Oakland Park Does Good For Gay

With the Community Marketing Panel, Inc.’s, LGBT Consumer Panel saying that the buying power of U.S. Gays and Lesbians is expected to exceed $835 billion in 2011, the City of Oakland Park is asking, “What can we do for you?”

Leading that “Welcome to Oakland Park” are Gary Lanham and Jeff Yunis of Real Estate Recovery.  “Our vision for Real Estate Recovery is a broad one of single family homes, multi-family condominiums as well as the commercial market,” said Lanham

Lanham explains the natural progression from Wilton Drive north to Oakland Park: “I tell people to take a look at Wilton Drive from the Dairy Queen north towards Five Points where the new Wachovia Bank is going in.  The City of Oakland Park begins at the canal next to the Publix at Five Points on Dixie Highway and considers Main Street Oakland Park to be North Dixie Highway from Oakland Park Boulevard to Jaco Pastorius Park at NE 38 Street.”

Oakland Park is currently pouring money into the area courtesy of the Community Redevelopment Act.  The urban redevelopment runs from NE 12 Terrace west across Dixie Highway to NE 5 Avenue.  The city is bringing additional services into the area, including underground fiber optic telecommunication lines, underground electrical lines and the addition of sidewalks and more green spaces as a way to stimulate a whole new type of environment.

Oakland Park already has the Peter Pan Diner and, though not a gay restaurant, has a huge gay following.  G-Resort is planning on building their resort and there is currently a bid on a large apartment building on Oakland Park Boulevard just east of Dixie Highway with plans to turn that into a high-end gay guest house.

They say that the concept is to take advantage of the high gay population of Wilton Manors and combine it with the high gay population of Oakland Park, which is larger as Oakland Park is a much larger city.  Plus there is a big push for the gay vacation dollar.

“We also have the advantage of the vacation travel dollar,” said Yunis.  “That helps support all of this.  That’s important and to me; that’s why Oakland Park and Wilton Manors are going to be long term.”

Yunis himself moved here 4 years ago.  He’s previously a developer who has built, among other things, shopping centers and office buildings. He says he first came here for the beach and warm weather but appreciates that wherever he goes in Broward County, he can be himself.

They are also trying to attract different types of businesses to Oakland Park.  They feel that some of the businesses that would thrive in Oakland Park would be a cooking school, a kinetic art gallery, a community gardening center, a yoga studio, a health food store, small, yet upscale grocery store and, as they described, vintage anything.

Lanham and Yunis feel their job is to come up wiht ideas and contact companies and show them that Oakland Park is an attractive option.  They would also like to be the “go-to” people for people who have business ideas.

Real Estate Recovery is also looking toward partnering with organizations with common goals.

SOURCE:  Florida Agenda

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