In Place Of Old Rollercoaster, Drivers On I-95 Watch As 'Dania Pointe' Development Goes Up
Construction is underway on what will be a 102-acre mixed-use development full of shops, restaurants, offices and apartments called Dania Pointe - where the iconic old Dania Beach Hurricane roller coaster used to be.
The first phase of retail space will have its grand-opening Nov. 1. A few retailers, including Starbucks, have opened in the last two weeks by the Stirling Road entrance.
Phase Two will have more shops and hotel rooms along I-95, but is not expected to open until fall of next year.
"You had a closed roller coaster, a gravel pit area and some single-story office space that was not well occupied," said Paul Puma, southern region president of Kimco Realty, which is in charge of the development. "The development course we've taken is an incredible improvement for the city, for the county, and for the community overall."
Read More: The Roller Coaster Off Of I-95 May Soon Come Down
The project has been in the works for more than three years.
Some Dania Beach residents are worried about building up the city too much. Dania Beach resident and community activist Steven Jones has lived in Dania Beach, for the past five years. But he has family members that have lived in the area since the 1940s.
"For the city it's good - financially - but for the residents I can't say that," Jones said. "It's going to bring in a lot of money. My biggest fear is that people will leave."
In addition to retail, Dania Pointe is also set to have 600 apartments. Construction on the first set, of more than 200 units, broke ground last month. The Meyers Group is building the apartments, which will rent for some $1,600 per month.
Emmanuel George lives in Dania Beach, too. He hopes the jobs that Dania Pointe will bring into the area pay higher than minimum wage.
"If the rent is going to be $1,600 a month at Dania Pointe, someone who works in the community who is a barista at Starbucks making $11, $12 an hour, is still not going to be able to fully-afford to live there," he said.
Puma said that Kimco Realty has not encountered any organized citizen efforts who oppose the development.
"We pay attention to the community needs, we want to be a part of the community," Puma said.
George hopes that Dania Pointe's development bring new educational resources into the community.
"If you can build a development that's $800 million, I definitely think that it would be worthwhile for them to have some kind of place to teach skills for the young kids in the community," George said. "So they can be entrepreneurs...and not just workers."