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David Hess manages the Ramada Hollywood Beach Resort and is the property manager of its condo association; these and associated organizations at the same address have given $2,500 to Giulianti's reelection campaign. Hess says his organizations intend to launch a renovation project that would return the Ramada to its original grandeur. He declined to say how much that is estimated to cost and said he would show plans for the renovation to New Times in February, after the Hollywood election has been decided. Hess would not describe his discussions with Oceanwalk Mall LLC, although he said he believes his renovation would complement that group's plans for the Ramada property.
Oceanwalk Mall LLC's real objective may be hiding in plain view.
In May 2007, Koslow went before the Hollywood Commission to describe his clients' interest in a $300 million mixed-use development at the Ramada site. Wouldn't that scale of project mean building on top of the historic Hollywood Beach Resort?
"It would have to," Zyskovich says. "If you can't tear down the existing building, then you'd have to build behind it, which would require a building with height."
Great height, because behind the sprawling hotel, there's precious little real estate separating it from the city's Broadwalk, which has its own historic protections, and the beach.
Zyskovich talked to Koslow about the project as recently as a month ago, he says, but "I don't know what he's working on. I don't know who is involved. All I know is that Alan is talking about something big happening there."
The parameters of the city's historic overlay district restrict something big there; that's the point of a height limit that requires special dispensation for structures over 50 feet. "It gives [the city] veto power over what a project might be," Zyskovich explains. To exceed those limits "would require more than a variance," he says; it would need a new ordinance. If an exception to the district's rules were to be made, the Ramada property is where it should happen, Zyskovich says, "but it should only be for the right project." The City of Hollywood wants to "bring the ownership interests into alignment" at the Ramada property, he adds.
That need not be controversial or partisan, it would appear. Every candidate interviewed for this article said the city should expedite improvements to the Ramada hotel and mall property. And even Sara Case, a leading critic of Koslow's who is running for a City Commission seat, says she'd put her grudge aside if it meant that a city landmark would get a face-lift.