County Approves Gulfstream Development Plan

Edited press release

Broward County commissioners approved a plan May 9 that's expected to lead to the construction of residential, retail, and office space on Gulfstream Park property.

The plan will alter 64 of the racetrack's 240 acres. Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Gulfstream, partnered with Cleveland, Ohio-based developer Forest City on the project, which will be known as The Village at Gulfstream Park.

"It's going to be a shot in the arm for our city and community," Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said.

More than 100 residents attended the hearing and expressed their support for the project. The commission favored the plan by a 6-3 vote.

There will be 750,000 square feet of retail space, 140,000 square feet of office space, 1,500 condominiums, a 500-room hotel, and 2,500 seats for moviegoers. There also will be 225 affordable-housing units, a portion of which will be on site.

Officials with the development are optimistic the city and regional planning council will pass the plan. If plans proceed as expected, construction could begin this year. The estimated $1.2-billion project is expected to be finished in 2014.

"We're excited about the synergies that will be created between the Forest City project and the Gulfstream Park racing operation," said Scott Savin, Gulfstream president and general manager.

As part of its compact with the county, Forest City will commit $10 million for infrastructure improvements to help offset the increase in traffic. Of that, $3 million will be spent on the construction of a north-south transportation system near the property, $2.8 million to institute a shuttle between the property and the Tri-Rail station on Hollywood Boulevard in nearby Hollywood Beach, and an undetermined amount to pay for road improvements on Hallandale Beach Boulevard along the north end of the property.

Gulfstream, which was purchased by MEC in 1999, has undergone a massive $170-million renovation, beginning with the demolition of the grandstand/clubhouse in 2004. That structure was replaced by a state-of-the-art facility featuring elegant restaurants, a sports bar with top entertainment, and a new walking ring.

The racing surface was raised a few feet to help with drainage, the distance of the main track was elongated from a mile to 1 1/8 miles, and the width of the turf course went from 80 feet to 170.

The introduction of up to 1,500 slot machines at Gulfstream is expected to begin this summer.