Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville resort opens on Florida beach

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) – The rain didn’t stop Jimmy Buffett from performing at the opening of the Margaritaville Beach Resort, his new $150 million attraction that features nearly 350 rooms, eight bars and a spa.

By the time Buffett took the stage at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for his free concert, it was already 5 o’clock somewhere. Buffett joked that he finally got to play the iconic Bandshell, which is one of the few remnants of old Hollywood.

The Bandshell, built in the 1970s, will feature local music several nights a week, but is now run by Margaritaville.

“Let’s put the top down on this place!” Buffett shouted at the start of the one and a half-hour concert.

The Miami Herald (http://tinyurl.com/oxf74jk) reports the city contributed more than $20 million to the project and is hoping it will transform the 1.5 mile beachfront area into a more sophisticated vacation escape with a Caribbean-themed vibe.

Mayor Peter Bober said the city hopes to recover all that money and then some over the next 90 years. He said Margaritaville is leasing the city-owned land the resort is built on, paying $1.18 million per year, and contributing $1.9 million more a year in taxes.

New luxury condos are cropping up along with more upscale shops and dining to replace the more common mom and pop stores. The change has brought praise from some locals and complaints from others about parking headaches and beach trash from weekend crowds.

“We’ve got tax dollars coming in, now we have this nice hotel. There are pluses and minuses with everything,” said Lisa Shortt, a Hollywood regular. “So stop complaining people and enjoy this. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

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