The Dania Beach CRA Launches New Initiative to Support Startup Enthusiasts and Upcoming Entrepreneurs

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 4:25pm

Dania Beach, FL- The Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (DBCRA) is proud to announce the launch of the Dania Beach Business Academy (DBBA) which is offering a series of free educational programs to support and shape the business community. Designed to set businesses up to succeed, the programs will be offered in the form of online courses free of charge to admitted registrants as part of the DBCRA’s investment to strengthen our businesses. The first program entitled Passions to Profits will begin on Thursday, July 8, 2021.  Classes in Passions to Profits will cover, From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur, Start Up Your Business for Success, A Good Business Plan & Savvy Financial Plan is Your Map to Success, and finally, Money to Start and Grow Your Business.

According to K Michael Chen DBCRA Executive Director, “the DBCRA is creating an Innovation Ecosystem with platforms to support entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures. This first program targets business hopefuls and businesses emerging from the impact of COVID currently navigating their way through an economy seeking its way back to normalcy”.

The DBCRA has organized an executive partnership with academic and business organizations dedicated to economic development. The first DBBA Passions to Profits program consists of four (4) classes, held for two (2) hours a week, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm over four (4) consecutive weeks. Those attending all four classes will be designated as DBBA Graduates and will receive a graduation certificate, be acknowledged by the CRA Board/City Commission, and recognized on the DBCRA multimedia platforms.

The DBBA has received support from a number of Academic partners, and business entities and their statements are noted below:

“The Broward Technical Colleges; Atlantic, McFatter & Sheridan are proud of our partnership with the DBBA. We enjoy our collaboration to assist residents and businesses gain and increase their skills for personal and economic success. “- Lynn Goldman, Community Relations Coordinator, Broward Technical Colleges & Technical High Schools (Atlantic, McFatter & Sheridan)

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), over 543,000 new business are founded every month in the US. 47.5% of the country’s total workforce is employed by small businesses. Only 50% of small businesses survive 5 years.

Dr. J. Chris Ford, Mission-to-Market Manager and Principal Scientist at Florida International University (FIU) says, “FIU is excited to support the cultivation of entrepreneurs in South Florida. FIU’s Mission-to-Market initiative is committed to developing a thriving and inclusive innovation ecosystem in South Florida. We are thrilled with our collaboration with the city of Dania Beach’s Business Academy and its targeted impact on the South Florida business community.”

The DBBA innovative economic ecosystem will have many different platforms available to support businesses in all life cycles – from start-up to growth opportunities, to revitalizing a long-term business. The specific components the Dania Beach CRA is committed to establish includes education, location & events, mentorship, incubation and acceleration, funding, and talent.

"In the current uncertain climate, young people are realizing more than ever that entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for personal empowerment," says NFTE President and CEO, Dr. J.D. LaRock.

To qualify for the Dania Beach Business Academy applicants must be interested in learning the fundamentals of starting a business, developing business survival skills, and turning ideas into profitable enterprises.

“We are proud to help shape Dania Beach’s current and future business owners and leaders by participating in the Passion to Profits Business Academy. The successful completion of the program will help strengthen the economic base of the community, provide jobs and build civic strength.” says Joseph Gray, Sr. Director at National Development Council

The Dania Beach Business Academy is an executive partnership with the Dania Beach CRA, SCORE Broward, Florida International University/US Department of Energy - Mission-To-Market (M2M), the National Development Council (NDC), Atlantic Technical College (ATC), Business Briefings, McFatter Technical College, and the Alliance of Entrepreneur Resource Organizations of Broward County (AERO).

Classes include From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur, Start Up Your Business for Success, A Good Business Plan & Savvy Financial Plan is Your Map to Success, and finally Money to Start and Grow Your Business.

Interested persons will need to complete the online application at

For more information visit www.DaniaBeachCRA.Org or email

Estate Companies scores $56M construction loan for Dania Beach mixed-use project

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 3:12pm

Motwani bought the land in 2017 

The Estate Companies secured financing for a new mixed-use project in Dania Beach.

The apartment developer closed on a $55.5 million construction loan from Synovus for a new eight-story, Class-A mixed-use development, called Soleste Cityline, at 4 North Federal Highway. The development will consist of 340 luxury rental units and retail space, according to a press release.

Dev Motwani, president and CEO of real estate investment and development firm, Merrimac Ventures, bought the property in 2017 for $5 million and is a partner in the project. 

“I felt that Dania [Beach] was going to be a popular place,” Motwani said.

In September, Motwani and Merrimac Ventures brought on the Estate Companies as a development partner for the multifamily portion of the project, and later partnered with Miami-based Tricera Capital for the retail portion.

The apartments will include studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet.


Soleste Cityline will also feature amenities, including a pool deck, fitness center, outdoor grilling stations and a clubroom.

The retail space will span 12,800 square feet. There are no specific retail tenants at the moment, according to Motwani, but he expects neighborhood and service-oriented retail, as well as food and beverage.

The developers plan to break ground this quarter.

Last year Motwani bought a Fort Lauderdale development site for $14 million, and may build residential, retail or possibly a hotel on the site. 

K. Michael Chen

Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 4:06pm

The Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency welcomes the new leadership of K. Michael Chen as its Executive Director. Mr. Chen has extensive experience in Economic Development and Public Administration management. He has served the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Tampa, FL, and the Village of Oak Park, in Illinois leading economic development initiatives, creating economic development strategies/tools, and managing business attraction/retention initiatives. He also directed the Community Redevelopment Areas in Tampa and Oak Park. In Fort Lauderdale, he created the award-winning BEAMs Business Academy. Mr. Chen has been personally responsible for the development of over $5 billion of city-sponsored projects.

Mr. Chen has a long history working with global markets. His family’s business was among the first to import Japanese steel to the United States and supplied industrial hardware to mining operations, steel mills, and petrochemical plants throughout the Western Hemisphere. His family company structured project teams with large Japanese trading companies and major US engineering companies to provide turnkey project proposals (engineering, construction, and financing) for mega industrial projects around the world. The company was also an importer of bulk minerals from the People’s Republic of China to the United States.

As a former Adjunct Professor at Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH), he taught micro- and macro- economics at under-graduate and MBA levels. His classes were largely composed of mid-level managers from companies such as Lexmark, Long John Silver’s, Honda Motors, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing NA.

Mr. Chen started his career as a private sector developer as the Senior Vice President and Director of Japan Development and Construction Company (JDC). On behalf of JDC he was personally responsible for the development of a $7 billion real estate portfolio across the United States. He was responsible for underwriting corporate investments, structuring partnerships, and negotiating project financing. In his role with JDC, Mr. Chen also played a key role in securing the World Trade Center franchise for Miami (1988) and Consulate General of Japan in Miami (1992). He was a frequent keynote speaker at national/international investment conferences and is included in Who’s Who Worldwide and Who’s Who International.

K. Michael Chen joins the City of Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency in November 2020, and looks forward to strengthening the economic core of the DBCRA and catalyzing current and future projects.

Muriel Bryan

Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 4:01pm

Muriel Bryan is the newly appointed Economic Development Manager for the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The CRA is an agency that was created in accordance with FS.163 Part III to help prevent slum and blighted conditions in cities. An integral role of the CRA’s Economic Development Manager is to promote economic development and redevelopment activities by retaining and expanding existing businesses. This is especially important during these trying times where many of our local businesses and residents have drastically been affected by Covid-19.

Ms. Bryan is responsible for planning and executing strategies to attract new businesses to Dania Beach, and encouraging expansion and retention of existing businesses to promote a stronger economic base. She will also work on the CRA’s Small Business Resiliency and Reimbursement Grant, Commercial Improvement Grant, At Home Dania Beach Residential Projects, and the Soleste citywide development, formally known as the Trion.

Before joining the CRA, Ms. Bryan was the Senior Planner in Dania Beach’s Community Development Department. She worked on reviewing multi-million dollar projects the most significant being Dania Pointe which is in the CRA Area. Ongoing development projects have resulted in urban development and economic growth throughout the City.

Muriel also worked with Regional programs like Broward County MPO’s CSLIP Grants, and Safer Streets Program which were awarded and should commence soon.

Prior to her civil service employment with the City of Dania Beach, Muriel had several years of experience working in both the public and private sectors. Having received her Bachelors from Florida Atlantic University in Urban and Regional Planning and later her Masters in Architecture from Florida International University; Muriel also worked at various architectural firms doing BIM/3D and developing Construction Documents for Commercial, Residential, Higher Education and Recreation to name a few. She is also certified in, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).

In addition to being the CRA’s Economic Development Manager, Muriel volunteers her time with the local Chapter of the AIA, American Institute of Architects, as the Associate Director. She has also tutored through United Mentors.

Dania Beach CRA Event Advisory

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 9:38am

We regret to advise that due to concerns about novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, the Dania Beach CRA Board has decided to halt all plans for the 2020 Arts and Seafood Celebration and cancel upcoming Dania After Dark & Art in the Hall Events until further notice. Please note:

  • The Arts and Seafood Celebration will not be held as planned on March 28th and 29th.
  • Dania After Dark our Monthly Street Festival, and Art in the Hall are postponed until further notice.

We will continue to monitor this national health situation and advise on the possibility of a future date for the Dania Beach Arts & Seafood Celebration and resuming our scheduled Dania After Dark installments in 2020. This decision was made with your health and safety in mind after conversations with Dania Beach city officials and recent announcements from the Florida Department of Health regarding preventative measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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