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Sun Times Feature Story

An Eyesore No More

• Old Hallandale City Hall Property Is Finally Coming Down After Nearly Two Decades!

By Larry Blustein

   For much of the past two decades, it has been an eyesore and a real negative on the landscape of a growing and progressive Hallandale Beach.

    The old City Hall, which had been a vibrant, centrally-located structure for many years, had become a major problem the past decade, is finally coming down.

   What many had envisioned as a gateway to the historic section of Hallandale Beach, which is currently where the Curci Home and the Moffett House, may become a reality.

   The structure, overrun by vegetation and animals for so long, is being razed to make way for the relocation of the U.S. headquarters for international eyewear giant Aspex Eyewear. Crews from general contractor Ramcon Corporation began work on the interior of the building this week.

   "This is great news," said Hallandale Beach resident Sally Williams. "I live down the street from the building and I will tell you that it's a relief that it is finally coming down."

   While the city remained in talks with the group, the property sat and began to deteriorate. No matter how many times the issue was brought up, there was never an answer to what the final outcome would be. 

   Located at 308 South Dixie Highway, the City of Hallandale Beach left the building in March 1997 and relocated to the current Municipal complex at 400 S. Federal Highway. The property was sold to Tony Ross International in 1997. The property has since changed hands two additional times ending with the current owner, Manhattan Realty (a holding company for Aspex Eyewear).  The building was originally constructed in 1968 and fell into disrepair over the years since the City sold its interest in the property.

   "Everyone knows the way I am about preserving the historic charm of this city," said Commissioner Bill Julian. "It was important that when people come to this community that they feel the charm that the entire city has and not have to stare at some eyesore."

   Attorney Keith M. Poliakoff, who represents Manhattan Realty, said the site is being prepared in anticipation of the relocation of Aspex Eyewear Group’s United States operations. Aspex is currently located in Pembroke Park with international offices in Canada and Europe. No formal plans have been submitted to the City for approval as yet. Aspex Eyewear has agreed to demolish the building and install an attractive greenspace until they develop the site.

  Demolition and site preparation are expected to be completed within 30 days and cost about $200,000, said Mr. Poliakoff, co-chairman of government relations for the firm of Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, of Fort Lauderdale.