By: Sharon Aron Baron
Do you drive north to The Walk in Coral Springs for coffee at Starbucks, or to dine in one of their restaurants? Maybe you prefer the Promenade in Coconut Creek where you can eat a delicious crepe, shop for clothes, or sit outside at Lime restaurant and people-watch?
Soon, there will be no need to drive outside our city limits for dining and shopping because Tamarac Village is in the preliminary stages of being developed.
Formerly known as Tamarac Main Street – the commission changed the name to Tamarac Village last summer. Although this wouldn’t have been my first preferences (think Century Village). I wish the commissioners had asked for comments, or even held a contest to help name the project.
Andy Berns, Public and Economic Affairs Officer for the City of Tamarac spoke recently to the students at Tamarac University about the project which he has invested so much of his time and one that he is clearly passionate about.
“Tamarac Village will be a combination of a residential and commercial area, said Berns. “The first thing that the city needed to do was secure the land for the project.”
Berns has been instrumental in completing a series of successful purchases of vacant land within the district, and the city now controls almost 20 acres. This large parcel of land is between Pine Island Road west to 94th Avenue, on the north side of Commercial Boulevard.
“The property recently assembled has been purchased under the appraised value. Our goal was to have the land assembled and ready to move forward as the economy improved, and we have done so.”
“In my previous efforts to attract a developer, the ongoing problem was the vast number of property owners to be dealt with. By buying and assembling this land, the city has effectively removed that hurdle.” The city plans to attract other developers and investors, therefore not serve as the developer of the project.
Berns says it will be much bigger than The Walk, and will not only include more businesses and restaurants, but will also have a residential area.
With the land clear and ready for development, He said that the city’s next step will be to bring a consultant on board to assist with market research, land planning, business plan development, financial planning and a host of other necessary activities to ensure success as they move forward. The city has already issued a Request for Proposals, and is currently evaluating the six proposals received to bring the best recommendation forward to the commission.
The big question is, when will it be built? “I can’t give you that answer,” said Berns. “Overall, the timing will directly correlate to the overall economy and return of investment capital to the marketplace. Our task now is to be ready and have the right concept poised and waiting, to use a cliché, “shovel ready.”
Well, I for one can’t wait to see that shovel break ground. It’s about time that Tamarac establish its own community retail area to keep its residents, and dollars in Tamarac.