Seritage hasn’t worked on project in a year

The city has taken legal action against Seritage SRC Finance LLC, which stopped working on a major project at Westfield Broward Mall about a year ago.

City attorney Kerry Ezrol mailed two notices to the company on Feb. 18. One is a claim for the surety bond Seritage posted with the city for engineering and landscape approvements in the amount of $2,848,522. The other is for breach of contract on Seritage’s commitment to complete water and sewer construction at the site by Dec. 31, 2020, for improvements valued at $887,631.

The project, which had a working title of “The Social” was to have included a YOLO restaurant, two other restaurant-bars, a Powerhouse gym, a Gametime entertainment center and salons. The two non-YOLO restaurants pulled out soon after Covid hit and YOLO never fully committed enough to receive city approval. So my take is it was only a matter of time before the whole thing folded. The city would have liked to have served the notices earlier, but because of Covid-related executive orders from the governor’s office, the grace period for Seritage’s delays was extended, kind of like how things have been between landlords and renters.

The city council in 2019 approved the project and construction began soon after. The north anchor to the mall, Sears, was demolished and work was rolling along until the pandemic.

While all retail locations are going to face challenges post-Covid, the scenario may not be as bad as one might think for the Seritage spot. Plantation officials say several companies suggesting other nightlife-type projects have asked about the property, and should they be able to work something out with the city there is a still hope for a go-to area for Plantation residents, something that is so badly needed in our town.

But, yes, it’s going to take much longer than anyone would have liked. And looking at a half-finished property at one of our city’s prime intersections is not pleasant. Meanwhile, we will enforce the agreements to ensure the agreed-upon improvements are completed.