FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A place that was once imagined to be a paradise spot for tourist has quickly turned into a home for drugs, violence and crime.
Beach Place, a three-story, 100,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor mall, opened up in Ft. Lauderdale back in 1996.
According to our news partners the Sun-Sentinel , it was expected to be an upscale area where tourists would go to shop and hit the beach with friends and family.
Located at State Road A1A, just several blocks north of Las Olas Boulevard, Beach Place was supposed to be the next big spot for oceanfront entertainment and shopping. The complex featured an upscale restaurant called Max’s Grille and clothing stores such as the Limited Express, Banana Republic, and The Gap.
Things quickly took a turn for the worst.
The high-end designer stores started to move out and more T-Shirt shops began to move in. Beach Place started to see more tattoo shops and places that sold sunglasses, beach sandals and promoted alcoholic drinks.
“What we now seem to be catering to is the party crowd,” City Commissioner Dean Trantalis told the Sun-Sentinel.
With productivity going down, the crime rate went up.
In the past six months, police have responded to more than 600 calls to Beach Place including disturbances, assaults, alcohol violations and drug offenses. According to the paper, 16 out of 48 arrests were drug charges.
Families are afraid to go there after dark and tourists find the place threatening. More and more store-owners have been closing their doors earlier and businesses have even vacated.
Beach Place management has already been told by the nuisance board that they need to better control what happens on its property.
Due to the fact the shopping complex is under the jurisdiction of the board, they have already stressed the fact that security and lighting needs to be improved and also ordered management to install additional video recording security cameras inside and outside of the shopping plaza.
Who knows what the future holds for Beach Place but the board isn’t giving up without a fight to hopefully restore the original dream plan.
The Sun-Sentinel has contributed to this report.