I attended the Dania Beach City Hall meeting about the expansion plans for the Dania Jai-Alai. The Jai-Alai property continues to the Dania Cut-off canal though only the the land south of Northeast Second Street is developed. The undeveloped land has long been planned as a marina like the rest of down canal properties including Derektors, Playboy, Harbortown, and the home of our office, Royal Palm. But as any local knows Dania is a slow to change city, the oldest in Broward County and one of the least developed. New plans come, wither, and disappear. So it is with little faith but great hope I listened to the new Jai-Alai’s ownership group present their plans last night at city hall.
The plans disclosed centered around changes to the existing property including adding slots, a hotel, and renovation of current amenities. Most of the attendees were neighborhood residents, so the speaker (a representative of the investment group which seeks to add slots) outlined options for rerouting traffic to minimize the negative effects to the houses. He touched on building height and the timeline for the construction of a hotel which would debut in 2013 also located on the currently developed property. Every item he covered ignored the waterfront land until I was just about to leave.
Finally, talks turned to phase B of the master plan which was very vague and far off in the future – at the earliest 2013. The speaker unfamiliar with the complexities of marinas glossed over the ecological issues as “complex.” But he did reveal that any marina would solely feature 60-odd wet slips with no dry storage or maintenance. The illustrated mock showed three basins dredged into the wetland. Their vision is something more like the Loggerhead (Square Marina to locals) in Hallandale with its shoppes and restaurants than working boatyards like Playboy or even Royale Palm which haul out yachts and block them up on the hard.
A number of questions I have are still unknown:
- How will such a marina affect the abutting park and Catholic church properties which also stretch to the Dania Cut-off Canal?
- What kind of dredging work is required to shape the shallow waters and swamp land?
- How do you handle the powerlines that run across the cut right off the Jai-Alai land?
Please feel free to share your thoughts whether you attended the meeting or otherwise have been party to discussions on the Dania Jai-Alai waterfront land.