Hollywood city commissioners voted Wednesday night to go with a Cheeseburger in Paradise rather than Somewhere Over the Rainbow as they voted unanimously to approve plans for a $100 million Margaritaville resort on the city's most prized piece of oceanfront land.
With Commissioner Fran Russo noting that "Jimmy Buffett doesn't drink as much as everyone thinks he does," the commission set aside critics' concerns that the tiki-bar, tropical-themed oasis would live up to its "wasted away in Margaritaville" song lyrics.
The second-place finisher, Planet Hollywood, whose plans featured a movie-themed hotel and restaurants, was touted as more family-friendly. It included a movie studio, a state-of-the-art sound system for the nearby beach band shell, water slides and bowling alleys.
Its developers promised big-name acts like Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow and Gwen Stefani.
Longtime beach residents Joe and Audrey Joynt favored the Hollywood-themed venue, saying it was upscale and offered the right mix for the beach.
"We don't need people being wasted away in Margaritaville," said Audrey Joynt. Margaritaville, she said, "is just not Hollywood." But commissioners were won over by the Buffett-themed project, which Mayor Peter Bober praised.
"These are places you can eat and drink; they are both bars; they both serve booze; we have two projects that do that," said Bober. "It's not fair to classify one or give it a stigma like that."
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