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The Oakland Park City Commission on Wednesday gave the green light to proceed with ambitious plans to revitalize and redeveloped the downtown. Proposed plans include securing a stop on the Tri-Rail Coastal Link commuter line and redeveloping a seven-acre parcel of property owned by the City. Bringing new mixed-use amenities to the area will further the City’s vision for downtown Oakland Park to be a vibrant, cohesive, and walkable destination for residents, businesses, and visitors.
"I am really excited about the possibilities surrounding a train stop and redevelopment of the downtown properties,” said Mayor Jane Bolin. “We have a unique opportunity to stimulate our economy, increase mobility and walkability, improve quality of life, and shape the future of Oakland Park.”
Oakland Park has been pursuing the idea of a rail platform in its downtown for more than a decade. The City passed a resolution of support of a train stop in 2010 and again in 2019. Oakland Park was identified by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority as a preferred rail stop location in 2011, 2013 and 2014. The train stop on Dixie Highway was included in the City’s Downtown Transportation Mobility Plan and the 5-year CRA Strategic Plan in 2017, and 77% of residents expressed support for a stop in a 2021 citywide survey.
A public-private partnership with NR Investments to relocate City Hall to the vacant lots on the west side of Dixie Highway will make the existing site available for redevelopment. Located adjacent to the proposed rail stop location, the City plot is between Dixie Highway on the west, NE 13 Avenue on the east, NE 38 Street to the north, and NE 36 Street to the south. Results of a market study presented Wednesday place the value of the property in excess of $6 million.
The City awarded an urban design planning services contract to Zyscovich Architects in November 2018 and has since conducted several public meetings to gather community input on redevelopment. Residents have expressed a desire for downtown growth to incorporate a mix of residential, retail, parking, and public gathering spaces.
“With City Park, the Sky Building, and redevelopment of the downtown properties, we have an opportunity to connect east and west Oakland Park to create a cohesive and unified downtown,” said Suria Yaffar, Partner and Director of Design at Zyscovich Architects. “We can cultivate a compact, mixed-use, urban environment that is pedestrian friendly and within walking distance to several community amenities, from Jaco Pastorius Park to the future promenade on Middle River.”
Oakland Park wants to capitalize on the momentum from the City Hall project to encourage additional investment and redevelopment downtown. Known as the Sky Building, the project will include two buildings on either side of 38 Street on the west side of Dixie Highway, with about 140 residential units, 16,000 square feet of commercial space, parking, and a new City Hall on the top floor.
With Commission support to proceed, the City intends to explore potential partnerships to bring the public vision for downtown to fruition. Next steps will include searching for qualified firms to redevelop the city-owned property and pursuing a rail platform on Dixie Highway. For more information on redevelopment projects in Oakland Park, visit the CRA website at opcra.com.