If there's one attraction that's sure to entice tourists, it's a casino. The promise of easy money is the most seductive of siren songs. Add a 5,000-seat live concert venue, a hotel and spa, and a string of night clubs, restaurants and retail to the mix and you've got quite a crowd-pleaser. This lively brew of components is the strategy behind Baltimore-based The Cordish Co.'s latest project, Seminole Paradise.

The 450,000-sq.-ft. entertainment component of Paradise, located in Hollywood, Fla. between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, is a joint venture between the developer and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “We were contacted by the Tribe as a result of our expertise in master planning and developing innovative retail, entertainment and resort projects throughout the United States,” says Joe Weinberg, vice president of development at The Cordish Co.

Cordish will be responsible for all planning, design, construction, leasing and financing for the $400 million project in cooperation with the Seminole Tribe, which will own the facilities.

An entertaining blend

Anchored by a 750-key Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with a 4-acre pool and health spa, the center consists of a series of 20 interconnected buildings surrounding an eight-acre, man-made lake. Pedestrian bridges spanning the lake will allow patrons to easily navigate the site.

Cordish is courting destination restaurants and specialty retailers to populate the entertainment district, many of which will be making their first entries into the South Florida market.

Located within five minutes of the busy Fort Lauderdale airport, Seminole Paradise is in a prime position to pull in some of the 30 million vacationers who visit South Florida each year, not to mention the big-spending meetings and convention crowds.

“The hotel and gaming components are expected to draw 30,000 people per day, which will provide significant business to the retail and entertainment venues,” Weinberg says.

Each component of Seminole Paradise is designed to attract the extensive residential and visitor population in South Florida and to prolong the stay of each visitor, increasing per capita expenditures, he says. “More than 5 million people live within 50 miles of the site.”

A perfect plan

Seminole Paradise's site plan creates an insulated environment where patrons park on the perimeter and walk into the center. Hotel guests need only stroll downstairs to find almost any amenity under the sun.

“This is the first time a retail and entertainment project has been truly integrated with a casino,” says John Larsen, associate director of retail design with the Baltimore office of Carter & Burgess. The Cordish Co. commissioned the architecture firm to masterplan the 100-acre retail/entertainment portion of the Seminole Paradise site.

“The Hard Rock casino truly acts as an integral anchor, not just as an adjacent attraction.” In addition, The Cordish Co. commissioned the firm of Klai Juba Architects to design the hotel and casino.

The project's architecture will be contemporary Mediterranean, with lush landscaping to further the tropical atmosphere. Bright, outrageous graphics will serve wayfinding and identification purposes and add a sense of fantasy.

Construction has begun on Seminole Paradise. The project is scheduled for completion in 2003.