City Center was supposed to be the start of a new way of life for residents of Pembroke Pines.
A downtown of sorts with shopping, restaurants and even a new civic center. A way to reign in the urban sprawl that defines so much of West Broward and make it feel more like a cohesive community.
Also, maybe a bit of a money-maker for the city.
Buy a parcel of land and others surrounding it for around $63 million at Palm Avenue and Pines Boulevard, install $40 million in infrastructure like sidewalks and streets -- topped off by the infamous Clock Tower that has never even had a chance to work -- and then sell the land ready for construction to developers. At a profit, or so the plan went.
"Then the recession hit and developers weren't interested in any new ventures," says Mayor Frank Ortiz."It went from a tough sell to a no sale."
But, in a sign that the real estate market is returning, developers such as The Related Group and Turnberry Associates have come calling.
And the desolate area of land that's sat dormant since 2006 may become the actual Phoenix from the dirt mounds of Pembroke Pines.
So confident is Ortiz that City Center will finally happen, that he plans on running for one more term in office to see it through.
And, he claims, the city will still make a profit.
"Just not quite as much as we first envisioned."
Hear an interview with the Mayor here: