Hotel Project Contingent on Rezoning

G Worldwide’s plan to develop a huge hotel and entertainment complex in Wilton Manors has generated as much excitement as it has expletives in the past two months. But it all may be for naught. The $80 million project is contingent upon rezoning by the city, resulting in a question of ‘when’ or even ‘if’ it will ever break ground.

Original plans, reported in SFGN on June 16, 2010, called for a huge project to be built at the six acre site which currently houses the run-down Middle River Trailer Park. When the deal fell through because of an internal feud amongst its owners, G Worldwide swiftly entered into a scaled down project, negotiating a $3.7 million contract for the four acre site of the Church of Religious Science.

David Holzapfel, COO of G Worldwide is optimistic about the new location. He said the existing building will be bulldozed, and the new site, at the corner of NE 15th Avenue and Northeast 26th Street, “will have better curb appeal.”

The new plan is significantly more modest, anticipating only 115-120 rooms, a huge reduction from the 170+ rooms planned when the company first made the announcement.  New renderings of the property have not been released.

This will be G Worldwide’s first venture in South Florida.  In fact, the Wilton Manor’s property will be the only property built by the company.  Other ventures include adding vacation ownership components to pre-existing properties across the country.

The parent company of G Worldwide, G Hospitality Group, LLC is led by Michael Haley, developer behind Dolce Vita, a 35-unit oceanfront condominium resort on Singer Island. Vita’s partner in the venture is Robert Ballas, who owns a cable/hardware company in New York.

As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, some residents are not happy with G Worldwide’s new location, fearing the increased level of noise and traffic will decrease property values.

"This resort has the possibility of having a tremendous negative impact on the neighborhood," said resident John Fiore. "It's just going to destroy our property values and neighborhood."

The new site lies outside Wilton Manor’s zoned entertainment district, where many think it should be, said City Manager Joseph Gallegos.  He is pessimistic about the development of the resort, citing that the company may have difficulty in rezoning process.

"I don't see it happening there," Commissioner Scott Newton told the Sun-Sentinel last week. "I think they should've come to us first, before they went to spend that money on that piece of property."

However, Dean Trantalis, attorney for the company believes the project will be a much needed improvement to the city.  “The resort will make Wilton Manors into the destination resort community we all envisioned it one day becoming.”    Trantalis states the project has the ability to bring millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses.

Trantalis also told SFGN the company anticipates acquiring city approval for the rezoning in November, when it will then “break ground on the project.” However, Trantalis acknowledged that the contract, purchase, and closing are contingent upon the rezoning.

If the city fails to rezone the property, G Worldwide has the ability to terminate the agreement. If it goes through, the developers hope to complete the hotel complex within 16-20 months, Trantalis indicated.