Over Budget and Late: New City Hall is a White Elephant

By: Howard Melamed

Back in September, I wrote an article providing factual information concerning the new city hall and taxes and shared two points:

  • The City Hall is over budget.
  • The City hall is behind schedule in its opening for December. 

I also said that the increase in cost for this Taj Mahal white elephant will be a part of what we pay in taxes.  Our commissioners do play pocket pool with our tax money shifting it around to make it look like increases in the millage rate was for other purposes, but make no mistake: the reason for increase in taxes is to pay for this glorious structure towering the residential area around it looking nothing more than a white elephant. 

Originally estimated cost was $18 million with a $4 million parking garage needed to satisfy their own parking regulations, the $22 million venture kept growing over the last four years.  The commissioners were taken advantage of by a smart local developer that was supposed to develop downtown Coral Springs and quickly doubled the parking garage upon a promise that the developer would pay the interest on the loan.   The cost of the garage quickly increased to $8 million and the total cost then became a whopping $27 million.  

The developer then pulled out of the deal last year, when he could not secure a cinema and promised hotel.  

“Downtown” is now “What Town” 

It’s not the first time the developer pulled out of the same deal.   Downtown Coral Springs has been around a long time.  The only developer to bid on the first one several years ago was not able to complete due to ‘economic conditions’ changing.  The city changed zoning laws, set back requirements and gave the developer a lot of great stuff – including a lease for the development department when the city condemned their own building – the old Morrison Cafeteria.  The city then signed a juicy deal with the developer to move the whole department to his building – where it currently is since the building is late.  Then they worked with the same developer to push the concept of moving city hall to this new Taj Mahal instead of buying a building twice the size as the one they are building with the promise of this elaborate Mizner Park style adventure – which is now costing the city, and us, $40 million and change.   

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on the city commissioners.

I have been told that not all is lost.  The contractor that is late in building has liquidated damages against it under $100,000 per month.  The city hall is now scheduled to open sometime at the end of the first quarter – which means by the end of March.  So we may be able to retrieve $300,000 of the $40 million bringing the total cost down to $39,700,000 for a full $10 million or 30 percent over budget . 

Fake news you will hear again from various Coral Springs commissioners who are democrats that should know better than to use this language.  No doubt one of the commissioners will say my figures are totally off…. it is really cost us only $32 million for the city hall and $8 million for the garage. 

No matter.  You elected these commissioners. Two of them ran on blocking this project. Three of them ran on that this building was the best thing for the city since swiss cheese.  You have another chance this year to change the popularity contest of electing city commissioners to perhaps one that puts qualified people in charge. 

Meanwhile, this structure is nothing more than an eyesore for the people living around it.  It should never have been built and we should have bought the $11 million Darth Vader building, the black building on Unviersity, that had five times the parking and three times the space of this $40 million white elephant. 

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About Howard Melamed

avatar Howard Melamed is a long-time resident of Coral Springs. He is a civil engineer and CEO of CellAntenna Corporation which has been located in Coral Springs since 1992. He serves on the City of Coral Springs Economic Development Advisory Committee and is the editor of Coralsprings.com.

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  • yongo

    Don’t forget the added rent at the walk three more months of expensive office space.

  • Bibich Zabaleta

    While I thoroughly enjoyed this article and agree with who wrote it I ended up taking it with a grain of salt. Around the middle of it this quote “Fake news you will hear again from various Coral Springs commissioners who are democrats that should know better than to use this language.” Made me start questioning the writers intentions. My distaste for what the commissioners are doing is devoid of politics! As an Independent I “go with the better option” when voting but I’m quick to check the over reach of anyone who is supposed to make these decisions on our behalf. This is “us” the residents of coral springs getting hosed for nothing more then the appeasement of a few instead of the whole.

    • Howard Melamed

      The Fake news comment came from the commission at the Tax meeting last year……They used the comment but I knew the person to be a democrat.

  • DonRSD

    So I wrote Re-Elect Dan Daley Campaign Kickoff! Dan Daley the other day on a other CS Talk Facebook page.
    Called him out as I knew about the shifting of bonds/taxes to other projects.
    Seems like the bond for city hall has expired and this is the reason for a new bond. I know a lot of higher up people in CS and called out the lie. Please folks – vote all these people out this year.
    Also don’t forget about Mama’s Boy Vignola. He didn’t want to vote on city hall because his vote was not needed. I have a ton of dirt on him too. He abstained from voting to try to save his ass for this years election, but he was 100% on board with city hall.

    Cmon Dan – let’s hear the “call my cell phone” or “hide behind a computer screen” or “I’ll show you the number so lies.
    You could’ve bought that black building for 20m (including renovations) yet voted for the city hall project. You voted to raise my homeowners taxes to Parkland taxing price, yet you are not a homeowner in Coral Springs….but you’ll hide behind the millage rate is low. How about the hike is an all time high to pay for your mess-up / cover-up for the new city hall.

    1 last thing – you’ll see me on election day with that picture I posted on a billboard. Every homeowner will know to not vote you in this year.

  • Banquos Ghost

    Corruption in every city and every state. Real life is even WORSE than the ” Sopranos “. Trusting tax dollars to political hacks and white collar thieves has become a tradition as ignorance, apathy, and filth increases in our country. It wont be that many years before good citizens and their families head for the hills to get away from it. Millions have already fled states like Connecticut, where manufacturing has been decimated and all taxes have been raised to support fat assed government hack employees, illegal aliens getting benefits including driver’s licenses and voting cards, and generations of useless urban thugs on welfare who reproduce like flies. People come here to retire and find themselves walled in gated communities as crime and violence rages just outside their gates. Nobody would buy Jackie Gleason’s house, as it now resides in a crime ridden jungle filled with miscreants. THIS is what we get for our tax dollar !!!…….welcome to Coral Springs !!!

    • yongo

      Amen. The pocket ghettos are expanding in coral springs.

  • kilroy

    I hear the white elephant is opening MONDAY !!! I hope the bathrooms have gold faucets !

  • kilroy

    the term “white” elephant – sounds racist