Martorano’s has served its last meatball, Bongo’s is no longer bouncing and court is no longer in session at Murphy’s Law Irish Pub.
If you haven’t strolled through Seminole Paradise in recent days, you have missed out on seeing a mass evacuation. The outdoor area connected to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is being closed. Many of the shops and restaurants are padlocked; the rest must say good-bye by March 31.
The Seminoles have plans to build a guitar-shaped, 800-room hotel in the corner of their 100-acre property opposite the current casino, part of a massive makeover. The plans include remaking the nightlife and shopping area, which eventually will be totally enclosed.
The property’s Seminole Live, though, remains open, with concerts booked throughout the coming months.
Seminole officials caution that while land is being cleared and stores are being closed, the hotel has not been officially approved. But they announced the plan during compact negotiations back in March 2015. A year later, during a visit by Gov. Rick Scott to the tribe’s Hollywood headquarters — part of his attempt to early 2016 to gain legislative approval for a compact — the tribe showed plans for the second hotel on the property to the media.
But with the state compact still up in the air, the Seminoles lack long-term certainty about which games they can offer and what competition they will face, all of which would affect their bottom line. With that in mind, the Seminoles have not sought financing nor the required approval from the Seminole tribal council.
However, employees have confirmed other construction plans, due to begin this summer. The poker room will be moved to the existing ballroom area. More spacious ballrooms, meanwhile, will be built on a part of the property not yet developed.
Seminole officials say they told renters that a closing was approaching. Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner said most of the businesses moved on, but he acknowledged that the Seminole has received a complaint from ResortWear boutique, which signed a lease in 2014 and invested $76,000 in fees and inventory. A compensation agreement is being worked out, he said.
Paradise Live opened in March 2005, bringing a vibe that then-Sun-Sentinel writer John Holland described as “Downtown Disney meets South Beach.” Attendance on weekends averaged 20,000 to 30,000 a night, he wrote.
But it looks like it’s goodbye for at least awhile. Recent closings included Fort Lauderdale Improv, Wet Willie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Sinbad Sports and Brookstone.
Still open are Council Oak Steak & Seafood, Kuro, the Blue Plate, the Hard Rock Café, The Bol Asian cuisine and a food court. Bitner noted that the property also will offer food trucks on busy concert weekends.