerns. 

The City's Perspective on Oakland Park Square

The Oakland Park Square project was conceived to transform the City owned the west Dixie lots into income generating properties. The City planned to do that in two ways. 

  1. Sell the West Dixie lots to developers for approximately $2 million dollars. 
  2. Make the project fiscally attractive to developers by assuring them an anchor tenant, the City itself. 

The City's Initial Response

The City has been made aware of the residents concerns and addressed some of them with the following response:

The details of the lease for the Oakland Park Square building have come before the City Commission at four previous meetings.  In addition to the July 30, 2018,  public input session at Jaco Pastorius Park, these elements have also been presented at numerous other neighborhood, civic and other community meetings over the course of the past three years.  You can also view these meetings on the city’s website at www.oaklandparkfl.gov. Should you be in need of any additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out at mycity@oaklandparkfl.gov. Thank you.

  • 6/20/2018: City Commission Meeting, Oakland Park Square Project Update Presentation.
  • 7/30/2018: Community Meeting: Presentation of Oakland Park Square during meeting at Jaco Pastorius Community Center.
  • 9/20/2018: City Commission Meeting, Purchase & Sale Agreement (1st Reading) Presentation.
  • 10/17/2018: City Commission Meeting, Purchase & Sale Agreement (2nd Reading) Copy of 9/20/2018 presentation included as attachment.
  • 8/6/2020: City Commission Meeting, included in presentation on the Assignment of Purchase & Sale Agreement, First Amendment to the Development Agreement, and First Amendment to the Purchase & Sale Agreement.

But residents have more specific concerns they feel need to be addressed before a binding decision is made. Those concerns are listed below. 

Residents' Concerns

Timing and the Current City Commission

Residents concerns started to grow this week when the Agenda for the November 4th meeting was published. It noted that the lease for Oakland Park Square was coming up for approval. Initial concerns voiced were regarding the timing of the approval meeting and the number of sitting Commissioners.

Residents are particularly disquieted that the approval meeting is being pushed through at a time when the entire nation is distracted by the national elections and that approval is being requested at a time when there are only four sitting Commissioners. Residents feel the meeting should be delayed until after the elections and until after the new Commissioners are sworn in. 

The new Oakland Park Square project includes a sky bridge on the fifth floor (pictured above) to allow residents to easily move between their homes and the parking lot.

Specific Concerns

  1. Why must the City Commission vote on this now, when a new commission will take over in 2 months? The new commission will be saddled with this decision and the funding to afford the expenditures.
  2. How does being a tenant benefit the City? Shouldn’t the developer be responsible for finding an anchor tenant since they are being given the opportunity to develop?
  3. With the approval of the lease the City is obligating itself to 15 years of a lease totaling $16.5 Million. Why is a city that is struggling fiscally, allocating 16.5 million to rent, when they could take out a loan and renovate the current city hall for half that price?
  4. In addition to the rent what other expenses are associated with renting (maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc) ?
    1. What is the amount of these additional expenses? 
    2. Since these monies would be spent on a property that is not City owned, how is this expense ultimately favorable to the City ?
  5. Is building on Greenleaf Park and current City Hall a part of the plan to generate tax revenue to afford future endeavors for the City, including the new location at Oakland Park Square?
  6. Is the overall OP Square project with the City paying rent profitable in the longterm for the City and its residents? If so, how?
  7. What happens after the lease is up? 
  8. Does the City Manager feel there has been enough transparency within the community toward what the City is attempting to construct under the OP3D project ?

These are some of the main questions posed by residents and that residents hope will be addressed before a final decision is made. 

If you have any further questions or concerns please share them in the comments section of this article.

Stay tuned to LivingInOaklandPark.com for updates regarding Oakland Park Square. 

Update: The City's Responses

Nov. 4, 2020

The City responded to the above questions and the answers can be found on this page.

Nov. 3, 2020

The same day the article was published we received a response from the City:

Per our conversation, staff is preparing for tomorrow’s City Commission meeting and although unable to provide a response to you today, all the concerns listed will be addressed during tomorrow’s meeting presentation.  In the meantime, we have included in this email all presentations on this topic to date.   Please let me know if you have any additional questions.  Thank you.

Attendant presentations:  

2018-06-20 – UPDATE ON WEST DIXIE LOT PROJECT

2018-07-30 OAKLAND PARK SQUARE – July 30 comm mtg FINAL

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*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

Desiree Avila

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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