Of­fi­cials plan new city-county com­plex

Would re­place ag­ing struc­tures in down­town Fort Laud­erdale

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Front Page - By Larry Barszewski

Broward buses will have to move over in down­town Fort Laud­erdale to make room for a new city-county govern­ment com­plex.

County and city of­fi­cials have cho­sen the Main Bus Ter­mi­nal on Broward Boule­vard as the lo­ca­tion for a joint govern­ment build­ing, if fi­nanc­ing and other op­er­a­tional de­tails can be worked out.

It would re­place two ag­ing struc­tures: City Hall, which was built in the 1960s, and the county gov­ern­men­tal cen­ter, which has been housed in an old Bur­dines depart­ment store build­ing since 1980. Both build­ings are within blocks of the new site.

Ne­go­tia­tors are fi­nal­iz­ing the de­tails of an agree­ment that would have to be ap­proved by both com­mis­sions for the project to move for­ward.

So far, no de­ci­sions have been made about how big the build­ing would be and how much it would cost. Of­fi­cials will also have to de­cide how it will be fi­nanced, with the pos­si­bil­ity it could be built by a pri­vate de­vel­oper and leased back to the lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

The work­ing idea is for the com­plex to have a sin­gle en­trance, with sep­a­rate floors for city and county of­fices and pos­si­bly sep­a­rate banks of el­e­va­tors for each, As­sis­tant County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Alan Co­hen said. Some floors and spa­ces could be shared, he said.

To save room, a park­ing garage could be built above a re­done bus ter­mi­nal, he said.

The new build­ing would take up about a third of the 3-acre site. It would be placed along Broward Boule­vard, with the bus ter­mi­nal be­hind it.

The bus ter­mi­nal cur­rently has more bus bays than needed — even when fu­ture growth is con­sid­ered. Only 18 of the 24 bays are cur­rently used, Co­hen said, and that num­ber can be re­duced fur­ther through im­proved sched­ul­ing.

“We have been work­ing with our trans­porta­tion depart­ment [of­fi­cials] to make sure they are able to main­tain their op­er­a­tions in both the short run and the long run,” Co­hen said.

The site is also across the tracks from the new Bright­line train ter­mi­nal. A pedes­trian cross­over above the tracks could be­come part of the city-county plan, Co­hen said.

City com­mis­sion­ers on Tues-

day supported mov­ing for­ward with the bus de­pot site.

City Man­ager Chris Lagerbloom said it would prob­a­bly be three to four years be­fore a build­ing could be com­pleted.

Mayor Dean Tran­talis said it’s im­por­tant for the new com­plex to have a plaza so that its pres­ence on Broward Boule­vard will serve as a gate­way to the city’s down­town.

Another down­town gov­ern­men­tal project is also mov­ing for­ward, as fed­eral of­fi­cials pre­pare to start search­ing for a home for a new fed­eral court­house.

A U.S. Sen­ate com­mit­tee last week ap­proved a prospec­tus for the fed­eral court­house, which Down­town De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Di­rec­tor Jenni More­jon said was the last step needed to re­lease the $190 mil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing ap­proved last year for the project.

“The next step is for the GSA [Gen­eral Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion] to ini­ti­ate the site se­lec­tion process, which typ­i­cally starts with a pub­lic no­tice to so­licit in­ter­est from prop­erty own­ers,” More­jon said.

One site that has been dis­cussed is city-owned prop­erty, known as the “One Stop Shop” from the days when it was used by the city’s build­ing depart­ment, on the west side of An­drews Av­enue be­tween North­west Sec­ond and Fourth streets.

Fla­gler Vil­lage res­i­dents would like to see the va­cant prop­erty be­come a park and Tran­talis said an al­ter­nate park site would have to be found if the site was cho­sen for the court­house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.