Helping to Revitalize Historic Hollywood Beach

Published on Jul 01, 2021

Helping to Revitalize Historic Hollywood Beach

Imagine owning a store that sells beach clothing, souvenirs and gifts located right on the water in Hollywood, Florida. Sounds like a dream location, right? For one small business owner, it was — until construction began on a huge Margaritaville Beach Resort right next door.

Meet Elie Afriat, owner of Swim & Jog

In 1988, Elie Afriat opened Swim & Jog in an ocean-front mixed-use building he now owns on Johnson Street. Surrounded by parks and preservation areas, it’s in a historic neighborhood with a boardwalk at the center of tourism in Hollywood Beach. In recent years, this business community has also become the focal point for redevelopment.

From 2013 to 2016, construction on the resort had a negative impact on local businesses, including Swim & Jog. It was nearly impossible to access Afriat’s building. Plus sidewalk and street closures, a lack of street parking and the demolition of a nearby six-story parking garage eliminated pedestrian traffic and left the beach dormant.

Bringing an Idea to Life

Afriat, a long-standing client of Valley National Bank, decided to make the best of a bad situation.

He applied for a loan to build-out a new portion of his building and open an additional retail space that he could rent. Based on his track record and history with the Bank, he got approval for a loan to finance construction. While it wasn’t an easy process — there were permitting issues, and the value of the building was in question — Afriat succeeded in converting his property into a modern building that will soon house a brand new restaurant.

A Blessing in Disguise

Meanwhile, the resort next door became a boon for the local economy. After construction was completed, Margaritaville helped revitalize the neighborhood by creating jobs, attracting greater numbers of tourists and inspiring other local business owners to invest in their businesses. Today, Afriat’s business is doing better than ever. By making improvements to his building, he’s been able to generate more income and make a larger contribution to the local economy.

The long-standing relationships we have with many of our clients, including Afriat, are what we value most at Valley. We not only aim to help local businesses grow, but also to make a positive impact on the communities we serve, one business at a time.