BY RYAN MERARD
Starting June 2017, Boulton Commercial Real Estate sought to establish a shopping center in Cooper City. Towards the summer of 2018, they secured a construction loan and began to work on the site, marking the beginning of the “Cooper Square” project, which is planned to be a boutique retail shop containing 35 stores. Over a year later, the plaza is nearing its completion in the next few months.
At first, the plaza was forecasted to be completed in November. However, the amount of work needed was underestimated, causing this date to be pushed back. Now, Boulton aims for complete establishment of the shopping center to take place within the first few months of 2020.
On August 19, Boulton successfully sold all 35 spots for stores and swiftly moved their focus onto leasing terms. There has been a growing curiosity among Cooper City residents about the type of stores that will be seen in this plaza. However, the developers claim that they cannot release any names of the companies involved until just before completion of the plaza.
“Hopefully they [will] have a Chick-fil-A there because the nearest one right now is usually a 10-minute drive from my house.”
“As much as we would like to put out the names of the companies working with, we cannot right now because most contracts for leases are still in the negotiating stage right now, so nothing is official yet,” Boulton Commercial Real Estate Sales Director Marcela Parra said. “You can expect to know the names of the stores around the opening day of [Cooper Square].”
Over the months, H&M Development has been carrying out construction for the plaza at a regular pace. Construction first started in September 2018 with just the foundations of the buildings, plenty of dirt and a long canal built behind. Now, buildings with glass doors and pavement for parking are being settled, leaving about a quarter of the necessary work left for the plaza.
“I’m just ready to see what kind of stores the plaza has, it seems like there is going to be a lot to do there with all those buildings,” junior Rashad Cornelius said. “Hopefully they [will] have a Chick-fil-A there because the nearest one right now is usually a 10-minute drive from my house.”
With the plaza being right across the street from the CCHS, some students—specifically incoming juniors and seniors—may see the plaza as a place to park their vehicles during the school day for free. As stated in a previous article, school administrators warned students not to do this as their cars will likely be towed.
“[It’s] crazy how a few years ago there used to be just an open field of grass [across from] the school and now a whole plaza is about to be in that exact same place.”
There was a slight change to the design of the plaza. Building seven was originally intended to be a part of the stores, but now features an outdoor seating area for shoppers, accompanied by a lake for water views.
For the most part, the major work visible on the project’s construction site is unfinished paving and buildings for all of the restaurants and businesses. Soon, this continual construction work will turn into charming architectural details such as pastel stucco exteriors, decorative lighting accents and pedestrian walkways enhanced by trees and seasonal landscaping. A quality shopping center for Cooper City residents is the ultimate goal for the developers.
“[It’s] crazy how a few years ago there used to be just an open field of grass [across from] the school and now a whole plaza is about to be in that exact same place,” junior Julian Smallcombe said. “Usually people go to [Stirling Town Center] but in a few months everybody [is going to] go right across the street after school because it’s closer and probably bigger.”
Photo by Sydney Katz