Groundbreaking for the Hollywood Beach Margaritaville begins Thursday morning, but along with it are traffic snarls and parking pains.
To make room for the new 845,000 square-foot resort, the parking garage on Johnson Street and the A1A was torn down in July, and some local business owners say the lost spots mean lost customers.
"Business has been good; but, since they tore down the parking garage for Margaritaville, it's slowing down," said Rocco's Pizza worker Jeremy Olfern.
When the garage closed in July, hundreds of spots were lost. In its absence, construction has begun on the $147 million-dollar, Jimmy Buffet-inspired, 356-room Margaritaville Hotel and Resort.
Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said its financial effects are already being felt.
"The 'Margaritaville' effect refers to this development being a catalyst for other developments," Bober said. "We've already seen that in the city of Hollywood."
But, for those whose businesses lie near the construction footprint, there have been growing pains like fewer customers and slimmer profits. The kind of losses that Hollywood Style souvenir shop owner, Isaac Hares, believes will become gains once Margaritaville opens for business in 2015.
"It's going to be good," he said. "There might be more tourism."
That new phase in Hollywood Beach's history kicks off 10 a.m. Thursday with an official groundbreaking that hundreds are expected to attend.
"We're going to be recognizing a lot of the residents who have been actively involved, the staff at City Hall," Bober said. "This has been a lot of work for a lot of people for a very long time."
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