More than the skyline is changing in Wilton Manors. The city has approved a plan to build a parking garage and mixed use complex in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors (aka Alibi Plaza).
At the city commission meeting on Jan. 23, they unanimously passed construction of WilMa On the Drive. The building that currently houses Pride Factory (and, until recently, a gym and paint store) will be demolished. In its place will be a parking garage.
The parking lot in front of the building will be the site of a business-residential building. 252 apartments will sit atop new businesses. New green space will be accessible to the public. Residents will have great views of Wilton Drive and the neighborhood.
Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. Rumors about the site’s future have circulated for years, but any concrete plans never got off the ground. For well more than a year, the owner, developer, and architects have worked with city staff to comply with code. Developers delayed the process over the summer, and withdrew from a Planning & Zoning meeting to deal with issues.
While Tuesday’s vote was, essentially, a fait accompli, commissioners still had questions for the developer. One of the main concerns is people cutting through the neighborhood on 7th Ave. instead of exiting out onto The Drive. The city engineer will weigh in on traffic safety and flow issues. Two years after the building is occupied, developers will conduct a traffic study and turn it over to the city.
The building with Alibi and Hunters will remain, though it will be updated to match the look of WilMa.
Choice Of A Generation
Also approved was Generation, another mixed use development. The site is 1225 NE 24th St. and 13th Ave., where The Alchemist and a vacant trailer currently sit.
It will be six stories tall and have 190 residential units.
This site will include a dog park, a freestanding restaurant, as well as other areas open to the public. A parking garage will be available for residents and some new street parking will be created along with a ride-share pick-up/dropoff spot.
The mural memorializing the Parkland mass murder will be recreated on a wall facing the new dog park.
About three years ago, the city revised its code to allow for taller buildings and development along “transit-oriented corridors” or TOCs. Most concerns revolved around neighborhood safety in the face of increased traffic and losing the city’s vibe.
Those issues were raised again on Jan. 23 when members of the public could speak on the proposals. But the city has to grow or raise taxes. New development brings top value. In addition to being aspirational properties, tax revenues aren’t depressed by longtime residents enjoying their homestead exemptions.
Both projects have been in the works for a long time, and this may only be the halfway point. They now need county approval, which should be finished in spring. Then comes building permits and inspections.
WilMa and Generation will take about three years to complete if everything goes as scheduled. Generation developers are still early in their quest to finance the project, which could delay groundbreaking.
Developers of WilMa told OutSFL that they are well along in the funding process and hope to break ground in autumn.