What will Boca learn from the Bahia Mar fiasco unfolding in Fort Lauderdale?

On July 3rd, editors of the Sun-Sentinel wrote an opinion on the current state of the Bahia Mar property in Fort Lauderdale. It turns out that the issues surrounding Bahia Mar bear a striking number of similarities to our own Wildflower site:

  • Both are prime waterfront properties
  • Both are owned by the city, paid for by the taxpayers
  • Both are somewhat blighted due to intentional lack of/minimal maintenance
  • Both draw diverse public opinion on the potential uses of the property
  • Both involve the use of public funds to subsidize private businesses
  • Lauderdale has ceded control of Bahia Mar via long term lease, regretted by all but the leaseholder. Boca’s is not a done deal yet, but is well on its way to being so
  • A citizens referendum regarding the use of public land for public purposes

There are, of course, differences in the two situations. Bahia Mar has a boat show to think about. The developer proposed a condo, while Boca is proposing a restaurant. But these do not change a harsh fact: Fort Lauderdale is regrettably trapped in a long term lease that puts control of this jewel of a property out of the city’s and the taxpayer’s hands.

So how should Boca proceed in the stark daylight of possible outcomes? What lessons can be learned from our neighbor to the south? What will be the result of the two referendums? Time, hopefully tempered with wisdom, will tell……

The op-ed can be found here, Sun-Sentinel article.

If you have an opinion, do not hesitate to make it known to your sitting City Councilors:

Mayor Susan Haynie – shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Deputy Mayor Mike Mullaugh – mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Councilman Mayor Robert Weinroth – rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

CRA Chair/Councilman Scott Singer – ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us