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Margaritaville cost Hollywood taxpayers $28M more than expected

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The three-year-old Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort cost Hollywood taxpayers $28 million more than city leaders realized.

Hollywood city commissioners thought the city made a $28 million loan to help finance the development of the 17-story, Jimmy Buffet-inspired resort.

But the $28 million loan changed to a grant between the third draft and final draft of a 99-year agreement by the city to lease five city-owned acres where Margaritaville was built.

City commissioners Traci Callari and Peter Hernandez said they were duped into thinking the city made a $28 million loan to help finance the development of the 349-room resort.

Hernandez was the only city commissioner who voted against leasing city land for the development of Margaritaville.

Three other commissioners – Kevin Biederman, Dick Blattner and Linda Sherwood – also said they were unaware that they approved a $28 million grant instead of a loan in the 2013 lease agreement.

City commissioners Biederman and Blattner said the city already has received a payoff from Margaritaville in the form of lease payments and property tax income.

Lon Tabatchnik, who developed Margaritaville in partnership with Starwood Capital, told the Sun-Sentinel the $28 million grant is “not a big surprise” and the resort “would not have been built without it.”

However, city commissioners were unaware that the $28 million was a grant until April 18, when they approved the $190 million sale of Margaritaville to KSL Capital Partners.

Hernandez says the city is entitled to 5 percent of any profit on the sale of Margaritaville.

Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Story told the Sun-Sentinel that city has 60 days from the date of the sale to determine what amount, if any, the developers owe the city. [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

For more details from The Real Deal MiamiThe Real Deal Miami, visit https://therealdeal.com/miami/2018/05/12/margaritaville-cost-hollywood-taxpayers-28m-more-than-expected/