Wrecking day is moving closer for the Dania Beach roller coaster.
The developer planning to knock down the Hurricane and build a huge shopping plaza in its place has bought two of the eight parcels he needs before he can begin construction.
Bob Shapiro, president of Aventura-based Master Development, said he paid $14 million this month to Florida Silica Sand Co. for 25 acres at Bryan and Stirling roads east of Interstate 95. He also paid $2.95 million for a seven-acre site in the area owned by the Hill family.
Shapiro said he expects to compete the other six deals by the end of the year, which would give him 100 acres for DaniaLive Marketplace, a 1.3 million-square-foot open air center.
The developer intends to tear down the wooden roller coaster early next year — an event he said will be celebrated with some sort of public party. The 100-foot-tall ride opened in 2000 but closed three years ago amid tough economic times.
Visible from I-95 near the northbound Stirling Road exit, the abandoned ride perpetuates an image problem the city is trying to shake, officials say.
"We can't continue to hold onto the past and think we're going to make progress," City Commissioner Albert Jones said.
Jones and other officials envision DaniaLive as a destination that would attract visitors from across South Florida.
"We can't continue to hold onto the past and think we're going to make progress."- City Commissioner Albert Jones
The $250 million-plus project, one of the biggest in Broward County, would include big-box retail stores, casual and formal restaurants, at least one hotel, apartments and possibly condos and offices. It is a joint venture with Master Development, Salzman Real Estate Advisors of Dania Beach and the New York-based Kimco real estate investment trust.
No leases have been signed, and Shapiro continues to tinker with the site plan.
City commissioners still must grant a final approval, but Shapiro said he is pleased with the progress.
"Everything is going exactly as we hoped it would," he said.
The project would be the biggest venture yet for the longtime builder, who built the Northridge Shopping Center in Fort Lauderdale and turned the old Delray Beach Mall into an outdoor center.
DaniaLive would force the closing of Boomers, the entertainment complex next to the roller coaster on Northwest First Street. But Boomers continues to operate.
Shapiro hopes to begin construction on the shopping center in 2015, with an opening planned for 2016.