By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
If you’ve lived in South Florida long enough, no doubt you remember that rickety wooden rollercoaster just east of Interstate 95 in Dania Beach. Halfway to Miami. Nearly to the airport. Just floating there in Broward’s no-man’s-land.
The old coaster is long gone now, and soon, in its place, will be an entirely new waypoint. Just off the interstate will be a water feature, lit up from the bottom, and a sun-bright marquee pedestal in the center. It’ll point the way to a new development big enough to qualify as a new little city.
The first phase of Dania Pointe will open later this year, an open-air shopping center with loads of national retail and dining. But by the time all 102 acres at the northeast corner of I-95 and Stirling Road are urbanized, perhaps five years from now, it’ll become one of the region’s biggest developments.
“Nothing compares to it in the metro Fort Lauderdale area,” says Paul Puma, president of the southern region for Kimco Realty. The company oversees a hundred shopping centers – that’s 20 million square feet – and is spearheading the Dania Pointe work. “It will feel like a small-town city once it’s developed.”
As a primer for your new interstate waypoint and shopping destination, here’s what you need to know about the soon-to-be-built city.
By November of this year, Dania Pointe’s phase one should be finished. It’ll sit on 35 acres, a new shopping center with brands you certainly know. Among those already committed: Lucky’s Market, Outback Steakhouse, Men’s Warehouse and Five Below.
This isn’t new territory for the developer. Kimco also operates Oakwood Plaza just across Stirling Road. You’ve likely been to the Home Depot or Party City or Marshalls. In fact, the plaza is so busy Puma says it just made sense to build another shopping plaza nearby. “We have such demand for Oakwood Plaza that we have turned away major retailers, and it’s been that way for years.”
The first phase of Dania Pointe will hold 329,000 square feet of retail space just east of I-95, a shopping plaza with the kind of exposure to passing motorists that retail outlets dream to have.
A New City Center
As workers continued to build phase one, work began this summer on the second phase, which will give Dania Pointe the heart of a small town.
In this next step, Kimco will begin adding a downtown-type center. A grassy field will be anchored by a large screen that could show movies or sporting events. A median running down the center of the boulevard will give the entertainment district the feel of Mizner Park. Water features in round-abouts and common areas will give it a European feel. And mid-rise buildings at the center will make it feel like a city, laid out for easy walking.
Parts of it will feel like Downtown Dadeland, a planned urban development in a suburb. The renderings also are reminiscent of CityPlace in West Palm Beach, where courtyards beckon people to hang out.
Creating a Small Town
As the development rolls out, it’ll add new parts aimed to take it beyond retail. Yet-to-be-announced entertainment options are intended to make it something of a destination beyond shopping and dining.
Then Dania Pointe will add its first residents. The developers have approval to build 1,000 apartment units. Construction is expected to begin this year. Kimco has contracted with the Myers Group to build the first apartments, called the Avery Dania Pointe. The eight-story building will house 264 luxury residences and feature a resort-style pool next to a dramatic plant wall feature.
The developer has also brought on Boca Raton-based Economos Properties to build two hotels under the Marriott brand. It will add 350 hotel rooms to the project.
And to round out the “mixed” in mixed-use, Dania Pointe will also add a Class A office building with 200,000 square feet. It will be the first in what could be several office buildings – the developer has approval for 500,000 total square feet of office space.
By the end, the development will become one of the most noticeable spots along I-95, a shining new mini city.
“We’ve got 1,600 linear feet along 95,” Puma says. “Oh yes, you will see it from 95. There is no doubt, you will not miss it.”