Hollywood’s new lifeguard towers hit the beach – for $2 million

Crews work on the first of Hollywood’s new lifeguard stands on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The tower sits next to an old stand at Liberty Street. Another new tower is at Azalea Terrace to the south. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Two lifeguard towers stand side by side on Hollywood beach, one old and one new.

The battered wooden shack with faded yellow paint has weathered the elements for a quarter of a century. Just a few steps to the north sits the new arrival, a sign of things to come.

By the end of the year, 21 stylish new towers will dot the beach.

The new lifeguard stand at Liberty Street arrived two weeks ago. Its twin sits several blocks to the south at Azalea Terrace. Soon they’ll be painted a spiffy blue and white, with yellow accents.

The new look may turn heads — but so will the price, some say.

Hollywood is paying $2 million for the new towers — a bargain compared to earlier estimates of $4.8 million.

But so far, the new towers are a hit with visitors.

Sylvie Lauzon, a snowbird from Canada who owns a condo in Pembroke Pines, marveled at the clean lines and modern look. But the price tag — $117,000 apiece for six first-aid stations and $90,000 apiece for 15 lifeguard towers — left her stunned.

“Are you friggin’ serious!” she said, her mouth agape. “Oh my God! That’s the price of a condo!” Lauzon asked if the new lifeguard stands come with air-conditioning.

“For that price, you’d think it would have AC,” she said, shaking her head.

A new lifeguard tower sits next to the one it will replace at Liberty Street in Hollywood on Feb. 28, 2019. (Susannah Bryan/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The new towers have neither air-conditioning nor plumbing.

Like the towers they’re replacing, the pretty new stands with their Art Deco design will be on the beach for the next two decades or more.

That’s how Mayor Josh Levy sees it.

“We’re a world-class beach,” he said. “We don’t want flimsy off-the-shelf lifeguard stands. Even they would’ve cost over $1 million.”

The new towers will arrive in phases, with four more expected by the end of March. Another eight will be on the way by July. And the final eight will be settling into the sand by Dec. 31.

Nostalgic beachgoers who like the old towers will find them on the north and south ends of the beach.

Hollywood is keeping seven old lifeguard stands — two first-aid stations and five towers. But 21 others will be auctioned off, said Jorge Camejo, director of Hollywood’s redevelopment agency.

What kind of price will they fetch?

One has already been sold to the highest bidder for $40, Camejo said.

“I’m not sure if they wanted it for a tree fort or what,” he said, chuckling.

The good news, according to Camejo: Taxpayers won’t have to pay to have it hauled to the junkyard.

Susannah Bryan: Contact Reporter South Florida Sun Sentinel

March 4, 2019 | Hollywood