Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mixed-use presentation may lead to Lee County projects

 Thanks to everyone involved in organizing Friday's excellent mixed use project seminar featuring the successful Sarasota Citrus Square project...and to everyone who attended.  It was informative and inspiring.

This recent, Feb. 21st,  Mixed-Use Development seminar featured a duo of speakers - architect, Chris Gallagher, and developer, Mark Pierce, the team behind the successful infill Citrus Square project in Sarasota.  The event was sold out and brought together over 100  participants, including 5 elected officials, top level staff from around the county, developers, realtors, bankers, planners, and other community leaders.

Citrus Square is a walkable, downtown, infill development, built in an older and declining neighborhood – a neighborhood considered too dangerous to travel to for evening restaurant dining.  This project features beautiful condominium living above ground-level shops and restaurants, outdoor cafes, green spaces and an open plaza. Artfully incorporated green, energy efficient features with careful, knowledge-based site design and alternative stormwater management enhance this desirable living experience. 

 Shops and residences are fronted by a tree-lined street with wide sidewalks, curbside parking and two transit stops. Citrus Square, while offering its residents and patrons the healthy ease of an active, connected, multimodal lifestyle, has also sowed the seeds of entire neighborhood revival.

 Thanks to the Fort Myers team - Mayor Henderson for his leadership in hosting this event and Randy Krise (Krise Commercial Real Estate) for helping to bring it all together. We also thank Ann Pierce (BikeWalkLee steering group member) for initiating the event and making a great presentation on opportunities for mixed use and walkable communities in Fort Myers and Lee County – opportunities for local developers and lenders in the area’s many older urban neighborhoods.  

And a special thanks to all the event sponsors that made this presentation possible, including the newest Pinchers Crab Shack, itself an excellent reuse & remodel project near downtown Fort Myers. We hope this is the first in a series of seminars in learning about successful incremental, mixed use, infill and redevelopment projects of all sizes, from a single building rehab or new build, to larger planned communities, all essential components of area-wide revitalization.  

Report by Darla Letourneau

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