After a second hearing on building a mixed-use land development in Oakland Park, the city commission has officially given the developer the go-ahead to build a Sprouts grocery store, residential space, a restaurant, and green space.
The virtual meeting was hosted on Sept. 16 and the applications were approved unanimously by the commission, except for Commissioner Sara Guevrekian, who has not been present at commission meetings for almost a year.
“I very much approve this project,” said Vice Mayor Jane Bolin. “When you look at where it started and where we are now, this is pretty phenomenal and will really change the feel of Oakland Park and will give us, all of us as residents of OP, access we didn’t have before."
The property, located at the southeast intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and Northeast Sixth Avenue, was originally a Kmart then closed in 2014. The land was purchased by Walmart, then by Ram Realty.
The lot is split into two areas. The northern lot will have 7,800 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 124 parking spots. To the south, there will be 288 residential units in a five-story building, as well as 12 townhomes with private garages. Residents will be able to access a fitness center, indoor community room, dog park, swimming pool and outdoor recreation area. There will also be 403 parking spaces, green space, a ride-share pickup zone, a multi-use path from Oakland Park Blvd. to the riverfront, and a promenade.
“I’m glad that it’s out of the hands of Walmart and now in the hands of RAM [Realty Services],” Mayor Matthew Sparks previously told the Wilton Manors Gazette. “They’re turning this from a basic big box store with a parking lot to a lot of greenery.”
RAM had a traffic study done, which was then reviewed by the city’s own traffic consultant, who agreed with the conclusion that development would have lower projected traffic in the area than if Walmart were on the property. However, some residents who would be living in the area are not convinced and spoke during public comments.
“It’s a mess already,” resident Harry Redlich said of waiting at the light on Northwest Sixth Ave. “The backup is 20 or 30 cars long waiting at the light … you’re kind of taking your life into your hands when you make the turn.”
Robert B. Lochrie III, who represents RAM, assured the commission that the development “should not add much to that queue.”
“One car at most and that’s because of the way that rolls over,” he said. “Cars do back up, really only during peak hours.”